By: Jake Reiser
With the Beanpot looming, the Boston University Terriers (14-7-4, 8-4-3 HEA) had a half weekend, their lone game on Friday night against the Merrimack College Warriors (7-14-5, 2-8-5 HEA). Coming in with a nine-game losing streak, the Warriors looked to end their tough skid. The Terriers, riding a hot streak stretch coming back from the winter break, looked to continue their winning ways. On Friday, the latter would prevail, the final score 4-0 BU.
The Terriers would find themselves shorthanded right away, as Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson shoved Justin Hussar into the boards in front of the Merrimack bench, drawing the arm of the referee for a boarding minor. Discipline would be lacking for the Terriers in the first two periods in general, with six total minors against BU players.
“Penalties obviously really took any flow out of the game for us, especially in the first two periods,” Coach Quinn said.
An even stranger set of circumstances arose in the first period, as senior starter Sean Maguire would be helped off the ice because of a skate malfunction, and Connor LaCouvee would tend net for 5:49, making one save.
But in that almost six-minute stretch, the Scarlet and White would find the back of the net. Brien Diffley would start a tic-tac-toe quick passing play with Matt Lane and Robbie Baillargeon, and it would be the sophomore in Baillargeon one-timing it past Merrimack starter Collin Delia. Because LaCouvee was in the blue paint for the goal, he gets credited with the win.
“Someone brought it up in the locker room that my goal came at the time that Mags was getting his skate fixed,” said Baillargeon. “But I think that’s pretty funny, I’ll have to look up to see the last time that happened.”
The penalty kill would come up large, making sure all six Terrier penalties would be killed off to prevent Merrimack from capitalizing.
The PK unit even generated offense, and put home the second Terriers goal. Danny O’Regan would make a steal at the BU blue line, fight through a hard checking Alex Carle, broke in alone and roofed a wrister over Delia, putting Boston University up by two.
“It was a key goal tonight, it was 1-0, we had some chances, they could sense our guys getting frustrated, penalties were really taking us out of our rhythm, and we got a shorthanded goal to give us a little breathing room,” said Quinn. “He stepped up tonight, Danny played great tonight, had a lot of energy in the third period.”
As good as the shorthanded unit was, the power play could not generate any momentum, despite four opportunities in the game.
Just over halfway through the third, the second line, who has put up a majority of the offense in the second half of the season, broke through. Matt Lane, Ahti Oksanen and Jordan Greenway skated in a 3-on-2 into the attacking zone. Lane put a puck on net, which Delia stopped, but couldn’t control the rebound, and Lane was there again to put home the rebound.
“Number one, [Lane] skates so well, two, he’s really worked on his shot, he’s scored some goal scorers goals, he can really snap it, he gets it off quick,” Coach Quinn said. “He understands you gotta get inside the hash marks to create some offense, great to see him get rewarded and 14 goals for him, it’s a heck of a senior year.”
Matt Grzelyck would set up Ahti Oksanen for an empty netter, sealing a 4-0 victory.
“Good win by our guys, I think that we played hard against a very tough team to play against. We’re all certainly of the struggles they’re having right now from a win-loss standpoint, but they make you earn it. They test your physical and mental abilities and we certainly passed in both tonight.”
The Terriers next skate on Monday in the second game of the Beanpot against the Northeastern Huskies at TD Garden.