By: Marisa Ingemi
It may be a tie on the scoreboard, but for the Terriers, it felt like a loss.
Penalties have been a problem all season, and this time it was one of the usual suspects in Jordan Greenway. Greenway took a ten minute misconduct after celebrating following his go-ahead goal in the third period, leaving BU without one of its top wingers as the Huskies would go on to tie. Both equalizing goals came in situations where Greenway should have been on the ice.
“We lose one of our best players for ten minutes because he wants to celebrate,” said Terriers head coach David Quinn. “I know its the generation we live in, but that’s not what BU hockey is about. That was addressed and people won’t see that again out of our team.”
Greenway was not the lone Terrier at fault, however. BU took seven penalties on the night, and following a run of 22 straight penalty kills, finally got burned with two power play goals. Heading into the night, BU was 41-for-43 on penalty kills this season.
“People ask me all the time about our team, and what our strengths and weaknesses are, and our number one weakness is immaturity,” Quinn said. “That cost us tonight.”
Quinn was more than just a bit aggravated with the penalties on Friday night, and while the entire conference has seen an uptick in penalties, the youth of the Terriers is starting to catch up with them.
“These guys are so used to, whenever things are going poorly, they just go run and get the puck,” said Quinn. “But that doesn’t work at this level and that’s what our guys have to learn and unfortunately it’s going to take a little bit of time.”
Six different players took penalties on the night, with Greenway earning three on his own. Bobo Carpenter was called for boarding with less than a second left in the second period, leading the Huskies to a power play chance to start the least period of regulation. Adam Gaudette would score for Northeastern moments after that penalty came to a close, and the Huskies held momentum.
“Both teams took seven penalties tonight, and it’s too much,” Quinn said. “It’s too much. So we have to keep working on it and they have to learn what a penalty is. They have to learn that the game is going to get called tighter and, dealing with the youth that we have, they’re slow learners.”
The Terriers had the third best penalty kill in the nation heading into the contest with a .953 percentage, but at some point a team can’t continue to have so many men in the box. Part of that is the youth of one of the youngest teams in the nation, where the inexperience even of players who had strong games such as Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows causes trouble.
Even players who stayed out of the box, such as Keller and Patrick Curry, have parts of their game to work on. Quinn mentioned Keller specifically as a player all over the ice and chasing pucks, despite his strong game with two goals.
“We have so many young players not used to playing structured hockey,” Quinn said. “There are things you have to do within this game systematically if everyone is going to be successful. Sometimes we go off the page because we’re young.”
The youth of the Terriers has created one of the most promising teams in the nation, with Keller at times looking like the best player on the ice, the likes of Dante Fabbro creating chances, and goalie Jake Oettinger earning the conference’s goalie of the month title. Yet, there’s still plenty for BU to learn as it aims to remain one of the top teams in the country, and the first thing to address is discipline- and that’s beyond just staying out of the box.
BU faces Northeastern at home again Saturday night and will look to clean up its game, though it’s something the Terriers have been yet to figure out.
“We need to have a better idea of situations,” said Quinn. “We’re up 4-3 with three minutes to go, we give up that goal with under a minute to go, we just weren’t disciplined enough.”