By: Jarett Leonard
Boston University Head Coach David Quinn is searching for positives any way he can find them.
Quinn was surprisingly optimistic about his team’s performance even after a shutout loss to Minnesota State in October, and despite a 6-1 loss that completed a series sweep for Northeastern University on Friday, the effort still has Quinn hopeful.
“I know you may think I’m crazy here, but I found a lot of good things about our team tonight,” Quinn said. “I kind of feel like Bill Belichick in 2014 after they got blown out by Kansas City right now. I’m not happy by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a work in progress, just like every team at this point in the season.”
Already down 2-0 entering the second period, the Terriers (4-6-1, 2-3-1 Hockey East) responded quickly on a goal from sophomore Patrick Harper just 42 seconds into the frame. With a penalty coming to Northeastern (6-2-1, 4-0-0 Hockey East), Harper beat Northeastern netminder Cayden Primeau (33 saves) from the high slot for his fifth goal of the year, the first since the third period at Quinnipiac on Oct. 8.
It seemed as though the goal would turn the momentum back in BU’s favor, as the Terriers outshot the Huskies 15-7 in the second period and carried the play throughout. But it was Northeastern who earned that crucial next goal and stalled a potential comeback.
Zach Solow put a shot toward the net from the blue line, and though it was off target, it caromed off the end boards and right to Adam Gaudette, who easily cleaned up the rebound in front to restore Northeastern’s two-goal lead. The late-period tally was an important one, as it silenced BU and allowed the Huskies to add three more goals in the third period to run away with the series sweep.
“We knew this week was going to be a different tilt early on, and I just liked our focus early in the game and I thought it continued,” Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan said. “We lost a little momentum early in that second period but we got it back.”
BU’s struggles on the breakout were evident early in the game, and they found themselves in a quick hole as a result. Freshman Ty Amonte attempted to stretch a cross-ice pass to junior Ryan Cloonan at center, but the pass was off target and allowed senior captain Nolan Stevens to counter, where he fired a wrist shot from the right circle that beat a screened Jake Oettinger.
Just over three minutes later, Northeastern again set up shop in the BU end and eventually moved the puck to the front of the goal, where a scramble ensued. As the Terriers attempted the clear the puck out of danger, it popped out to Gaudette in the slot, and he rifled it through a sea of bodies in front of Oettinger and into the goal.
The Terriers rebounded with a strong second half of the period, and though BU carried that momentum to the second, it was Northeastern who took a 3-1 lead into the third. Lincoln Griffin deflected a Zach Solow shot past Oettinger on the power play to increase the Huskies’ lead to three. Later in the third, Griffin added his second when Oettinger collided with Amonte as they raced to a loose puck in the high slot, leaving the net empty for Griffin. Bobby Hampton capped the scoring with seven seconds left, as he got a piece of Trevor Owens’ shot and redirected it past Max Prawdzik (1 save), who made his first career appearance in relief of Oettinger (16 saves).
Northeastern’s six goal outburst came without senior Dylan Sikura, who entered the night as the team’s leading scorer but was with Team Canada at a pre-Olympic tournament. Still, the Huskies offensive attack seemed unfazed.
“I think everyone in that locker room has bought in,” Gaudette said. “Losing [Sikura] and [Cockerill], guys have stepped up. We have a lot of secondary scoring out there and that’s helped tremendously. I think everyone has that same common goal and we’re all following that and executing it well.”
Despite the lopsided score, BU outshot Northeastern 34-23, and while the Huskies capitalized on three power play opportunities, the Terriers were not successful on any of their four chances.
“Everything they shot found a way to go in the net and we couldn’t buy a goal, end of story,” Quinn said. “At the end of the day this is a game of scoring goals. You can talk about fore check, D-zone coverage, we can talk about power plays and penalty kills, but you’ve got to score goals.”
The Terriers will get a chance to rebound when they host the University of New Hampshire (6-2-1, 3-1-1 Hockey East) tomorrow night at Agganis Arena, with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m.
“We’re going to get out of it,” Quinn said. “The good news is we get to play tomorrow night. We’ll dust ourselves off and move forward.”