By: Matt Dresens
ORONO, MAINE — In a frustrating battle with the Maine Black Bears, No. 18 Boston University fell 5-2, despite outshooting Maine, 42-28, in front of 4,532 at Alfond Arena, and having two skaters pick up their first collegiate goals.
Maine took advantage of the power play and was strong on the kill, but BU just could not find the back of the net. Head Coach Dave Quinn put it simply in his post-game press conference.
“We are just not capitalizing on our opportunities,” surmised the coach.
Not once, but twice BU had Maine hemmed in, pouring on the pressure, only to have the Black Bears turn around and score at the other end. First, in the second period with the game tied at one, the Terriers controlled the play in the offensive zone for an extended period of time, thanks in large part to a power play that had expired. Maine’s Canon Pieper gained control of the puck off an errant pass at the blue line, and blew by the Terrier defense before streaking in alone on Max Prawdzik (23 saves). From the bottom of the slot, Pieper beat Prawdzik five-hole for his first goal of the year.
“We go 0-6 on the power play and not even that, we give up a goal at the end of our power play for not knowing the situation and they go down and score,” Quinn said.
While the power play struggled, Maine’s goalie Jeremy Swayman was fabulous between the pipes. The freshman stopped 40 shots, and got a little luck from the post as BU rang the iron three times on shots that cleanly beat the Maine net minder.
Less than three minutes after Pieper’s goal, he was back on the scoresheet again. This time, his attempted wraparound banked off of Brendan Robbin’s skate into the net; it was his second goal of the year.
The game really took a turn after Logan Cockerill scored his first collegiate goal for BU. The play was set up nicely by Patrick Harper and Shane Bowers with Cockerill crashing the back post for the loose rebound. Following the goal, the Terriers had complete control of the game, and the momentum carried into the third period.
With 12:15 left in the third, BU was pumping chance after chance towards the net, looking for the equalizer. Then, after Kasper Kotkansalo rang the post, Maine broke it out and eventually set Patrick Hollowly up with a point shot that found twine.
“I thought we had so many chances to make it 3-3,” Coach Quinn said. “They come down and their first chance is in the back of the net. It’s really what’s been happening for a while here. We have to just continue to perservere.”
That would be as close as BU would get. Maine ran out the clock and eventually, Patrick Shea added an empty-net tally with 1:52 left to round out the scoring.
Back in the first, BU opened the scoring on Kasper Kotkansalo’s first goal as a Terrier; Logan Cockerill and Patrick Harper added the assists. Maine struck back less than three minutes later on the power play, as Brady Keeper beat Prawdzik on a high wrister from the point.
With game one in the books, the two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Portland for game two. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at Cross Insurance Arena.