Mental Toughness Key in BU’s Offensive Resurgence

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By: Jarett Leonard

A week after Boston University’s comeback attempt in Red Hot Hockey fell short, the Terriers put themselves right back in the same position at Boston College Friday night, but this time, their efforts were successful.

Head Coach David Quinn often brings up “mental toughness” as a key to success for his team, and BU (7-8-1, 5-4-1 Hockey East) has had plenty of opportunities to show that over the past few weeks. Like the Terriers’ heartbreaking loss to Denver in the final seconds of a late October contest, BC (8-6-2, 8-2-0 Hockey East) was up by two in the blink of the eye on Friday, but in both cases, BU’s response was just as quick.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of practice being down 2-0,” Quinn said. “It happened against Denver, it happeded against Cornell, it’s happened a few too many times this year and we have shown some resolve. We’ve got resolve and we’ve got grit, but we’ve got get more brains. If we do that, we’re going to have some success.”

After goals by Aapeli Rasanen and Ron Greco had the Eagles up by two just 2:16 into the game, BU gradually turned the tides back in its favor. From there, the Terriers took 15 of the next 20 shots in the first period and a 3-2 lead into the dressing room.

“It’s 2-0 before people could put cream in their coffee and get seated and it looked like this was going to be a long, long night,” Quinn said.  “I thought we slowly started doing the things we needed to do to have success.”

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Logan Cockerill had a goal and an assist in Friday night’s win at Boston College. (Photo by Matt Dresens, for the full album click here).

Senior captain Brandon Hickey started the rally with a long wrister that was deflected by an Eagle past goaltender Joseph Woll. Freshman Logan Cockerill continued it as he took a feed from Shane Bowers and rifled it off the back bar and out so quickly that the officials needed a second look to determine it entered the net. Classmate Brady Tkachuk gave the Terriers the lead for good late in the first, converting on his second breakaway opportunity of the night.

“We just had to relax,” Hickey said. “They were feeding off the energy of the crowd and they had a quick start. Give them credit, they capitalized on some opportunities and some missed coverage in the D-zone. You just got to bounce back, forget the first two minutes and keep playing. We started playing the right way and we got rewarded for it.”

BC tied the game briefly in the second, but three more Terrier goals would put it out of reach for the Eagles. Sophomore Chad Krys, Hickey and junior Bobo Carpenter each found the back of the net within a three-minute span to silence the Conte Forum crowd.

The second period continued a hot streak for the Terrier offense, as they scored three goals in three straight periods dating back to Saturday’s final frame at Madison Square Garden. Combine that with a seven-goal outburst in Portland the week prior, and BU has scored 17 goals in three games.

But that hasn’t always been the case for BU, as its production in this three-game span is more than a third of its output for the entire season. BU began the stretch ranked ninth in the nation in shots on goal, but was 59th out of 60 teams in shooting percentage at 7.2 percent.

“We’re not a team that’s not going to score goals,” Quinn said, “Will we get four a game? No, but we certainly weren’t going to score two and a half.”

Quinn has often believed the results on the scoreboard have not reflected his team’s performance on the ice, and it seems his optimism is finally being justified.

“I think we’re just finding our way offensively,” Quinn said. “We’ve had chances and there’s plenty of games where we don’t score and it’s not from a lack of chances. I think now we’re getting a little bit of puck luck and we’re getting rewarded for our chances.”

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