In a reversal of Friday’s outcome, Boston University men’s hockey goaltender Sean Maguire could not hold his team in a game where it was significantly outshot, and BU fell 5-2 to the University of Vermont.
BU (16–15–2, 13–10–2 Hockey East) had 28 shots to Vermont’s 42 on the night, and Vermont goalie Brody Hoffman helped make the difference for the Catamounts (11–16–5, 8–12–5 Hockey East), coming up with a number of game-changing saves.
Maguire was not scheduled to start, but when freshman goalie Matt O’Connor had trouble breathing earlier Saturday due to a respiratory ailment, he took the net for the second straight night. BU coach Jack Parker said O’Connor saw a doctor Saturday, and that he could have anything from a collapsed lung to complications from a chest cold.
After making 49 saves Friday, Maguire looked shaky early Saturday, but eventually settled down to stop 37 of the 41 shots he saw.
“I didn’t see anything different in him, and like I say, I thought he battled,” Parker said of Maguire.
BU fell into an early hole in the first period, losing control of the puck at the blue line on the power play and allowing Vermont’s Matt White a shorthanded breakaway. White shot five-hole on Maguire for his fourth goal of the year.
Then Brett Bruneteau flung the puck at the net from the right face-off dot, and it found a way through traffic and past Maguire to make it 2–0.
“They jumped on us right off the bat and we didn’t recover from it,” Parker said. “I thought once they got up, because of our lack of effort and our lack of concentration and focus — then we tried to get going and we tried to play harder — but because we weren’t mentally ready to start, we couldn’t get it going.”
Junior wing Matt Nieto brought BU within one on a play that was strikingly similar to one that netted him a goal Friday. Freshman center Danny O’Regan hit him once again with a pass through traffic on the power play, and Nieto shot high over Hoffman for his sixth straight goal — his 15th of the season.
“He’s not standing out on the periphery hoping somebody finds him for a one-timer,” Parker said of Nieto’s scoring streak. “He’s closing down on the net and he’s driving hard.”
That goal came with fewer than three minutes left in the first period, sending BU to the locker room with a manageable one-goal deficit. But Vermont defenseman Michael Paliotta fired a shot from the point cleanly over Maguire just 39 seconds into the second to stretch the Catamounts’ lead back to two.
By the end of the second, BU was outshot 29–19.
The team began the third period on the power play, but it took BU one more penalty from Vermont to score again.
As sophomore wing Evan Rodrigues drove the net, he was tripped in front of the crease. He was still lying on the ice as junior defenseman Garrett Noonan fired the puck over him, into the crossbar and over the goal line to make it 3–2.
At that point, just over 12 minutes remained in a one-goal game. But the Terriers were outshot in the third, as they were in the previous two periods, 13–9, and managed just one shot in four minutes on the power play that period.
Maguire was on his way out of the net late in the third when he had to come back to defend against a Vermont rush. Catamount wing Kyle Reynolds beat him just seconds after he got back into the crease. Vermont added an empty-netter with 8.9 seconds remaining to make the final 5–2.
The loss dropped BU into fifth place in Hockey East, two points behind a three-way tie for second place and three points behind the first-place University of New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Vermont kept itself three points ahead of the University of Maine, hanging onto seventh place.
“We needed more mental toughness and we needed more focus tonight,” Parker said. “We needed to understand that [Vermont] would play harder because their backs were against the wall.”