After a first period where it showed an improvement in puck possession without any results on the scoreboard, the Boston University men’s hockey team found the back of the net for the first time in close to 120 minutes at the start of the second period.
Following a trend from the first 10 games of the season, the Terriers, who have scored nearly 65 percent of their goals in the second period, went up 3-0 in the middle frame en route to defeating the University of Connecticut 4-1 Sunday night at Agganis Arena.
“I really liked our first 40 minutes,” said BU coach David Quinn after the tilt. “I thought we were ready to play from the get-go. I thought we got the puck to the net a little bit more than we had in the past. I thought we were physical.”
Less than two days after the Terriers (5-6, 2-3 Hockey East) experienced a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of the University of Maine, BU had a sound first period where it held an advantage over the Huskies (3-4-1) in both shots and faceoffs.
BU did not convert on that enhanced play, however, until 33 seconds into the second frame when sophomore center Danny O’Regan picked up his fourth goal of the season and put the Terriers on the board for the first time in almost two full games.
Junior forward Cason Hohmann served the puck to O’Regan, who made his way around the crease and fell as he slung his shot by UConn netminder Matt Grogan for the goal.
“In the second period, we started figuring out that if we were going to score some goals here, we were going to get to the net a little bit [more], be a little bit more determined getting to the net,” Quinn said. “Obviously, I thought we did that, and we were rewarded for it on the scoreboard.”
BU continued its domination in the second frame about five minutes later when freshman winger Nick Roberto flipped a shot from the right circle that hit off the pipe and deflected into the back of the net.
“In practice we’ve been working on shooting low pad to create a pass off the pad,” Roberto said. “I saw [junior forward] Evan Rodrigues go to the net, so [I tried] to keep it low, cut off the ice a little bit, and it just happened to hit the post and go in.”
A few minutes later, the team thought it picked up its third goal of the game when freshman center Robbie Baillargeon’s shot rang off the post. After reviewing the play, however, the referees determined that the puck never crossed the goal line.
The Terriers eventually picked up that third tally, though, after UConn winger Sean Gaffney went to the box for high-sticking at 13:38. With less than a minute left to the man advantage, sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk took a shot from the right circle that freshman wing Kevin Duane tipped into the back of the net, completing the Terriers’ three-goal period.
The Huskies chipped away at BU’s lead in the beginning of the third when forward Brant Harris skated down the left side of the ice and slapped a shot past a BU defenseman and over sophomore goalie Matt O’Connor’s right shoulder.
Although UConn had a 5-on-3 with just more than three minutes left in the game, the Huskies struggled to keep the puck in BU’s zone.
Having killed off both penalties, BU put up its fourth and final goal with 47.4 seconds left in the game when Baillargeon tallied his third goal of the season on an empty-netter.
“I like the direction we’re going,” Quinn said of the Terriers’ upcoming series against the University of North Dakota. “Where that’s going to take us, I don’t know.
“We’ve got two big games against a team and a school that has a long history of having a lot of success, and everybody gets excited when the Fighting Sioux come to town. I’m not different … I hate to sound like Bill Belichick, but we’ve got to get ready to go to practice and have a good practice on Tuesday and not worry about anything else.”