With just over 20 minutes of ice time separating it from a five-game winless streak, the Boston University men’s hockey team needed a spark. Knotted 2-2 with Dartmouth College, the Terriers had already watched two early leads disappear.
That ideal storyline of a relatively green player scoring the game-winning goal, however, would not belong to BU (7-10-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East).
Instead, in the waning minutes of the second period, Dartmouth (3-11-2) wing Nick Lovejoy, playing in just his fourth career game as a forward, scored his first career goal as the Big Green moved its way toward a 4-2 win at Agganis Arena. Lovejoy’s cousin, Kyle Nickerson, picked up the assist with a quick pass across the crease that eluded BU sophomore netminder Sean Maguire.
“Dartmouth just won battles,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Third goal just summarized the game in a nutshell. [Dartmouth] won a faceoff, everybody’s in the right position and three guys lose 1-on-1 battles within two feet of the net.
“Story of the game. Story of our season.”
Much like the Terriers’ season, Wednesday evening started out well enough as BU took its first lead less than eight minutes into the game. For the second time since he returned to the lineup and for the third consecutive game he has played in, junior wing Cason Hohmann gave BU its initial lead.
After senior captain Garrett Noonan took a shot from the left circle that chopped in front of the goal, sophomore center Danny O’Regan attempted to deflect the shot into the net. Dartmouth goaltender Charles Grant put the shot aside, but did not control the rebound, which Hohmann notched into the right side of the net for the 1-0 advantage.
Although the Terriers had three penalties in the first, BU held onto that early lead until the final minute of the frame when the Big Green’s second line took advantage of a defensive turnover. Center Charlie Mosey carried the puck down the ice, looking as though he would pass it over to linemate Jack Barre. Instead of making the pass, though, Mosey notched it into the top left shelf by Maguire to even out the score.
The Terriers bounced back in the second period when Dartmouth gave them a 5-on-3 opportunity. With Dartmouth defensemen Taylor Boldt and Rick Pinkston in the box for slashing and cross-checking, respectively, BU sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk took a shot from the slot that hit off of a defenseman and into the back of the net, giving the Terriers the 2-1 lead.
Once again, though, that lead did not last for long as Big Green wing Brad Schierhorn shoveled a shot up and over Maguire, making it a 2-2 game.
Lovejoy would go on to connect with his cousin on the game-winning goal with 1:19 left in the second.
“I think that third goal was a funny goal, just a squirrely goal,” Quinn said. “But our problems were well before that. If that didn’t happen, something else would have happened further along in the game.”
Dartmouth was not done, however, as they added one more goal at the start of the third. With the Terriers on the power play, Big Green wing Eric Neiley forced a turnover before breaking away and placing a backhanded shot by Maguire.
Wednesday’s tilt was the first time Maguire started a game in goal since Nov. 15 when BU lost to the University of Maine 7-0. Maguire, who stopped 32 shots against Dartmouth, had come in to relieve his classmate Matt O’Connor Saturday during the Terriers’ loss to Harvard University.
With a disappointing start to the second semester looming over his team, Quinn said after the game that he had an idea as to why the team has not played well since they defeated Cornell University at Red Hot Hockey in late November — the last time the Terriers won a game.
“We’ve got to find out way out of this,” Quinn said. “We’re a work in progress, but right now we’re just losing games because we deserve to.”