Ice Hockey, Sports

Terriers make most of opportunities in blowout win

With a 0-4-1 record to close out last October, the Terriers managed to throw just four pucks past University of Michigan goaltender Billy Sauer in a pair of lopsided road losses last season.
This October, the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team beat Sauer four times in 40 minutes Saturday night before Michigan coach Red Berenson pulled the senior in favor of sophomore Bryan Hogan.
As impressive as Saturday’s seven-goal performance was ‘-‘- a mark that matched only last year’s seven-goal outburst against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell for the most in a game at Agganis Arena ‘-‘- the way the Terriers moved the puck was even more remarkable.
‘They moved the puck really well,’ Berenson said. ‘They passed the puck well, they were open and they made smart plays. They knew what they were doing.’
Highlighted by last week’s loss to the No. 4 University of New Hampshire on its Olympic-sized rink, the Terriers struggled in their first four games to move into open space and cycle through their off-puck rotations.
‘ At even strength and on the power play, BU found open spaces and moved into shooting lanes to generate opportunities Saturday ‘-‘- opportunities they rarely failed to capitalize on.
‘It was a little bit of everything,’ Berenson said of BU’s passing in the attacking zone. ‘I can’t fault our goalies. A lot of their goals were tic-tac-toe plays, good plays. Our goalie would have had to absolutely stand on his head to make a difference on some of those shots.’
BU’s movement made the biggest difference on the power play.
Heading into Saturday’s game, the Terriers were 3-for-30 on man-up opportunities, a percentage good enough for second to last in Hockey East ahead of only UNH.
After going 5-for-9 on the power play Saturday, however, BU is now second to Boston College with a 20.5-percent conversion rate.
‘Before we were 3-for-30,’ sophomore center Colin Wilson, who had a pair of assists Saturday, said. ‘The problem before was that we were holding onto [the puck]. I was at the half-bubble holding onto it, and this time we were doing a lot of releases and a lot of tic-tac-toe plays, so it ended up clicking tonight.’
Of BU’s five power-play goals, just one ‘-‘- freshman forward Chris Connolly’s marker at 18:49 in the first period ‘-‘- had one assist. The rest, including both of senior forward Jason Lawrence’s power-play tallies, had two.
‘I thought we moved the puck well tonight,’ Lawrence said. ‘Guys are really starting to mesh a little bit. I got two great passes. I thought we were moving the puck well as a team and on the power play especially. The stick-to-stick passes worked out for us.’
What worked to BU’s advantage was the week of practice leading up to Saturday’s game.
Differing little from the special teams system BU runs, Michigan brought little to Agganis the Terriers had not seen before.
‘They almost play exactly like we do on power plays and penalty kills, so it was almost like we were playing against ourselves,’ BU coach Jack Parker said. ‘Our team likes it better when a team comes after us instead of holding positions and holding a tight box in the zone.’

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