Ice Hockey, Sports

BU misses early chances on power play

Boston College men’s hockey captain Pat Mullane argued with the referees twice as he glided to the penalty box in the first period of No. 1 BC’s. 4–2 win over No. 11/12 Boston University Sunday. He earned two of the three penalties the Eagles took in the first frame, which gave BU several chances to tie the game after it fell behind in the first minute.

The early power-play opportunities did not help the Terriers though, as they did not capitalize on any of their three chances in the first period or any of their first six chances in the game.

“We did not play well on our power play and we made it kind of easy for them to kill it,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We really struggled and halfway through the game we got it straightened out a little, but we really struggled the first couple.”

On BU’s first power play, sophomore forward Matt Nieto had a shot on goal, but the team did not generate any more good scoring chances as BC cleared the puck five times. BU struggled to get the puck across the blue line and the power play set up inside the offensive zone.

The second power play was more of the same for BU, as BC cleared the puck four times, while BU went offsides once and did not get a single shot. During BU’s one good chance on the power play, the puck bounced over freshman center Danny O’Regan’s stick in the slot leading to a BC clear.

BU coach Jack Parker said the Terriers struggled to get the puck into the offensive zone on the power play because BC had a good defensive strategy in place.

“I thought they did a really good job of loading up,” Parker said. “We came up with a three-man swing and they had four men waiting … We had to carry the puck in the zone, and you can’t do that with a three-man swing. Halfway through the second-period we went to a five-man swing and that helped us out with attacking with speed.”

The new offensive strategy helped, but it did not produce any results for the Terriers until it was too late. On the Terriers seventh power play — after the score differential was already widened to 4–1 — sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera fired a slap shot from the point past BC netminder Parker Milner to bring the score to 4–2.

Senior forward Ryan Santana credited the speed of the game for the Terriers’ power-play struggles early on.

“It is BU–BC. Things are going to happen a little bit quicker, whether it is BU-Merrimack or any other Hockey East team,” Santana said. “Maybe it was that … Once guys were able to move it around they looked great.”

BU’s power play has not been its strong point early on in the season, as it is currently sixth in the league with a 16.1 power-play percentage. That total is even behind the University of Vermont — which is second-to-last in Hockey East in scoring offense — as the Catamounts have a 17.4 percent power-play percentage on the season.

The Terriers found some positivity in their special teams play though, as they held BC’s power play scoreless in their six chances. BU’s penalty kill is third in the league with an 87.5 percent success rate.

Parker said the penalty kill helped make up for the power-play struggles.

“We got on the power play, and it deflated us and when we killed their power plays off it elated us a little, but not at the same, it wasn’t balanced out,” Parker said.

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