For the first time this season, the Boston University men’s hockey team was shut out in a 4-0 loss at the hands of Sacred Heart University on Tuesday night at Agganis Arena.
“It was about as bad as it’s been since I’ve been here,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.
It was the first meeting between BU (4-5-5, 3-3-4 Hockey East) and Sacred Heart (8-6-1, 7-4 Atlantic Hockey) since 2016, when the Terriers won on home ice 7-0.
“I felt like we might have overlooked our opponent,” BU senior forward and captain Patrick Curry said.
While the Terriers had two power plays to Sacred Heart’s one in the first period, the Pioneers got on the board with their man advantage opportunity halfway through the frame when senior forward Austin McIlmurray unloaded a rocket from the point that found the back of the net.
“They stuck with what they wanted to do,” O’Connell said.
BU outshot Sacred Heart 19-12 in the first twenty minutes and kept their pace in the second period, but the score stayed 1-0 after two frames. BU’s best chance came on a breakaway from freshman forward Trevor Zegras four minutes in, but the first-year couldn’t find the target.
“There were certain points where we carried the play,” said Curry. “I felt like we never really too that next step to really taking over the game.”
The floodgates opened for the visitors in the third period, when senior forward Jason Cotton fired in a goal 9:40 in and junior forward Ryan Steele followed suit 50 seconds later. Senior forward Vito Bavaro struck on the power play with 12 seconds to play to close out the victory.
“It looked like we’d never played a game together,” O’Connell said. “It looked like we’d never been coached.”
O’Connell had elected to shuffle the Terrier lines for the final 20 minutes, creating trios who had not previously skated together in game action. Ultimately, the changes were not enough to spark a BU breakthrough.
According to the second-year head coach, “we tried to mix it up, tried to maybe get some energy in some guys and change it up. It didn’t work.”
With a 36-save shutout effort from sophomore goaltender Josh Benson, Sacred Heart left Agganis Arena 4-0 winners.
It was probably our best complete sixty minutes so far this year,” said Sacred Heart head coach CJ Marottolo.
“We got our butt kicked by the better hockey team tonight,” O’Connell said.
The Terriers will now turn their attention to the biennial Red Hot Hockey clash with No. 2 Cornell in New York City this weekend.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” said Curry. “If we win that one, we can put this one to rest and just move on.”
Puck drop from Madison Square Garden on Saturday night is scheduled for 8 p.m.