Ice Hockey, Sports

Penalties wear on Terriers as men’s hockey loses to Spartans

An unhappy David Quinn was blunt Saturday night following a 3–1 loss to Michigan State University, in which the No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey team took seven penalties to put its weekend total at 13.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Quinn said. “You can’t do it. We keep talking about it. I’ve benched guys, but obviously there have to be more drastic results.”

Quinn took issue with a number of aspects of his team’s poor play — faceoffs and puck possession among them — but the frequency of the Terriers’ two-minute infractions was near the top of the list. BU was also penalized six times in a 2–1 loss to No. 4 University of Michigan Friday night, and Quinn expressed a similar sentiment after that blown third-period lead.

He guaranteed change.

“We’re young, and we’re going to learn,” Quinn said Friday, referencing a lineup featuring eight freshmen. “We’re not going to be taking these penalties … in a short period of time.”

Not short enough, however.

It started just three minutes into Saturday’s contest when freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon, in his first game back on the top line, was called for interference, his first of two penalties on the night. Sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen (hooking), sophomore wing Matt Lane (interference) and Baillargeon (hooking) followed suit in a 10-minute span in the middle of the first frame. Senior forward Jake Moscatel (boarding) and freshman wing Kevin Duane (interference) did the honors in the third.

All that, and it did not even directly come back to bite the Terriers. Their penalty kill was a perfect 7-for-7, allowing 11 shots in 12:17 of kill time, upping its success rate to 81.2 percent on the season, good for fifth-best in Hockey East.

But by night’s end, all of the time playing down a man might have caught up with BU. It allowed three goals, one of which was an empty-netter, in the final five minutes, and for the second straight night the visitors were handed a crushing loss after holding a 10 lead going into the last 20 minutes. Sophomore Sean Maguire’s 30 saves were all for naught, just like sophomore Matt O’Connor’s 42 stops the night before.

So did all Michigan State’s time on the power play take the Terriers’ legs out from under them?

Senior captain Garrett Noonan said he did not think so. Quinn said he disagreed, but added that the final five minutes weren’t exactly an exception.

“It always does, it always does,” Quinn said. “But we had no legs from the get-go. We were standing in quicksand the first period.”

Still, BU is one of the least penalized teams in the conference, with its 12.3 minutes a game ranking eighth in the conference. The Terriers also rank 38th out of 59 in penalty minutes per game among Division I programs, approaching the top third of the least penalized teams in the country.

Quinn’s target is four penalties per game, a number that only five teams are averaging a handful of weeks into the season.

He has taken action already against the lack of discipline, too. Senior captain Patrick MacGregor, the team leader with five minors, sat the first period of Friday’s game. He has not ended up in the sin bin since.

Quinn, who noted he will review which of Saturday’s penalties were legitimate calls, did not specify how he will try to get his message across. But you can count Noonan among those willing to listen.

“He just said we have to be smarter,” Noonan said. “We have got to grow from it. We have got to get together with Coach, and he knows what is best for us. When we get back to listening to Coach, we will start to get the Ws.”

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