Unlike Saturday, the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team controlled the pace and play for almost all 60 minutes on Tuesday at Agganis Arena.
The Terriers (7-4-2, 3-2-2 Hockey East) were able to “bounce back” from a 4-2 loss to the No. 12 University of Michigan and “be mentally engaged and focused” in their 3-0 win over Bentley University, said head coach David Quinn. They kept it simple, he added, and were thorough and in control of play the whole way, outshooting the Falcons (5-5-1) 47-15.
It didn’t take all that long for the first goal of the game to be scored. Just 3:01 into the contest, sophomore defenseman Brandon Hickey, skating out from behind the BU cage, passed the puck off to senior winger Ahti Oksanen by the left boards in the defensive zone. The forward then flipped the puck down the ice and found senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan as he entered the attacking zone. O’Regan collected the puck and made his way toward netminder Gabe Antoni, a defender trailing him. He pulled the puck to the goalie’s right and backhanded it above him and in to get things started.
“After the weekend we had, I knew we were really disappointed, and you could kinda tell yesterday [Monday] during practice that we were going to be ready to go from puck drop because we didn’t want to feel that way,” said junior defenseman Doyle Somerby. “We know we have to play 60 minutes and that’s how we’re going to be successful down the road, so we wanted to start tonight.”
But similar to a couple weeks ago when they played Northeastern University, despite outshooting the Falcons 29-6 by the time BU’s second goal was scored, the Terriers still only had a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard through a little over 37 minutes.
“That always concerns you, when you feel like you deserve a bigger lead,” Quinn said. “But we kept at it.”
It would have been very easy for Bentley to climb back in the game then, with BU having trouble converting, if it had scored a goal, but senior netminder Sean Maguire prevented that from happening. He saw 15 total shots over the course of the game, nine of which didn’t come until the third, but he turned each one of them aside to earn his fifth career shutout.
“That’s not an easy game to play,” Quinn said. “And he looked good. He looked good. The few times he was tested, I mean, he made an unbelievable save at one point with his stick, reaching back. And again, they get one, all of a sudden the complexion of the game can change.”
“I think having Maguire back in the net, we really wanted to battle for him,” Somerby said. “He kind of got us a spark and a couple big saves there.”
With 17:23 gone in the second, the Terriers capitalized on their third power-play chance of the night to extend the lead. Somerby got the puck from Hickey at the right point and fired a shot at Antoni. Freshman wing Jordan Greenway was screening in front, and he ducked out of the way to allow Somerby’s shot to find the netting and give him his second goal in three games.
Somerby pointed out his goal on Tuesday, a shot from the point like the one he scored Friday, would have had a harder time hitting the back of the strings were it not for the netfront presence the Terriers provided. Against Michigan (6-2-1), the blue liner had Oksanen in front while the Bentley goal came with the aid of Greenway blocking Antoni’s line of sight.
“I have to give those guys props,” Somerby said.
BU got its final tally 3:07 into the third when O’Regan skated through the neutral zone with the puck as three Bentley players watched while he entered the offensive third. He dished it over to freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson on his right, who promptly wristed it over Antoni’s glove to push the Terriers ahead 3-0.
“A really good win for us,” Quinn said. “After a quick turnaround and losing that game in the fashion that we did on Saturday and really did last weekend, to bounce back and play a lot more energetic with a lot more passion and pace, playing the way we had been over the past three weeks, I’m really, really proud of our guys.”