Although they were deemed the No.1 team in the nation one day earlier, the Boston University men’s hockey didn’t look its best at Merrimack College on Tuesday night. The Warriors (9-13-3, 3-7-3 Hockey East), took advantage of power plays and a faulty Terrier team, ultimately coming out with a 3-1 win.
Quinn said the Terriers (16-6-2, 9-3-2 Hockey East) didn’t compete hard enough and added the Warriors earned the win. Perhaps part of the Terrier’s downfall was the change of schedule and playing on a Tuesday. Maybe the poor history at the rink played into it, but head coach David Quinn said if that’s the case, it’s still no excuse.
“We got exactly what we deserved,” Quinn said. “The hungrier more determined team won the night.”
The first period was hectic to say the least. Every noise was audible from all corners of the small building and every hit sounded louder than it was. The Terriers didn’t seem to let it get to them, as they started as strong as possible, scoring off their first shot on goal. Freshman defender Chad Krys scored his third of the season off the post. Keller got the primary assist on Krys’ goal, bringing his point streak to 11 games. It went downhill from there, though.
Junior Mathieu Tibbet evened the score about 15 minutes into the contest.
Quinn said he thought the team played well the first 10 minutes, but Merrimack took over control after that.
“They won every puck battle,” he said. “They were quick to the puck. More determined. We get down three one we started playing with a little more urgency.”
The second stanza brought about the most trouble for the Terriers. Just 2:26 in, sophomore defender Charlie McAvoy hit freshman Tyler Irvine against the corner boards. Irvine took a few minutes to get up and skate to the bench, but otherwise seemed alright. McAvoy was called for hitting from behind, given a game misconduct and a teammate served a five-minute major.
The Terriers sought some release about 30 seconds later when Johnathan Kovacevic was sent to the box for hooking and two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey ensued. The BU penalty kill successfully fended off the Warriors during McAvoy’s major. With just over six minutes remaining, junior defender John MacLeod was called for hitting from behind. Unlike McAvoy he only sat for two minutes.
Fourteen seconds later, the Terriers trailed for the first time since their game against Union College on Jan. 5.
Early in the third, MacLeod was called for interference and watched another Merrimack goal get by junior goaltender Connor LaCouvee.
As the clock ticked down, the Terriers picked up the pace. With over two minutes remaining, LaCouvee was pulled so the Terriers could have the extra manpower to try and score. They denied the few chances Merrimack had to extend its lead, but couldn’t get another puck by goaltender Collin Delia.
LaCouvee, who took his place between the pipes for the first since the Union game, made 33 saves.
Quinn said his teams biggest downfall was not playing at the level of its opponent.
“We just didn’t compete,” Quinn said. “We didn’t skate. We were waiting to skate. They set the pace and the tempo and they won every battle. That hasn’t been the case over the last month. But that was the case tonight.”
Doyle Somerby, BU’s captain and a senior defenseman, agreed that his team lacked compete and said they were humbled by the loss.
“I think it’s exactly what we needed,” Somerby said. “You could kind of see us getting a little bit of a false air. It’s better now than the playoffs.”