After nearly a month since their last contest, the Boston University men’s hockey team returned to action Saturday against the University of Maine for the third time this season.
The Terriers (8-11-1, 6-7-1 Hockey East) could not overcome the Black Bears (11-7-1, 5-4-1 Hockey East) and were shut out by a score of 3-0.
BU was scheduled to play Friday in an exhibition against the United States Under-18 team, however the game was cancelled due to inclimate weather.
“We haven’t played in a month and I know that,” BU head coach David Quinn said. “You got to skate, compete, I don’t care how long you’ve been off the ice … Sometimes we do it and sometimes we don’t”
After playing in Friday’s bronze-medal game at the IIHF World Juniors, sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger, sophomore forward Patrick Harper and freshman forward Brady Tkachuk were all in the lineup for BU.
Missing from the lineup was recent IIHF World Junior gold medal winner Dante Fabbro, who was given the night off. Fabbro battled a foot injury during the international tournament and won gold the night before.
Both teams were unable to connect with the back of the net during the first period. However, it was not due to a shortage of shots. The Black Bears outshot the Terriers 14-8 during the first stanza.
With thirteen minutes to go in the period, freshman forward Logan Cockerill had what perhaps was the best opportunity to score in the period. He took the puck right in front of the Black Bears crease but was denied by the post.
The Terriers had another chance just over four minutes later. Junior forward and assistant captain Jordan Greenway took the puck on a breakaway, but shot it right into the chest of freshman goaltender Jeremy Swayman.
The Black Bears opened the scoring 6:39 into the second period. On a power play, senior forward Nolan Vesey received a feed from junior forward Brendan Robbins by way of sophomore forward Tim Doherty and shot the puck past Oettinger for his eighth goal of the season.
Just under five minutes later, Maine doubled their lead. Freshman forward Ryan Smith tipped in a pass from freshman forward Eduards Tralmaks for his second goal of the season. Sophomore defenseman Patrick Holway also picked up an assist.
Penalties plagued BU during the second period. BU found itself on the penalty kill four times in the period. Senior forward and assistant captain Nikolas Olsson found himself in the box two separate times in the period.
Quinn was not happy with the results of his special teams during the course of the game.
“[One issue was] just the casualness to our penalty kill,” Quinn said. “Our power play was as bad as its been all year.”
In the third period, Maine added to its lead with 8:14 left to play. On a two-on-one, Robbins took a pass from senior forward Canon Pieper for his seventh of the season and found the back of the net. Vesey also picked up an assist on the goal.
BU outshout Maine 14 to five in the third but were unable to connect with any of those shots.
With the victory, the Black Bears extended their winning streak to six games.
“It’s impossible to point to one thing, but it starts with talent,” Maine head coach Red Gendron said on his team’s success. “When you have talent, you’re in a good spot. I think we have tremendous leaders on our team.”
BU will return to action Friday when they take on No. 20 University of New Hampshire on the road. Redshirt sophomore goaltender Max Prawdzik shutout the Wildcats (9-9-2, 4-5-1 Hockey East) on Nov. 11 in his first college start.
BU has not won two straight games since the first two contests of the season.
“I’ve got a few theories, but I prefer to keep them to myself,” Quinn said on his team’s inconsistency. “[There is] a lot going on here. A lot going on other than BU hockey.”