In the seventh edition of Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden, the Boston University men’s hockey team was bested by No. 2 Cornell University 2-0 Saturday night.
“Sometimes you lose and you feel like you’ve really lost,” BU Head Coach Albie O’Connell said. “We felt like … we can take a lot out of how we played.”
After BU (4-6-5, 3-4-4 Hockey East) doubled Cornell (9-0, 6-0 Eastern College Athletic Conference) in shots on goal 10-5 in the opening 20 minutes, the Big Red broke through 7:39 into the second period.
On the rush, Cornell sophomore forward Michael Regush benefitted from a fortuitous bounce on a rebound created by senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis.
Cornell doubled its lead just 20 seconds later when junior forward Brendan Locke ripped in a close-range feed from freshman forward Ben Berard.
“We just had a little bit of a mental lapse,” O’Connell said, “and lacked physicality in two situations.”
The Terriers threatened for spurts both before and after the pair of Big Red tallies, but for the second consecutive game, BU could not break through.
“We’re not that far off,” O’Connell said. “We’ve got to be a little hungrier to get in front of the cage and … bang home a rebound goal, get a couple dirty goals.”
Cornell was backstopped by 28 saves from junior goaltender Matthew Galajda, whose finest stops came against a pair of high-quality chances for BU graduate forward Alex Brink.
“I felt like their goaltender made some key saves in some big moments,” said BU senior forward Patrick Curry.
The Terriers didn’t register a shot on goal for more than eight minutes to begin the final frame, and by the time they pulled graduate goaltender Sam Tucker, it was too late.
“All it takes for that team is to get a one- or two-goal lead and then they can kind of sit on it,” Curry said.
With the 2-0 scoreline holding to the final buzzer, Cornell hoisted the Kelley-Harkness Cup for the second time in program history, defending their 2017 Red Hot Hockey title.
“They play for each other and they play for our university, and that’s nice to see,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer of his players.
Despite the Terriers going two games without a goal for the first time in more than a year, O’Connell said he believes his men are headed in the right direction.
“I thought we made good strides as a team,” the second-year BU boss said. ”The way we played tonight versus a really good team in that setting is a real positive.”
For Curry, the opportunity to play at the Garden was not forgotten in the loss.
“It’s always a great experience when you can play in this type of arena and this type of stage,” Curry said.
BU will take on another ECAC foe Tuesday night when they host the No. 6/9 Harvard University Crimson.