Coming into Saturday night’s game the Bentley Falcons (6-2-1 Atlantic Hockey, 7-7-1 Overall) were riding a six-game unbeaten streak and coming off a sweep of Robert Morris where they outscored the Colonials 11-3 in the two games last weekend. They rank second in points in Atlantic Hockey. Their winning streak is currently the longest in Atlantic Hockey and is the fourth longest in the nation.
The Boston University Terriers (2-4-1 Hockey East, 7-7-2 Overall) played Merrimack last weekend in a home-and-home series in which they were beaten on the road last Friday night followed by a tie on Saturday at Agganis Arena. The Terriers are ranked 10th in Hockey East.
This is the first time that Boston University and Bentley have played against each other.
As the puck dropped on the first period, it looked like the Terriers had the momentum, such as it was, as neither team was getting a lot of shots on net. However, on Bentley’s fourth shot (tying Boston for shots on goal at that moment), almost half way into the first, sophomore Derek Bacon scored with assists from Steve Weinstein and Michael Reardon. This was Bacon’s second goal of the season. And with that there was a definite momentum shift in favor of the Falcons.
The first penalty of the game didn’t come until 14:52 into the first, when Falcons Max French was called for holding. Despite their many efforts getting shots on net, the Terriers just couldn’t get one past Bentley’s net minder, senior Branden Komm. Komm has started all 15 games; including Saturday’s against the Terriers and boasts a 2.53 GAA and .924 save percentage.
As the second period got underway, the Falcons had just over a minute left on their power play from the hooking penalty called late in the first on BU’s Evan Rodrigues. The Terriers killed that off and just after that found themselves on their own power play from Falcons Andrew Gladiuk being called for hitting from behind. Unfortunately, it was the Falcons who benefitted when Terriers sophomore Ahti Oksanen turned over the puck allowing Bentley’s center, Alex Kubiak to get it to his left winger Jared Rickord for a short handed goal at just 1:40 into the period. And just four minutes later the Falcons scored their third, with Brett Switzer potting his sixth of the season, assisted by Matt Blomquist and Steve Weinstein.
At this point Terriers head coach David Quinn used his time out to try and get the team to refocus and perhaps change the momentum. As he stated post game, “We looked like a bunch of guys who had their dog shot.”
It was clear to Quinn that the frustration at that point had reached a level in which he needed to pull his team together for a little huddle. He also mentioned that he felt the players were getting a little individualistic, which in a team sport such as hockey does not usually result in a win for that team.
Despite having more shots on goal throughout the game, the Terriers were clearly struggling to solve Komm. It was unclear what their plan of attack was intended to be. Much of the Terriers play was spent going behind the net and then trying to do something with the puck from there. As Quinn pointed out after the game there were a lot of bad decisions being made on the ice by the Terriers.
Play continued with the frustration beginning to show a little as there was some shoving behind the Terriers goal after goalie Matt O’Connor gloved one. The only other penalty to be called would be against Terriers Robbie Baillargeon at 10:51 for goaltender interference, though it did look a little like a Bentley player had pushed him into the goaltender.
The third period would finally find the Terriers getting a goal, so as not to get shut out in their own barn, as Matt Lane scored a power play goal, his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Ahti Oksanen and Garrett Noonan.
Depsite throwing 43 shots on goal, the Terriers had only one goal on the evening to show for their efforts. Quinn felt that the majority of the Terriers shots, especially in the first and second periods, were to the perimeter, which he said didn’t make for quality shots. He did like that the shots in the third period appeared to get closer to the net.
In the end, Bentley would sink the dagger a little deeper with an empty net goal at 18:02 of the third to win the contest 4-1.
It was obvious post game that Quinn was not happy with the recent play of his team. He talked about the team losing the identity they had begun to find.
The Terriers are off now until January. It will be interesting to see what they bring to the ice when play resumes after the winter break.