AMHERST, Mass. — No. 14 Boston University is no stranger to overtime. It’s gone there nine times this season.
The Terriers aren’t familiar with winning in overtime, though. Their first seven extra sessions ended in ties and their latest overtime game resulted in a 3-2 loss to No. 1 Boston College in the Beanpot on Monday.
BU finally got over the extra time hump Friday night against Massachusetts when freshman defenseman Garrett Noonan jumped into the play and slid a pass from Alex Chiasson through goalie Paul Dainton’s five-hole to give the Terriers a 4-3 win.
“I was thinking off the ice, I know exactly how [UMass coach] Toot Cahoon feels, because it just happened to us this week,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “It’s a hard thing to do. It’s a nice thing to win it that way, especially when you do it in somebody else’s barn because everything goes dead silent.”
Noonan, who has been a steady defensive presence all season, has been venturing down low in the offensive zone more and more lately. Parker said that’s exactly what he wants his defensemen to do when they get the chance.
“We want our weak-side defenseman down low,” Parker said. “[Noonan]’s doing it better than anybody else. We want somebody down there to outnumber them down there. He’s always been pretty smart with reads.”
Parker has praised Noonan’s play all season. The Norfolk, Mass., native was a late addition to this year’s squad back in the spring, but he has been much more than a depth player.
“He is a very, very, very, very underrated player,” Parker said. “He’s arguably been our best defenseman all year long.”
That’s high praise considering the Terrier blue line includes the likes of NHL draft picks David Warsofsky and Max Nicastro as well as highly touted freshman Adam Clendening. Noonan isn’t getting too excited, though.
“So far, so good,” Noonan said of his season. “But there are still seven games left and the most important games are ahead of me. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Warsofsky, the only upperclassman on the BU blue line and the team’s assistant captain, was benched for Friday’s game, marking the first time a Terrier captain had been a healthy scratch for a game in three years.
“We wanted him to play a little bit harder,” Parker said of the decision to sit Warsofsky. “We talked to him about it. He’ll be back in the lineup Monday [for the Beanpot consolation against Harvard] and I’m sure he’ll play the way we want him to play. When he’s playing up to his capability, he’s the best defenseman in this league, and we need him to be the best defenseman in this league.”
One area where Warsofsky, Noonan and the rest of the Terriers have been struggling all season has been on the power play. Following an 0-for-4 showing against BC on Monday and an 0-for-6 showing against UMass on Friday, BU now ranks ninth in Hockey East and 54th in the country with a measly 11.6-percent conversion rate.
In each of those games, the Terriers had multiple power plays in the last half of the third with a chance to win the game in regulation, but failed to do so. They still grabbed the two points Friday night, but BC made them pay Monday.
“Our power play isn’t effective,” Parker said. “There’s no comment to make other than that. We haven’t been effective all year on the power play. We appear at times to be getting better at it, and then we take a step backwards. I thought we had some real good chances in the third period against BC and couldn’t put it home. We had a few chances tonight, but nowhere near the puck possession and the pressure we have to have on the power play.”