With a 4-1 victory already in the books, the Boston University Terriers went to Orono, Maine, to complete a season sweep of the Maine Black Bears. Their 4-1 victory in Boston was a hard fought victory, but they would be tested early and often by the rabid fans of Alfond Arena. Maine has struggled in recent years, but there is plenty of tradition in Orono. The Maine team always plays with passion, the fans are active and make Alfond Arena a notoriously difficult place for a visiting team to play, especially BU. Head Coach David Quinn remarked after the game that few teams boil the Black Bear’s blood like the BU Terriers. BU knew that and came out of the gates swinging.
Quinn praised his team’s efforts in the first 20 minutes. The Terriers were aggressive, fast, and force Rob McGovern to make difficult saves in Maine’s net. He stood strong and gave his team a fighting chance to stay in the game the whole way through, making 34 saves on the night. Maine created chances of their own, including a few early breakaways that BU goaltender Jake Oettinger turned away. The Bears also hit posts on four different shots throughout the game, drawing bad luck and iron instead of twine. They also weren’t clean with the puck. When Jordan Greenway was sitting for a Cross-Checking penalty, Maine looked to bring the puck out of their zone. Clayton Keller intercepted the clearing pass in Maine’s defensive end, drove and shot the puck to put BU up 1-0 on an early short handed goal.
The second period saw more of the same, but more intense. Both teams got physical and upped the hits. At several points, the players traded fists and hit after the whistle, needing to be separated by the officials. There were also eleven penalties between the two teams. They were not afraid to sort things out on the ice all night long. Unfortunately for Maine, the Terriers capitalized on more chances. Patrick Harper took a pass from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and found twine from the right circle. BU took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
BU did not play their best in the third period. They looked sloppy and fatigued at points, and Quinn harped on that after the game. He criticized his team’s decision making and puck handling. That allowed Maine to give the fans something to cheer about. Early in the 3rd, Maine went on a power play. Blaine Byron had a shot from the left circle that was tipped by a Terrier by Oettinger into BU’s net. Maine cut the deficit to 2-1 and kept up the pressure. They had shots from Byron, Cam Brown, Chase Pearson and others that made Oettinger work, but he stood tall and made the needed saves. At the other end, BU took advantage of good puck movement and a fortunate bounce, finding Brandon Hickey for the third and final Terrier goal of the night. Maine created more chances with an empty net, but did not get another goal. They fell to the Terriers 3-1.
Red Gendron praised his team’s effort the whole night, noting that their offensive execution was better on Saturday than it was on Friday night. There was plenty for the team to be happy with after the game, but still disappointment to spread around the whole unit. The bounces didn’t go the Bears way, they went for the Terriers. Maine will return to action with a two game set next weekend against the UMass Amherst Minutemen at the Alfond Arena. Puck drops at 7:30 on both Friday night and Saturday night.
With two victories, the Terriers got four points in the Hockey East standings over the weekend. They won their eighth consecutive game, the longest winning streak in the NCAA this season. They’ve climbed to second place in Hockey East just behind archrival Boston College. BU next plays on Tuesday against the Merrimack College Warriors. The puck drops at 7pm at Lawlor Arena in North Andover, Massachusetts.