On Monday, the Boston University Terriers were named the number one ranked team in college hockey. That same day, head coach David Quinn reported that his team had the worst practice in his tenure as head coach. The next day, BU went to North Andover to face the last place team in Hockey East, the Merrimack College Warriors. Merrimack has struggled in recent years but has had BU’s number in recent years at Lawler Arena. BU was 0-3-1 in their last four games in North Andover. All the elements mentioned combined with fatigue and BU’s youth resulted in BU’s worst game and Merrimack’s best win of the season.
The Terriers actually got off to a good start, with Chad Krys hitting the inside of the right post and finding the net. The Lawler Arena crowd fell silent, thinking it would be a long night. They were right; it was a long night, just for BU and not Merrimack. The Warriors turned the pace of the game around, ultimately outshooting BU 10-8 and tying the game behind Mathieu Tibbet’s fourth goal of the season.
The second period was BU’s worst period of the season. They gave up 15 shots and only got five shots of their own. BU also took three penalties in the period, including a five-minute major penalty and an accompanying personal misconduct penalty on Charlie McAvoy when he hit Tyler Irvine head first into the boards. BU killed off a 5-minute power play without giving up a goal, but even that could have gone better for the Terriers. Clayton Keller stole the puck from Merrimack and skated the other way, taking a shot on goal on a breakaway. As he shot, he was taken to the ice and Johnathan Kovacevic was called for a hooking penalty. BU could either take a penalty shot or take a two-minute penalty. Quinn decided to take the two-minute penalty, but when asked about it, said he would have taken the penalty shot. Instead, BU almost escaped the second period without giving up a goal. Then John MacLeod took a hitting from behind penalty. 14 seconds later, Logan Coomes scored to put Merrimack ahead and put BU behind in a game for the first time since January 5th against Union College.
The Warriors extended their lead early in the third, with a power play goal by Hampus Gustafsson. BU goaltender Connor LaCouvee made 33 saves and Quinn was happy with his performance, but criticized his skaters and defense for their lackluster performance in front of LaCouvee. BU did improve as the third period went on, making Collin Delia work in Merrimack’s net with 18 shots on goal. Unfortunately, nothing went in. Even when BU pulled their goalie for an extra skater, nothing went in. Merrimack finished the game with their third Hockey East victory this season, and dropped BU to 9-3-2 in conference play, ending their eight-game winning streak in the process.
These teams will play again at Agganis Arena in Boston on Friday night at 7:30.