Boston, MA- Through three games, the Boston University Terriers have entertained, concerned, thrilled, and frustrated their fans. A win in Schenectady inspired hope. A Friday night home tie against Northern Michigan after leading 4-1 in the third period sowed frustration. Saturday night provided an opportunity to allay those concerns. Instead, BU deepened the concern for the year with a frustrating third period against the Wildcats.
BU opened the scoring when Patrick Harper showed his offensive development with a drive up the left boards and wired a top-shelf shot. NMU got the better of the scoring for the remainder of the opener. First, Darien Craighead whipped a shot by BU goalie Vinnie Purpura off a faceoff victory. In the waning minutes, Vincent de May netted a soft goal on a simple shot rushing up the right-wing to secure a Wildcat lead ahead of the intermission.
The second period was a grinding and slow affair. The teams took a combined four penalties, two of them going to NMU’s Hank Sorensen for a five minute major and a game misconduct infraction. On the ensuing power play, BU was locked up by Nolan Kent, who recorded 10 of his 27 shots in the frame. The Terriers did not leave the second empty-handed, however. At the mid-point of the period, freshman Dominic Fensore carried the puck into attacking ice and fired a puck towards the net from the high slot. Senior Captain Patrick Curry tipped the puck through Kent to knot the game even at 2-2.
The veteran Wildcats exploited the Terrier’s poor decision making in the third period. First, Griffin Loughran tipped a Philip Beaulieu shot up and over Purpura’s left shoulder and gave his squad the lead. Then, Cam Crotty took an interference minor. BU successfully killed the penalty but in the last seconds of the penalty, Alex Brink and Luke Voltin tangoed and crashed into the boards and then the ice. Voltin sat for a slashing minor, but Brink, a graduate transfer from Brown garnered a five minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head, thus an early shower. When Voltin emerged from the box, NMU had a three-minute power play and pounced. Vincent de May potted his second goal the night, fifth in his first four games, and staked his Wildcats to a 4-2 lead. BU responded fiercely. Trevor Zegras potted a rebound for his first collegiate goal, but the extra attacker effort fell short and NMU secured a 4-3 victory.
“These are the games for our program with teams like this that, you have to prepare yourself for, hopefully, a chance to play in the Tournament,” said NMU Head Coach Grant Potulny after the game. You wanna play the best teams, and should you get in, then you have some background on playing teams like this. You can’t trade chances with them.”
Northern Michigan sits at 2-1-1. The Wildcats open conference play in the WCHA with a road trip to Ferris State on Friday, the 25th, at 7:07 PM ET, and Saturday, the 26th, at 6:07 ET at Ewigleben Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“I like our team,” noted Terrier Head Coach Albie O’Connell. “We scored 7. We scored 4. And we scored 3. If you told that at the start of the year, I’d think we’d be better than 1-1-1. But we are what we are. We have a long way to go as a group.”
Sam Tucker stopped 16 of 20 shots on Friday night and Vinnie Purpura stopped 29 of 33. BU will have to address its goalie situation moving forward.
BU plays a home-and-home to open up Hockey East next weekend. Friday, the 25th, takes the Terriers to Lowell to face the Riverhawks at Tsongas Center at 7 PM ET. The next night, BU hosts New Hampshire at Agganis Arena, also at 7 PM ET