Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Weekend Lookback: Heartbreaker

Player of the Week
Sean Maguire
Stopped 71 of 75 shots faced (.945%)
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
With last night's crushing overtime loss to Boston College still on everyone's mind, let's all remember that there is still a ton of hockey to play this season. BU has a chance to not only rack up some points in Hockey East and get inside the top four, but also make a huge jump in the PWR. They face Lowell in a home in home next weekend, followed by a home in home with UNH, before rounding out the regular season with a two game set in South Bend vs Notre Dame. 

Before we get too far ahead, let's look back at this weekend. BU dominated UMass from the drop of the puck Friday night in Amherst. With a 5-1 lead midway through the third, the Terriers took their foot off the gas a bit. UMass scored two quick goals in less than a minute. Outside of that minute, BU was in full control. 

The lapse was probably more indicative of the score than anything else. It was also good to see BU get another goal to put UMass away and not let them hang around. 

If last night proved anything, BU can hang with anyone. They have already shown they can play with and beat the best teams in the nation. No matter where BU is seeded in the tournament come late March, they will be a tough out for anyone who has to play them.

Maguire Sensational
I give Sean Maguire a lot of praise on this site. From day one I thought he would be the goalie for this team. Last night, there were not enough words to describe how well he played. In short, he turned in one of the most remarkable goaltending performances I have ever seen. It ranks right up there with some of the Sean Fields, John Curry and Kieran Millan games where each goalie absolutely stood on their head. Time after time he came up with big saves of all different varieties. He turned aside breakaways, screen shots, stuff attempts and point-blank bids. 

Alex Tuch's game winning shot was an absolutely perfect screen shot, off the post and in. It was going to take that or a ridiculously flukey goal to beat either one of those goalies last night. 

Drawing Similarities
Last night's game almost identically paralleled the 2003 Hockey East Championship game between BU and UNH. UNH won the game 1-0 in overtime and Sean Fields stopped 40 of UNH's 41 shots. Maguire finished with 41 saves. Both goalies won tournament MVP in a losing effort. One other thing, both goalies wore number 31. 

BU's penalty kill was better than ever last night. They clogged the middled and made zone entry much more difficult for the Eagles than in the series back in January. BU's defense also did a much better job gapping-up and not allowing BC to use their speed and burn them to the outside.

Greenway Coming Into His Own
Friday night, Jordan Greenway found the back of the net twice. Last night, he was once again the center of attention. The 6-5 forward was throwing his weight around in all situations. Other than hitting Demko in the second period, Greenway did exactly what he needed to. He has been an underrated part of BU's success this year and if he keeps playing like he did this weekend, he's going to be a tough guy to slow down. 

BC goalie Thatcher Demko: “Maguire played unbelievable. He’s been one of the better goalies in our league all year, and he showed it tonight, for sure. All the awards he got after the game were well deserved. He definitely earned them.”

Coach Quinn: “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play — up-and-down action. Both teams had great chances in the second and the third. Unfortunately, it just takes one play to win it. And they made the play when they had to.”

At the Polls
BU moved up two notches from 9th to 7th in this week's USCHO poll. Quinnipiac and North Dakota were once again 1,2. Boston College was up one slot from fourth to third and St. Cloud fell back a peg to 4th. Providence was 5th. 

BU got as high as 7th in the PWR this weekend, but currently sit in eighth after the BC loss. 

Around Hockey East
Tuesday: Uconn dropped Brown 3-1 at home.

Friday: Boston College fought off UNH 4-3 at Conte… Notre Dame edged Vermont 2-1 in Burlington… Northeastern and Lowell skated to a 2-2 at Tsongas… Providence downed Maine 1-0 in overtime at the Alfond…. BU doubled up UMass 6-3 in Amherst. 

Saturday: Providence completed the road sweep of Maine with a 4-2 win… New Hampsire managed a split with Lowell after winning 3-2 in Lowell… Merrimack and UConn tied 2-2 at Lawler… Notre Dame beat Vermont 3-1.

Monday (Beanpot): Northeastern ran over Harvard 5-1 in the consolation game… BC topped BU 1-0 in overtime.

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