Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Our Season Ended in Notre Dame"

Seniors Matt Lane and Mike Moran
were the last two head off the ice
yesterday after they played their final
game as a Terrier.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
As the sparsely populated crowd departed the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota last night, somewhere deep under the seats in the bottom of the building Dave Quinn was in tears. Captain Matt Grzelcyk, still in his uniform, was right next to him as they answered questions from the press. 

Grzelcyk and the rest of the senior class were sophomores when Quinn took over for longtime coach Jack Parker in October 2013.

"They mean so much to our program, they're incredible people," said Quinn following yesterday's 7-2 loss to Denver. "The great part about coaching college sports is you get to build friendships with your former players. Hopefully they like me enough to continue friendships moving forward - maybe if I pay for golf moving forward, they'll spend some time with me. It's a sad day for me personally.”

Unlike last year, this season seemed to have a very gradual end to it. Since the Beanpot final, BU never really found their game. They were one goal away from beating Boston College, a team that is currently packing their bags for Tampa. BU never played the same again.

They followed the Beanpot with a split against Lowell and three point weekend vs New Hampshire. Still, BU wasn't playing great hockey. UNH should have been a relatively easy sweep. Instead, BU struggled to score and barely held on in the second game of the series.

Then it was onto Notre Dame. BU won game one. They came out, played strong from the get go and scored first, eventually building a 3-1 lead in the third. Even though ND struck late, BU won their first game in South Bend… ever. Game two saw Sean Maguire stand on his head, making 27 saves and allowing only one goal. It was not enough. BU threw 39 shots at Cal Peterson, but could never find the back of the net. That killed BU.

"It seems like our season ended at Notre Dame," said Quinn. "I don't know what happened to us mentally. We were playing good hockey and we became a fragile group mentally. All of a sudden we're playing well and we go down 1-0, and we just never really recovered from that. It's certainly disappointing, to say the least."

He could not have been more right. After the loss and the way the league standings filtered out, BU finished as the fifth seed in the Hockey East Tournament. That meant they had to face last place UMass in the opening round at home, instead of having a bye to the quarterfinals.

A series that should have been a no problem, slam dunk turned into a major struggle. BU needed overtime in game one and really should have lost. Just prior to Bobo Carpenter scoring his second goal of the game in OT, UMass was on the power play. Sean Maguire made two huge saves to keep the game going. Unfortunately, that was his last great game as a Terrier.

He allowed four goals the following night and BU again had difficulties putting away a scrappy UMass club. Eventually, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson scored the go ahead goal midway through the third and that was enough to push BU past the Minutemen. They didn't play well at all, but because of the competition, it was enough.

That certainly was not the case in Lowell. Again, once Lowell got the lead in both games it felt like the game was over. Maguire was not sharp, but it was certainly not all on him. BU scored just two goals the entire weekend and completely no-showed in game two.

At least yesterday they came out fast. But once again, the second Denver got one the board, BU was sunk. The Terriers had no offense. They never were able to find that comeback magic they had at the start of the year. First semester, BU was always in a game, no matter how much time was left or what the score was. After the Beanpot, it seemed like once they were down a goal the game was out out reach.

Quinn added, "I wish I could explain how our season kind of unfolded here after that Notre Dame loss. We played well the second night at Notre Dame and it cost us a bye. We just never recovered from it. For a team that had battled back from a lot of adversity early in the year - we'd get down and we just kept battling back and we were mentally tough - somewhere along the way we lost that. It's too bad.”

It will be interesting (as always) to see who sticks around. Personally, I think the biggest flight risks for next year come from the backend. Doyle Somerby and Brandon Hickey could both be on their way to the NHL or at least the AHL. That being said, if Somerby stays he will more than likely be the captain for next year's squad. BU could potentially have five (5) first round picks on their roster next year.

To Danny, Ahti, Matt, Sean, Matt and Mike, if you are reading this A) thanks you for doing so, and B) it has been a pleasure to watch all of you over the past four years. Good luck, I wish you well.

I would also like to thank everyone who followed along this year. I will have one or two more posts, maybe a video to wrap up the year. Otherwise, see ya in October.

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