By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff
The Terriers tied their season-high for goals in a game by putting up a nickel against the Crimson. (BU has actually scored five goals in five different games during the 2010-11 season but has yet to score anything more than that.) Junior captain Chris Connolly led the way with two goals for his first multi-goal game of the season while sophomore forward Justin Courtnall stuffed home a wrap-around for his first collegiate goal in the third period. Senior Joe Pereira and sophomore Wade Megan rounded out the scoring for the Terriers. As bad as the three-win Harvard team has played this season, scoring on goalie Kyle Richter (2.50 GAA, .919 save %) has not been as easy as the team’s record would indicate. The biggest key to BU’s success in the offensive zone was the team’s willingness and ability to simply put shots on net, which resulted in a total of 37 shots. BU had attempted just 35 in its previous two games combined.
The BU backline looked like its old self for most of Saturday night’s affair. The Terriers went back to forcing the opposing team to the outside and was thereby able to hold the Crimson to just nine shots in the Grade-A area. They also did a good job at getting bodies in shooting lanes where they blocked a third (21-of-63) of Harvard’s shot attempts. The blue-liners don’t receive A’s though because two lapses led to Crimson goals just outside the crease. Also thanks to 24 shot attempts in the third, Harvard actually ended up having more total shots Saturday than BU did.
Goaltending: Kieran Millan – B+
Millan (31 saves) has faced at least 31 shots in his last three starts and has shined in each of those contests, going 2-0-1 with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. He didn’t have to make any stellar saves Saturday night, but he was solid enough to keep the Crimson from gaining any kind of confidence offensively. Millan is starting to show signs that his mid-season lull in production just may be behind, and the Terriers will need him to maintain his current level of play heading into their tough five-game stretch against ranked opponents.
Adam Kraus – A-
The Irving, Texas native saw his first action of his senior season and stopped everything that came his way. That is, he stopped both shots that he saw in 4:59 of ice time. Nonetheless, you can’t ask much more of the guy so an A- seems pretty appropriate.
Special Teams: A-
With Connolly’s goal on the power play in the first period, the Terriers have now scored with the man advantage in consecutive games for just the second time all season (the first was a two-game stretch from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 where BU scored power-play goals against Brown University and Boston College respectively in successive games.) That’s a step in the right direction for a unit that scored only 12 percent of the time coming into Saturday. BU finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play. Still, the Terriers could only muster four shots on those five opportunities, proving that there may be some room left for improvement.
As for the penalty kill, BU killed off all four Brown advantages, including a five-minute major stemming from freshman defenseman Garrett Noonan’s five-minute elbowing to the head major. That means BU has now been successful on its last 14 penalty kills.
X-Factor: Good start/Good finish
BU hadn’t been able to score first in its last four games at Agganis Arena and had scored first just once in its last five games overall. Connolly’s first-period tally helped swing the momentum squarely in BU’s favor, and they rode that swing for the remainder of the contest thanks to not having to make a comeback against a hungry team. Even when it seemed like the Terriers could have let up – they led by a seemingly healthy 3-1 margin after two – they continued to push, adding two more goals in the first eight minutes of the third period. If BU is to be successful against its more difficult upcoming competition, you can’t ask for a better blueprint for a gameplan than that.