By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
Offense: A for the first period, D for the second and third
Even though they only got one goal in the first, the Terriers were firing on all cylinders out of the gate. They recorded 29 shot attempts, 18 shots on goal and 10 grade-A chances. If not for a hit post and some great goaltending from Alex Beaudry, it could've easily been 4-0 BU after one. The rest of the game was a different story, though. Over the final two periods combined, the Terriers tallied 30 shot attempts, 16 shots on goal and just three grade-A chances. In his postgame press conference, Jack Parker attributed the offensive downturn to guys making selfish and/or stupid decisions with the puck and trying to get a goal for themselves instead of the team.
Giving up 37 shots on goal certainly looks bad for the defense, but that number's a little misleading. The D actually did a pretty good job of forcing Providence to the outside and clearing away rebounds most of the game. The Terriers held the Friars to eight grade-A chances through the first two periods before PC was able to register seven in the third. Although the defense certainly deserves some of the blame for letting the Friars get to those quality scoring areas, a lot of the blame also has to go to the offense for not maintaining any sort of possession in PC's zone and to guys taking dumb penalties. Six of the Friars' 15 third-period shots on goal, not to mention their only goal of the game, came on two late power plays.
Kieran Millan has definitely had 36-save performances where he was tested more than Friday night, but this wasn't exactly a walk in the park, either. He made a couple good saves early on, but he really shone in the third in the face of those aforementioned eight grade-A chances. On the Friars' only goal, Ian O'Connor should've never even gotten to the net, but David Warsofsky misplayed the 1-on-1 and missed both the player and the puck. Millan did give up a couple juicy rebounds in the game, but nothing to be overly concerned about. And, as mentioned above, the defense was there to clear them away when he did.
Special teams: B+
For the second straight game, the BU power play looked very good. After scoring three man-up goals against Harvard on Monday, the Terriers notched another Friday and accrued 10 shots on goal during their four man advantages. Adam Clendening said the team is finally starting to develop some chemistry on the power play and guys know where everyone else likes to go now. Parker said the power play has suddenly become one of the positives for the team. It's tough to grade the penalty kill tonight. Obviously letting PC go 1-for-2 with six shots on goal isn't good at all, but the Friars had a brief 5-on-3 linking those two man advantages and were pretty much throwing everything on net out of desperation since it was late in the game and they were down by two.
X-Factor: No killer instinct
Not only did the Terriers let off the gas after making it 2-0, they slid their foot over and started riding the break. The offense, especially, appeared to just stop playing. Friday night isn't an isolated incident. All year long, BU has made a habit of allowing its opponent to make things interesting at the end if it's a close game. On Monday, the Terriers failed to hold onto a late lead and lost. Two weeks ago, BU took a bunch of penalties down the stretch and let UMass-Lowell score a 6-on-3 goal to end Millan's shutout bid that night. The last time BU played PC on Oct. 23, the Terriers, just like Friday night, let the Friars control play in the third. That game also ended with Millan's shutout bid coming to a late end. Letting teams hang around and not slamming the door shut could cost BU down the stretch and into the playoffs if it doesn't change.