BOSTON — In the workplace, one sometimes hears the expression “Work smarter, not harder.”
Boston University would have been well-advised to live by this adage Friday in their game against Maine. Even when they fell behind, the Terriers continued to play hard, only to repeatedly suffer from self-inflicted wounds on the way to an embarrassing but action-packed 8-4 loss to No. 3 Maine in front of a home crowd of 3,163 at Walter Brown Arena.
Colin Shields notched his second career hat trick and two assists for the Black Bears, while linemate Michel Lveill added a goal and three assists. Maine (17-5-1, 9-4-1 HEA) tied a team record by scoring three shorthanded goals, including two in a 32-second span in the first period. Bryan Miller and David Van der Gulik each connected for a goal and an assist for the Terriers (6-9-6, 3-8-2), who were without leading goal scorer Kenny Magowan, who will miss a month due to a strained knee ligament.
“It was a pretty crazy game; there was a lot of action certainly.” Black Bears coach Tim Whitehead said. “We’re pleased to come out of here with two points — points are tough to come by here — so obviously we’ll take it, but tomorrow’s a whole new ballgame. We’re starting out zero-zero, not eight to four, so it will be an even tougher challenge tomorrow.”
BU coach Jack Parker was, understandably, not pleased.
“Every time we gave ourselves a chance to get back in the game, we took ourselves out of the game by making unbelievable mistakes, unbelievable bad reads,” Parker said. “I like my team’s effort in a lot of ways; we were just dumb tonight.
“I like this team as far as their skill. We could be so much better than we are, and we aren’t because we aren’t thorough, and we’re not determined to make sure. When there’s imminent danger, our first job is to make sure that bad things don’t happen. That’s the last thing on our mind, and it’s been a problem all friggin’ year. We aren’t absolutely positively thorough in the defensive end first; we’re too friggin’ casual, and it’s killing us. Until we learn that lesson, until we learn to be better in those areas, we’re not going to beat anybody.”
The Terriers actually looked really strong for much of the first period, but a few meltdowns proved to be extremely costly. On a power play at the seven-minute mark, Frantisek Skladany attempted to stickhandle out of his own zone but coughed up the puck to Lveill, who went in all alone for the goal. Thirty-two seconds later, with the Terriers trying to keep the puck in the Maine zone, Lveill stole the puck again, setting up a two-on-one break with linemate Shields.
“They come on a two-on-one, and our backchecker’s trying to get to him but our defenseman reads it wrong — thinks the backchecker actually has him — so he overplays the man with the puck, and they let 21 [Shields] go in alone,” Parker said. “So our goaltender’s stuck with two breakaways all alone, and they go up two-nothing.”
With Maine goalie Frank Doyle roaming at 11:10, defenseman Travis Wight made an excellent play to cover the empty net, diving to thwart an almost certain goal. But BU finally capitalized on a power play at 11:31, when Bryan Miller received a Ryan Whitney pass low in the left-wing faceoff circle and fired to Van der Gulik at the far post for the easy tap in.
Yet less than two minutes later, Maine regained the two-goal lead when Greg Moore potted the rebound of a Lveill shot while being hauled down by a BU defender. Then, in the last two minutes of the period, BU got an apparent momentum-builder when a Dan Spang shot trickled through Doyle and into the crease, where David Klema tapped it home after storming the net.
Early in the second, the tide appeared to go BU’s way again. While killing a penalty, Van der Gulik was drilled from behind into the boards by Maine’s first-line center Derek Damon, who received a five-minute major and game misconduct. However, BU did little with the three-minute man advantage.
A weird sequence at 11:02 resulted in the fourth Maine goal. From behind the Terrier net, a Maine player flipped the puck over the net, off Fields’ back, and into the crease — perilously close to the goal line. Somehow BU cleared the puck, but the resulting chaos led to Shields backhanding home his own rebound for the 4-2 lead.
At 12:42, Maine added its third shorthanded goal. Lveill stripped Kevin Schaeffer of the puck behind the Terriers net, and the freshman wheeled to find Shields crashing the net for the one-timer and the eventual game-winner.
“He’s a great player,” Shields said of his linemate Lveill. “He’s got great hands and great hockey sense. You can tell from his stats that he’s obviously one of those players who’s always looking to pass the puck. We have a good connection; we seem to always know where the other is on the ice, and we find each other. He likes to pass, and I just try to burst to a spot and get open.”
“He was exceptional,” said Whitehead about Lveill. “He’s got such great anticipation, and I’ll tell you, he hits hard too. He’s a very complete player — great on the faceoffs — but his hockey sense on the power play and the penalty kill really shines out.”
Bryan Miller’s backhander through a crowd narrowed the gap to 5-3 for the dogged Terriers, but then Terrier goalie Sean Fields had a weak third period, effectively putting the game out of reach. Jon Jankus scored a bad-angle goal in the opening minute, before BU’s Brad Zancanaro got it back less than minutes later, tapping in a puck in the crease after Doyle had another problem with letting a shot trickle through — this one off the stick of Kevin Schaeffer.
Fields then surrendered another weak one on a delayed penalty at 8:59, when Shields fired one toward the net from the left-wing corner just beyond the goal line and Luc Aquino tipped it in. Dustin Penner rounded out the scoring for Maine with a goal at 14:59.
“Fieldsie had a couple of tough ones late, but we hung him out to dry on the first five — just brutal,” Parker said.
“One day we have decent defense and no offense, then we have decent offense and no defense whatsoever. Bad combination.”
The teams face off again on Saturday night at Walter Brown Arena.
“We always seem to have some wild games here ever since I’ve been here,” Shields said. “Obviously it was a totally different game up in Maine — not a lot of scoring chances. Tonight there was a lot of penalties, and that makes it a different game. Tomorrow night will probably be more like the game back in Maine with both teams playing tighter defense.”