BOSTON — When Boston University dominated Maine for the first three or four minutes, cycling through all four lines in Maine’s end without a clearance or faceoff, it looked like a blowout in the making.
Instead, it was a cliffhanger. After Garrett Noonan scored on a power play at 7:13 of the first period, BU had to cling to that one goal for the rest of the night. Thanks to freshman goalie Sean Maguire, they did.
Maguire ended up with 28 saves and his second straight shutout as No. 7 BU beat Maine, 1-0, in front of 4,607 at Agganis Arena. The freshman’s shutout streak is now 131:19 and counting. Junior Martin Oullette made 20 saves —including a stop of Cason Hohmann on a second-period penalty shot, in a losing effort.
“Well, that wasn’t easy,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I was really concerned because the way the game started, it looked like it was BU playing the Belmont Bantams. We had complete control of the puck; we’re in their zone, changing in their zone.
“Then they got their legs and played a little better late in the first, and then very hard after that. They certainly deserved a better fate because they played very, very well.”
Maine suffered its sixth one-goal loss of the season and now holds a woeful 2-11-2 overall record, as well as a 1-7-2 mark in Hockey East. But if the Black Bears are on the bottom, coach Tim Whitehead found some reason to be looking up.
“Obviously, frustrating result for us, but I do like the fight that we showed and the competitiveness,” Whitehad said. “We weren’t looking for a moral victory, we were looking for a real victory, so we’re not happy with how the game finished, but we do like how competed. Everybody came to play and competed hard; a lot to build off in the second half.”
After BU’s nonstop onslaught in the opening minutes, the Terriers continued to have the territorial edge and finally scored on their second power play. Freshman Danny O’Regan crossed the puck from the right-wing side over to Noonan high in the opposite faceoff circle. Noonan beat Oullette short side for the game’s lone goal.
Those expecting more scoring waited in vain. Maguire made a nice glove save on right wing Jim Norman halfway through the second period, which was mostly dominated by Maine, but to no avail on the scoreboard.
BU’s best chance came on a questionable penalty-shot call at 15:08.
“I was kind of thinking of going five-hole, but then he gave me the whole glove side, high,” Hohmann said. “I just shot it up there and put it right where I wanted to put it. He just made a really good save.”
Kyle Beattie came close to scoring a buzzer-beating goal at the end of the period, but it went just wide. The first 14 minutes of the third period were a bit of a snooze. Then Ben Rosen was called for a five-minute boarding major with just 5:32 remaining. Mark Anthoine had one great chance on a redirect in front, but on the whole, the Terriers yielded few chances.
With the goalie pulled late in the major, Nick Pryor blasted a slap shot right into Maguire’s midsection, but the freshman was able to hold on to the rebound.
“I thought the best we played was the last five minutes when were a man down,” Parker said. “I thought we played extremely well there.”
After the game, Noonan was reminded that last year’s BU team had a tendency to beat a good opponent and follow it up by taking a team with a poor record for granted.
“I think this team’s different for some reason,” Noonan said. “The young guys have stepped up huge, the freshman and sophomores. I think it’s just a different mentality this year that stuff like that’s not going to happen.”
BU finishes the first semester at 10-5 overall and 8-4 in Hockey East, and all five of its losses were against teams that are currently in the top 10. Given that the Terriers are playing seven freshmen skaters and two freshmen goalies, there is plenty of reason for optimism. BU is off for the next few weeks before traveling to Denver.
Maine will look for a reversal of fortune in the Florida College Classic, where they will play Minnesota-Duluth followed by Cornell or Ferris State.
“We have to just keep getting back on the horse, keep getting up off the floor,” Whitehead said.