BOSTON – First-year Boston University coach David Quinn got about 10 phone calls Saturday morning from friends and hockey people.
The No. 2 Badgers had been on the wrong end of a 9-2 trouncing at the hands of Boston College on Friday night, so the callers’ common theme was that the Terriers had better be ready to play a team with something to prove.
“Boy, Wisconsin’s going to be looking for blood tonight,” people said to Quinn.
The new coach used the calls to fire up his team. After telling them about the phone calls, he said, “Why won’t we be looking for blood? We lost, too [by a 3-1 count to Rensselaer on Friday]. Wisconsin lost 9-2, but that means nothing to us. I’m not too concerned what other teams are doing. We were looking for blood.”
The Terriers ended up drawing plenty of blood. They blew open a 1-1 game with three goals in the third and wound up winning going away. Co-captain Garrett Noonan notched a goal and two assists, while his fellow blueliners Matt Grzelcyk and Ahti Oksanen added a goal and an assist apiece to lead the Terriers to a surprisingly decisive 7-3 win in front of 5,129 fans at Agganis Arena.
Sophomore Matt O’Connor stopped 39 of 42 shots, and freshman Robbie Baillargeon scored his first collegiate goal for the Terriers. Jake McCabe, Keegan Meuer, and Michael Mersch scored for Wisconsin.
“It’s nice to score seven,” Quinn said. “I thought the first 10 minutes was the best we’ve played all year. We got the 1-0 lead, and all of a sudden we take three penalties in a 10-minute stretch. It really changed the momentum of the game; I thought they took it to us. The second period was really squirrelly. We got the two goals off of faceoffs. They had been killing us on faceoffs, and we win two cleanly and score goals on them.”
Despite seeing his veteran team give up a whopping 16 goals over two games in Boston this weekend, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves was upbeat about his team’s play tonight compared to how they looked at Boston College.
“There’s a lot of things I liked about tonight’s game for us,” Eaves said. “41, 42 shots in somebody else’s barn. We got a lot of pressure.
“To me, the goaltending was really good for the Terriers. The thing that put us behind the eight-ball was the faceoffs.”
Goaltending was also a real problem for Wisconsin tonight, as junior Landon Peterson gave up seven goals on just 26 shots.
“Petey, it was one of those nights where he fought the puck—tip-ins, and not being able to see it,” Eaves said. “It was a tough night for him.”
BU took at 1-0 lead at 8:28 in the first, scoring right off of the faceoff following a penalty call. Noonan teed it up for Oksanen at the left point, and his slap shot beat Peterson. At that point of the game, Oksanen had factored in six of BU’s eight goals thus far this season.
Following three BU penalties, two of which were dumb and avoidable, Wisconsin finally got a power-play goal late in the period. Mark Zengerle set up McCabe at the point, and his shot beat O’Connor.
Halfway through the second period, the teams exploded with three goals in just 34 seconds. First, Oksanen set up Noonan for a shot that went in through traffic. Danny O’Regan almost scored off of the ensuing faceoff, and then Baillageron did score on a tip of a Grzelcyk shot, just 18 seconds after Noonan’s goal.
Just 16 seconds after that, Wisconsin got one back when a pass sprung Keegan Meuer on the left wing. O’Connor initially stopped his backhander, but the goalie got his legs tangled up and the puck went over the line.
After centerman Nic Kerdiles got a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting BU winger Tommy Kelley’s head into the boards, the Terriers proceeded to do almost nothing on the ensuing power play until Grzelcyk scored on another shot through traffic with just 20 seconds left on the major. Quinn said it was the biggest goal of the game.
In the third, co-captain Patrick MacGregor sprung left wing Mike Moran with a very long pass to set up a two-on-one. Moran glanced to his linemate before firing a shot that went through Peterson to make it 5-2.
On a power play, Mersch made it 5-3 with a rocket of a slap shot that beat O’Connor high on the glove side from 25 feet out. Less than a minute later though, Wisconsin’s faint hopes were dashed when BU left wing Matt Lane stickhandled out from behind his goal line before wheeling to beat Peterson yet again.
Cason Hohmann rounded out the scoring on a five-on-three advantage for the Terriers, banking a shot off the goalie or a defenseman from behind the goal line.
BU (3-1) travels to Michigan and Michigan State next weekend, while Wisconsin (2-2) has a week off before hosting Lake Superior State for a pair of games.