For Boston University, tonight was like the replay of a bad, bad scene.
Leading Michigan State 1-0 late in the third period, the Terriers found themselves down a goal as the Spartans scored twice within a single minute late in the third and eventually went on to win 3-1.
In Ann Arbor against Michigan last night, BU took a 1-0 lead into the third period and lost 2-1 after allowing a power-play goal and a penalty shot within a two-minute span.
Although the Spartans scored the tying and game-winning goals even strength before adding an empty-netter, the Terriers were bitten still by penalties for a second straight night, said coach David Quinn.
“It’s just, it’s just ridiculous,” said Quinn. “It’s just ridiculous.”
BU took seven penalties for 14 minutes in tonight’s contest and six for 12 last night to Michigan State’s three minor penalties and Michigan’s one. The constant killing of penalties “always does” undermine a team’s ability to maintain through a game, said Quinn, but tonight, the Terriers were struggling from the start.
“We were standing in quicksand the first period,” said Quinn. “We were so lucky to be up 1-0.”
The win was the first of the season for the Spartans, who scored at 15:04 and 15:56 in the third.
On the first goal, defenseman Brock Krygier fought the puck from the boards out to forward Brent Darnell in the right circle. Darnell’s shot went in through BU goalie Sean Maguire’s legs to tie the game. On the second goal, freshman Joe Cox forced the puck in between Maguire and the right post.
Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said he didn’t need to see the winning goal to understand its artistry.
“It was a Picasso in my book – that was the Mona Lisa of the night,” said Anastos. “I don’t care how it went in. The red light went on and I saw guys jumping up and down, so that was a beautiful goal.
“We thought we were putting them under quite a bit of pressure under on the course of the night. We just kept battling. We talked about bringing the puck to the net, just bring it there, jam it into the goalie and create a scramble. Again, I didn’t see how it went in, but I thought it was a Picasso.”
Anastos was especially pleased with the play of goaltender Jake Hildebrand, who stopped 26 shots in tonight’s game. Hildebrand started in the Spartans’ 4-1 loss to Massachusetts-Lowell Friday night. Anastos said that the sophomore played well against Lowell, but he thought Hildebrand had a better game in him.
“For our team to have success, we need to have really good goaltending,” said Anastos. “To me, what it means is a consistent level of performance, but having that real big save at a timely moment. We got two real big saves from him, I thought, in the game that were critical. One was we were shorthanded in the second period and they slipped a pass through the gap back door and he came up real big on that post side, and then that save there [at the end of the game] was phenomenal in all the traffic. He’s got quick hands. He’s got really quick hands.”
Down a goal at the end of the third, BU pulled Maguire in favor of the extra attacker for over a minute.
“It was gut-check time,” said Anastos. “They were blocking shots. They were tipping pucks. They were doing whatever was necessary to help keep the puck out of the net and fortunately, it did.”
Quinn had harsh words for his team after the game.
“We’re playing youth hockey out there too often – it’s frustrating,” said Quinn.
Quinn said he wasn’t disappointed in the effort he saw from the Terriers in the loss against Michigan, “but tonight was just a totally different story. Tonight was really the first night I can say we weren’t ready to play.”
Boston University (3-3-0, 1-0 Hockey East) returns to conference play next weekend with a home-and-home series against Providence. Michigan State (1-3-0) continues nonconference play at home next weekend against American International.