BOSTON – If anyone can remember a game in which they saw as many 19 power plays without a single power-play goal, by all means let me know.
In a much anticipated matchup of two teams picked to be in the nation’s top four coming into the season, Boston University managed to kill off 12 Quinnipiac power plays en route to a 3-0 win.
A couple of those man advantages lasted for only seconds, but the Bobcats also had a startling six minutes plus of five-on-three power plays. For all that, fourth-ranked Quinnipiac only mustered 12 shots on the 12 man advantages and just 22 shots in the game.
Clearly the talented Bobcats are still adjusting to life without Sam Anas and Travis St. Denis, who scored 20 of the team’s 47 power-play goals last season, as well as defenseman Devon Toews, who led the team’s blueliners in scoring on a squad that made it all the way to the NCAA championship game.
“It’s a work in progress,” coach Rand Pecknold said. “We got cleaned out, lost a lot of good players, and we’re trying to figure it out now. Our power play struggled tonight, and I thought BU’s kill was really good. Their kids were eating pucks and had good sticks. They were really competitive, and their goaltender [freshman Jake Oettinger] was excellent.”
Another question for Quinnipiac this year is who will step up in goal now that stalwart Michael Garteig has graduated. Air Force transfer Chris Truehl started four of the first five games, but freshman Andrew Shortridge got the call for the second time in the last three games tonight and looked solid with 20 saves on 22 shots, with both of BU’s goals — before an empty-netter — coming on bang-bang plays.
“I thought he played well; he settled in,” Pecknold said. “He got a great experience, and he’s going to be a better goalie because of what happened tonight. There’s things he did well and things he can work on.”
There’s no clear sense yet as to whether one netminder or the other will get the bulk of the time between the pipes this season.
“We’ll figure it out. I’ve done it all different ways in my 23 years at Quinnipiac. I’ve had one guy carry the mail; I’ve split ’em. It always depends on what’s going to work. If you two goalies who play great, it’s a luxury if you can split them.”
While several members of both teams have come and gone, BU has now beaten Quinnipiac two seasons in a row in the only two games ever played between the two programs. In December of last season, BU managed to end Quinnipiac’s long undefeated run to start the 2015-2016 campaign.
With BU ranked No. 2 coming into this year and Quinnipiac ranked No. 3 in the USCHO preseason poll, don’t be surprised if both teams work out the bugs on their power play and meet again in a postseason game come March.
“They’re a really good team,” BU coach David Quinn said. “I think Rand and I are trying to figure out what our teams are all about as is every coach in the country. But they’re well coached; they’ve got big, strong players; they’ve got some skill. There’s a reason they came in here with the record they had and all the hype and all the tout: Because they’re good. They’re going to be a team to reckon with come the spring.”
ECAC Hockey Results
Merrimack 5, Colgate 2
Colgate responded from one-goal deficits twice to tie up Merrimack, only to have the Warriors put the game out of reach with three unanswered even-strength goals, starting with Brett Seney’s first goal of the season with 1:28 left in the second period. Sophomore Adam Dauda scored both goals for the Raiders and now leads the team with four goals in the first five games of the season.
Clarkson 4, No. 5 UMass-Lowell 3
Playing against the No. 5 team nation on the road, Clarkson was outshot 16-8 in the first period and fell behind 2-0. But then the Golden Knights stormed back with three straight goals, only to have the River Hawks tie it up with less than nine minutes to go. Then, with just over four minutes to play, senior defenseman James de Haas scored his first goal of the season and just his 18th goal in 119 collegiate games to give Clarkson the upset victory.
No. 15 Providence 6, No. 12 St. Lawrence 3
Providence outshot St. Lawrence 39-20, and the 6-3 final reflected a similar ratio of goals. Special teams loomed large in this one, as the Friars enjoyed 14 man advantages and converted four of them, while the Saints were skunked on seven man advantages. One bright spot on special teams for the Saints was a shorthanded goal by senior Alexander Dahl.
Union 5, Niagara 2
One night after beating RIT 5-2, Union topped another Atlantic Hockey foe by the identical score. Mike Vecchione scored a career-best four goals for the Dutchmen and now leads the nation with eight goals in just six games. The senior from Saugus, Massachusetts scored just nine goals in 34 games played last year.
Rennselaer 6, RIT 3
The Engineers bounced back from a 3-3 draw against Niagara on Friday night with a convincing 6-3 win over RIT. Riley Bournabous scored twice for Rensselaer, and both goals were critical: The first was a shorthanded goal to tie the game 1-1 in the first period, and the second was a goal with less than five minutes to play that made it 5-3, basically putting the game out of reach.
Cornell 8, Brock 1 (exhibition)
In an exhibition game, Cornell blew out Brock University, an Ontario school Matt Buckles had a pair of goals for the Big Red, which outshot their north-of-the-border visitors 46-16 and piled up four goals in a span of just 3:20 in the second period.
Harvard 3, Dartmouth 3 (exhibition)
With the Ivy League schools starting regular season games a few weeks later than other teams, Harvard and Dartmouth skated to a 3-3 tie in an exhibition/scrimmage up in Hanover, N.H. The exhibition gave the teams an opportunityto get used to the newly stringent approach to officiating, as the game featured 20 power plays. Coaches Bob Gaudet and Ted Donato agreed to a three-round shootout after playing to a draw with Harvard coming out on top, 3-2.