The Takeaway: BU Drops Northeastern, 4-2, at Matthews

Posted by: Joe Meloni

BOSTON — Boston University defeated Northeastern, 4-2, on Friday night at Matthews Arena. The win kept the Terriers alive in the race for home ice in the Hockey East tournament. Northeastern was eliminated from contention last weekend, but the loss was still difficult for the Huskies to handle.

BU winger Jake Moscatel, a walk-on, notched his first-career goal to start the scoring for the Terriers at 12 minutes, 19 seconds of the first period. Wade Megan, Danny O’Regan and Matt Lane also scored for BU, with O’Regan becoming the game-winner. NU received goals from Cody Ferriero and  Adam Reid in the loss.

What I Saw

  • The Terriers created good traffic in front of Rawlings and sent shots in from the blue line to take advantage of second and third chances. Rawlings’ rebound control has always been issue. BU’s first goal came on a shot from freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen that Rawlings’ initially saved. Moscatel picked up the rebound and beat Rawlings. The Terriers defensemen are an especially active group offensively. Goaltenders with rebound problems are especially east targets for the group, which wasted little time taking advantage on Friday.

  • Northeastern created more than enough chances to score goals on Friday night. The Huskies worked the puck well below the circles, especially after BU defenseman Garrett Noonan left the game in the second period. An effective, consistent cycle has always been an important part of Northeastern’s offensive game. Scoring in transition is important, and the Huskies generated quality looks on the rush, as well. Scoring goals on prolonged possessions is important to wear down a club like BU. The Huskies created the cycle and the chances, but Maguire held strong.
  • Noonan suffered what appears to be a season-ending shoulder injury in the second period of Friday’s game. Noonan is linchpin player for the Terriers, seeing substantial ice time in all situations for BU. His loss will force walk-on Matt Ronan into the lineup for BU for the remainder of the season.

What I Thought

  • For the second straight season, Northeastern just couldn’t figure it out. Based solely on talent, the Huskies should be a better team. The players just never seemed to work particularly well together, and goaltender Chris Rawlings was never consistent enough for NU to be much of a threat. It’s apparent watching the Northeastern forwards that there’s skill and a genuine will to get results. They never came, though. It was difficult to watch at times. Madigan never had the answers, nor did his leaders.
  • Matt Nieto really does look like an entirely different player, even from two weeks ago. The winger didn’t score on Friday night, but he did set up the game-winning goal with a nifty pass of a give-and-go with Danny O’Regan. Nieto’s speed has always made him a dangerous player. The bounces he’s gotten in the last couple weeks have added confidence to his game that have made him the more dynamic player he’s always looked capable of being.
  • If Sean Maguire plays like he did on Friday, his new role as unquestioned No.1 should go pretty well for the Terriers. When Matt O’Connor suffered a collapsed lung and was declared out for the season, Maguire earned the top role. The pair split duty for most of the season and neither looked overmatched or out of place at any any point. Maguire made 31 saves against Northeastern and Friday, and both NU goals came on odd-man rushes.

What They Said

“They did a good job of pressuring us down low the last time we played. I think we were better against that (on Friday).” — BU coach Jack Parker

Preventing the Huskies from generating too many scoring chances down low is critical to defeating them. Northeastern had possession below the circles throughout the game, but it didn’t lead to much for the Huskies. Both of their goals came in transition.

What They Didn’t Say

Northeastern coach Jim Madigan didn’t discuss any plans for next season. However, the Huskies’ goaltending situation presents some interesting scenarios. With Rawlings graduating, three goaltenders remain to battle for the top job. Bryan Mountain has a year of eligibility remaining after sitting out his entire sophomore season. Redshirt junior Clay Witt is expected back as well as Derick Roy. Neither Witt nor Roy saw anytime this season.

There are no goaltenders on NU’s current list of commits for next season, so it will be one of those three earning the job for the Huskies.

What Else You Should Know

  • Both clubs end their regular season Saturday night at Agganis Arena across the city.
  • For BU, the win kept the Terriers’ chances for home ice in the Hockey East tournament alive. BU needs some help from the teams in front of them — like losses — but another win over NU is necessary.
  • In terms of the Pairwise, BU is No. 17 after its win.

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