The Takeaway: Another shaky win for BU

Posted by: Joe Meloni

BOSTON — The one-game benching, suspension, timeout — whatever you want to call it — for Boston University goaltender Kieran Millan meant fellow senior Grant Rollheiser would get his second start of the season. Ultimately, he earned his second win of the season, making 31 saves in a 4-3 win over a struggling Vermont team Friday night.

Ten different players recorded points in the win, with only sophomore winger Matt Nieto picking up more than one — he finished with two assists. BU sophomore Garrett Noonan scored the game-winning goal at 16 minutes, 42 seconds of the third period. However, BU coach Jack Parker was rightfully displeased with his club’s performance in the final period, as the Terriers regressed to their selfish ways in allowing the Catamounts to find their way back into the game.

What I saw

  • Scoring a couple goals on the Vermont power play hardly resonates as a massive accomplishment. Still, the Terriers finished the game two-for-five on the man advantage, including Noonan’s game-winner late in the second. BU moved the puck well on most of its power plays and successfully created opportunities from the point and down low. Beyond that, they managed to maintain pressure after failing to score. Wade Megan’s goal midway through the second came just as UVM’s H.T. Lenz left the box after a boarding minor. In their last two games, the Terriers have scored on four of 10 power players, they were were five for 45 with the man advantage.
  • Rollheiser played a fantastic game for the Terriers, controlling his rebounds and keeping the swarming Catamounts from tying the score in the final seconds. For most of his time in BU, Rollheiser has served as Kieran Millan’s backup, but the senior has never grown tired of the role, stepping in when needed and providing quality goaltending. The win on Friday was his second of the season, after beating Massachusetts, 5-4, on Oct. 29.
  • Charlie Coyle and Matt Nieto were BU’s most dangerous offensive players once again. Coyle’s second period goal was just his second of the season, but his nine assists lead the club. The pair — Nieto on the left with Coyle playing the pivot — also sees time together as a primary option for Parker on the Terrier penalty kill. Throughout the game, the duo created scoring chances and opportunities for their club, even as the wheels became a little wobbly late in the game.
What I thought
  • Redshirt freshman Yasin Cisse looked comfortable at times, but it’s clear he is not where he can be. Cisse missed all of last season with an ankle injury, and sat out BU’s first six games of the season. Parker and the BU staff were hesitant to play the rangy power forward until he was 100 percent. However, his acumen for the game at the Division I level is not quite up to par yet — the type of thing that happens when you miss an entire season. Though, his skill was clear when the puck found his stick and navigated the offensive zone well, supporting the puck and giving his teammates options when necessary. The points where he and his linemates — Justin Courtnall and Ben Rosen — had to defend, though, were forgettable for Cisse. While he finished the game even, the Catamounts skated a little too freely when the trio was on the ice.
  • Adam Clendening continued to be one of the most obviously skilled and infuriating players on the ice. The sophomore clearly possesses the ability to alter games and impact games on both ends of the ice. However, his occasional mistakes come at terrible times and often lead to major problems for the Terriers. In the first period, with BU on the power play, a horrible decision to pinch after a Vermont takeaway sent the Catamounts in on a two-on-one. Clendening will be one of BU’s defensemen as long as he chooses to stay, but he’ll only be one of the league’s best should he eliminate these issues.
  • The Terriers either don’t get it or don’t care. This BU team is one of the most talented in the country, and has everything required to win league and national championships — personnel-wise at least. In terms of work ethic, commitment and poise, BU lacks more than anyone in the league. The Catamounts were by far the superior team in the third period. Two Saturdays ago, the Terriers limped back to Boston after suffering a 7-1 defeat at UMass Lowell. Neither of those teams should give a club as talented as BU any major problems. However, the Terriers took just two of four points from those two games and didn’t really deserve any.

What they said

“I thought we played a pretty solid game for a while, but once it was 4-2, I thought we just reverted back to stupid, selfish.”

“We have a mindset that we can do what we want at times. We can play the way we want to play. We can play selfish, and we can play stupid because we’re winning 4-2. And Vermont’s not that good. They’re in last place in the league. Vermont should have won that game I thought.”  – BU coach Jack Parker

There really isn’t anything more to add. On paper, this is championship team. On the ice, they usually play that way for about 30 minutes or so. The remainder of the game seems like a good way to stats with a highlight reel goal or two. Parker wasn’t happy after the game, and his team really didn’t give him any reason to be.

What they didn’t say

Parker did not view any of the club’s on-ice problems as an extension of the small disciplinary issues it’s experienced to this point in the season. Millan was suspended for Friday’s game for skipping class. Senior winger Kevin Gilroy and junior defenseman Max Nicastro have also missed time this season for missing class. While these are fairly minors incidents, all three players are in good academic standing, Parker is up front with his players regarding team policy on class attendance affecting ice time. Each of these players, all upperclassmen, opted to ignore the warning fully aware that they would miss games. With all of that said, Millan will be in goal Saturday night.

What else you should know

BU hosts New Hampshire Saturday night in the clubs’ second meeting of the season. The Terriers defeated UNH, 5-0, on Oct. 8 at Agganis.

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