In the first game of a home-and-home series against BU, No. 16 men’s hockey faced a 3-0 shutout by Boston University. As the Huskies cling to eighth place in Hockey East standings, only the second game of the series stands between them and the quarterfinals.
“We didn’t respond well enough, so [it was] unacceptable this time of the year where we’re fighting for a playoff spot,” said NU head coach Jim Madigan. “Our season’s on the line tomorrow, so if we have a notion of wanting to get in the playoffs and controlling our own destiny then it’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Across all three periods of play, Northeastern (17-13-3, 10-12-1 HEA) failed to match the level of offense brought by Boston University (13-12-8, 10-8-5 HEA). The Huskies ended with only 16 total shots, just about half of the 31 shots by the Terriers.
The first period was slow, as both teams attempted to establish dominance on the ice. By the end of the first, neither team had scored.
As BU maintained their powerful offense during the second period, NU started feeling the pressure. At 7:11, the puck snuck behind fifth-year senior goaltender Craig Pantano following a shot by BU senior forward Patrick Curry, giving the Terriers a one-score lead.
Another BU goal at 14:26 demonstrated the talent of their defensemen. Junior defenseman David Farrance passed the puck to junior defenseman Cam Crotty, who tipped it in front of Pantano with a low right-hand shot.
Heading into the third, the Huskies faced a two-goal deficit. With precision and focus, it was possible to overcome. However, the Terriers ended up getting the best of them, with a 5:23 goal by BU freshman forward Wilmer Skoog that pushed the score to 3-0.
With 2:30 left in the period, Pantano left the net in order to give the Huskies their greatest chance of scoring. Despite their efforts, the game ended with a Husky shutout by BU graduate goaltender Sam Tucker.
“The seniors have been a big part of this program and they’ve created a lot of success for the program for themselves and in being part of, you know, a lot of great achievements,” Madigan said, reflecting on their senior night loss. “We need those guys still to lead to get us into a playoff spot so we can achieve some of the goals that we set in front of us that are still there, but we need to do it about face pretty quickly here.”
The Huskies will look to even out the home-and-home against BU tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Agganis Arena. While UNH took a 2-1 loss against BC tonight, the Hockey East playoffs are still not guaranteed for the Huskies. If UNH takes a win against BC tomorrow and NU takes another loss against BU, the Huskies will lose any chance of heading to the quarterfinals.