By Taylor Raglin
BU News Service
If the Boston University men’s hockey team stumbled in Tuesday’s upset loss to Merrimack, its first game as a national No. 1 in over two years, it fell flat on its face Friday night inside Agganis Arena.
The Terriers were again bested by the Warriors, coming out on the wrong end of a 4-1 final in the back half of the home-and-home series. Merrimack benefited from a pair of two-goal games, as junior Brett Seney and sophomore Michael Babcock each pierced Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger twice.
It was Merrimack’s first sweep of the Terriers. The two teams began facing off in 1964.
Injury was added to insult for BU, as junior assistant captain Nikolas Olsson left the game with an apparent leg injury in the first period.
Olsson went down hard after a collision in the corner of the Merrimack zone, appearing to favor his right leg while being helped off the ice and down the tunnel. Olsson, who fell victim to a season-ending injury in 2015-16, did not return to the BU bench.
“It’s not good. We don’t know for sure, but it’s not good,” Terrier head coach David Quinn said. “Our guys knew how severe his injury was, and I think that might’ve had something to do with [a decline in play after the incident]. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse.”
The teams traded power play goals in the first frame Friday night, with Seney and BU’s Clayton Keller each cashing in on the man advantage. The goal, Keller’s 11th of the year, extended the freshman’s point streak to a dozen games.
“He’s a dynamic player that makes a lot happen out there every time he’s on the ice,” Quinn said. “But we have a lot of good players that, right now, aren’t playing well. We need everybody to step their game up.”
It was all Warriors from there. Seney struck again in the second period, cruising in and picking another corner on Oettinger to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead that they would carry into the second intermission. Babcock added an unassisted shorthanded tally with 14:49 remaining in the game, then beat Oettinger again with 9:31 to play to put Merrimack ahead 4-1 and salt the victory away.
“I remember last year, when we had a tough January, coach kept saying [if] you make deposits, you’re going to get a withdrawal,” Babcock said. “I think we’ve been making a lot of deposits the last couple of weeks … We thought that we had enough to beat Boston University twice, and we did.”
Merrimack’s Collin Delia was outstanding between the pipes for the Warriors, making 36 saves and keeping the game tight until his club’s offensive outburst.
“When he’s been healthy, he’s been really good for us. He’s got a really calm influence about him … he doesn’t get fazed by much,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “As good as he is physically, I think it’s his [mental game] that separates him.”
The Terriers will get another chance to right the ship Saturday as they host No. 7 UMass Lowell in a top-10 contest. The matchup will get underway at 7 p.m. inside Agganis Arena.
Quinn, who noted the absence of tough, detail-oriented play in Friday’s game, said his players need to get back to doing the little things right.
“They want to take all of the stuff they can do in the driveway and the shooting room and look like a Harlem Globetrotter and make pretty plays,” he said. “This isn’t about pretty plays, and somehow that’s crept back into our game. It better get out in a hurry, because we’ve got a really hard game tomorrow night, that’s for sure.”