Men’s Hockey: In midst of three-game slump No. 3 BU heads to Durham to face No. 18 UNH

Featured image: Kota Tsukada

By Alexa Podalsky 

No. 3 Boston University Men’s Hockey (16-7-1, 11-4-1 HE) is reeling after three straight losses against two in-town rivals, with one game left to right the ship before taking the stage at TD Garden for the 71st Beanpot semifinals. This weekend, they have a chance to head into Monday night with some momentum if they pick up the win against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (13-8-1, 6-5-1 HE), another Hockey East opponent.

The Terriers had two last-minute losses and one bigger loss against two opponents they could meet again in the coming weeks, No. 1 Boston College and Northeastern University. They lacked discipline in their last few games, making it a determining factor in Friday’s outcome. 

“[I’m] a little disappointed that we can’t find ways to capitalize earlier in the game,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said following the loss to Northeastern. “For whatever reason, the puck’s not going in easy for us.”

Since Jan. 26, BU has seemed to play in a lull despite not leaving the ice with a loss since Nov. 25 against Cornell. Pandolfo said the team is addressing their difficulty in scoring on even strength, a seemingly new issue for the former top-ranked team. 

“At some point, you’re gonna go through it,” Pandolfo said. He noted that the team faced adversity at a similar point last season, and the team is focused on “working their way out of it.”

A win against the Wildcats, tied for sixth in the Hockey East, might be crucial in preparation for the Beanpot. The two teams first went head-to-head on Oct. 13 where then-unranked UNH handed top-ranked BU their first loss of the season. 

The Terriers had difficulty developing a young team and a new goalie in October, a problem they seemed to fix after shutting out UNH three games before a 1-4 loss against BC. Heading towards Friday, Boston has a new issue they need to address: penalties. 

BU received 14 penalties in their last three matchups, resulting in 28 minutes of penalty-kill time. The team has recorded at least three penalties since the beginning of the season and at one point reached 10 in one game. UNH has received 89 penalties while Boston has 118, so staying out of the box should be a major focus in the locker room. 

The Terriers will play UNH on Friday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. in Durham, NH. With only one game separating them from the Beanpot, BU has one last chance to separate themselves from their losing streak. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+ and TSN+.