BOSTON - After a hot start to the David Quinn era last weekend with wins over local rivals UMass and Holy Cross, No. 15 Boston University stumbled a bit on Friday evening at Agganis Arena in a 3-1 loss to RPI.
Despite watching his team allow two goals in the first five minutes of the first period, Quinn took away some positives from the contest, including a much-improved effort in the second period.
“When you go down 2-0 that early, it kind of puts you on your heels a little bit,” Quinn said. “After about the 10 or 11-minute mark of the first period, I thought we found our legs and the tides started to turn a little bit.”
Senior Matt Tinordi and junior Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) scored RPI’s goals at 3:25 and 4:57 of the first period, before much of the second period was played without any scoring.
Engineer head coach Seth Appert was very encouraged with his team’s bounce-back effort and their ability to jump out fast, letting last Sunday’s loss to Boston College go without any further setback. The two quick strikes and an aggressive finish were definite keys to making that happen.
“Every win is a good win,” Appert said. “Especially on the road against a quality opponent like Boston University. ... We believe we have a good team this year and good teams respond to poor performances with strong performances the next night, so I thought we had a solid third period in a tight situation.”
BU fourth-line rookie Kevin Duane (New Canaan, Conn.) changed the complexion of the contest a bit with one minute remaining in the second, running down Broadway before putting a shot off the glove of RPI junior goalie Scott Diebold, off a beautiful pass from sophomore Ahti Oksanen.
“He does a lot of smart things,” Quinn said of Duane, who joined the Terrier program from the EJHL’s Boston Jr. Bruins and The Brunswick School. “He has a great reach, I thought he kept a lot of pucks alive with his stick. He makes a lot of subtle plays. He got that extra ice time because he deserved it.”
The play of the Terriers’ nine-member rookie class has been invaluable to BU’s early success. Seven freshmen dressed in each of last weekend’s wins over UMass and Holy Cross, while Quinn put eight on the ice Friday night.
Oksanen, who had four goals and 17 points as a rookie, has gotten off to a strong start in his sophomore season. The Finland native has provided assists on five of BU’s seven goals so far this year.
“He’s very offensively gifted,” BU senior co-captain Patrick MacGregor (Hamden, Conn.) said of Oksanen. “He’s a threat to the other team. When he gets the puck, it seems like he makes a great play every time. ... This year, he’s been playing well on defense too, so he’s a well-rounded defenseman and I thought he really elevated his game a lot.”
The Terriers won’t have much time to mourn their first loss of the season, with Wisconsin coming to Agganis Saturday night (7 p.m.) to finish off a four-game BU homestand.
Quinn knows that his bunch will need a much quicker start out of the gate in order to tame the visitors, who suffered a 9-2 beating at Boston College Friday night.
“We didn’t play 60 minutes, we played 50 with an effort. Of course, there are going to be mistakes and you hope to improve in certain areas. ... If we came for 60, it might have been a different story,” Quinn said. “Maybe we would have got a goal early on when we weren’t ready to play. We’ll have to improve.”