BU's Broken Home
Loss Extends Streak at Agganis Arena to 4
by Scott McLaughlin/CHN Writer
BOSTON Like any team, Boston University is hoping to play on home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Terriers currently sit in third in Hockey East, two points behind Boston College in the race for the regular-season title and one point ahead of Maine in the race for the fourth and final home-ice spot. There's only one problem for the Terriers — they haven't been winning at home.
With their 4-2 loss to Massachusetts-Lowell on Saturday, the Terriers have now lost four straight at Agganis Arena for the first time since it opened and four straight at home for the first time since 1987. The streak started with a sweep at the hands of Maine three weekends ago, then continued with a loss to Massachusetts last Friday. BU coach Jack Parker said Saturday's loss wasn't the product of any sort of ongoing problem, though.
"I can't attribute this one to anything," Parker said. "I loved my team tonight. I loved how hard we played. I loved how smart we played. ... I thought we played really, really well in all three zones."
Parker went on to say that although his team has had a couple bad games at home, he has actually liked the way it played in some of those other losses as well. The Terriers are now just 7-7-0 at home on the season, and six of their eight losses in conference play have come at Agganis, but Parker immediately said he liked his team's effort in four of those losses.
"(Saturday's loss to Lowell), the two Maine games, the first Merrimack game (in November), I think we played great in those games. I thought we played extremely well tonight. The game that got us going (earlier in the season), I thought, was the Merrimack game when we played great here at home just before we went to BC," Parker said, referencing a 5-0 win over the Eagles two days later.
Good games or not, the fact remains that the Terriers' record at home is far from intimidating. The recent losing streak becomes even more perplexing when you consider that they've won five straight on the road, with their last two coming in hostile environments against very good Merrimack and Lowell squads.
In the past two seasons, when the Terriers have struggled at home, Parker has pointed to his team's inability to get itself mentally prepared for games. According to him, though, that hasn't been much of a problem this season. Still, the Terriers know they need to find some way to reverse their fortunes at home.
"It's something we're gonna have to change, absolutely," said senior captain Chris Connolly. "We want this to be a difficult place for other teams to come in and play. We're fighting for home ice in the playoffs, and we definitely want to be in this building. We seem to have the road thing figured out as of late, but the home thing should be the easier part for us. We haven't quite figured that out."
Connolly said the Terriers prepare for every game — home or road — the same way, so he doesn't think they need any sort of overhaul of their pregame routine. Like Parker, he struggled to pinpoint the problem, if there even is one.
"We do the same team meals and all that stuff on game day," Connolly said. "We do the same morning skate and everything. For whatever reason, we just seem to have a little lack of focus at home versus on the road. Maybe it's just being in a comfortable environment."
Despite achieving the dubious feat of four straight home losses, the Terriers aren't panicking. As Parker pointed out, they have played well in several of those losses.
However, the Terriers now have just one more regular-season home game to right the ship. They host Northeastern in two weeks in a game they hope will restore their confidence should they get home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals. The Terriers would still much rather play at home than on the road in that first round, but entering the series with five straight home losses would be far from ideal.