Don't Call It a Comeback
After Missing a Year, BU’s Maguire Takes Back Terrier Net
by Christopher Boulay/CHN Writer
Any major injury is difficult to bounce back from, but for players that do, flourishing when they return can be even harder.
Boston University goaltender Sean Maguire missed the entirety of the 2014-15 season due to a concussion sustained in practice before the Terriers played Notre Dame in the first round of the Hockey East tournament in March 2014. The injury, which occurred on a collision with teammate Mike Moran, was so severe it forced him to temporarily withdraw from the school.
“I definitely didn’t want to sit out for the year, but I think that in the long run, it was the mature decision,” Maguire said. “I have to live with my brain for the rest of my life, and hockey only lasts so long. I’m fortunate that I had so much support behind me, pointing me in the right direction.”
Not only was it difficult to miss a season while recovering, the netminder had to watch as his teammates made a run all the way to the national championship game. Despite his allegiances to his school and his friends, there were personal frustrations attached to it.
“There’s two ways of looking at it,” Maguire said. “Obviously, myself being a part of this program, being a part of BU, I love seeing the team have success. But, at the same time, it’s like watching another guy take my girlfriend on a date.”
Terriers coach David Quinn felt for his goaltender, especially due to the unique injury situation that comes with concussions.
“It’s hard, especially when the team has the success we had last year,” Quinn said. “It’s not a broken hand or a blown knee. It’s something that’s tough to put your arms around. He handled it well. We’re glad he’s back.”
Maguire rejoined the team for the fall semester, and began this season in a tandem with Connor LaCouvee. The Powell River, B.C., native posted a .919 save percentage and a 3-12-0 record during his previous season in 2013-14 — one that the team struggled to a 10-21-4 finish. It was expected that this season would be different, for both him and BU, but Maguire struggled early.
Through his first three starts — Union, Connecticut and Merrimack — he was 1-2-0 with an even-strength save percentage of just .800. During the second period of the Merrimack game, Quinn yanked Maguire in favor of LaCouvee.
“I think he was putting a lot of pressure on himself,” Quinn said. “I know after the Merrimack game, I took him out after four goals on 14 shots. He just said ‘I was so excited for the game. Probably too excited.’ That can happen — trying too hard. We have a lot of faith in him. He knew that.”
After the Merrimack loss, he wouldn’t start for another eight games, when he led the Terriers to a 15-save 3-0 shutout of Bentley two days before Thanksgiving. Another strong performance against Vermont followed in December before he made 37 saves against Quinnipiac in Hamden, giving the Bobcats their first loss of the season.
“I was pretty confident when we put him in the net for the Quinnipiac game that he was going to give us a good performance, and that’s what he did,” Quinn said.
The Quinnipiac result may be the catalyst that gave the Terriers the confidence to go on a run — BU is 5-1-1 from that game on — but Maguire’s successes date back to that Bentley game. He now has an even-strength save percentage of .916, and from the Bentley game on, it’s been an impressive .941.
Maguire credits his success to paying attention to what he can control on the ice at a given time. He’s put the rough start behind him, and just focuses in on what he has to deal with when it arrives.
“I can’t really explain the feeling of challenging a shooter and knowing you’re going to stop it,” Maguire said. “If it goes in, you’re going to stop the next one. That’s my mentality, really. Talking with multiple different people that I know, goalie coaches, old coaches, I combine a lot of what they have told me. I just put things together and just live in the moment. That’s one of the biggest things I want to force myself to do. Not worry about the last minute, not the future minute, but just the exact second you’re in right now. That’s something that’s really turned my game around.”
Quinn confirmed that the job is now Maguire’s to lose.
“When you play like that, you keep rolling with the guy that’s running with it,” Quinn said. “He’s taken the bull by the horns.”
The Beanpot is just days away, but first, Boston University has its final tuneup — a home game against Merrimack on Friday. In the same mindset that he keeps when between the pipes, Maguire doesn’t want to look too far forward.
“I’m not really thinking about the Beanpot or the national championship,” Maguire said. “I’m just focusing on Merrimack. We owe them one, that’s for damn sure.”
Despite this, there’s a fire in the senior that wants a chance at what his teammates experienced last season.
“Taking a year off, I’m anxious to win,” Maguire said. “I want to win. I know we can.”
At this rate, with this talented goaltender in a groove, the Terriers will have every opportunity.