Friday, April 13, 2018

Cohen on The Fast Track in Broadcast Career

Colby Cohen was named an All 
Amarican in 2011 after scoring 14
 goals from the blue line that season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens/2010)
Nine years ago Wednesday, Terrier defensemen Colby Cohen scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the 2009 national title game to cap off one of the most historic comebacks in college hockey history. Wednesday night also marked Cohen’s first NHL playoff game, not as a player but as a broadcaster.

Cohen first crackled the airwaves before his playing career was even over. After three years at BU, Cohen signed with the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted the Villanova, Pennsylvania native 45th overall in 2007. Cohen played three games for the Avalanche in 2010, before being traded to Boston.

He never quite made it back to the NHL, despite playing 147 games for the Providence Bruins and being a “black ace” for the 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup run. Cohen finished his playing career overseas in Finland and Slovakia, before finishing up in Britain with the Nottingham Panthers in 2015.

During his final season, while recovering from groin surgery, Cohen got his first crack at broadcasting. Like most broadcasting careers, some things just happen by chance.

“Jamie Erdahl was a friend of mine and someone at NESN asked her to ask me if I wanted to come and do a show,” described Cohen. One thing led to another and Cohen was on air for a NESN studio show for Friday night college hockey. He later would work the intermission reports for NESN in the Beanpot and Hockey East tournaments.

For a guy who was not a broadcast major in college, Cohen is very much on the fast track to a long career in the field. Normally a well known and reputable station like NESN is not where people break into the field.

“I really enjoyed my time at NESN because they gave me an opportunity and they had producers that believed in me and saw something in me,” said Cohen. “They gave me my first ever chance and the fact that the first network I ever went on was New England Sports Net, which is a pretty well-respected network, really helped me when I did stop playing and I started doing this more for real.”

Cohen may have traded in his skates and stick for a microphone, but ended up right back in the rinks. After a few appearances on NESN, Cohen jumped in on the broadcast for the 2016 NCAA regionals in Cincinnati with Allen Bestwick.

Much like the game-winning goal in 2009, getting on the call for those games in Cincinnati took a bit of fortune. ESPN had a few BU alums working as producers and found out Cohen had done a bit of TV work and obviously, knew he played the game. Thanks to a last minute drop out, Cohen got the call.

“I just kinda lucked into it. That was the first serious game I had and that parlayed into doing some games with CBS and American Sports Network which then parlayed into another regional. I kinda just got lucky a couple times.”

In a similar path outlined by the NCAA tournament, Cohen moved on from the regionals to the Frozen Four. Last year in Chicago, Cohen was a radio broadcaster for Westwood One. Seven years after playing for a national title, Cohen was describing one on the air.

Of course, radio is not TV. It requires a different skill set in comparison to a TV broadcast, but thanks to the people at Westwood One, Cohen found the transition pretty seamless.

“Their producers care so much about the product that they work with you. I’ve learned more working for Westwood One and I’ve gotten better at what I do working for Westwood One than another network just because my producers give me such specific feedback on my shows.”

The quick learning Cohen got the chance of a lifetime this past winter to work the Olympics in PyeongChang. While he may have wished he was on the ice with his former Terrier teammates Matt Gilroy and John McCarthy, Cohen still found the experience amazing.

“It was an experience I really wanted to take part in as a player and definitely it was something that made me miss playing. But it was a phenomenal experience getting to call Team USA and the Women’s gold medal game. It's definitely something that I will carry with me and remember as a broadcaster.”

The Olympics were also a huge learning tool for Cohen. The quickly rising talent got a front row seat to see not only great hockey, but world-class broadcasters. Ray Ferraro, Darren Pang and Kenny Albert are just a few who were on the calls in PyeongChang.

Like a good player who studies film and watches to see how other players might perform a certain skill, Cohen has taken that approach in the broadcast booth as well.

“You really have to find your own style. You can’t really worry about getting caught up in trying to be someone else. There are four or five guys who I think are just phenomenal at what they do and I try to watch them and take little things from them. I try and see what they do and I try to see how to make it work for me without changing who I am.”

Wednesday night, Cohen called his first NHL playoff game, a 1-0 win for Vegas over Los Angeles. He will be on again in the coming days, working for Westwood One.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

End of the Line - Updated

BU finally went to the well one too many times before it dried up Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, as Michigan put a swift end to BU’s impressive late-season run with a 6-3 victory over the Terriers to advance to the Frozen Four.

In the case of every season-ending loss, emotions were on display at the postgame press conference. Here are a few clips:

Throughout the postseason run, the resilient Terriers never stopped battling. BU overcame 1-0 and 3-1 deficits, but this time was never able to get the lead. In the second period, with Michigan leading 3-1 on goals from Quinn Hughes, Toney Calderone and Brendon Warren, BU’s Patrick Curry put home a wraparound goal to cut the Wolverine lead in half, midway through the second frame. 

Drew Melanson then tied the game 3:30 into the third period. Jordan Greenway, who notched the first Terrier goal, caused a turnover right in front of Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne (24 saves). From the edge of the crease, Melanson corralled the puck and slipped it in behind Lavigne for his sixth goal of the year. 

Drew Melanson scores his final goal as a Terrier, after coming
to BU for one season as a graduate transfer from RPI.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Michigan had an answer less than three minutes later. Jake Slaker skated in one-on-four across the BU blue line before unloading a shot at the top of the circle that deflected off BU defenseman Cam Crotty and fluttered past Terrier netminder Jake Oettinger (16 saves). 

“We seemed a little bit nervous,” said coach Quinn. “I thought as the game went on, we got a little bit better. We kinda found our rhythm. We did a lot of good things and then we made it 3-3 and you could feel the energy on the bench and then just, unfortunately, one goes off a shin-pad and in the net.”    

BU had a few chances to tie up the game, but Nicholas Boka picked a good time to net his first goal of the year, scoring with less than 3:42 left to ice the Terriers. Nick Pastujov added an empty net goal minutes later to round out the scoring. 

Michigan is back in the Frozen Four for the first time since 2011 when they lost to Minnesota-Duluth in overtime of the National Championship game in St. Paul. Michigan will face Notre Dame in the national semifinals and Duluth matches up with Ohio State. 

For BU, a season that started with unreasonably high expectations considering the talent that departed early (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller) ended exactly where last year’s team finished. Like Quinn said, to go from where this team was on January 6th (8-11-1), to win Hockey East and an NCAA tournament game is pretty remarkable. 

Let’s also not forget, Patrick Harper, the only skater on the roster to average more than a point a game, didn’t play a single game after January 6th due to a season-ending illness. In his absence, Jordan Greenway and Bobo Carpenter took over the scoring lead, but it also allowed some of the younger guys to develop.

Logan Cockerill exploded onto the scene second semester, scoring critical goals, including one in the Beanpot semis against Harvard and the game winner in game two of the Hockey East Quarterfinals vs UConn. In that stretch, the freshman recorded a 10 game point streak from January 26th to March 10th. 

David Farrance, while he fit in nicely at forward for a bit, was shifted back to defense the weekend of the Hockey East championships at Boston Garden. He immediately looked more confident and his stats mirrored that. Farrance scored, at the time, the game-tying goal against Boston College in the semis and the game-winner against Cornell last weekend at the NCAA’s. He was also named to the "All-Regional Team." 

David Farrance celebrates after scoring the go-ahead goal against Cornell on Saturday afternoon 
(Photos by Matt Dresens)

The big names recruits - Brady Tkachuk and Shane Bowers - showed why they were so highly touted. Bowers was an instrumental piece on the second line with Bobo Carpenter and Logan Cockerill. When Greenway returned from Olympic competition, Tkachuk and senior Drew Melanson formed a surprisingly dominate top line for the Terriers that scored near every ‘big time’ goal down the stretch. 

Unfortunately, only one of those three will even potentially be back in the lineup next Fall. Obviously, Melanson being a senior means he’s graduating. In the case of Greenway’s, the junior from Canton, New York finally inked a deal with the Minnesota Wild and could be in the lineup tomorrow against Nashville. A lot still up in the air with Tkachuk, as well. He will undoubtedly be a top-10 pick come the NHL Draft in June. 

There is certainly a lot to like about where the program is right now. If Greenway is the only early departure, the team is still in fantastic shape going into next year. NTDP players Jake Wise and Joel Farabee headline yet another top-notch recruiting class for Quinn and staff. 

Yes, it's disappointing the way it ended, but there is a lot to look forward to for BU hockey. 

BU, Skate Michigan For Spot in St. Paul

Originally published on WTBU Sports

For the first time since 1997, BU has a date with the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament; and this time the winner will advance to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. The two teams will square off in the Northeast Regional Final in their ninth-ever matchup in the postseason – the most against any opponent for the Terriers. BU is 5-4 against the Wolverines all-time in the playoffs as the 1991 meeting between the two teams was a best-of-three series (BU won 2-0).
From The Vault
Former Terrier Matt Lane scores against Michigan in a
November 21, 2015, loss to the Wolverines at Agganis.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Fourth-seeded BU knocked off top seed Cornell, 3-1, in the early game, while Michigan dropped Northeastern, 3-2. Cooper Marody scored his second of the night for U of M with 4:30 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie that proved to be the eventual game-winner for the Wolverines.

Speaking of Marody, he tops the Michigan scoring charts with 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points. Tony Calderone has paced Michigan in goals scored with 23. Other players to watch include Brendon Warren, Quinn Hughs and Dexter Dancs.

Michigan ended the season on a hot streak, winning seven straight before falling to Ohio State in the Big 10 Semifinals. The Wolverines seemed to fly a bit under the radar this year, despite closing at eighth in the PairWise and landing a two seed in the Northeast Region.

Both BU and Michigan split a pair of games last season in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines winning game one, 4-0, and the Terriers rebounding with a 4-2 victory the second night.

Puck drop is scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Oettinger, Freshman Best Big Red

The beat goes on!

Behind three goals from the freshman class, BU knocked off number three seed Cornell 3-1 in the opening game of the NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, MA. BU is back in the “Great Eight” for the second consecutive year and awaits the winner of Michigan-Northeastern

Men's Hockey vs Cornell (NCAA 1st Round) 3/24/18
Photos by Matt Dresens

Cornell’s Trevor Yates opened the scoring 7:27 into the second frame, but Shane Bowers had the answer just 36 seconds later. David Farrance then clanged a one-timer off the post and in from a Brady Tkachuk pass from behind the goal line to give BU the lead 4:39 into the third.

Logan Cockerill added an empty-net goal in the final minute to secure the win.

Jake Oettinger was fantastic this afternoon, stopping 30 Cornell shots.

Friday, March 23, 2018

BU, Cornell Set For Tournament Tangle

First Published on WTBU Sports

So, by now you have probably heard No. 13 BU won the Hockey East Championship last weekend. You probably also have caught wind that the Terriers are playing in a rematch of Red Hot Hockey against No.4 Cornell in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon in Worcester, Mass.

Cornell, unlike BU, lost in the semifinals of the ECAC tournament last weekend to Princeton, 4-1, at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Big Red are 25-5-2 on the year and landed the third overall seed in their second straight NCAA tournament appearance. A year ago, Cornell was blanked 5-0 by UMass-Lowell in Manchester, N.H. in the first round.

BU (21-13-4), on the other hand, is making their fourth consecutive trip to the national tournament. This is the longest streak in program history since the 1990’s when the Terriers ran off eight successive appearances from 1990 to 1998. This is the first time BU has been selected to play in an eastern regional when they are neither a one seed or a tournament host since the NCAA adopted the 16-team format in 2003.

“Its nice because the last few years we have been out west,” said coach Dave Quinn. “It’s going to be nice to have some fan support. Hopefully, we get a big crowd. Our crowd over the weekend was outstanding. I think it had a little bit with the way we played. Our guys feed off that energy.”

Along with fan support, one of the main factors enabling BU to go on their immersive playoff run has been the play of their top line. Drew Melanson, Brady Tkachuk and Jordan Greenway have been a dominating force since Greenway returned from Olympic competition in late February.

Since Greenway arrived back on campus, Melanson has scored four goals, including three in Hockey East Tournament play alone. Not to mention, he scored the game-winner on Saturday against Providence on a play where both Greenway and Tkachuk won battles below the goal line in order to find the RPI transfer alone out front.

“I think we all compliment each other pretty well,” added Melanson. “Those two guys can be real beasts down low. They both think the game really well, and it just gives myself more opportunity to play offense.”

Scouting The Big Red
The Madison Square Garden meeting back in last November yielded a 4-3 Cornell victory, but that wasn’t without some serious pressure from the Terriers in the later stages of play. BU trailed 3-0 entering the third period and got it to 4-3 before the final buzzer killed the BU comeback.

BU has matured a lot since the first encounter in the Big Apple. Coach Quinn was quick to point that out Thursday afternoon after practice.

“Its funny, we have been watching the game and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, ‘oh, we don’t do that anymore.’ There’s just a lot more continuity. I think it's going to be a completely different hockey game than the one people saw in November.”

Cornell is an extremely balanced team, with not one dominating figure on the stat sheet. In fact, four players have over 20 points and a staggering 15 skaters have hit the double watermark. That said, the hallmark of this Cornell team is defense.

The Big Red ranked tops in the nation in team defense, allowing just 1.53 goals per game. They play a complementary brand of hockey to that of Providence; for comparison, PC ranked ninth in the nation, allowing 2.18 goals per game.

“They do play similar styles. It’s gonna be that strong, tough, down-low grind that we faced against Providence,” Quinn voiced.

Emerging from the pack offensively is junior Anthony Angello, who has netted an even 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points on the year. Right behind him is Trever Yates. Yates, a senior from Beaconsfield, Quebec has 25 points on a dozen goals and 13 assists. Other players to watch include Alex Rauter, Jeff Malott, Mitch Vanderlaan and Brenden Locke.

Between the pipes, Matthew Galajda has been nothing but incredible. The freshman from Aurora, Ontario holds a .940 save percentage and a 1.49 goals-against average, to go along with his 21-4-2 record. Galajda was recently named a finalist for the Mike Richter Award for the nation’s top goaltender. The other finalists are Denver’s Tanner Jaillet, Cale Morris from Notre Dame, Colton Point out of Colgate and Northeastern’s Cayden Primeau.

“You gotta make him move and you gotta take his eyes away,” Quinn explained on how to beat the stout Cornell netminder. “No matter what goalie you are playing, you have to get there [in front of the net] and you got to make it hard for him. One of the things we talked about is, you got to go be the goalie. Who’s going to go stand on top of him? If we do that, we got a chance to score.”

BU and Cornell have played twice before in the NCAA tournament and both games were on the grand stage. In 1967, a goalie named Ken Dryden backstopped the Big Red to a 4-1 win and their first national title in program history. BU got their revenge five years later, winning the National Championship against Cornell in 1972 at Boston Garden by a score of 4-0.

Overall, Cornell leads the all-time series 26-19-3.

Puck drop is slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Worcester.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hockey East Championship Photos

Drew Melanson's third period strike proved to be the game-winner, as BU prevailed 2-0 in the 2018 Hockey East Championship game over Providence and will qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Men's Hockey vs Providence, Hockey East Championship  (3/17/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens