Saturday, December 10, 2016

Oettinger, BU Blank Vermont

BURLINGTON - Shooting percentage isn’t normally a stat tossed around in hockey. However, it is when a team shoots the lights out and that's exactly what BU did in the third period. The Terriers shot 100% in the third period tonight, going three for three to break open a 1-0, nail-biting contest at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Nick Roberto celebrates after scoring in the third to put BU
up 3-0.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
It started just 45 seconds into the final frame. Clayton Keller, after setting up some very promising looks last night on the man advantage, found the back of the net to double the Terrier lead. Jordan Greenway won a battle in the corner and worked the puck up top to Keller. From the dot, Keller patiently waited for a shooting lane to open. When he got his look, he didn’t miss, ringing a shot off the far post and in.

“Greenway did a great job retrieving the puck; we were able to keep the play alive and get a huge goal. A game changing goal. The power play delivered in a key time. Our power play was pivotal all weekend,” noted Coach Quinn after the game.

Nick Roberto scored on the second Terrier shot of the third with 3:56 to play. It was a high rising dart that beat Lekkas up stairs. Pat Curry picked up the lone assist on the play.

Back in the first, Chase Phelps opened the scoring on his first goal of the year. Oskar AndrĂ©n let go a shot from the high circle, and the rebound from UVM goalie Stefanos Lekkas dropped right in Phelps’ lap. From the bottom of the crease, the junior forward was able to swat home what turned out to be the eventual game winner.

Jake Oettinger was excellent in net. He turned aside 28 shots in total for his first road shutout of the year. Without a doubt, his most notable save was on a two on none at the tail end of the second period. He calmly followed the play and was in position to make a strong save after some quick passing.

“He made some huge saves,” mentioned Quinn. “A 2 on 0 and a 1 on 0, you don’t want to give those up and we obviously have to limit those opportunities. I thought we did a pretty good job defensively. We minimized our turnovers compared to last night and I thought we managed the puck better tonight.”

Brandon Hickey made it three for three in shots with an empty netter with a little over a minute to play.

Coach Quinn was pleased with his team’s effort tonight. “To come in here and play a really good hockey team and to play in the fashion we did after having a tough loss last night, I’m really proud of our guys.”

Yes, BU only generated three shots in the third, but there were some dominant stretches of hockey by all four lines. They didn’t generate shots, but there was no way Vermont was getting the puck out. Like Quinn said, the second goal was huge. It was a totally different game after that and with the way Oettinger was playing, a Vermont comeback didn’t seem possible.

BU is back at it on Tuesday at home against Yale in the final game before the semester break.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Forgione Tally The Difference, Cats Take Game One

BURLINGTON - It was a frustrating night for the Terriers, as they watched the UVM Catamounts score twice in the third period to bust open a 2-2 tie and, take game one of a two game set up here in Burlington.

Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas stones Charlie McAvoy at
the end of the first period, one of 20 saves on the night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Tom Forgione netted the game winner with 12:29 left in the third on a delayed penalty. The goal came after some serious UVM pressure that drew a Chad Krys holding call. Before BU could touch up, Forgione buried his fourth goal of the year to give the Cats a 3-2 lead.

BU never got a push in the third. They had some decent looks on the power play prior to the go-ahead goal, but not enough shots. In total, BU generated just five shots in the third period.

Back in the first, the Terriers got on the board early with a power play strike from Bobo Carpenter just 3:17 into the game. It was his third of the year, with assists from Kieffer Bellows and Chad Krys.

Midway through the frame, UVM found the equalizer when Anthony Petruzzelli scored his first goal of the year. It came after Vermont looked rather sloppy in their own end, but the game totally changed when Petruzzelli picked up a loose puck in the bottom of the circle and roofed it on Jake Oettinger.

Vermont took the lead with less than a minute to play in the period on the power play. Matt O’Donnell got a shot through from the right point that found it’s way up under the bar and past Oettinger for his first colligate goal.

BU answered with another power play goal in the second to tie it 2-2. Patrick Harper scored on a broken play after a strong setup by Clayton Keller and Jordan Greenway. Harper beat UVM goalie Stefanos Lekkas up top, as the netminder was out of position on the quick release by Harper in the slot.

Ross Colton sealed the deal with an empty netter with 1:05 remaining.

The third period did offer two nice brawls. It’s clear these teams don’t have very much love lost and also shows how competitive this series is. It should be interesting, as the two teams will go at it again tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Weekend With The Catamounts

From The Vault
Charlie McAvoy bodies UVM's Johnathan
Turk in last year's meeting on
December 4th, 2015. 
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
For a weekend series that really didn’t have a lot of flavor behind it when the schedule was first announced, this weekend's pair of games at Vermont could have a major impact on not only the Hockey East race, but the national tournament as well.

Vermont was a consensus pick to finish in the bottom of the league standings and well out of the top 16 in the PWR prior to the season. Add on to that the fact that they faced a hazing scandal involving the freshmen, which led to some of the players from last year’s roster being cut for “athletic reasons” (they over recruited), and the outlook for the season was bleak.

Well, UVM has been anything but dull so far. The Cats are 9-3-2, tied with Harvard for fourth in the PairWise (yeah, it’s about time to start looking at that, I guess), and sit in third place in Hockey East with nine points.

UVM is currently riding a six game unbeaten streak, in which they picked up four points over UMass, three points from Maine and, trounced Quinnipiac 5-1 in Belfast in the Friendship Four championship game. Other notable wins include a 3-0 blanking of Michigan at home and a 5-2 win at Clarkson to open the season.

BU has dominated Vermont in recent competition. The Terriers are 11-3-1 dating back to February 28, 2010, the last time UVM won two straight games against the Terriers. Last year the two teams split a two game series at Agganis in December, with Vermont winning 4-2 on Friday and BU scoring a 5-3 win on Saturday.

Scouting The Catamounts

Freshman Ross Colton leads the team in scoring with twelve points by way of a balanced six goals and six assists. Senior Captain Mario Puskarich, who was suspended five games in the hazing scandal, is second, coming in with five goals and five assists. Craig Puffer also has ten points, posting six goals and four assists.

Other players to watch include Jarid Privitera, Rob Darrar and Brady Shaw.

In goal, freshman Stefanos Lekkas has stolen the starting job from senior Mike Santaguida. In 11 games played, Lekkas is 8-1-2 with a 1.72 goals against average and a .940 save percentage. Satnaguida, on the other hand, is 1-2-0 and has registered a 3.66 GAA to go along with a .889 goals against.

BU Notes
- Clayton Keller could potentially be back this weekend. The Boston Hockey Blog reports he is “day to day”

- Tommy Kelley will be done for the rest of the semester with a lower body injury. He was walking around the rink on Friday in Providence with a boot on his foot.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekend Lookback: Boxed Up

Player of the Week
Nik Olsson
2 goals, no assists, 2 points.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Penalties. Penalties. Penalties. There is simply no other storyline from this past weekend’s series with the Providence Friars. Over the course of the two games, BU took 18 of them, including five alone in the first period on Friday night.
The Terriers did a nice job on the kill Friday, holding the Friars scoreless on the man advantage dispute having to kill off a five-minute major and an extended five on three. Even though Providence never found the back of the net on Friday, the penalties still took their toll.

“We had to kill eight minutes of penalties in the first period and that really took us out of our rhythm,” Said Coach Quinn.

Saturday was much of the same. BU took a staggering 10 penalties and was chasing the game from midway through the opening frame. Unlike the night before, PC was able to cash in on the power play once and scored again just one second after a Nick Roberto penalty expired.

Penalties were a major issue for the entire team, but maybe more so for Kieffer Bellows. Bellows only (I use that term nicely) took three penalties over the course of two games, but was benched for the majority of Saturday’s game. When asked about why Bellows was sat, Quinn simply said, “penalties.” Like the old toilet paper ads used to say “less is more.” I think that’s what we got from Quinn on this one.

Coming Back
The comeback: It’s been a staple of Dave Quinn’s BU teams since he took over in the Fall of 2013. BU once again dug themselves out of a late third period hole on Saturday night to salvage a 2-2 tie. Friday, despite not playing their best game and having a parade to the penalty box, the Terriers overcame a first period deficit by scoring two goals in the second to win 2-1.

“I’m not going to apologize for winning a hockey game that you don’t feel great about your performance in because the season has a funny way of playing out. There are going to be nights you play really well and you don’t win and there are gonna be nights you don’t play great and you win… I think we dodged a bullet,” Quinn said after Friday’s game.

They may have dodged a bullet, but they also showed some character. Good teams have to go through games like these and find a way to win (or tie). It’s these types of situations that help the team become battle tested for a playoff run in March and hopefully April.

Good To Be Back
Nik Olsson made an immediate impact in his return to the Terrier lineup this weekend. The junior forward from San Diego scored the game-winning goal Friday night and the game-tying goal with less than three minutes left on Saturday. According to Brian Kelley, BU’s director of Media, Olsson’s Friday night tally was his first since the 2015 Hockey East Championship game vs Lowell. BU has played 56 games since, and Olsson has missed 32 of them due to injury. His most recent setback was due to an undisclosed “upper body injury” that was reportedly not related to the shoulder injury that sidelined him for most last season. Olsson's last game was against Quinnipiac back on October 22nd.

Scoring In Bunches
Daily Free Press writer Nick Frazier pointed out after BU scored two quick goals on Friday that it was the fifth time this year the team had scored two goals in less than 1:25. Saturday, they scored two in 2:21.

At The Polls
BU jumped up one peg to 5th in the USCHO rankings. Minnesota Duluth was again number one and Denver was second. Making their first ever appearance in the top five was Penn State at three, while Boston College was fourth.

Hockey East Scoreboard
Boston College 2, @ Northeastern 1

Notre Dame 4, @ UMass 5
Maine 1, @ New Hampshire 5
UConn 3, @ Lowell 2
Boston University 2, @ Providence 1

Lowell 2, @ UConn 2 (OT)
Notre Dame 3, @ UMass 0
New Hampshire 4, @ Maine 3
Boston College 3 vs North Dakota 4 (at Madison Square Garden)
Providence 2, @ Boston University 2

Friday, December 2, 2016

BU Doubles up Providence

Tonight in Providence, Jake Oettinger and the BU penalty kill were able to propel the Terriers past the Friars behind two second period goals by Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Nik Olsson.

BU got into penalty trouble early in this one, taking five penalties in the first period. One of those was a contact to the head game misconduct by Nick Roberto that put the Terriers down a man for 5:00 minutes. Inside the major, John MacLoud was hit with a roughing call that gave PC an extended five on three.
Jake Oettinger makes one of 12 first period saves. The
freshman netminder finished with 38 on the night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
The Terriers were able to get a couple key blocks and some very timely saves by Oettinger to avoid going down big early.

“Certainly the story of the game was our goalie. He was immense. We had to kill 8 minutes of penalties in the first and that really took us out of our rhythm,” added coach Quinn.

Providence got on the board 4:46 into the game on a horrendous turnover behind the BU net by Charlie McAvoy. The puck squirted loose into the slot, where Kasper Bjorkqvist was able to take two good strides, cock back and fire a laser past Oettinger, who had no chance.

BU finally was able to gain some momentum in the second period after posting only four shots in the opening frame. JFK was able to break in on the far side and with speed, and then cut across the crease and beat PC goalie Hayden Hawkey blocker side on a backhander. McAvoy and Brandon Hickey picked up the assists.

Less than two minutes later, Nik Olsson found a loose puck in the bottom of the right wing circle, before gathering it and roofing a turnaround shot. It was his first goal since the 2015 Hockey East Championship Game.

Overall, Providence carried the majority of the play. They had several opportunities to tie it late, but Oettinger again slammed the door shut.

"I thought we were chasing the game for most of the night. We had a push in the second period when we got our two goals and looked like we were going to right the ship. Then we took another penalty and they really stoned us in the third," said Quinn.
It was the type of game where BU didn’t have their best effort but still came away with two points. It was something coach Quinn mentioned, saying, “anytime you can come on the road and get two points in Hockey East it is an accomplishment.”

BU will have to be better tomorrow night, as the two teams go back at it again at Agganis.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Third Period Surge Pushes BU Past Harvard

In yet another back and forth, blow for blow BU-Harvard game, the Terriers came out on top with a 5-3 win at Agganis in front of 4,556, thanks in large part to two timely third period goals.

Patrick Curry celebrates with Nick Roberto after scoring with
less than two minutes left in regulation.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
With the game tied after two frames, Nick Roberto netted the eventual game-winner 3:07 into the final stanza. It was a broken play that saw John MacLoud fire a shot wide off the end boards. Roberto corralled the puck and looked to make a centering pass to Gabriel Chabot, but the puck hit off Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen’s stick and into the back of the net. It was Roberto’s third goal of the season.

With the game still very much still in the balance and the potential for Harvard to pull the goalie, Patrik Curry all but sealed the deal with a strike with 1:30 left.

“Bobo [Carpenter] made a nice play off the wall and I had some speed coming through the middle. I was in on the goalie so fast, I just tried to put it low blocker and luckily it went in. It was nice to get the assurance goal,” said Curry about his goal.

Coach Quinn was generally pleased with his team, saying, “I thought we did a pretty good job taking away their forwards, I’m really proud of our guys. It’s a great way to go into a little break. We got the [next] weekend off and we knew we were gonna have to live with this result for 10 days. It’s a lot easier to live with a win.”

Harvard's Sean Malone got the scoring started back in the first period. It came just minutes after Doyle Somberly had a goal disallowed for goalie interference. Similar to Roberto’s goal, Malone attempted a centering pass that never found its intended target. Instead, his pass banked off a BU defender out in front and went through Connor LaCouvee’s legs.

Kieffer Bellows knotted the game less than four minutes later on a rebound goal from Patrick Curry and Charlie McAvoy.

BU had a chance to break open the period with an extended five on three at the end of the frame, but it was the Crimson who cashed in. Bellows attempted to walk the blue line and dump off a backhanded, no-look pass, but Alexander Kerfoot read the play and jumped the route. He walked in alone from the Terrier blue line and beat LaCouvee upstairs for a 3 on 5 shorthanded goal.

The game’s number one star, Patrick Harper leveled the game 23 seconds later on the power play. Dante Fabbro worked the puck down to Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson at the side of the cage. From there, Karlsson slipped a pass through the crease over to Harper, who had the whole net to shoot at. It was his 6th goal of the season.

“That was a huge goal. You didn’t want to live with a 5 on 3 shorthanded goal. That’s tough to swallow, but to be able to get it right back was huge,” added Quinn

BU took their first lead of the game 3:49 into the second. Dante Fabbro wristed home a power play goal from the left point, beating Madsen for his third goal of the year.

30 seconds later, Malone struck again, wristing home a shot from the right wing dot over LaCouvee’s shoulder and in the far side. It was a rather weak moment for LaCouvee, in an otherwise strong game from the junior netminder.

This was a strong bounce back win for the team after a 4-0 blanking by UConn on Saturday. It will certainly go a long way in the PairWise rankings come tournament time.

BU is now off ten days. Their next game is Friday, December 2nd at Providence.

Harvard Preview

BU looks to bounce back from a disappointing 4-0 shutout against UConn on Saturday night when the host the Harvard Crimson at Agganis at 7:00 tonight. It will be the final game of the month of November for the Terriers, as they are off next weekend.
From The Vault
BU's Chris Connolly and Harvard's Connor Morrison
battle for a loose puck at center ice in a 5-2 BU win on
 January 15, 2011. Connolly had two goals in this game.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)   

Connor LaCouvee, who picked up his first win of the season in his first start on Friday night at Uconn will be in net for BU. He made 28 saves and allowed just one goal in his first start since February 20th.

Harvard comes into this game on a tear. They are 5-1-1 on the year and last weekend snapped Boston College’s 10 game win streak with a dominating 5-2 victory over the Eagles at home. Harvard’s only loss came at the hands of the Quinnipiac Bobcats two weeks ago in Hamden.

Last year, the BU-Harvard game in early January at the Bright Center was easily the most entertaining game of the season. Harvard had a 5-3 lead with less than four minutes left in the third, only to see Matt Grzelcyk, Danny O’Regan, and Ahti Oksanen all score in just over two minutes for BU to steal a 6-5 win.

Scouting the Crimson
Harvard is led offensively by Tyler Moy. The senior forward from San Diego has five goals and six assists for eleven points in seven games played. Fellow senior Sean Malone has chipped in with four goals and five assists. Harvard has averaged 4.13 goals per game. Not bad for a team that lost Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo off their roster from a year ago. Alex Kerfoot, who was their second leading scorer with 34 points (four goals, 34 assists) last year. has eight points on the year, good for third on the team.

In goal, Merrick Madsen is the only netminder to see time. He is 5-1-1, with one shutout (against Arizona State) with a .924 save percentage and a 1.85 goals against average.