Thursday, February 11, 2016

This Week In '06: The Higgins Goal

BU's win streak contiued to roll into a one game showdown with Lowell on February 3rd. They topped the River Hawks on the road in the last game prior to the Beanpot. Sean Sullivan, Brad Zancanaro, Peter MacArthur, Brandon Yip and Chris Higgins all scored in the 5-1 win. John Curry's shutout bid was snapped with less than two minutes to go by Kim Brandvold. He made 32 saves on the night.

That took the win streak to eight games in a row.

February 6, 2006
It was BU and Harvard in the opening round of the Beanpot. This was my first ever Beanpot game and boy was it a memorable one. With BU leading 1-0 off a Boomer Ewing goal just 1:23 into the game, Chris Higgins scored the undisputed greatest highlight-reel goal I have ever seen in person. I'm not even going to attempt to try and describe it, I just leave you with this video:


“We were in shock,” Terrier co-captain Brad Zancanaro said of the reaction on the bench. “That was a pretty phenomenal move.”

Harvard cut into the BU lead before the end of the first, but the Terriers answered back with two goals in the second from Lawrence and Zancanaro to take a 4-1 lead into the third.

Harvard made things more than interesting in the final farme. They notched two goals off the back of Alex Meintel and Dave Waters to make it 4-3 with less than five minutes left. Thankfully, David Van Der Guilk finally found the goal column for the first time since his injury with an ENG with seven seconds left to ice it.

Curry finished with 38 saves in BU's 9th straight win. It was also the 12th straight year BU advanced to the Beanpot Final.

“I was very, very pleased with a lot of areas of the game for the first two periods,” Terrier coach Jack Parker said. “I thought we played pretty well early on in the first, but the most disappointing part of the game was the way we played after we went up 2-0 in the first. I thought we started playing the offensive side of the puck and acted like it was going to be Point Night or an easy night.

“And then in the third period, the crowd left; the enthusiasm in the building was kind of low, and our enthusiasm went down. And we thought the game was over. They got the second goal, and then they stormed us. Curry had to play great the last 10 minutes of the game, and we were fortunate in the end … I’d have to say we kind of dodged a bullet tonight. We played very well, but we didn’t finish it.”- From USCHO

February 10th, 2006
The Terriers rounded out the week by hosting UMass at home. Despite the score only being 3-0, BU barnstormed the Minutemen. Kenny Roche scored one in the first and one in the third. Sandwiched between the Roache goals was Eric Thomassian's third period strike.

UMass goalie and curent LA Kings netminder John Quick turned aside 40 shots in the losing effort. Curry made 19 saves for his third and final shutout of the year. 

The win streak was now at 10 games heading into the Beanpot Championship game vs Boston College

Current Record: 17-8-2
Current Ranking: 5th, up one slot from 6th. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Weekend Lookback: Heartbreaker

Player of the Week
Sean Maguire
Stopped 71 of 75 shots faced (.945%)
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
With last night's crushing overtime loss to Boston College still on everyone's mind, let's all remember that there is still a ton of hockey to play this season. BU has a chance to not only rack up some points in Hockey East and get inside the top four, but also make a huge jump in the PWR. They face Lowell in a home in home next weekend, followed by a home in home with UNH, before rounding out the regular season with a two game set in South Bend vs Notre Dame. 

Before we get too far ahead, let's look back at this weekend. BU dominated UMass from the drop of the puck Friday night in Amherst. With a 5-1 lead midway through the third, the Terriers took their foot off the gas a bit. UMass scored two quick goals in less than a minute. Outside of that minute, BU was in full control. 

The lapse was probably more indicative of the score than anything else. It was also good to see BU get another goal to put UMass away and not let them hang around. 

If last night proved anything, BU can hang with anyone. They have already shown they can play with and beat the best teams in the nation. No matter where BU is seeded in the tournament come late March, they will be a tough out for anyone who has to play them.

Maguire Sensational
I give Sean Maguire a lot of praise on this site. From day one I thought he would be the goalie for this team. Last night, there were not enough words to describe how well he played. In short, he turned in one of the most remarkable goaltending performances I have ever seen. It ranks right up there with some of the Sean Fields, John Curry and Kieran Millan games where each goalie absolutely stood on their head. Time after time he came up with big saves of all different varieties. He turned aside breakaways, screen shots, stuff attempts and point-blank bids. 

Alex Tuch's game winning shot was an absolutely perfect screen shot, off the post and in. It was going to take that or a ridiculously flukey goal to beat either one of those goalies last night. 

Drawing Similarities
Last night's game almost identically paralleled the 2003 Hockey East Championship game between BU and UNH. UNH won the game 1-0 in overtime and Sean Fields stopped 40 of UNH's 41 shots. Maguire finished with 41 saves. Both goalies won tournament MVP in a losing effort. One other thing, both goalies wore number 31. 

Defense 
BU's penalty kill was better than ever last night. They clogged the middled and made zone entry much more difficult for the Eagles than in the series back in January. BU's defense also did a much better job gapping-up and not allowing BC to use their speed and burn them to the outside.

Greenway Coming Into His Own
Friday night, Jordan Greenway found the back of the net twice. Last night, he was once again the center of attention. The 6-5 forward was throwing his weight around in all situations. Other than hitting Demko in the second period, Greenway did exactly what he needed to. He has been an underrated part of BU's success this year and if he keeps playing like he did this weekend, he's going to be a tough guy to slow down. 

Quotables
BC goalie Thatcher Demko: “Maguire played unbelievable. He’s been one of the better goalies in our league all year, and he showed it tonight, for sure. All the awards he got after the game were well deserved. He definitely earned them.”

Coach Quinn: “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play — up-and-down action. Both teams had great chances in the second and the third. Unfortunately, it just takes one play to win it. And they made the play when they had to.”

At the Polls
BU moved up two notches from 9th to 7th in this week's USCHO poll. Quinnipiac and North Dakota were once again 1,2. Boston College was up one slot from fourth to third and St. Cloud fell back a peg to 4th. Providence was 5th. 

BU got as high as 7th in the PWR this weekend, but currently sit in eighth after the BC loss. 

Around Hockey East
Tuesday: Uconn dropped Brown 3-1 at home.

Friday: Boston College fought off UNH 4-3 at Conte… Notre Dame edged Vermont 2-1 in Burlington… Northeastern and Lowell skated to a 2-2 at Tsongas… Providence downed Maine 1-0 in overtime at the Alfond…. BU doubled up UMass 6-3 in Amherst. 

Saturday: Providence completed the road sweep of Maine with a 4-2 win… New Hampsire managed a split with Lowell after winning 3-2 in Lowell… Merrimack and UConn tied 2-2 at Lawler… Notre Dame beat Vermont 3-1.


Monday (Beanpot): Northeastern ran over Harvard 5-1 in the consolation game… BC topped BU 1-0 in overtime.

Bracket Projections Week 3

Current PairWise

1.Quinnipiac
2. St Cloud State
3. North Dakota
4. Boston College
5. Providence
6. Michigan
7. Notre Dame
8. Boston University
9. Nebraska Omaha
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Denver
13. Lowell
14t. Cornell
14t. Penn State
16. Dartmouth 
19t. Robert Morris (AHA)
19t. Michigan Tech (WCHA)

Every league in the NCAA must have one team in the field and here I am assuming the highest rated team in the PairWise has won their respected conference tournament. So, Robert Morris and Michigan Tech get in, Penn State and Dartmouth are out. 

Field of 16

1.Quinnipiac
2. St Cloud State
3. North Dakota
4. Boston College
5. Providence
6. Michigan
7. Notre Dame
8. Boston University
9. Nebraska Omaha
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Denver
13. Lowell
14. Cornell
15. Robert Morris (AHA)
16. Michigan Tech (WCHA)

The field is then broken into four groups or the four regionals with the goal of "bracket integrity", i.e 1vs16, 2vs15 and so on. There can not be inter conference match-ups in the first round and hosts of regionals must be placed in their host city no mater what their ranking is. Holy Cross hosts in Worcester, Union in Albany, Minnesota in St. Paul and Miami in Cincinnati. Teams can also be moved to "boost attendance" (see Providence playing in Providence last year). 

Regionals

Worcester
1. Quinnipiac vs 16. Michigan Tech
8. Boston University vs 9. Nebraska Omaha

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud State vs 15. Robert Morris
7. Notre Dame vs 10. Yale

Cincinnati
3. North Dakota vs 14. Cornell 
6. Michigan vs 11. Harvard

Albany
4. Boston College vs 13. Lowell
5. Providence vs 12. Denver

We have one inter conference match-up: BC-Lowell in Albany. This is a quick fix. Move Lowell to Cincinnati and bring Cornell to Albany. There is a rule that states if a conference has five or more teams in the field, first round inter conference games can take place. That being said, I think the committee will do everything they can to get Cornell in the Albany regional for attendance purposes. Going off of that, I could also see Boston College as the top seed in Worcester. If that's the case, then Worcester and Albany regionals would just flip flop. It's all based off what the committee wants to do. Technically, QU has to be seeded closest to its campus as the are the number one overall seed. I'm just saying it would not shock me in the least if BC ended up in Worcester. 

For QU it is an hour and a half drive to Worcester and a two and half hour drive to Albany. For this week, I'll keep QU in Worcester because that is what is supposed to happen. As for other attendance boosters, swapping Michigan and Notre Dame may help out a bit in both respected sites. 

Final Bracket 

Worcester
1. Quinnipiac vs 16. Michigan Tech
8. Boston University vs 9. Nebraska Omaha

St. Paul
2. St Cloud State vs 15. Robert Morris 
6. Michigan vs 10. Yale

Cincinnati
3. North Dakota vs 13. Lowell
7. Notre Dame vs 11. Harvard

Albany
4. Boston College vs 14. Cornell
5. Providence vs 12. Denver

In this week: Michigan Tech, Cornell. 

Out this week: Mankato, RPI.

Tuch Turns Out The Lights On BU

In  a game that had pretty much everything to offer and then some, BU came up on the short end of the stick in the only Beanpot game to ever finish in a 1-0 score. 

BC's Alex Tuch wristed home the game's only goal less than two minutes into overtime. The goal came after an entire 60 minutes of scoreless hockey that saw both teams get more than enough chances. 

BC controlled the pace out of the gate and at one point, was out shooting BU 12-2. Out of all of that, BU probably had the best scoring chance. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson slipped a pass through a tight window to set Danny O'Regan on the near side. What looked like a sure fire goal, was denied by Thatcher Demko. 

Then in the middle of the frame, with 8:53 left in the period and the puck down in the BU defensive zone, all of a sudden the lights went out. It took 28 minutes to finally get the stadium lights back on. The rink never lost powder, but for whatever reason the lights went off. 

The break helped stem the tide for BU. The Eagles were dominating the game prior to the blackout and not long after the game resumed, BU was on a 34 second five on three power play. It generated a few shots, but BU still could not solve Demko. 

Sean Maguire made a remarkable 23 saves in the first period. He stopped a total of 41 BC shots and not only won the award for the top goaltender in the tournament, but also MVP. 

“I wanted to win this really bad this year,” said Maguire. “It’s my last chance. I gave it my best effort and gave it my all. It was my best.”

BU had their chances. Matt Lane was stuffed by Demko right in the slot with a huge glove save with less than four minutes to play in the third period.    

Jordan Greenway, who may now be the most hated BU player by anyone affiliated with BC, just missed giving the Terriers the title in the opening minute of overtime. He sent a wrister just a bit wide to the glove side of Demko that looked to have the goalie beat. Greenway was the center of several srcums tonight. Back in the second frame, he went hard to the net and took out Demko, leading to a a big scrap in the near corner. Greenway picked up a ten minute misconduct. Later in the the third, he and a BC player went crashing into Demko again. This came after Greenway was in a partial breakaway. 

Just prior to that, Matt Grzelcyk made a great hustle play to catch Ryan Fitzgerald and prevent him from getting good wood on breakaway shot. He then turned the puck up to Greenway for his own breakaway bid. 

Most of this game was just a nervous blur, right up until the end. At some points it was like open heart surgery. Back and forth. Up and down action. Outside from BU winning, there was nothing more you could have asked for from this game. Just an overall unbelievable hockey game between two very closely matched teams. 


BU looks to rebound this weekend with a home in home series with Lowell.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

BU-BC Battle Again For Beanpot

For the 22nd time in Beanpot history, BU and BC will square off on the second Monday in February and play for Boston bragging rights in the Championship. The last BU-BC final was in 2012. Boston College won with six seconds left in the first overtime on a Bill Arnold goal.
View post on imgur.com

Prior to that, the two teams met in 2010 with BC staving off a furious BU comeback in the third period to win 4-3. BU’s last title vs the Eagles was in 2007, a 2-1 overtime win off the stick of Brian McGuirk (Gif Above).

Boston College dropped Harvard in the early game last Monday. They scored two power play goals to overcome a 2-1 deficit entering the second frame. BU knocked off Northeastern 3-1 with goals from Robbie Baillargeon, Charlie McAvoy and Doyle Somerby.

Less than a month ago, BC took three of a possible four points from the Terriers in a home in home series. BU has not lost a game since that January 15th meeting at the Heights. In fact, BU currently has the longest winning streak in the nation at five games in a row. Boston College on the other hand, is unbeaten in their last nine games with ties against Providence, BU and UConn.

Currently, the Eagles sit in fourth in the PairWise. BU is at seventh.

Scouting the Eagles
Colin White continues to post impressive numbers in his freshman campaign. In 25 games played, the Hanover, Mass native has 35 points, 16 goals and 19 assists. His 16 goals are also best on the team. Ryan Fitzgerald is second in scoring with 31 points on 14 goals and 17 assists. In seven games against BU, Fitzgerald has four assists and four goals.

Other players to watch include Zach Sanford, Miles Wood, Austin Cangelosi and Ian McCoshen.

Between the pipes, Thatcher Demko has been as strong as ever. In 25 appearances, he has an 18-4-3 record, eight shutouts to go along with a .937 save percentage and a 1.71 goals against average. 

Out of Conference Common Opponents

Wisconsin
Wisconsin 0, @ BC 6 (October 16)
Wisconsin 1, @ BU 4 (October 17)

Denver
Denver 3, @ BC 4 (October 30)
Denver 4, @ BU 5 (OT) (October 31)

Harvard
BU 6, @ Harvard 5 (January 7)
BC 3, vs Harvard 2 (Beanpot semis) (February 1)

BU Notes
- Charlie McAvoy will be a “game-time decision” with a lower body injury, according to Mike Morrele via Twitter. McAvoy did not play on Friday night at UMass.


Friday, February 5, 2016

BU Doubles Up UMass

From the drop of the puck, BU controlled this game with the exception of a small window in the third period.

With BU leading 5-1 in the third, UMass notched two goals in less than a minute to make an otherwise wildly non competitive game a bit more interesting. Dominic Trento scored a power play goal 6:09 into the period and Joe Widmar potted his first goal of the year at 7:03 to make it 5-3.

Well before UMass made a run at a comeback, BU amassed a sizable lead in the first period.

The Terriers scored on their first shot on goal when Jordan Greenway backhanded in a shot from the point by Brandon Hickey. The shot hit off the end-boards and found Greenway's stick and had nothing to shoot at but an empty net. The goal came just 57 seconds into the game.

Less than two minutes later, BU struck again on a wraparound Chase Phelps goal. Two minutes later, Phelps assisted Mike Moran's second goal of the year to make it 3-0.

Minuteman goalie Henry Dill was yanked after the Phelps goal. He allowed two goals on three shots. Nic Renyard came in and played the remainder of the game, making 27 saves.

UMass got on the board at 7:04 by Ray Pigozzi on the power play. Oskar Andrén scored his first collegiate goal in the final minute of the period to round out an eventful first frame in Amherst.

Danny O'Regan scored the lone goal of the second on the power play off a Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson pass.

Finally, Jordan Greenway put away any hope of a UMass comeback with his second goal of the game with 7:50 left to make it 6-3.

Sean Maguire made 24 saves.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

UMass Round Two

Tomorrow night,  BU heads to Amherst for a one game trip with the Minutemen. I alluded to this earlier in the week, but the game between Beanpot games has been a historically strong game for the Terriers. Dating back to 2000, BU is 9-3-0 in games between the semis and the final of the Beanpot. 
From The Vault
Jordan Greenway leads a rush up ice vs UMass back on
January 9th.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU and UMass squared off a little less than a month ago at Agganis and BU took them to the woodshed, winning 7-2. In fact, BU has steamrolled the Minutemen the last three times the two teams have met. BU has outscored UMass 24-8 in those three games. 

UMass has really had a tough go of it recently. Since losing to BU on January 9th, they have yet to win a game and have struggled to find offense. In their last six game, UMass was out scored 33-11. The low point of the season (and some have even called it the low point of the program's history) came on January 22nd at home to Boston College. They were shutout 8-0 and BC's Jerry York won his 1000th game in the process. Last weekend, the Minutemen were swept at home by the last place Maine. 

The Black Bears had the worst statistical offense in the conference, but still managed to score 10 goals in two games. 

UMass sits in last place in Hockey East with just 8 points.  

Scouting the Minutemen
Shane Walsh and Ray Pigozzi both come into Friday's game with 23 points. Walsh leads the team in goals scored with 15 and has added 8 assists. Piggozzi has amassed 7 goals and 16 assists. Other players to watch include: Dennis Kravchenko, Steven Iacobellis and Austin Plevy. 

In goal, BU saw Alex Wakaluk and posted a touchdown on him. Overall, he has a .855 save percentage on the year and a 4.29 goals against average. Nic Renyard has seen the majority of the time in net. In 20 games, the freshman has posted an .897 SVP  and a 3.70 GAA. 

BU Notes
- According to the Boston Hockey Blog, Coach Quinn said Nik Olsson is out for the remainder of the year with an upper body injury.