Sunday, November 29, 2015

Another Thriller

Red Hot Hockey never seems to disappoint. The games are always close and action filled with a spirited crowed and two competitive teams. Tonight was no different. BU clawed their way out of an 0-2 hole entering the third period and then fought back again late in the period to retie things 3-3.

After a scoreless first period that saw both teams generate a number of chances, Cornell took the lead just 2:16 into the second frame on the power play. Anthony Angello redirected a shot from up top over Connor LaCouvee (22 saves) and in for his team leading fifth goal of the season.

The Big Red extended their lead a few minutes later on a total Terrier breakdown. Doyle Somerby went to step-up on Teemu Tiitinen at his own blue line, but Tiitinen got around him and was in alone. His shot missed wide to LaCouvee's blocker side and kicked off end boards right back to the goalie. LaCouvee then had the puck jared loose from his possession at the side of the net. The puck pinballed around before Trevor Yates roofed a shot over LaCouvee, who was all sprawled out.

The Terriers had no finish in the first two periods. Danny O'Regan was denied by the post on a grade-A chance off a Brandon Fortunato rebound. Bobo Carpenter also sent a shot that cleanly beat CU goalie Mitch Gillam off the crossbar in the first period. Gillam made some big saves to stymie the Terriers early and really played well all night, making 40 saves, including 6 in overtime.

Carpenter did capitalize later and got BU on the board 5:36 into the third. Nick Olsson, AJ Greer and Carpenter lead a three on two rush out of the BU zone. Olsson gave way to Greer, before AJ fed to Carpenter from the slot to the far side. Carpenter got just enough on his shot to muscle it past Gillam and put BU back in the game.

That line was not done, though. Less than two minutes later Olsson found Greer in the low circle on the far side, near the dot. From there, Greer wristed home his first of the year over the right shoulder of Gillam.

BU almost took the lead just a bit later on a crazy bank shot from center ice. Ahti Oksanen sent in a long wrister from basically the red line that caromed off the kick plate and got behind Gillam, who almost kicked it back in his own net.

Cornell settled down and regained the lead with 8:58 left on a Holden Anderson tip in goal. Patrick McCarron sent a low wrister toward the Terrier goal from the point and Anderson redirected it through LaCouvee's legs and in for just his second of the season.

The Terriers were not done, though. Jordan Greenway jammed home his first collegiate goal with just 3:55 left to retie the game. I really didn't get a good look at how the whole play developed, I just kinda went crazy when the red light came on. Anyway, Matt Lane and Ryan Cloonan picked up the assists.

The game went 3-3 to overtime, where BU completely controlled the play thanks in large part to a Chris Hillbrich boarding penalty 1:03 into the extra session. BU had a complete set up for the power play, but nothing got past Gillam and the the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

There was, however, a shootout to see who would take home the Kelley-Harkness trophy.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson was stopped on his attempted to open the shootout. LaCouvee made a save on his first shot faced before five straight goals were scored.

Danny O'Regan scored on a nice backhand shot and then Jeff Kubiak shelffed one home. Oksanen regained the lead before Tiitinen tied things up again. Matt Lane scored to give BU a 3-2 lead in round four and LaCouvee made a save to close out the shootout and give BU the trophy once again. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Red Hot Hockey Round 5

Tonight it's BU and Cornell at Madison Square Garden for the fifth round of Red Hot Hockey. The Terriers are undefeated (3-0-1) in the RHH series dating back to 2007.

Cornell comes into this game with a 6-1-1 record and currently sit at 10th in the PairWise rankings. The Big Red began the season with home and home sweep of Niagara before dropping Princeton the following weekend. Cornell then battled to a 5-4 overtime loss at home to undefeated Quinnipiac. Since the loss, CU has swept Colgate, beat Brown 1-0 and a tied Yale 0-0. Cornell is winless against ranked teams at 0-1-1.

Scouting The Big Red
Jeff Kubiak leads the team in overall points at nine. In eight games played, the junior from Tinley Park, Illinois has 3 goals and 6 assists. The leading goal scorer on the team is freshman Anthony Angello, who in eight games has found the back of the net 4 times.

In goal Mitch Gillam is the only goalie to take the crease this year for Cornell. He is 6-1-1 with a 1.59 goals against and a .938 save percentage. Gillam is currently riding a two game shutout streak that dates back to November 14 vs Colgate. He allowed a 5 on 3 goal at the 17:29 marker of the second period and then blanked Yale and Brown back to back. So, that's 143:31 of games time since he he last allowed a goal.

Wait I've heard this story before... Going into the 2011 RHH game, Cornell goalie Andy Iles had a three game shutout streak coming into the Garden.

Red Hot Hockey Recap
It was said before but it's always fun to repeat it, BU is undefeated in the four previous Red Hot Hockey games.

2007 saw BU run away with the game, winning by a lopsided 6-3 score. They got goals from Luke Popko, Joe Pereira, Brandon Yip, Peter McArthur, Colin Wilson and Boomer Ewing.

Both the 2009 and 2011 games needed overtime. BU fell behind in '09 2-0 early, but battled back and tied the game by pulling goalie Kieran Millian and playing 6 on 3. Chris Connolly forced home a rebound with :51 seconds left to tie the game 3-3.

In 2011, it was Cornell that fought back from an 0-2 hole to force overtime. That's where Ross Gaudet tipped home the game winner off a Max Nicastro shot from the point.

The last time the two teams played was 2013. BU jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind goals from Mike Moran, Robbie Baillargeon and Nick Roberto. Cornell scored twice in the third, but BU hung on to win 3-2 despite only taking 11 shots. Matt O'Connor made 37 saves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weekend Lookback: Ups and Downs

This weekend was a lot like the previous one: fall behind early and come back late. It worked Friday night as BU stormed back for three goals to overcome a 2-0 deficit to Michigan, but that was not the case Saturday. BU played an uninspired game vs the Wolverines and Michigan really dictated the play .
Player of the Week: Doyle Somerby
2 goals, game winning goal on Friday night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
In fact, Michigan really had their way with BU for the whole series other than the last 10 minutes of Friday's game. The penalty kill was a real issue in the two Michigan games. UM scored three of their six goals on the power play. Connor LaCouvee did stop a penalty shot late in the third on a rather weak attempt by Tyler Motte, Friday night.

The penalty kill hasn't been great all year. They are currently killing at just 81%, good for 33rd best in the country. For comparative's sake, Princeton has the nation's best PK at 95%.

In the Bentley game, the penalty kill was perfect. They were only tested once, but it was an extended 5 on 3. BU limited the Falcons to mostly parameter shots and not a lot of second chance opportunities. I'm not going to put a lot of stock in the Bentley game, because BU was clearly a better team. It was nice to see them come out an dominate the game, though. We have all seen the other side of games like this, i.e the Dartmouth game last year and the loss to Holy Cross and Bentley a few years back.  

Coach Quinn added that the Bentley game "was a really good win for us and we played with passion and pace. I'm really proud of our guys for bouncing back."

Somerby Coming into his own
Doyle Somerby continued to be a force this weekend. He scored twice, including the eventual game winner on Friday night, but was also strong defensively. "Doyle's had a great year so far. He continues to improve, he's been a big part of our success," added Quinn.

Both of his goals on the weekend came from point shots that found their way through traffic out in front. Friday night's goal deflected off a Michigan stick in the slot and last night vs Bentley, Jordan Greenway supplied a blinding screen. That traffic out front has not been over looked by Somerby and said last night that "it's a testament to how we are playing as a team, props to the guys out front."

At The Polls
Providence was once again the nation's number one team, getting 36 of a possible 50 first place votes. Boston College was second. Quinnipiac, who is still undefeated at 11-0-2 was once again third. Lowell hopped over North Dakota for fourth and the newly named Fighting Hawks of North Dakota took fifth. BU slipped down a slot from 10 to 11.

Around Hockey East
Friday: Providence cruised past Northeastern 5-2 at home... UMass and New Hampshire skated to a 2-2 draw at the Whitt... Lowell and Notre Dame also tied 2-2 at Tsongas Center... Maine picked up their first win of the season, 3-2 at home vs Vermont... BU came back from 0-2 down to drop Michigan 3-2 at home.

Saturday: Maine finished off the sweep of UVM with a 4-1 win... Lowell took down Notre Dame 3-1... BC doubled up UNH 6-3 in Durham... Merrimack and UMass tied 1-1 at Lawler... Providence shutout NU at Matthews 3-0... Michigan avoided the sweep at BU with a 4-2 win.

Tuesday: BC torched UConn 5-1 in Hartford... UNH lost at RPI 4-3... BU blanked Bentley at Agganis 3-0.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BU, Maguire Shutdown and Shutout Bentley

Tonight was not even a contest. BU dominated Bentley from start to finish in all aspects of the game. They outshot the Falcons 47-15 and Danny O'Regan put them in the lead just 3:01 into the game. Ahti Oksanen sprung O'Regan in alone on a high lofted flip pass from deep in his own end. The puck landed at Danny's feet near the blue line. He then skated in wide before cutting to the middle and shelfing a backhanded shot from in tight over a sprawled out Gabe Antoni, who made 44 saves.
Tommy Kelley goes hard to a rebound off a Mike Moran (not
pictured) shot in the first period. It was one of many strong shifts 
for the fourth line, tonight.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Bentley struggled making breakout passes and that led to several BU chances. Both teams were relatively sloppy, though. At times it looked like the two teams were playing with a hot potato out there. No one could possess the puck and passes on both sides were not sharp.

The sloppiness led to a one-on-three shot for Robbie Baillargeon that slipped through Antoni and dribbled off the far post in the closing seconds of the period. BU dominated the period shots-wise, posting 15 to Bentley's 3.

Bentley got the first real chance of the second frame on a two-on-one bid by Andrew McDonald. He redirected a centering pass from Max French just wide of Sean Maguire and then barreled into Sean Maguire after the play. There was no call (and there should't have been one), but he did take off Maguire's mask.

The Terriers' fourth line created some serious havoc in the second period. Although neither Tommy Kelley, Mike Moran nor Chase Phelps scored, their play did lead directly to a goal. Moran tipped a Brandon Hickey shot right on goal and continued to drive the net. In the process, he drew a crosschecking call. BU scored on the ensuing man advantage.

Ryan Cloonan worked the puck up to Brandon Hickey at the far point and from there, Hickey dished over to Doyle Somerby on the near point. Somerby let go a wrister that found its way though a crowd in front of Antoni. He never saw the shot. It beat him blocker side and the goal was Somerby's third of the season.

Coach Quinn added this about the fourth line: "they all played well, all three guys were impact full. Moran seemed to have a nose for the net." Moran did have a team high six shots on goal.

Bentley again only managed three shots in the period. They had no extended zone time whatsoever in the first two periods. All of their chances were one and done.

BU wasted no time in the third in distancing themselves from the Falcons. Danny O'Regan slid a nifty pass through a defender's legs just inside the Bentley blue line over to Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson in the far side circle. JFK torched Antoni high glove for his fourth of the year.

The Falcons had an extended 5 on 3 chance midway though the third, but sent all their setup shots off the glass. Maguire did make a ridiculous sprawling save prior to the power play on a backdoor chance to deny Alexey Solovyev.

Sean Maguire stopped all 15 shots he faced and picked up the first shutout for a BU goalie on the year.

BU will head to New York City for the fifth installment of Red Hot Hockey on Saturday night vs Cornell.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Bentley Preview

Tonight, BU faces Bentley in their last home game of the month, a month that has only seen the Terriers lose once.

Bentley is 5-4-1 on the year and actually did sweep Northeastern in the second weekend of the season in a home an home series. Just this past weekend, the Falcons fell to RPI at home 3-2. Bentley is 3-2-1 in Atlantic Hockey action with wins over Army and a sweep at RIT.

Scouting The Falcons
Bentley is lead by Max French, who has 7 goals and 4 assists in just six games played. Kyle Schmidt also has 11 points on the year, but he has played in all ten of Bentley's games.

In goal, Jason Argue has seen action in seven games thus far. He is 3-2-1 with a 2.38 goals against and a .941 save percentage.

Common Opponents:
BU 5, NU 4 (November 6)
BU 4, @ NU 1 (November 7)
Bentley 3, @ NU 2 (October 16)
Bentley 4, NU 1 (October 17)

BU 3, @ MC 4 (October 30)
Bentley 1, @ MC 5 (November 4)

BU Notes
Would not be surprised to see Sean Maguire in goal tonight. Connor LaCouvee has played the last eight games and is coming off back to back starts from last weekend. Nothing is official yet, though.

I will be in the press box tonight with full updates.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Michigan Rolls In Game Two

Tonight, BU played one of, if not their worst game of the year. They managed just 11 shots in the first two periods and were thoroughly out played pretty much the entire game except for a small stint in the second period following Matt Lane's goal.
Connor LaCouvee sticks aside a shot in the second period. One
of 43 saves he made on the afternoon.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Michigan's defense was relentless and they played very well with the lead, a lead that got early in the first period, once again.

Cooper Marody scored his second power play goal of the weekend just 3:50 into the game. Not five minutes later, it was 2-0 Wolverines. Brendan Warren picked up his third goal of the year from Tony Calderone and Nolan De Jong at 8:08 of the first.

UM notched yet another power play goal at the 17:07 mark. Alex Kile slammed home a rebound off a Tyler Motte shot from in tight. It was his second goal of the weekend and fourth on the year.

BU got back in the game late in the second period on a Matt Lane goal, as mentioned before. Connor LaCouvee kicked out a Michigan shot and Ahit Oksanen picked up the rebound and found Lane on the far side for a breakout pass. Lane took the puck all the way into the UM end and stuffed home his 4th of the year to cut the Wolverine lead to 3-1.

Matt Lane's goal came with less than three minutes to play in
the second period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU played slightly better in the third, managing 10 shots, but a defensive breakdown lead to an odd man rush where Michigan put the game away. Max Shuart beat LaCouvee blocker side for his first of the year with just 3:38 left to make it 4-1.

Ahti Oksanen scored with 4 seconds left to round out the scoring.

LaCouvee made 34 saves in the losing effort and really none of the goals where his fault. He made a number of saves on point-blank shots and one timers.

It was BU's first loss at home all season. It is a quick turnaround for the Terriers as the host Bentley on Tuesday. Game time: 7:00pm

More to come Monday.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Three Goal Third Period Outburst Puts BU Past Michigan

For about fifty minutes last night,  Michigan controlled most of the play and limited BU's scoring chances to a minimum. The Wolverines lead 2-0 on two first period goals and carried that lead deep into the third period. Then in a blink of an eye the game was tied.

BU cut the lead in half on a power play goal from Danny O'Regan at the 10:44 marker of the third period. The play started back in the BU zone, where Brandon Fortunato went back to restart the Terrier attack after Michigan cleared right off the faceoff to start the power play. Fortunato took a few strides in his own end, before hitting Matt Grzelcyk inside the redline with a long pass. Grzelcyk wasted no time and made a heads-up one touch pass to O'Regan, who entered the zone with speed. After getting over the blue line, O'Regan used a Michigan defender a screen and riffled off a beautiful rising shot that nicked the bottom of the crossbar, before exploding the net. Michigan goalie Steve Racine had no idea where the puck was until it was already behind him.

Just twelve seconds later, the game was tied. Bobo Carpenter broke up a Michigan regroup at about the top of the circle in the Wolverine end. The puck pinballed around and found the stick of AJ Greer in the slot, where he ripped a shot that got redirected wide off a Michigan defender. From behind the net, Robbie Baillargeon picked up the miss-fire and wrapped it on goal. The shot got through and crammed off a Michigan skate at the top of the crease and bounced into the goal.

Not even a minute after Baillargeon tied the game, Michigan had a golden chance to regain the lead. Tyler Motte was in on a breakaway and Doyle Somerby did, what looked like very good a legal play to break up the chance, but that's not what the official saw. With one hand on his stick, he dislodged the puck from Motte, but he was not only called for a penalty, but it was a penally-shot for slashing. On the shot, Motte tried to beat Connor LaCouvee five hole, but was having none of that.

BU continued to dominated the third period, a period in which they outshot Michigan 14-4 and eventually scored the go-ahead-goal with less than three minutes to play.

Somerby got his revenge for the soft penalty-shot call. From the top of the near circle, he wristed home his second goal and his second game winner of the year, a unassisted strike. He got the puck at the middle point off a failed Michigan clear and then moved to his left, before letting go a shot that hit a Michigan stick on it's way toward goal. Racine, again, never saw the shot and did not even move until Somerby was back in the neutral zone on one knee celebrating.

Michigan got on the board early in this one. A spin around shot by Tyler Motte got LaCouvee to the leave the post for just a second. The puck was sitting by his right leg, but somehow there was enough room for Alex Kile to bang home his third of the year and give Michigan a 1-0 lead just 6:06 into the game.

Four and a half minutes later, UM doubled their lead on the power play. Cooper Marody roofed a shot from in tight and it looked like Michigan was going to run away with this one. They nearly extended their lead several times, but no chance was more prevalent than a power play bomb from up top that cleanly beat LaCouvee and rang off the post, but deflected into the corner.

BU had their chances before the third period eruption, too. They had almost half a minute of 5 on 3 in the second frame that saw two Ahti Oksanen one-timers miss the net. In the first period, Matt Lane slipped a shot through Racine, but it squibbed through the crease and out the other side. Lane also rang the crossbar in the closing minutes of the first.

Michigan had their chance late to tie it on the power play and with the goalie pulled, but BU's PK was stingy and LaCouvee slammed the door when called upon. For the third straight game, BU was trailing entering the third and came back to at least tie. It looks like they have once again established themselves as a dominate third period team, something that they were well known for a year ago.

The two teams will again do battle today at 4:00.