Saturday, February 18, 2017

Third Period Outburst Lands BU Back In Win Column

Keiffer Bellows and Chase Phelps
celebrate after Phelps scored in the
second period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
After battling to a 4-4 come-from-behind tie last night at Agganis, BU once again found themselves facing a multi-goal deficit in the second period of tonight’s eventual 8-4 win that saw seven different Terriers score at the Whittemore Center.

“Our morale and our psyche was pretty fragile,” said Quinn. “Last night getting down 2-0, tying it, then going down 4-2, then battling back to get a gutsy point. And then tonight, obviously we get behind 1-0, behind 3-1, tying up, going down 4-3, making 4-4 right before the end of the second. You know, playing the third period that we did again tonight. To do what we did says an awful lot about that group of guys in that locker room.”  

Looking at a 4-4 game at the start of the third, Patrick Harper scored his second of the night just 3:30 into the final frame. Charlie McAvoy made a strong rush up the far side before dishing to Harper in the slot, where the freshman buried the eventual game winner.

Three minutes later, Kieffer Bellows potted his second goal in three games to add some much-needed insurance. From behind the goal line, Bellows was able to wrap in a bank shot, off UNH goalie Danny Tirone and in.

“We’ve had a lot of good third periods,” mentioned Quinn. “I think under the circumstances, that was the best third period this season. We needed something good to happen. Last night we had something good happen, but we didn’t get the win. Tonight we needed something good to happen and get the win and that’s what happened.

Way back in the first, UNH opened the scoring on Jason Salvaggio’s first of two, midway through the opening period. Minutes later, John MacLoud netted his first of the year from the left point to tie the game 1-1. Just as BU was getting some sort of momentum, the nation’s leading scoring Tyler Kelleher ripped home his 20th goal of the year on the power play to give the Cats a 2-1 lead headed to the second.

2:59 into the third, Salvaggio added his second on a rebound to Jake Oettinger’s right.

Before the Terrier offense could really kick into gear, it continued to draw from unexpected sources. Chase Phelps went post and in from the left hash mark on Tirone after a great feed from Keiffer Bellows. It was his second goal of the year.

Roughly two minutes later, Patrick Harper collected his own rebound out of a scrum in front and tied the game on his first of two. It was his 10th of the year.

Just as BU looked to have crawled out of the cellar (once again) UNH answered. Justin Fergona and Ara Nazarian broke in two on one. From the top of the circle, Fergona slid a pass over to Nazarian, who toasted Oettinger blocker side.

Dante Fabbro scored the game’s most pivotal goal with less than two minutes left in the second period. At the top of the far circle, Fabbro snuck in a low warm-burner of a shot past Tirone to knot the game 4-4.

Bobo Carpenter notched his 13th of the year at 16:27 of the third period and Clayton Keller added an empty-net goal to round out the scoring.

This was BU’s first win at the Whitt since November 2012, when UNH was ranked number one in the country.

With a BC tie against Vermont, BU is two points behind the Eagles with two games to play. BU will face Notre Dame at home for a pair, while BC will square off with Lowell in a home and home next weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weekend With The Wildcats

BU enters this weekend’s series with the UNH Wildcats looking to right the ship after a less than stellar outing in the Beanpot Final against Harvard on Monday night. The Terriers currently sit alone in second place in Hockey east, but only one point clear of both Notre Dame and Lowell. BU is still three points behind first place BC with just four games to play.
From the Vault
Former Terrier goalie Grant Rollheiser stops one of 41 UNH
shots in a 4-2 BU win on November 20th, 2010.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
New Hampshire on the other hand, is tied with Merrimack for 7th with 17 points. Remember, the top four teams in the league get a bye to the quarterfinals, while the bottom eight play a “play-in round.” Seeds 5-8 will get home ice in round one and UNH is right on that line.

The Wildcats are 12-14-4 on the year, but have won just one of their last nine games. The sole win came last weekend, a 4-2 decision at Vermont on Friday night. Prior to that win, you have to go all the way back to January 12th to find the last UNH win. In that span of futility, New Hampshire was shutout 3-0 by both Notre Dame and Providence, and steam rolled 6-4 and 8-2 by BC and Lowell, respectively.

Last year, BU took three points from UNH via a 3-3 tie in Durham and a 3-2 win on Comm Ave.

Scouting the Wildcats
Unsurprisingly, Tyler Kelleher is dominating the score sheet for UNH. The sophomore from Longmeadow, who racked up 46 points a year ago, has already surpassed that amount. Coming into this weekend, Kelleher has 51 points, 20 more than anyone else on the roster. In 30 games played, Kelleher has notched 18 goals and 33 assists, good for second in the nation behind only Northeastern's Zach Aston-Reese. His 33 assists are the most in the county, three ahead of Union's Spence Foo. Michael McNicholas is second on the team with 31 points by way of 10 goals and 21 assists. Look for defenseman Matias Cleland to get involved with the offense this weekend. The senior defenseman is third on the team in scoring with 30 points, 28 of those being assists.

In goal, Danny Tirone is 12-12-4 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.80 goals against. He has played 92% of the minutes in the UNH net this year and will almost certainly start both games this weekend.

BU Notes
The Daily Free Press reported earlier today that Brandon Hickey will be out on Friday with a “lower body injury on his right leg.”

Jake Oettinger will start in net.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Harvard Out-Works BU For Beanpot

It’s becoming a recurring theme: the sticks, gloves, and helmets scattered across the ice at TD Garden following the conclusion of a championship game belong to teams that are not the Terriers. Tonight, BU fell 6-3 to Harvard in the Beanpot final as the Crimson skated away with their first title since Bill Clinton was in office.
Both benches react at the final buzzer.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Harvard dominated from the jump. The Crimson outshot the Terriers 46-17, starting out 18-2 in the opening frame.

Harvard struck first on Nathan Krusko’s first of two on the power play with 4:50 left in the period.

BU finally showed some life, scoring a pair of goals less than five minutes into the second. First, Kieffer Bellows found a loose puck in the crease by the side of Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen and buried his fifth of the year. Bobo Carpenter and Brandon Hickey picked assists on the power play goal.

Minutes later, Clayton Keller tipped home a John MacLoud point shot to give BU a 2-1 lead. It was Keller’s first of two on the night.

“From start to finish were fighting an uphill battle,” said Quinn “We got the 2-1 lead and I thought the first eight minutes of the second were the best eight minutes we played all night. We had a 2-1 lead and then I thought they started taking the momentum back. At the end of the day, this is a game of want and, oh boy, did they want it more than we did. They outskated us. They out hit us. They out competed us. They only thing they didn’t do is out goaltend us.”

Jake Oettinger made 40 saves and picked up the Eberly Award for the top goaltender in the tournament based on save percentage.

Harvard was able to swing the momentum back in their favor in a huge way in the final half of the period. First, Brandon Hickey’s night was cut short when Luke Esposito crunched him with a hard check along the scorer's table. Hickey was slow to get up and never returned after getting up slowly and putting no weight on his right leg.

Not long after, it was Esposito who found the back of the net off a tip from a well-placed Clay Anderson shot to tie things up.

Before the period ended, Nathan Krusko potted his second of the game on a delayed penalty. Dante Fabbro was called for hooking and then Charlie McAvoy delivered a brutal leg check on Alexander Kerfoot along the boards to set Harvard up with their second five on three on the evening.

30 seconds into the third, it was Kerfoot scoring the eventual game winner on Harvard's second five on three goal of the game.

“It's disappointing in a lot of ways," added Quinn. “It certainly wasn’t anything we expected. Penalties obviously killed us. You can’t go down five on three for that length of time against a team like that. Once we did that we just really put ourselves behind the eight-ball. It’s 2-2 in the middle of the second period and the whole momentum changes.”

Bruins prospect Ryan Donato made it 5-2 on a great individual effort with 7:13 left. 27 seconds later, Keller got the goal right back on his second of the night. Off the initial rush, his shot was blocked, but Keller stayed with it, picked up the loose puck in the slot and beat Madson down low. It was his 16th of the year, and that was close as BU would get.

Adam Fox added an empty-netter to seal the deal.

As stated before, it was Harvard’s first Beanpot since 1993. It marks the first time since that year that a team not named BU or BC has taken home the title. Also, 1993 marks the last time Boston College has finished last in the tournament, and that happened again tonight, as Northeastern won the consolation game 4-2.

Coming into this game, the last three Beanpots Harvard won came in the year when a new president was inaugurated. You can add this year to that list as well.

BU continues league play this weekend with a home and home with the UNH Wildcats.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Beanpot Final Preview -- Harvard

For the first time since 1998, BU and Harvard will square off in the Beanpot final, Monday night. This is  Harvard’s first appearance in the championship game in nearly a decade, having to go back to 2008 to find the last time the Crimson played in the late game on the second Monday in February. That was a 6-5 overtime loss to Boston College in 2008. Harvard is the last non BU/BC winner, taking home the 1993 tournament with a 4-2 win over BU in the finals.

From The Vault
Nick Gillis tips home a Tom Poti pass to win the 1998 Beanpot Championship game against Harvard 2-1 in overtime

Back to this millennium… BU and Harvard met earlier this season, with BU pulling out a crazy 5-3 win. The teams went blow for blow through 40-minutes, tied 3-3 after two, before Nick Robert and Patrick Curry both scored in the final frame to give BU the win.

Monday night’s game will feature the two top teams in the east according to PairWise rankings. Both would be “one seeds” if the bracket was to come out today. BU is third and Harvard is fourth.

Harvard is currently riding a seven game unbeaten streak and a five game win streak coming into the Beanpot final. In round one, the Crimson took down Northeastern 4-3. Harvard had a 4-1 lead midway through the third before NU stormed back and scored a pair of goals late to make things real interesting in the final minutes, but Harvard hung on. Over their current hot streak, Harvard has beaten Cornell, Colgate, Dartmouth and last weekend torched Union 6-2 at home.

Scouting the Crimson.
Alex Kerfoot leads Harvard in scoring with 30 points, by way of 10 goals and 20 assists in 24 games played. Right behind him is fellow senior Sean Malone with 28 points. Malone is second on the team in goals scored with 14 and has also added 14 assists. Bruins prospect Ryan Donato, son of Harvard head coach Ted Donato, is the team's leader in goals scored at 15. He has also notched 10 assists for 25 points in 24 games.

Merrick Madsen will more than likely get the start in net for Harvard. The junior from Acton, California is 17-5-2 on the year with a .918 save percentage and a 2.22 goals against average in 24 appearances.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lowell Preview

Before BU and Harvard battle it out in the Beanpot Final on Monday night, the Terriers will travel to Lowell tonight to take on the River Hawks at Tsongas Center.
Mike Moran scores on former Lowell goalie Boyle in the
second period of a 2-1 overtime win for BU last year.
(Photo By Matt Dresens)
Two weeks ago, BU upended Lowell 4-2 at home after losing two straight to Merrimack the week prior. Bobo Carpenter had a three point night, scoring two goals and adding an assist, while Clayton Keller posted a goal and an assist to get BU back on track and pick up two huge league points.

Since that meeting, both teams are unbeaten. Lowell steamrolled over Northeastern and New Hampshire by scores of 6-4 and 8-2 respectively.

Lowell is currently tied with Notre Dame for fourth in Hockey East with 19 points. Fourth place, as you know, is the cut line for a first round bye in the league playoffs. BU, on the other hand, is still three points behind Boston College for the top spot with 24, but are four points clear of third place Providence.

Thinking that this will be a “trap” game and one that will get overlooked in anticipation of the Beanpot Final? Well, since 2000 BU is 10-3-0 in the game between the first round and the championship, when they advance to the championship game.

Scouting the River Hawks
Joe Gambardella continues to pace the River Hawks scoring. In 29 games played, the senior from Staten Island has 37 points by way of 12 goals and 25 assists. CJ Smith is second with 32 points. Smith is the team leader in goal scored with 16 and has also added 16 assists. Other players to watch include Dylan Zink, Michael Kapla, and Jake Kamrass.

In goal, Tyler Wall is 16-8-1 in 25 games played. The freshman has posted a 2.22 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Wall allowed three goals on 22 shots when these two teams played earlier in the year.

BU Notes
The Boston Hockey Blog is reporting that Jake Oettinger will be in net. In addition, Nick Roberto will be on the top line and Patrick Curry will be on the third line.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bring On Harvard; BU Drops BC In Beanpot Opener

BOSTON GARDEN — For the first time since 2007, BU defeated Boston College in the Beanpot, ending a six game drought for the Terriers against their Green Line rivals and will face Harvard in the finals next Monday.

Clayton Keller celebrates after scoring shorthanded in the
second period to give BU a 3-1 lead.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“Its been a while since we beat Boston College in the Beanpot,” said coach Quinn. “We have had three great games with them all year. We’ve been fortunate to come out on the winning end. I thought all three games could have gone either way.”

BU controlled the pace of play for most of the first period, dominating the Eagles on the shot counter by a 12-2 margin, but only one found the back of the net. Patrick Harper made a strong move up the near side boards and swung in all the way behind the net to attempted a wrap-around. From the edge of the crease, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson found the loose puck and punched it home through BC goalie Joe Woll five-hole to get the Terriers on the board 4:29 into the game.

“I really liked our first period tonight. We were really ready to play from the drop of the puck,” added Quinn.

The second period evened out. Boston College had much more jump and outshot BU 17-5, but it was the Terriers extending their lead on a power play goal from Chad Krys three and a half minutes into the frame. Krys beat Woll upstairs through traffic for his fourth of the year from Bobo Carpenter and Dante Fabbro.
Kieffer Bellows and Patrick Curry react after Chad Kry's
(not pictured) shot went in on the power play early in the
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BC got on the board just under four minutes later. Austin Cangelosi was Johny on the spot for a loose puck in the crease to Jake Oettinger’s right and was able to pump home his 12th of the year before Oettinger could recover.

“I thought the second period was a little bit sloppy,” mentioned Quinn. “We got up 2-0, I thought we maybe dropped our guard a little bit, but we weathered the storm.”

Weather the storm they did and a bit more. Clayton Keller scored shorthanded on a breakaway at the 11:06 marker to give BU and all important two goal lead.

“Charlie [McAvoy] made a great play to me,” said Keller. “He found me breaking for the breakaway and Joe Woll’s a guy I played with ever since I was about ten years old, so I know his game a little bit. I was lucky enough to slide one five-hole.”

“ I don’t know If I have ever coached a guy who has the hand-eye coordination that he has,” said Quinn in praise of Kellers’ fourth shorthanded goal of the year. “He’s just so dangerous killing penalties. He’s such a threat out there, such great instincts out there. You know, when you’re on a power play and you got him coming at you, you get a little nervous ‘cause you know what could happen.”

Ryan Cloonan seemed to have made it a 4-1 game early in the third, but after review, it was determined he dislodged the puck from Woll by pushing him into the goal and thus it was waived off.

BU was able to hold the BC offense in check for the remainder of the game, thanks in large part to the number of penalties the Eagles took. BU had four power plays in the final frame, but could not convert on any.

BU is back at it on Friday at Lowell, before facing Harvard in the championship game for the first time since 1998.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Beanpot Preview -- BC, Semifinal

Still in awe of last night? Yeah… So am I, but its time to shift the focus from Super Bowl talk to Beanpot hype. Tonight, BU and BC once again face off on the first Monday in February at Boston Garden.

From The Vault
Jake Oettinger stuffs Colin White in the first period on a
onetimer in the meeting at Conte earlier this season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
It is a rematch of last year’s epic 1-0 overtime thriller that saw Boston College’s Alex Tuch score the game’s only goal 1:57 into the extra session to give BC their 20th Beanpot title. BC still is a minimum of a decade away from tying BU’s total of 30.

The two teams have already met twice this year. BU swept the season series with the Eagles in mid-January with a 2-1 win at home and a 3-0 blanking at Conte. It was BU’s first weekend sweep of the Eagles since 2002.

Jake Oettinger and BU special teams were the stories of that weekend. Oettinger stopped 66 of 67 shots he faced and the Terrier power play went three for five. Also, BU's PK only allowed one power play goal on seven BC man advantages in two games.

Since the two teams last met, Boston College hasn’t lost another game. The Eagles ran through Umass, UConn, Notre Dame, and New Hampshire and currently find themselves in seventh in the PairWise.

Scouting the Eagles 
Matty Gaudreau continues to lead the scoring charge for the Eagles. In 29 games played, Gaudreau has posted six goals and 20 assists for 26 points. Right behind him is Colin White. White, one of the heroes on the US World Junior squad that won gold in Montreal a month ago, has notched 23 points by way of 13 goals and 10 assists. White scored BC’s only goal against BU this season, a power play goal midway through the second period of game one. Other players to watch include Austin Cangelosi, Chris Brown, Casey Fitzgerald and Ryan Fitzgerald.

Between the pipes, Joe Woll has continued his excellent freshman campaign. In 22 appearances, Woll has a 13-8-1 record with a 2.34 goal against average and a .923 save percentage.

Early Game
As is the norm when BU and BC play in the opening round, Northeastern and Harvard will take the ice at 5:00 for semifinal number one. NU has been playing better as of late, winning four of their last five games. Harvard on the other hand, has rebound nicely from three consecutive losses in mid-January and are unbeaten in their last five games played.

All in all, it should be a very competitive night of hockey. Unlike in years past, all four teams have a legitimate shot at winning this tournament.