Saturday, December 29, 2012

BU Gets Blanked For the First Time In 125 Games

Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora stood on his head, making 29 saves in the Pioneers 6-0 rout of the Terriers. The Finnish goalie's two most impresive saves came against Danny O'Regan and Evan Rodrigues on back to back break a ways seconds apart in the third period.

Denver got on the board halfway through the first period on the power play. Shawn Ostrow tipped home a shot from the point that Matt O'Connor was never able to pick up.

Minutes later, DU erupted for two goals in 11 seconds. First, Zac Lazara put home his second of the year. 11 seconds later, Quentin Shore banged home a rebound to the side of O'Connor to make it 3-0. The assists went to Matt Tabrum and David Makowski.

BU came out strong in the second, but like the first period could not find the back of the net. Wade Megan had arguably the best chance to score, as he was wide open in front of the net. Megan was unable to put a shot on goal and the game remained scoreless. In addition to that chance, Sam Kruker was unable to convert on a wide open net just minutes into the frame.

Alexx Privitera had maybe the worst game a player could possibly have. First he nullified a five minute power played the Terriers had after DU's Scott Mayfield was kicked out for a cheapshot on Ben Rosen in the first. Privitera took a really dumb roughing penalty that basically ended the BU power play. Then in the second, he himself took a five minute penalty for kicking a DU player who was down in the crease.

Denver added two more goals in the third, one from Chris Knowlton on a rip upstairs and the other from Nolan Zajac on a rebound with less than a minute to play.

Toward the end of the game, Wade Megan was viciously leg-checked and went down awkwardly. He gingerly skated to the locker room holding his shoulder. He did not return. That penalty was one of many that were taken by both teams. At one point in the third, the teams were skating 3 on 3.


And We're Back

From The Vault
Alex Chiasson attempts to chase
down a loose puck at the side of the
Denver net before goalie Adam
Murray covers up in a game play
in Boston last October.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
If you coundln't tell already, I, like the team, took a much needed break for the holidays. Tonight BU will travel to Denver and take on the Pioneers in the annual College Hockey Hall of Fame Game.

Scouting the Pioneers 
Denver started the year on a tear, winning 9 of the first 10 games. Their only loss in that stretch was a 3-0 blanking at home by St. Cloud State. Following a quick Thanksgiving break, Denver came out like a new team. A really bad one. The Pioneers have yet to win a game since November 17. Since the 17th, DU is 0-4-4. One of those four ties came against North Dakota, a game that I watched not knowing that DU was on such a slide. Denver actually had the lead deep into the second period, before NoDak tied things at 2-2 on the power play and that was the final score. Denver looked competitive, but a night later they were beaten 6-3.

Junior Nick Shore, brother of former Pioneer great Drew, leads the team with 20 points (7g, 13a) in 18 games played. Close behind him is sophomore Chris Knowlton who has a team high 10 goals to go along with 8 assists for 18 points. Defenseman Joey LaLeggia, who just so happens to be in third in the points race with 16 (7g, 9a) was a standout for the Pioneers in the North Dakota game that I watched earlier this year.

In goal, Sam Brittain has seen the most action, holding a 4-4-0 record with a 2.78 goals against and a .908 save percentage. Sophomore Juho Olkinuora has a 3-1-3 record. He has a rather impressive 1.91 GAA and .936 save percentage. Olkinuora really caught my attention in the North Dakota game. He stood on his head and was the lone reason the Sioux did not run away with that game.

---> Matt O'Connor will be in the net for the Terriers tonight.
---> Matt Grzelcyk will not be in the Terriers lineup even though was the last cut from the USA World Junior Roster. He will be back for next Saturday's game vs RPI.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Thoughts: Two Big Dubs

Players of the week
Matt O'conner (top) and
Sean Maguire (bottom).
(Photos by Matt Dresens)
Over the weekend, BU did what they needed to do to end the first semester on a high note. They went up to New Hampshire and beat the number one team in the Nation and followed that up with a win over Maine at home.

Let's start with the UNH game:

BU came out flying, something they had previously not done against the Wildcats in the two prior losses. Wade Megan put the Terriers on the board less than five minutes in and that really set the stage for the remainder of the game. BU would eventually go up 3-0 in the second period before UNH finally cashed in on the power play to make it 3-1 (more on the PK to come). Jon Henrion made it 3-2 with less than ten minutes to play in the third. 

UNH threw everything but the kitchen sink at BU in the final minutes and even had a six on four power play in the final two minutes. Matt O'Connor played exceptionally well down the stretch, especially in the final two minutes on the kill.

Saturday night was a different story. Granted, I was only there for the third period, but that's really all I needed to see. BU played sloppy in the third period. Maine, a team with nothing to lose, looked like the more hungry team and really took it to the Terriers in the final frame. Things looked like they had gone from bad to worse in a flash. Ben Rosen took about eight strides and cross-checked a Maine player right in the back, deep in the Maine zone. Rosen was called for a five minute Major and Maine had an open buffet table for nearly the remainder of the game.

Rather than let their sloppy play carry over into the penalty kill, BU really stepped up their game and only allowed Maine two good scoring chances. Sean Maguire came up huge on both opportunities, the most impressive was a shot that was taken point blank from the slot, that he swallowed up with no rebound.

The PK
The story of the weekend was (if you couldn't figure it out all ready) was the penalty kill. The Terriers went 13 for 14 on kills over the weekend, including the two huge kills at the end of both games. It's a good sign because BU was torched by Boston College a week ago on the power play. BC scored four goals on the man advantage in their 5-2 win over BU.

Sahir Gill
In his first game back on the top line, the Junior forward made an immediate impression as he got his second goal of the year to put the Terriers up 2-0 on UNH. Gill will be a crucial part of the BU offense now that Yasin Cisse is gone. 

At the Polls
BU moved up one slot in the USCHO rankings from 7th to 6th, three slots higher than they were at this time last year. Boston College was the new number one with the previous top ranked team New Hampshire in second. Notre Dame, Minnesota and Miami rounded out the top five in that order.

Over in the Pairwise, BU up to 5th, actually dropping from 4th after they beat Maine. That is because UMass fell out out of the PWR as they are no longer a TUC (team under consideration). BC is One followed by New Hampshire, Dartmouth, Notre Dame and BU.

Around Hockey East
Wednesday: Dartmouth rolled over Vermont 4-2 at home.

Thursday: BU dropped UNH 3-2 at the Whitt.

Friday: Providence came back to tie Boston College 3-3 with 10 seconds left at home... Colgate thumped UMass 6-4 at the Mullins Center... Merrimack and Harvard skated to a 2-2 draw at Lawler Rink.

Saturday: Lowell blanked Northeastern 2-0 at home... Merrimack fell 3-1 to the USA U18's at Lawler Rink in an exhibition game... Colgate finished off the road sweep of UMass with a 5-2 win... BU shutout Maine 1-0 at Agganis.

Sunday: UNH and the USA U18's played to a 2-2 tied in Durham.

Honored
BU was named Hockey East Team of the Week for winning the two games over Maine and UNH. In addition, Matt O'Connor was named Hockey East Player of the Week after he stopped 31 shots against UNH Thursday night.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Terriers Blank Black Bears to Close Out First Half

Sean Maguire on the penalty kill at the end of period three
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
So, I was planing on writing a full recap, but I got to the game at the end of the second period. I had a hockey game myself starting at 6:30. So, here's what I saw while I was there.

BU played very sloppy in the third period. Nothing was clicking. The one quality set up was to Matt Nieto, who fanned on the shot.

The lone bright spot of the third period was the penalty kill. With little less than six minutes left, Ben Rosen took a five minute major for boarding. BU's PK looked stellar. They allowed Maine two quality scoring chances that Sean Maguire made impressive saves on. In all, Maguire made 28 saves for his second straight shutout.

Garrett Noonan had the lone goal of the game back in period one, on the power play.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

BU Takes On Maine

Tonight BU will host the University of Maine in the final game of the first semester. Through the first half, Maine has been a huge disappointment. The Black Bears are 2-10-2 and are currently in dead last in Hockey East.
From The Vault
Former Maine goalie Scott Darling makes a glove save
on BU's Wade Megan in the 2010 season. BU went on to win
this game 7-4.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Maine's only two wins are over Lowell, a 4-3 victory, and Army in the IceBreaker Invitational, also by a score of 4-3. Maine has played a bunch of teams close though, losing 1-0 to Notre Dame in the opening round of the IceBreaker and tying Lowell and Vermont 2-2. Early in the season, Maine was swept at home by St. Lawrence, 5-0 and 5-1.

Scouting the Black Bears
Freshman Devin Shore leads the team in points with seven. He has one goal and six assists in 14 games played. Behind him is the co-leader in goals scored, Joey Diamond. Diamond has three goals and three assists in 13 games played. Joey is widely known as one of the bigger goons in Hockey East. He has already been suspended for one game this year.

In goal, Maine has seen three goalies spend time in the cage. Junior Martin Ouellette has made seven appearances with a 1-4-2 record, a .911 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average. Last year's standout starter Dan Sullivan has yet to win a game this season, as he is 0-6-0 in six appearances. He holds a .898 save percentage and a 3.34 GAA. Freshman Matt Morris has seen action in three games and holds a 1-0-0 record. He has a .842 save percentage and a 3.20 GAA.

The Last Time They Met...
was in the Hockey East Semi Finals. Maine won a back and forth game by a score of 5-3. Prior to that, Maine swept the Terriers in Boston last February. You have to go back exactly one year from Sunday to find the last BU win. That was a 5-1 rout in Orono and many considered BU the best team in the Nation at the point last year.

Notes
- Sean Maguire will be in the net for the Terriers tonight.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

O'Connor, BU Knock Off #1 UNH

Matt O'Connor made 31 save in the
3-2 win. Here he makes a save against
UNH from earlier this year.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
UNH came out quick and took the play to the Terriers before BU was able to get their feet under them. Matt O'Connor held his ground, as it was BU who grabbed the game's first goal.  

The puck came back to the point, where Matt Grzelcyk unloaded a slapslot. The drive pin-balled around the crease before Wade Megan put home the rebound for the lone goal of the first period. Sahir Gill also picked up an assist on the goal.

The latter stages of the frame saw a ton of penalties. Both sides had numerous man advantages, but the goaltenders were stout. BU's best opportunity to extend their lead in the first came on the power play. Following a nice set up, Evan Rodrigues had the puck all alone at the top of the crease. UNH goalie Casey DeSmith held his ground and made an impressive save. 

Seconds into the second period, BU nearly doubled their lead. Cason Hohmann missed a wide open net on a power play that carried over from the first. Minutes later, BU did in fact extend their lead. Hohmann pick up a loose puck at the UNH blue line and took the lone Wildcat defender wide and created a two on one with Sahir Gill. Hohmann made a nifty saucer pass over the UNH defender's stick, landing directly onto Gill's tape. Gill made a shifty deke, before sliding the puck between DeSmith's legs five hole while on his backhand.

BU upped their lead to 3-0 with just under 12:00 to play in the frame. Ahti Oksanen's drive from the point drilled the glass over the UNH net. The rebound came right back in front of the net. Sam Kurker took a whack at it and the bouncing puck somehow found its way through the legs of DeSmith.

Following a slew of BU penalties, UNH finally got on the board late in the stanza. Kevin Goumas beat Matt O'Connor from the far side at the bottom of the circle on the power play to make it 3-1. After the goal, UNH gained a ton of momentum and really dominated the Terriers for the ensuing few minutes.

In the final seconds of the second, Matt Nieto rang the post, just missing. The shot cleanly beat DeSmith. BU got out of the period and took their 3-1 lead into the third period.     

UNH controlled the pace of play in the third and cut the BU lead to 3-2 at the 11:54 marker. Jon Henrion controlled a large rebound and picked the top left corner on O'Connor to make it a one goal game. 

With 2:07 left, Wade Megan was called for interference. Soon after, DeSmith was pulled and BU faced a six on four. O'Connor stood tall making a clutch glove save with about 13 seconds remaining. BU killed off the remaining power play time and the remaining game time to defeat the Wildcats for the first time this year. 

BU will take on Maine Saturday night at home. 

UNH Preview

Tonight, BU will take on Number One ranked New Hampshire in Durham. The game will conclude the season series between the Terriers and Wildcats. In addition, it marks the third game in a row the Terriers have played the Nation's number one ranked team. That is the first time that has ever happened in BU Hockey history.

UNH is 11-1-2 on the year with their only loss coming in overtime at UMass. The Wildcats are led by junior Kevin Goumas who has 23 points in 14 games played. Some 10 points behind him is Grayson Downing with 7 goals and 6 assist for 13 points.

In goal, the Wildcat's boast one of the country's best goalie in Casey DeSmith. In 14 games played, the sophomore netminder has a .943 save percentage with a 1.72 goals against.

UNH has taked the first two games of the season series with scores of 4-1 and 3-1.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cisse leaves

Yasin Cisse had his far share of
penalties while at BU. Here he is
being held back by the ref.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Yesterday it was announced that redshirt Sophomore Yasin Cisse has left the University to "pursue other hockey endeavors in his native Canada." Today he signed with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. This makes him the second player in less than a year to leave BU mid-season and head to the Q. Charlie Coyle was the other.

Throughout his career at BU, Cisse has been plagued by injuries. Prior to arriving at BU he suffered a season ending injury while a member of the Des Moines Bucks of the USHL. There he had a tendon severed in his foot by a skate. In the first game of the 2011 season in the Icebreaker Invitational, Cisse wrecked his ankle. That kept him out the entire year. Last season Cisse missed the first month or so, with concussion issues. 

In total, Cisse played 39 games at BU, totaling two goals and five assists. Over the course of his time at BU, it was clear he struggled to gain confidence. There were flashes of brilliance like the play he made against BC last year to score his first collegiate goal. Then there were other times that he looked down right lost on the ice. 

As of just recently, the Westmount, Quebec native was promoted to the first line. There, he looked well out of place and seemed a step behind the rest of the line. 

Player and Coaches Reaction
Jack Parker "I wish him nothing but the best and I hope he’s a big star and gets to the NHL...I don’t know if that’s going to happen."

The Boston Hockey Blog is reporting that Sahir Gill will be the new first line right wing with Wade Megan on the left and Cason Hohmann in the middle. In addition, Freshman Mike Moran will be the new new third line winger. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Big Day For Grzelcyk

Matt Grzelcyk lets go a shot at
UMass earlier this season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Today USA Hockey released it's preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships that will be held in Ufa, Russia in less than a month. One current Terrier, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was on the roster. BC's Johnny Gaudreau and Providence College goalie John Gillies were the only other Hockey East players to make the cut. In total, 15 of the roster's 24 members come from college backgrounds.

In 13 games played, Grzelcyk is third on the Terriers roster in points with 11. He had 10 total points last year as a member of the USA U18's. The Charlestown native has two goals (both against BC) and nine assists.

Today Grzelcyk was also named Hockey East Rookie of the Month for November. My take on Grizz is that he has more than closed the gap that Adam Clendening left when he decided to forgo his college eligibility. I'm not the first one to say this, but Grzelcyk reminds me a lot of a former Number Five to don the BU sweater, David Warsofsky.

The two play a very similar style of hockey. The element that made Dave very effective is the same that makes Grzelcyk a standout offensive defenseman. They possess the ability to skate with the puck and make quick, heads up passes. Oh yeah, and it doesn't hurt that both of them were blessed with some of the softest hands I've ever seen play at BU.

The one knock on Grzelcyk would be that he sometimes holds on to the puck a little too long and that tends to get him in trouble in his own zone.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Thoughts: One Good, One Bad

Player of the Week
Evan Rodrigues 
Rodrigues netted two goals
over the weekend on two
perfectly placed wrist shots.
In addition, the sophomore
forward seemed to be involved
in some really important plays.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 

Friday night was one of the best hockey games I have been to at Agganis. Saturday was one of the most frustrating game I have ever been too.

Lets starts with Friday. BU has proven all season that they could hang with top level teams, but (excluding the North Dakota win) have not been able to beat them. The Terriers finally got over the hump Friday with a thrilling 4-2 win over Boston College. The second period highlighted the night. BC and BU combined for three goals, all of which were highlight reel worthy. Garrett Noonan's baseball style goal put the Terrier up 1-0 and Minutes later, Even Rodrigues torched Parker Milner with a wrist shot.

The Terriers seemed to be playing on motivation and desperation, two deadly weapons, as BC soon found out. Matt Grzelcyk's wrap a round goal was a microcosm of the entire game for both teams. For the Terriers its was scoring with determination, for the Eagles it was frustration. It would have been a relatively easy save for Milner if it did not take him a half hour to get off the far post. Grzelcyk celebration matched the energy in the building.

One night later, BU played a solid period and a half before the roof collapsed. The teams traded power play goals in the first, before BC went up 2-1 early in the second. BU had a ton of chances to tie the game at two, non better than Evan Rodrigues' break a way. Rodrigues seemed to have beat Milner to the short side, but sent the puck wide of the net. That also proved to be the last chance to tie things up, as minutes later BC erupted for two quick power play goals. How/why BC went on the power play was rather questionable.

From the top of the stadium, it looked as BC's Steve Whitney really embellished a tripping call, far worse than whatever Sean Escobedo did to earn just a diving call. Anyway, BC had a chuck of 5 on 3 which they eventually scored on to make it 3-1. That essentially killed BU's moral and goals 4 and 5 only shoved the dagger further into the already wounded Terriers. 

BU did score two power play goals of their own in the game, Cason Hohmann had the first, while Even Rodrigues had the other in the third. Prior to Hohmann's goal, BU's power play was on an 0 for 20 streak. 

Matt O'Connor may have played his best hockey as a Terrier over the weekend, coming up with some very impressive saves. If not for him in saturday night's game the score could have been 10-2. 

At The Polls
BU moved up two slots in the USCHO rankings from 9th to 7th. UNH was the Nation's new number one, as BC slipped to number 2.  Miami, Minnesota and Noter Dame rounded out the top five in that order.

Over in the pairwise, BU moved up from 7th two fifth after this weekend's games. BC is still one with New Hampshire, Dartmouth, Yale and BU (in that order) close behind. 

Around Hockey East
Friday: Northeastern blanked UMass 1-0 at the Mullins center... Providence defeated Merrimack 3-2 in overtime at Lawler Rink... New Hampshire made quick work of Lowell, winning 5-2... Vermont beat Maine 2-1 at Alfond... BU snapped BC's ten game win streak, upending the Eagles 4-2 at home. 

Saturday: Merrimack topped Providence 2-1 at Schneider Rink... UMass rolled past Northeastern 6-3 at Matthews... UNH capped off the sweep of Lowell with a 5-2 road win... Maine and vermont tied 2-2 in Orono... Boston College picked up a 5-2 victory at home against BU.

Honored
Evan Rodrigues was named Hockey East Player of the Week.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Game Photos From Last Night

mattdresens's BU-BC 11-30-12 album on Photobucket

All Photos By Matt Dresens

O'Connor, BU Tackle BC

Alexx Privitera attempts to block
Kevin Hayes' shot in the first period.
O'Connor made the follow up save.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
I said it after the North Dakota games and I'll say it again now: Wow, what a hockey game. From start to finish, it was pretty clear that these teams don't like each other.

That was never more prevalent than at the end of the scoreless first period. With one of the more heated brawls that the two teams have been involved in lately, capped off a very exciting period of hockey.

Even though no goals were scored, that's not to say there were not opportunities. Both goalies played well all night, but none better than in the first frame.

After countless scoring chances, BU finally found the back of the net midway through the second. Even Rodrigues cut to the middle of the slot where he unloaded a wrist shot. The shot was deflected wide where Wade Megan tossed a follow up bid on goal. Garrett Noonan ultimately banged home the goal, Peter MacArther style, as he hit the puck out of mid air at the top of the crease to give the Terriers the lead.

Kind of an interesting picture that I took of the first period
brawl at the end of the frame.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU took a 2-0 advantage exactly seven minutes later. Danny O'Regan quarterbacked the entire play after getting the puck from Matt Nieto. O'Regan skated into the BC zone, pulled up in the right wing circle and then dished a saucer pass over to Even Rodrigues who was flying into the zone. The pass was a bit behind Rodrigues, but the sophomore forward was able to corral the puck before torching Parker Milner high glove side. It was a perfectly placed shot.

38 seconds later, BC answered right back. Pat Mullane capped off a nice set up from Johnny Gaudreau and Stevan Whitney. Mullane's shot was a quick release lazer that beat Matt O'Connor glove side.

In the closing seconds of the second period, BU almost went up 3-1. (I think) Wade Megan ripped a shot that cleanly beat Milner off the crossbar on almost an identical play to the Rodrigues goal with about three seconds left.

BU did not have to wait long to get that third goal, though. Just 1:46 into the third Matt Grzelcyk burned Milner on a wrap a round. Grzelcyk got the puck from Wade Megan at the BC blue line. From there, Grzelcyk did the rest, taking the puck wide on a Boston College defender and eventually frombehind the net tucked the puck inside the post, behind Milner. It really seemed that Milner took a while to get off the far post, thus allowing Grzelcyk enough time to pull off the wrap a round.

BU's penalty kill played well throughout the game, but their strongest effort came in the latter stages of the third. Megan essentially put the game away with little over two minutes to play after he potted an empty net, short handed goal.

Johnny Gaudreau did score a 6 on 3 goal with 24 seconds left, but it was way too little way too late for the Eagles to pull off another one of their miracle comebacks.

Ben Rosen looked to have scored another empty net goal with about 19 seconds left, but the refs screwed up, allowing BU to play with four skaters, while they were still short two men from large scrum.

All in all, I thought this was BU's best all around game since 2009. The team really played as a team and Matt O'Connor was nothing short of brilliant in goal... Again.

BU finally won a game at home against BC, their first since 2009. Also, this is the first time since 2007 BU has defeated the number one team in the Nation, that also was BC

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Weekend With the Eagles

It's BC week and this might sound hard to believe, but this year will be the first time I will go to all BU-BC games. As for this weekend's games, there is no doubt in my mind that the two games will give a whole new meaning to the "Battle of Comm Ave" slogan. People have said last year the two teams were as about as even as they ever have been.
A scrum from earlier this year. Yeah, this should be a fun
weekend.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Boston College is the best team in the country (there, I said it), for one reason and one reason only. They are never out of a game and they always find a way to come back on teams late. It's as if they are playing the Patriots defense every week. BC has four comeback wins (two against UMass) and throughout the year has proven to be able to score in rapid succession. They did it to us earlier this year.

Scouting the Eagles
BC has won ten straight coming into this weekend, with their only loss coming in the first game of the year at Northeastern. Notable wins include a 4-1 over Notre Dame, 4-2 win at BU (their one good road win) and a 6-3 victory at home against Dartmouth.

Over the course of BC's stretch of dominance -winners of 29 of 30 games- two teams have troubled BC. UMass and BU. The Terriers gave BC all they could handle in the Beanpot Finals last year and UMass has almost twice taken out the Eagles this year.

Johnny Gaudreau leads the team in points, goals, and assists. I guess he is ok. Gaudreau has a line of 9-10-19 in 11 games played. Behind him with 15 points is Senior Pat Mullane. Mullane has 6 goals and 9 assists. On defense, BC is led by Senior Patrick Wey and Freshman Michael Matheson.

In goal, Parker Milner (and this is incredibly difficult for me to say) is actually doing well. In 11 games, the Senior netminder has a .926 save percentage and a 2.08 goals against.

---> For BU, I think Matt O'Connor will start Friday night and the goalie will be announced later for Saturday.

---> The legendary Mike "Doc" Emrick will be calling both games on the NBC Sports Network.

---> The key to this weekend for the Terriers is special teams. They have to shutdown BC's power play and take advantage of their opportunities on the man advantage. In the game played earlier this year, BU held the Eagle's power play scoreless, while their own pp struggled. Fix the latter half and we are alright.

---> Dating back to 2007 the road team in this series has a 13-3-2 record.

---> Either way I look at it, this weekend is a split.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

News And Notes

Ben Rosen scored his first
goal of the season, Saturday
night against St. Lawrence.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
I was going to do a full Monday Thoughts, but then I realized I had nothing to say because I did not go to the St. Lawrence game. I was in New York City that night at the Cornell-Michigan game at Madison Square Garden. Cornell won convincingly 5-1 if anyone was wondering.

Personally, I think BU is better than both of those teams. As for the atmosphere in MSG, the place was packed, just like Red Hot Hockey was last year. Which leads me to the main point of the post. Why has the Frozen Four never been at MSG?

If BU/Michigan and Cornell can sell that place out for one game at the end of November, why cant the NCAA put the Frozen Four there in early April. Not to answer my own question, but I think it's because there is no college hockey team in NYC (If you are reading this NYU, get on that) and there is no "host".

In BU news, Sean Maguire was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week after picking up his first home win and shutout Saturday night against SLU... BU moved up to 9th in the National polls and now sit in 7th in the Pair Wise heading into the BC weekend (more on that in the coming days).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

BU Blanks St. Lawrence

Tonight, BU shutout a team for the first time this year, as Sean Maguire stopped all 21 SLU shots and the Terriers posted 4 goals.

Wade Megan opened the scoring at 11:15 of the first period. The assists went to Ahti Oksanen and Yasin Cisse. It was Megan's 7th goal of the year and Cisse's first assist.

At 18:54 of the second, BU extended their lead to 2-0. Sam Kruker potted his first goal as a Terrier with the lone assist going to Sahir Gill.

Midway through the third, Ben Rosen found the back of the net for the first time this year. Ryan Santana a d Ryan Ruikka picked up the assists.

With less than a minute to go, Matt Nieto rounded out the scoring on a wrist shot goal.

With the win, BU improved to 7-4-0 on the year.

I was unable to make it to the game tonight, that is why the recap is so brief.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

SLU Preview

Tonight, BU will take on the Skating Saints of the University of St. Lawrence. SLU has surprised some people with their quick start this season, coming into this game with a 6-3-2 record. Last night, St. Lawrence rolled by Northeastern 5-2 at Matthews.

SLU is lead by Kyle Flanagan, who has 21 points in 11 games played. Behind him, is Greg Carey with 9 goals and 10 assists in 11 games.

In goal, Matt Weninger has a .923 save percentage to go along with a 2.33 GAA.

The last time the two teams plays was in the 2009 season, with BU winning 4-1.

Sean Maguire will get the start in the Terrier net tonight. I will not be at the game, as I am stuck in New York City for the weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Thoughts: A Step Below---Part Two

This weekend was a tale of two games. Friday, BU put together maybe their best effort of the year at Vermont. But, last night, BU fell 3-1 to the University of New Hampshire at home. It may have been the second worst game the Terriers have played all year. The other poor performance also coming against UNH.

The Vermont Game---> Six goals by six different players including two from the third line and three from defenseman was a good start. Sean Maguire picked up his first win as a Terrier in the 6-2 rout. BU even scored two power play goals which in the end, gave us a false sense that the power play had been fixed after struggling against BC. The UNH game would heavily argue that the power play needed some serious work, though.

The UNH Game---> The first period was undoubtably the most atrocious period of the year. BU could not hit the net, break the puck out of the zone, sustain any sort of forecheck, score on a power play (more on that in a second) and worst of all, BU turned the puck over several times. No turnover was worse that Ryan Santana's at his own blue line, that allowed Kevin Goumas to walk in and rip a shot past Matt O'Connor through a screen.
Evan Rodrigues gets stopped on a power play in the third period
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
UNH's second goal came in a scrum on the far side of the net. BU was out shot 20-12 in the first. To say it was the worst period of the year is a complete understatement.

BU finally got on the board in the second frame as Danny O'Regan slammed home a rebound off an end to end rush by Matt Grzelcyk.

The Anemic Power Play
Not to come off overly negative in this post, but the power play's effort yesterday afternoon was so bad it is hard to find a comparison. BU went 0 for 7 on the man advantage and that does not even begin to explain how bad they looked. Granted, the second period was an overall stronger period by BU, the power play could not set up anything and at times, it looked like UNH had the better scoring chances.

Matt Grzelcyk 

Player of the Week
Matt Grzelcyk
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Overall, Grzelcyk played a vey solid weekend, as he picked up two points in two games. He creates offense for the team in ways only a few defenseman have on Comm Ave. Dave Warsofsky comes to mind along with Kevin Shattenkirk, but there are some times that Grzelcyk seems to get himself into trouble by holding the puck too long. There is a difference between patience and just carrying the puck too long. A few times in the UNH game, he backed up too far and got trapped in the corner. Then there are the end to end rushes like the one that he took from deep in the BU end and beat three or four UNH players, before getting a shot off that produced a rebound for O'Regan to bang home. Like my Dad said, "he likes the puck".

At The Polls
BU moved up one slot in the USCHO poll from 11th to 10th. Boston College was again the nation's top team, with Denver two, UNH three and Minnesota and Miami rounded out the top five.

Over in the PWR, BU slipped from five to eight. Denver is currently one, with UNH two, BC three, and Dartmouth and North Dakota finishing the top five.

Around Hockey East
Friday: Boston College came back to defeat Merrimack 4-3 at home... Providence routed Northeastern 6-2 at home... Maine and Umass staked to a 2-2 draw at the Mullins Center... New Hampshire blanked Lowell 3-0 at the Whitt... BU crushed Vermont 6-2.

Sunday: Lowell destroyed UMass 8-2 in  Amherst... Vermont beat Northeastern 3-2 at home... UNH dropped BU 3-1 at Agganis.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

BU-UNH Preview

Later today, BU will take on the University of New Hampshire at home. This will be the second time these two teams have met this year. UNH handed the Terriers a humbling 4-1 rout about a month ago up in Durham.

BU will start Matt O'Connor in net, who shutout the Wildcats for half a game. O'Connor took over in the Terrier net, after Sean Maguire allowed four goals in a period an a half.

From the Vault
Matt O'Connor makes a paddle save against UNH earlier this
year
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Scouting the Wildcats
Keven Goumas leads the team in points with 11, scoring one goal and posting 10 assists. Right behind him is sophomore Trevor van Riemsdyk, who has 10 points (4g, 6a) in 9 games played. Senior Austin Block leeds the team in goals scored, racking up 8 in 9 games played.

In goal, Casey DeSmith holds a 7-1-1 record with a .957 save percentage, a 1.21 goals against, and has 4 shutouts on the year. Against BU, DeSmith holds a 2.80 GAA and .925 save percentage and a 2-3-0 record.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Six Different Terriers Score, Maguire Picks Up First Win

Wes Myron scored his first collegiate
goal in the second period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Tonight was BU's most dominant effort of the year. From start to finish, BU never let Vermont into the game. BU's power play picked up two goals, while the penalty kill only yielded one goal on six Catamount power plays.

The PK's highlight of the night came midway through the first as they defused a lengthy five on three. The kill seemed to give the Terriers momentum and minutes later, BU went on the power play themselves. While on the man advantage, Danny O'Regan found Ahti Oksanen at the center point. Oksanen took two steps in before uncorking a wrist shot that beat UVM goalie Brody Hoffman high glove side. It was Oksanen's third goal of the year.

Towards the end of the period, BU broke out for two quick goals. The first was set up by Matt Grzelcyk to Sahir Gill, who finished the play with a nifty move to beat Hoffman. 40 seconds later, Wade Megan slammed home a centering pass from Cason Hohmann to make it 3-0 Terriers before the end of the first.

Less than five minutes into the second, BU was back on the power play, and their offense picked up where it left off in the first. Garrett Noonan and Cason Hohmann both picked up assists as they helped architect a pass to Alexx Privitera in the slot. From there Privitera ripped a wrister past Hoffman's glove side to make it 4-0.

Following Privitera's goal, Billy Faust spelled Brody Hoffman in the UVM net. Hoffman made 10 saves on 14 shots.

Vermont got on the board midway through the second. Jonathan Turk found Chris McCarthy inside the BU zone. McCarthy from the middle of the slot, torched Maguire with a perfectly placed wrist shot in the top corner, glove side.

BU again struck twice inside five minutes to play in the period. Patrick MacGregor head-manned the puck to Wes Myron on the far boards at the UVM blue line. Myron took three or four uncontested strides before letting go a low wrister that appeared to beat Faust five hole. It was kind of hard to tell, due to the poor quality of the webcast on the UVM site. What made it even more challenging to realize that it was a goal, was that the puck hit a camera mounted inside the net and the puck came flying out of the net.

A minute and a half later, Sean Escobedo scored the prettiest goal of the evening. He got the puck at the far point from Wade Megan, who was in the corner. At the point, Escobedo was pressured by a UVM forward. Escobedo then undressed the forward with a shifty spin-o-rama move that left him alone in the middle of the slot. From there, he beat Faust five hole with a shot that did not leave the ice.

Pete Massar picked up a power play goal for the Catamounts in the final period, but BU continued to dominate the play despite not scoring in the third.

Sean Maguire played a solid game, undoubtably his best as a Terrier, not just because it was his first win, but for how he played. He looked like he had a lot more confidence, the main ingredient missing in his other two starts.

BU will take on New Hampshire on Sunday at 1:00 at home.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

BU-Vermont Preview

Tomorrow night, BU will travel to the Green Mountain State for their lone visit to Gutterson Filed House and the University of Vermont. Unfortunately, I will not be making the trip to UVM, but I will try and watch the game on the webcast on the Catamount's webpage.

---> Sean Maguire will start in net for the Terriers and Ryan Ruikka will be a healthy scratch in tomorrow's game.

From the Vault
This is the aftermath of a hit between BU's Max Nicastro and
Vermont's Tabias Nilsson-Roos in a game played last
November.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Scouting Vermont
So far this year, UVM has exceeded expectations. I picked them to finish dead last in the league, but currently they sit in a tie for seventh with UMass. The Catamounts have one win on the year, a 2-0 blanking of Providence at home. Their other two points came way of the tie, drawing with Lowell (1-1) and Merrimack (2-2), both on the road. Last weekend, UVM was shutout by New Hampshire 4-0 at the Whitt and did not look good doing it. Then again, BU looked equally as unimpressive against UNH earlier this year. So what gives?

UVM is led by Senior Captain, Chris McCarthy, who has a goal and three assists in six games played. Behind him, Nick Bruneteau and Jacob Fallon both have a goal and two assists, for three points in six games played. Collectively, UVM has scored just 10 goals in six games and does not have a multi-goal scorer on the roster at this point in the year.

In goal, the Catamounts will have Freshman Brody Hoffman, who boasts a .918 save percentage and a 2.44 goals against average in six games. Over those six game, Hoffman has a record on 1-3-2 (.333%)

Vermont does have a solid penalty kill, allowing one power play goal in their last 16 opportunities to kill a penalty.

The Last Time The Met... 
was in a series in mid February. BU swept the Catamounts with wins of 5-0 and 3-2 (ot) in Gutterson Field House. Game two included Wade Megan scoring with the extra attacker and the goalie pulled in the final minute. Alexx Privitera won the game in overtime on a tipped slapper from the point. That was my first game at Gutterson.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday Thoughts: A Step Below

Players of the week
Wade Megan and Ahti Oksanen
Megan posted three points
(1g, 2a) vs Merrimack. Oksanen
also scored against MC and
played his best defensive game
of the year against BC.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
I'm looking at this loss to Boston College like the Patriots loss to the St. Louis Rams in the regular season back in 2001. The Pats put together a strong effort and almost knocked off (at that time) the best team in the league. The game did more than preview the Super Bowl a few months down the line, it showed that the Patriots could hang with the team at the top.

Fast-forward to Sunday night's BU loss to BC and I feel the same way. BU played very well, but BC's second goal was the back breaker. Now, the rest of this comparison is still yet to be determined as BU and BC will square off on the last day of the month. I think we all know how the Pats fared against the Rams the second time around... Hopefully BU can do the same.

Special Teams
BU's power play may have been the reason they did not win the BC game. Then again, their penalty kill kept them in it. Lets start with upside. BU killed off all six of BC's power plays including 1:38 of five on three. BC came into the weekend with the Nation's best power play. Notre Dame and BU combined to shut out the Eagles on the man advantage over the course of BC's two game weekend.

Now to the power play. BU had a number of power plays in the first period that would have tied the game at 1-1 and failed to convert on any of them. Finally, in the final two minutes, BU did something they needed to do all night: make quick passes to break up the aggressive BC pk. Two slick passes from Matt Nieto and Ahti Oksanen set up Alexx Privitera with an open shot that he scored on.

Matt O'Connor 
O'Connor kicks away a shot on a
Merrimack power play Friday night
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Week in and week out, OC has stood tall in the BU net. This weekend was no different. Over the course of two games, O'Connor stopped 54 of 58 shots he faced. He was one of the main reasons BU was able to kill off all the BC power plays. You know what they say "your goalie is your best penalty killer".  O'Connor suffered his first loss Sunday night, but still boasts very impressive stats. In five games, he has a .931 save percentage with a 2.04 goals against average and an .800 win percentage. I know it's only six games, but it sure does look like this team has a strong goalie.

At The Polls
BU remained at the 11 slot in the USCHO poll. Boston College was a unanimous number one, receiving all 50 first place votes. Denver was two, Minnesota three and Miami and New Hampshire rounded out the top five.

Over in the Pair Wise (still too early to mean anything) BU jumped up a few slots to five, while undefeated Dartmouth was one, BC two, Denver three and UNH was fourth.

Around Hockey East 
Friday: Lowell topped Maine 2-1 at home... UMass blanked Providence 4-0 at the Mullins Center... Boston College topped Notre Dame 3-1 at home... BU upended Merrimack 3-1 at Lawler Rink.

Saturday: Maine actually won a game! Defeating Lowell 4-3 at Tsongas Center... New Hampshire shutout Vermont on the lake they call the Whittimore Center... Northeastern skated by Alabama Huntsville 3-0 in a game which I attended... Merrimack lost to UConn 3-1 at home.

Sunday: NU completed an unimpressive sweep of UAH with a 3-1 win at home... BC dropped BU 4-2 at Agganis.

Honored
Matt Grzelcyk was named Pro-Ambitions Rookie of the Week by Hockey East. He scored his first collegiate goal Sunday vs Boston College.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

BU Gets Caught In a Hayes

Tonight, BC's Kevin Hayes was the difference in a close, hard-fough battle between Boston College and BU. Hayes posted two points, including a goal in the second period, not to mention he was named first star of the game.

Sean Escobedo (21) slides to break up a two on one. Kevin
 Hayes (12) would later score from behind the net on a bank
shot.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Hayes had a hand in BC's first goal, just 43 seconds into the game. Hayes picked up a loose puck off a faceoff in the BU end behind the net. From there, he tried a wrap a round stuff. In the process, he lost the puck, but fortunately for the Eagles it found the tape of Destry Straight, who shoveled it past Matt O'Connor on the far side of the net.

Both teams had several other chances later in the first, but no one was able to capitalize.

BC started the second period with 1:38 of five in three. BU was able to kill off this man advantage, and all of BC's other six power playes. BU's pp did not fare much better, going one for seven.

Midway through the second, Aggains Arena was rocking and may have been the loudest I have ever heard the place. It was as if the two teams were playing at Walter Brown once again. That was mainly due to a BU power play and sustained pressure that all but resulted in a goal.

Kevin Hayes really shut the place up at 11:01 though, as he scored a really fluky goal on a two on one. BU defenseman Sean Escobedo made a smart play to break up a cross ice pass to Mike Sit by sliding in between the two BC forwards. Hayes then regained the puck behind the goal-line and banked it off O'Connor's right skate and into the goal.

If there has been one one flaw on O'Connor this year, it would be that type of play: the bank off the foot. It happened in the North Dakota series last weekend, too.

Less than a minute a half later, BC all but put the game away, as Pat Mullane made a nifty saucer pass over a BU defenseman's stick and on to the blade of Johnny Gaudreau, who found him self staring at a soccer net. He easily slid the puck past O'Connor who was well out of position on a goal that he had no shot at. A very highly skilled play by BC.

BU would finally get on the board with less than five minutes left. Cason Hohmann found Matt Grzelcyk at the top of the far circle. From there, Grzelcyk took two steps before shooting the puck intentionally wide looking for a tip. The shot hit a defender in front of the net and wound up back on Grzelcyk's stick at the bottom of the circle. He then beat Parker Milner five hole for hist first collegiate goal.

Grzelcyk had a chance earlier in the second period to put one home, but did not get all of the shot and sent the puck wide.

After the goal, BU pulled O'Connor for the extra attacker even though they were on the power play. Bill Arnold took full advantage of launching a puck the length of the ice and not getting called for icing, as he flung a back hander from his own end right smack dab in the middle of the vacant BU net.

BU was not done though, as they still had a power play. Matt Nieto and Ahti Oksanen set up Alexx Privitera at the center point with some slick passing. Privitera walked in a few feat before wristing one past Milner with 1:17 left.

BC hung on for the win 4-2, their eighth straight this year.

Matt O'Connor made some huge saves in the game and again looked very sharp in the BU goal.

My BU-BC Video

BU-BC. Is There Anything Else I Have To Say?

Tonight, BU will try and win their first game at Aggains against Boston College since January of 2009.

Boston College comes into this game as the number one ranked team in country, winning seven straight games and boasting a 7-1-0 record. BC's lone loss came against Northeastern in the first game of the year. BC's most notable win came Friday night against Notre Dame at home.
From The Vault
Corey Trivino chases down a loose puck in the neutral zone
against BC lat year. BU won 5-3.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

For BU, the last time they bet the number one ranked team in the nation was January 27, 2006 against Boston College.

Scouting the Eagles
BC is lead offensively by sophomore Johnny Gaudreau who has six goal, eight assist, for eleven points in eight games play. Behind him, is Pat Mullane and Bill Arnold, who both have nine points. Another player to watch is Freshman and first round draft pick Michael Matheson, who has six points thus far. Also, Patrick Wey is a sold defenseman and was on the World Junior Championship team two years ago.

In goal, Parker Milner (who I still think is incurably over rated) has a .934 save percentage with a 1.86 goals against average and two shutouts. Great right? Yeah, but remember that game where he allowed four goals on 14 shots against BU.... at HOME! Milner has played one good game against BU and that was the Beanpot Championship game where, I unfortunately have to give him credit for making some big time stops in overtime. None bigger than the one on Matt Nieto on the door step. Anyway, Milner is alway good for a regular season blunder against BU.

The Last Time They Met...
was the Beanpot Championship game. BC won with 6 seconds left in the first overtime on a Bill Arnold shot from the top of the circle.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Game Photos From Last Night

mattdresens's BU at Merrimack 11-9-12 album on Photobucket
For some reason, the photos are all in reverse order, so it starts in the third period and moves towards the first. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

BU Upends Merrimack 3-1

Wade Megan staples Mike Wills into the boards
in the the second period
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Tonight, two players stole the show. Freshman goalie Matt O'Connor and Wade Megan. O'Connor made 34 saves, including one highlight reel stop in the second period. Meanwhile, Megan posted a goal and two assists and also played a very physical game. 

BU looked to take the lead with just over 13 mins left in the first. Evan Rodrigues seemed to have finished on a two on one set up by (you guessed it) Wade Megan. From where I was, I thought they were kidding when the PA announcer said that the goal was under review. After a lengthy review, the goal was waved off. I still don't know why, but someone behind me said it hit the crossbar and never went in. It was a Merrimack fan so I don't know if the source was accurate.

BU eventually took the lead in the second frame, after a relatively uneventful first period. Cason Hohmann found Ahti Oksanen wide open at the point. Oksanen took two steps in before unloading a Colby Cohen-esqe bomb that MC goalie Sam Marotta had no chance at stopping. It was Oksanen's second goal of the year. Megan picked up the second assist on the play.

Later in the stanza, Megan put the finishing touches on a really heads up play by Matt Grzelcyk. Grzelcyk banked the puck off the near boards to Megan who never actually saw Grzelcyk make the pass. The puck angled perfectly to Megan at the MC blue line where the Captain burned a Merrimack defender before picking the lower corner on Marotta. 

BU's second period was one of the more dominant periods I have seen the Terriers play this year. Even so, MC did have a few good chances, including O'Connor's big save mentioned earlier. Also, in the closing seconds of period two, MC did hit the post on the power play.

That Power Play carried over into the third period and before the ice could even fully freeze from being resurfaced, The Mack had cut the lead to 2-1. John Heffernan jammed home a loose rebound to the side of O'Connor. Mike Collins and Kyle Bigos picked up the assists.

Merrimack took over the period after that, hemming BU in deep and breaking up break out passes left and right. Merrimack appeared to have tied the game 2-2 midway through the third, but the goal was disallowed. I believe this one was kicked in.

BU finally iced the game with little over five minutes to play. Matt Grzelcyk, who got the puck from Wade Megan, fired a shot low on Marotta's left leg. The shot produced a rebound that Evan Rodrigues easily shoveled past the out of position tender. It was (officially) Rodrigues first goal of the year. 

BU will have tomorrow off before taking on Boston College at the Greek Sunday.


You Be The Judge
NOt the best angle but... Rodrigues's shot go in?
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Thoughts: More Please

Player of the Week
Freshman, Matt Lane 
Over the past few weeks, Lane has
shown that he is a very smart hockey
player. He does the small things right.
Saturday, it paid off as he scored his
first collegiate goal, the game
winning goal.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Wow! What a weekend. BU and North Dakota played two of the most intense and spirited November hockey games I've seen in a long time. Even though I could not make the trip to Grand Forks this past weekend, it was still brutally obvious to me that a) these teams really don't like each other and b) there is no love lost between the fans either.

All is great for the game, and it's getting better. Originally I though the forming of the Big 10 and NCHC conferences would ruin college hockey rivalries that have been around longer than anyone can remember. Also, from the start, I did not like Notre Dame coming into Hockey East and rearranging the entire league schedule. Now, I love it.

Hockey East will play 22 league games compared to 27 starting net year. That leaves room for more non-conference games against "high profile" teams from around the country. BU will have a chance to continue their "new" rivalry with the Sioux next year at Agganis on November 22rd and 23rd.

Back to this weekend. I thought BU played very well in five of the six periods played at the Ralph, the third period of game one being the exception. There, BU was dominated and the Sioux made life tough on the Terriers by hemming them in their own zone. Kinda hard to score from your own end, eh? Besides that, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the team played against a top five (going into the weekend) especially in North Dakota.

After the UNH game, I though this was going to be an easy sweep for NoDak, but BU really came to play and that is not to say North Dakota did not show up. Far from it. It was like watching a playoff game both Friday and Saturday night.

Big Steps For Mags
Although Sean Maguire did not get the win on Friday night, he looked much, much more confident in net, when compared to his other start on the year: the UNH game. He made a handful of saves on point blank opportunities from some of the Sioux sharp shooters in the slot.

The first of Conner Gaarder's three goals was a fluke as it hit off the side of his skate on a centering pass. Maguire really had no way to make this save. The second goal was a defensive break down that allowed Gaarder to take an uncontested slapper from the near circle. I my mind, this was the one goal that he may have had a shot at stopping. Gaarder's hat trick goal was on a five on three and was set up beautifully by Rocco Grimaldi from behind the net. Maguire had no chance. I think he gets the start Friday at Merrimack.

Alexx Privitera 
Coach, Jack Parker said this was Alexx's best weekend in a Terrier uniform and I can't disagree with him. Not only did he spring Matt Lane for the game winning goal on Saturday, but he was a dominant defender all weekend. Officially, he blocked 10 shots over the the two games, which is outstanding alone, but it seemed like he blocked about 110 shots. I was not the only one to pick up on this. The (I did not know it was possible to be more of a homer than Jack Edwards) play by play and color man both were full of praise for Privitera's play.

At The Polls
BU moved up one slot from 12th to 11th in the USCHO poll. Boston College was yet again number one, receiving 48 of 50 first place votes. Minnesota and Denver were two/three for the second week in a row. Cornell moved up two slots from six to join the top five and Miami moved down one place from four to five. Other Hockey East schools in the top 20 included New Hampshire at 9 and Lowell at 17. 

In the only ranking system that actually means anything -The Pairwise- BU is currently in 7th. Dartmouth is one, BC two, UNH three and Cornell and Denver round out the top five. 

Around Hockey East
Friday: Boston College took out Maine 4-1 at Alfond... Merrimack thumped Northeastern 5-2 at Matthews... UMass upset New Hampshire 2-1 in overtime at the Mullins Center... Providence skated past Vermont 3-2 at Gutterson Field House... North Dakota dropped BU 4-2 in Grand Forks.

Saturday: Vermont blanked Providence 2-0 at home... Merrimack completed the sweep of Northeastern with a 4-2 win at home... BU bounced back to knock off North Dakota 4-2.

Sunday: Boston College came back to defeat UMass 3-2 at home... New Hampshire shutout Maine 4-0 in Orono. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Third Period Explosion Earns Split

Last night, North Dakota picked up a hat trick from a very unlikely source: Connor Gaarder, a walk on sophomore. Tonight, BU had an equally unlikely hero who scored the game winning goal with just 1:50 left in Matt Lane
Matt Lane celebrates after scoring the eventual game
winning goal, his first collegiate goal as a Terrier with just
1:50 left in the game.
(Photo by Brad Olson, USCHO)

North Dakota opened the scoring little over five minutes into the first. Stephane Pattyn un-corked a shot that rang high off the glass behind BU goalie Matt O'Connor. The puck hit O'Connor in the back of the leg as he was trying to cover the post. As it his leg, it deflected into the goal giving the Sioux a 1-0 lead on one of the strangest goals I've seen. 

ND seemed to cary the play in the first, but O'Connor stood tall stoping 10 shots to keep it a one goal game. 

BU pulled even seconds into the second period during a four on four situation. Matt Grzelcyk was able to get the puck to Wade Megan at the top of the far dot. Megan let go a high wrist shot the went up over the shoulder of UND goalie Zane Gothberg to tie the game at 1-1. 

Midway through the period, NoDak would regain the lead. Danny Kristo took a shot a missed the net and the puck ended up in the corner.  There, Matt Nieto had the puck for BU and instead of going high off the glass to attempt to get it out, he turned it back down on the Terriers. This lead to a turn over where Corban Knight grabbed the puck and found Kristo all alone at the far post. Kristo out waited O'Connor before beating him five hole.

With about ten minutes to play in the game, BU started to gain some momentum as they strung some quality shifts together.  With less than six minutes to play, Danny O'Regan made a slick drop pass to Matt Nieto in the top of the slot. The pass drew the Sioux defender toward O'Regan, while Nieto was left unaccounted for in the slot. Nieto then proceeded to rip a snap shot high blocker side on Gothberg to knot the game at 2-2.

BU kept pouring the pressure on and with less than two minutes to go and there they were living life in the fast Lane. Alexx Priviteria, who played one of his better games as a Terrier sprang Matt Lane into the North Dakota zone. Lane cut to the front of the net before roofing a quick wrister from the low slot over the shoulder of Gothberg to put BU ahead. 

11 seconds later, Danny O'Regan picked off Nick Mattson's pass right in front of his own goal. O'Regan made a few shifty moves before depositing the gift turnover into the back of the net. The initial deke left Gothberg flopping around the crease like a beached whale which was easy picking for O'Regan, who has now scored four goals in four games. 

BU will take on Merrimack next Friday night at Lawler Rink. This is an interesting scheduling quark because BU will have played in what some say is the best rink in the nation a week before playing in what I consider the worst arena in the country. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gaarder Tricks BU, Sioux Take Round One

Ahti Oksanen scored his first
goal as a Terrier last night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Last night was a pure battle. It had the feel of a playoff game. Play was up and down, really fast moving, and BU played very well until they just ran out of gas in the Third.

UND almost went up 1-0 midway through the first when Corban Knight tossed a back-hander off the post, cleanly beating Sean Maguire. The whole play was nicely set up by Andrew MacWilliam.

BU opened the scoring with little over three minutes to play in a dominant first period. Matt Nieto found Matt Grzeclyk at the point. Grzeclyk fired a low shot that Clark Saunders kicked out right on to the tape of Danny O'Regan. O'Regan was staring at a soccer net and did not miss. It was his third goal in as many games.

North Dakota struck back less than two minutes into the second. Mark MaxMilan's centering pass from the far circle found Connor Gaarder's left left skate as he was being heavily defended by Garrett Noonan. The puck, not with a kicking motion, deflected off of Gaarder's skate, over the shoulder of Maguire and into the back of the net.

Gaarder was not done in the second, as he ripped home his second of the game at the 7:08 marker. He caught a long stretch pass from Nick Caggiula at the BU blue line. From there, he blew by the BU defenseman and let go a low slap shot, about a foot off the ice that beat Maguire to the far side. All in all, just a poor goal to give up if you are the Terriers.

With little over half the period to go, Andrew MacWilliam was kicked out of the game for a cheap shot hit on Ahti Oksanen. Oksanen was cutting across the ice after the whistle blew and MacWilliam popped him in the head. Oksanen got his revenge, as he scored his first collegiate goal with a blast from the point the 12:12 of the second. It would be the only goal and really the only good chance BU had to score on the five minute power play.

Gaarder capped his hat trick with a five on three goal, less than five minutes into the third. Rocco Grimaldi swooped in behind the net and made a heads up centering pass to Gaarder who was camped out down low on the post. Gaarder shoveled it home, regaining the Sioux lead.

Grimaldi sealed the deal in the closing seconds with an empty net goal.

North Dakota badly out played BU in the third period. In addition to NoDak hitting two posts, both teams had a disputed goal. Neither counted. ND's was in the second stanza and that would have up them up 3-1. BU's came with about five minutes left in the game that would have tied the game at 3. UND definitely had a case for their's. The puck was clearly loose, but the whistle did blow.

---> Tonight will be a bloodbath, as it was pretty clear that these two teams don't really like each other.

---> Matt O'Connor will get the start in the BU net tonight.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Siouxper Series

Finally, it is here, a weekend series that I have been looking forward to since I found out about it back in July. BU will travel to North Dakota (undoubtably, my second favorite team) and take on the no longer politically correct North Dakota (I'm still calling them) Sioux starting tomorrow at 8:30 on NESN.

For a while now, I have been following the Sioux pretty closely. I try to watch as many games as I can, as my TV for some strange reason, picks up the broadcasts from the Sioux Sports Network. Last year, I was really hoping BU and NoDak would meet in the NCAA tournament in the West Regional Final,  but it was not to be, as Minnesota beat BU in the first round and then went on to take out the Sioux in round two. I have only seen North Dakota play a handful of games in person, two of which were out in St Paul last March. The other was the 2009 Icebreaker Invitational at BU.

Unfortunately, that is where the list will stay because I can't make it to Grand Forks this weekend. There were several attempts to go on a "college visit" but that was quickly shot down. I guess the Ralph will have to stay on the Hockey Bucket-list for another day.

As far as I know, this will be BU's first trip to the new Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Scouting the Sioux
So far this year, UND is 2-1-1, playing only the Alaska schools through the first two weeks of the season. NoDak blanked Alaska-Anchorage 5-0 in the opening round of the Alaska Goal Rush Tournament. The following night, tournament host Alaska-Fairbainks, dropped the Sioux 2-1 in the finals. Last weekend, North Dakota took three points from Anchorage at home. A 4-1 win lead to a team that looked almost bored tying 3-3 the following night.

Currently, Rocco Grimaldi, who if I'm not mistaken is a red-shirt freshman after he missed almost all of last year with a lower body injury, leads the Sioux with two goals and two assists through four games. Senior Danny Kristo, who is a serious stud up front, has four assists already. Derek Forbort (who's hockey stick I use in games) and Andrew MacWilliam are undoubtably the team's best two defenseman. MacWilliam is one the team's Assistant Captains despite being suspended for the first game of the year for a drinking incident. MacWilliam has two points in the three games he has played. Forbort is more of an offensive defenseman, scoring two goals last weekend.

Other players to watch include Mark MacMillan, Corban Knight, Carter Rowney, Stephane Pattyn, Joe Gleason and Colton St. Clair. In goal, like BU, the Sioux will likely start two goalies. According to some goon, Clark Saunders, former University of Alabama Huntsville goalie will get the start Friday night. Saunders has played three games, posting a .940 save percentage with five goals allowed and a goals against at 1.64. Freshman Zane Gothberg, a Bruins draft pick, has played one game with a .994 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against.

The Last Time They Met...
was in the 2009 Icebreaker Invitational. BU won convincingly 5-1. Nick Bonino had a three point game, posting two goals and an assist. Brad "Miller Time" scored the lone goal for UND.

Video Preview From The North Dakota Side

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Thoughts: Grab Your Broom

Player of the Week:
Freshman Danny O'Regan
O'Regan scored his first collegiate
goal in the second period of
Friday night's game and added
another, the eventual game
winner in the third. O'Regan
picked up two assists Saturday,
one on the game tying goal
and one on the game winner.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)  
Saturday night, BU completed their first weekend sweep of the season and their first since last February, when the Terriers took four points at Vermont. The weekend goes far deeper than that, as BU played much better than the previous weekend at New Hampshire.

Friday was BU's best all around game of the year. After a sluggish first period, the team really came together and played a strong 40 minutes. Danny O'Regan and Cason Hohmann (again, this is becoming a weekly theme) shined as they both picked up two goals. O'Regan's strong play carried into Saturday's game. He picked up an assist on the tying and winning goals at the Mullins Center.

Matt O'Connor further proved that he is the man to beat in goal, stopping 58 of 62 shots faced over two games. Assistant Coach Mike Bavis, who served as the team's head coach on Saturday because Jack Parker injured his back and could not make the tip, did say that Sean Maguire will play one of the two games at North Dakota next weekend.

 A Good Sign
Matt Nieto picked up his first goal of the season, the game tying goal on Saturday. Nieto will undoubtably be one of the Terriers top scorers at the end of the year, but for right now, getting that first goal is a good sign for Nieto, who had been held in check for the first three games of the year.

Sophomores lead the way
Last year, it was a rare site when either Evan Rodrigues or Cason Hohmann found the score sheet. A combined 4 goals and 20 points was clearly an underachievement for those two. This year is a completely different story. Take a quick glance at the stat sheet for the BU Hockey Team and you will find Hohmann and Rodrigues one/two respectively in scoring thus far with 11 points combined. Hohmann is tied with Wade Megan for the team lead in goals with three.

Happy Birthday
Saturday was Sean Escobedo's birthday and I don't think there was a better way for him to celebrate. With 1:22 left in the third period and the game tied 2-2, Escobedo banged home the eventual game winning goal on a loose rebound at the top of the crease. It was his first goal since March 3rd. In his career at BU, Sean has five goals three of which are game winners. Two of those game winners have come in the last two minutes of games. The first was back in 2010 when he won the Icebreaker Invitational with 1:07 left to beat Notre Dame. The other was Saturday night. His other game winner came last February against Vermont. He scored the first goal in a 5-0 shut out.

 At The Polls
BU moved up one slot in the USCHO poll from 13 to 12. Boston College was again number one, picking up 38 of 50 possible first place votes. Minnesota was two (3 first place votes), Denver third (6 first place votes), Miami dropped from 3 to 4 and North Dakota rounded out the top five. Number 9 New Hampshire picked up two first place votes. Somehow Union slotted at 10, received the final first place vote. Lowell and Northeastern were the other Hockey East schools to crack the top 20 coming in at 14 and 15, respectively.

 Around Hockey East
Friday: Boston College snuck by Lowell 1-0 at Tsongas... Providence upended Maine 3-2 at home... New Hampshire battled back to defeat Northeastern at the Whitt... Merrimack topped Vermont 6-3 at Lawler Rink... BU rolled past UMass 5-2 at home.

Saturday: Providence completed the sweep of Maine, blanking the Black Bears 3-0 at home... Northeastern and New Hampshire skated to a scoreless tie at Matthews Arena... Merrimack and Vermont tied 2-2... BU came back to defeat UMass 3-2 at the Mullins Center.

Sunday: Boston College throttled Lowell 6-3 at Conte.