Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Recap: Maine Brooms BU

Player of the Week
In a weekend where BU was
swept, hard to find one player who
played really well. This week is no
 exception. Ross Gaudet scored his
third goal of the season in
Friday's 4-2 loss. Gaudet's goal tied
the game at 2-2 as he banked a shot
off Sullivan's back and into the net.
 For his creative goal, and lack of a
better candidate, Ross Gaudet is
my player of the week.

(Photo by Matt Dresens)
After coming off their best weekend of the season, BU was swept by the University of Maine for the first time since 1992. A major factor in the teams two losses was losing both Max Nicastro and Alexx Privitera Friday night.

Privitera broke his wrist midway through the first period and Nicastro suffered a shoulder injury later in the game. Privitera will be out for four weeks at the least and Nicastro is unlikely to play this upcoming Friday night at Merrimack. Today, Coach Parker said that Max may be able to play in the opening round of the Beanpot, which starts Monday (wow the Beanpot is already here!).

Friday's game had some strange twists and turns. Maine looked to be carrying the play at the start, but after Privitera broke his wrist, BU was awarded a power play (the call was interference) and Alex Chiasson converted on a beautiful passing play that started at the point with Adam Clendening. Clendening found Chris Connolly along the boards, who dished to Wade Megan down low. Megan one-touched a pass to Chiasson, who put it past Dan Sullivan, making it 1-0 BU. The lead lasted the remainder of the frame, but Maine struck back in the second with two goals. Ross Gaudet tied the game heading into the third period, before Maine scored on the power play, which was the eventual game winner.

The game came down to three critical things, in my opinion. (1) Maine's second goal, scored by John Parker, was an incredibly weak goal to allow if your Kieran Millan. Parker looked to have just tossed a backhander high over Millan's blocker side shoulder. This goal completely shifted the game, not to mention the lights went out minutes after the goal was scored. (2) The play of the defenseman was not exactly stellar. Not to pick on one player in particular, but Garrett Noonan missed at least two open shots late down the stretch that would have tied the game, before Spencer Abbott buried the empty netter for Maine. (3) I never like to blame officials, but come on... BU had one power play the entire night. I'm not the only one saying this. Both Jack Parker and Chris Connolly were fed up with the refs after the series was over. (link)

I unfortunately was unable to make it to Agganis for Saturday night's game, but I did tape the game, so I have some understanding of what went on. Maine took a 1-1with just seven seconds left in the first period. BU countered with a power play goal in the second, Garrett Noonan's 9th of the season, but Maine's Nick Pryor Drilled home a slapper from the point later in the period. Matt Mangene added an empty netter, capping the sweep for Maine.

At The Polls
Despite being swept, BU dropped just one slot in the USCHO rankings, from 2 to 3. Minnesota Duluth is once again the Nation's number one team. Minnesota is ranked second, despite being in 9th in the PairWise (rankings don't matter!), BU is three, and Merrimack and BC rounded out the top five. That is also how the new Hockey East top three looks like: BU, BC, Merrimack.

BU fell from number one overall in the PWR, down to number two, behind, who but, Minnesota Duluth. The is no really good team out there. This year's NCAA tournament will be real interesting to watch, because anyone out there has the ability to beat anyone else.

Around Hockey East
Tuseday: Providence blanked Lowell 1-0 at home.

Friday: Northeastern rolled past Vermont 8-3 at Gutterson Fieldhouse, home to the Vermont Catamounts... Lowell skated past UMass 4-2 out in Amherst... Boston College snuck past New Hampshire with a last minute goal, final score: 4-3... Maine dropped BU 4-2 at Agganis.

Saturday: BC again found a way to beat New Hampshire, this time it was in overtime by a score of 3-2... Northeastern completed the sweep at Vermont, winning 4-2... Lowell agains beat UMass, 5-2 was the final... Maine swept BU, 3-1.

Sunday: Merrimack topped Providence 4-2 at home.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Maine Turns Out The Lights On BU

Tonight, Maine ended BU's five game win streak, topping the Terriers 4-2 in front of 5,066 at Agganis Arena. 

The first period was a struggle for both teams, as Maine and BU traded scoring chances for the first half of the frame. BU broke the ice on their suddenly hot power play at the 17:56 mark. Alex Chiasson put the Terriers up 1-0 on a beautiful passing play. Chris Connolly fed Wade Megan, who dished to Chiasson through traffic. Chiasson then clanked a shot off the post and into the net, behind Maine Goalie Dan Sullivan (28 saves). It was Chiasson's 8th goal of the season, and the lone goal for either team in the first period.

Maine evened the game on a power play of their own a little over five minutes into the season stanza. Adam Shemansky beat Kieran Millan (21 saves) five hole with just two seconds left on the man advantage.  About three minuets later, John Parker tossed a backhander past Millan, making it 2-1 Black Bears. In my opinion, this was a very weak goal allowed by Millan.  From My angle, it looked as if Parker shoveled a backhand shot up over Millan's shoulder. The shot was perfectly placed and seemed to surprised Millan.

Directly following the goal, a large section of lights at Agganis shut off and suspended play for about 15 minutes. 
Above sections 113, 114, and 115 the lights shut off
unexpectedly, creating a dark area on the ice. Clearly
the right side of the picture is what it looks like when the
lights are working normaly. To the left, that's where the lights
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
 After the black out, BU took over the pace of play for a long stretch of the second period.. Finally, after many good scouring chances Ross Gaudet evened the score 2-2. A rebound kicked around the crease and ended up behind the goal line, right of the cage. Gaudet, from behind the goal line, banked a shot off Sullivan's back and into the goal, for his third tally of the season.

Adam Clendening nearly put BU up 3-2, after he broke up a Maine passing play at the blue line and skated away on a shorthanded break a way. Sullivan made a great glove save, keeping the game tied.

The teams headed to the third period tied 2-2. 

At 9:55 of the third period, Wade Megan was called for a sketchy hooking call, giving one of the best power play's another opportunity. 12 seconds into the man advantage, Mark Anthoine tipped Spencer Abbott's shot past Millan and into the net, regaining the lead for Maine.

BU had a chance to tie things up in the closing minutes. Garrett Noonan had an open look at the top corner, but fired it high and instead of finding twine, he drilled the glass behind the goal, ending the scoring chance. 

Spencer Abbott sealed the game for the Black Bears, as he blocked Adam Clendening's shot from the point and skated in alone facing nothing but an empty net. Needless to say, he scored. 

*Injury Report* Freshman Defenseman, Alexx Privitera left the game midway through the first period with a wrist injury. He is undergoing testing tonight and may have suffered a broken wrist.

Tomorrow, the teams will go back at it, this time on national television (CBS College Sports) at 7:30.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekend Preview: The Maine Event

This weekend, Number 2 BU will host Maine in a two game series featuring Hockey East's two best power plays. BU has scored on 27.3% of their man advantages this season, while Maine has scored on 28%.

A lot has changed since these two teams last met in the middle of December, but one thing remains the same; there are four points on the line this weekend. If BU sweeps, they will be in the driver's seat for the league title and the number one seed in the conference tournament.

From The Vault
Former Terrier Chris Higgins gets stuffed on a one timer by
former Maine goalie Scott Darling in the 2009 Hockey East
Quarterfinals. BU won this game - game one- 2-1 on a power
play goal by Colby Cohen.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Since losing to BU 5-1 at home earlier this season, Maine has lost just one game, a 6-2 loss at Merrimack. Notable wins this year include a sweep of Boston College just last weekend and winning the Florida College Hockey Classic over holiday break. In that tournament, Maine beat Clarkson 6-1, then topped UMass 5-2 in the final.

Scouting the Black Bears
There's no surprise who's leading Maine in scoring this year. The top line of Spencer Abbott, Joey Diamond, and Brian Flynn racked up an impressive 42 points in their last eight games played. Abbott leads the team in points with 38(12 goals, 26 assists) in 23 games played. Flynn is a close second with a line of 13-22-35, also in 23 games played. Diamond, the only Junior on the line, leads the team in goals with 17, but only has 29 points on the year in 22 games played. Obviously put, BU's ability to control/stop this line will dictate the outcome of this weekend's game. Also look out for Matt Mangene, a versatile player who has played both defense and forward this season.

In The Cage
In the last few weeks, Sophomore Dan Sullivan has taken over control in the Maine goal. In 19 games played, Sullivan has an 11-5-3 record with an .896 save percentage. He has allowed 54 goals on 517 shots. Sullivan took the starting job from Martin Ouellette earlier in the year. Ouellette has appeared in eight games thus far and has a 1-3-0 record in games he has started.

College Hockey Picks For The Week

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Injury Report

Evan Rodrigues
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Earlier this week, the Boston Hockey Blog reported that Freshman Evan Rodrigues was listed day to day with a shoulder injury. Apparently, Rodrigues left saturday's 8-0 pounding of Providence midway through the game and did not return.

If Rodrigues is out for Friday's tilt against Maine, Kevin Gilroy will likely dress, shifting Cason Hohmann up to the second line, taking Rodrigues' place. Gilroy would likely play with Ryan Santana and Ross Gaudet on the fourth line. More to follow in the next few days.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend in Review: We Keep Roll'n

Player of the Week
Kieran Millan was named Hockey East
Defensive Player of the Week, I will
also give him POTW honers. In two
games Millan let up one goal on 62
total shots.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Dominate. Power-surge. Statement. All three words come to mind in expressing how BU performed over the weekend. The first period of Friday night's 6-1 win over Providence set the tone for the entire weekend. Sahir Gill, Alex Chiasson, Ryan Santana, and Matt Nieto all posted goals in the opening frame. PC came out and played a solid second period, cutting the BU lead to 4-1. BU tacked on two more power play goals in the third, as Alexx Privitera and Garrett Noonan found the back of the net.

Saturday's game was a night to remember for the BU power play. The Terriers racked up six (no that's not a typo) goals on the man advantage. Nieto started the attack less than five minutes into the game . From there, Sahir Gill, Garrett Noonan, Wade Megan (2) and Alex Chiasson all scored power play goals. Gill and Max Nicastro posted the only five on five goals of the night. Millan made 26 saves in a shutout effort.

*State of the week: BU scored more power play goals over the past weekend (8) than Dartmouth has all season long*

At The Polls
BU remained the Nation's second ranked team, but this week USCHO gave them five first place votes. Minnesota Duluth was again ranked number one. Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Merrimack rounded out the top five.

BU leapfrogged Duluth, moving from second to first over the weekend in the ever changing PairWise rankings. What that means is if the season were to end today, BU would be the overall number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Around Hockey East
Friday: Maine topped Boston College 4-3 in overtime at Alfond Arena... New hampshire slipped by Merrimack 2-1 at Lawer Arena... Lowell blanked Northeastern 4-0 at Mathews Arena... UMass one upped Vermont, 4-3, at Vermont... BU ran over Providence 6-1 at Agganis.

Saturday: Maine completed the home sweep of Boston College with a 7-4 win... Merrimack upended New Hampshire 3-2 in overtime at the Whittimore Center... Lowell beat Northeastern 4-3 in overtime... BU destroyed Providence 8-0 in Providence.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

BU 8, Providence 0

That was the score of tonight's lopsided victory for the Terriers. The scoring started in the opening period, as Matt Nieto put home his 10th of the year on the power play. Later in the period, Max Nicastro converted his second of the season from Wade Megan and Cason Hohmann at 7:41. At the 16:03 mark, Sahir Gill scored his first of two, on the power play. BU took a 3-0 lead into the second period.

BU would score three more times in the second. Garrett Noonan scored his second power play goal of the weekend at 11:01. Gill found the back of the net at 14:56 from Alexx Privitera and Matt Nieto. Wade Megan rounded out the scoring in the second at 16:35, from Chris Connolly and Alex Chiasson, a power play goal.

BU tacked on two more power play goals in the third. Megan scored his 12th of the season at 4:07 from Priviteta and Nieto. Later in the frame, Ross Gaudet potted BU's sixth power play goal of the night. The assits went to Chiasson and Nicastro at 17:35. Millan turned away 26 shots in the 8-0 Terrier win.

BU Drubs Providence

Tonight, BU hit the ground running and did something that they have not done all year; Score four goals in one period. They accomplished the feat in the first period and never looked back.
Terrier's Evan Rodrigues (26) and Matt Nieto (17) celebrate
BU's first goal scored by Sahir Gill (28).
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Sahir Gill opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game. A rebound was kicking around the crease and the Trace British Columba native was able to flip it over PC goalie Alex Beaudry, who was down and out of position.

Alex Chiasson picked up the eventual game winner at the 10:40 mark. As he skated over the blue line, carrying the puck into the attacking zone, he reared back and blasted a slapper past Beaudry. The PC goaltender got a piece of the shot, but not enough as it nicked off his stick and into the net. It was Chiasson's 7th goal of the season.

At the 13:23 mark, Ryan Santana scored one of the strangest goal I think I've ever seen. As he raced after a loose puck that was at the top of the circle in the PC zone, Beaudry -the goalie- also charged after it. Both Beaudry and Santana got tangled up and the puck hopped up and bounced into the vacant net.
Little over a minute later, Matt Nieto tipped Adam Clendening's shot from the point past PC goalie Justin Gates, who came in relief of Beaudry following the Santana goal.

Providence finally got on the scoreboard during a power play in the second frame. Shane Luke was the last person to touch the puck before it crossed the line, giving PC their lone goal of the night. Luke was able to, somehow, jam home the puck in a large scrum to Millan's left. It was Luke's first goal as a Friar.

BU added two power play goals in the third stanza to salt the game away. Alexx Peivitera picked up the first one, as his shot from the point made it's way through traffic, past Gates and into the bottom of the net. Garrett Noonan added the 6th and final BU goal at the 7:02 point in period three. Noonan taped in a loose rebound and pulled off the Jagr solute after the goal to the crowd's delight.

Adam Clendening was named the game's number one star for his four point night. Kieran Millan made 36 saves in the 6-1 victory. With the win, BU moves into sole possession of first place in Hockey East with 23 points. The Terriers, also are now in second in the ever changing PairWise rankings.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weekend Preview: Getting Friared Up

This weekend, BU will take on Providence in their first home and home series of the new year. Earlier this year, in Providence's home opener, the Friars handed BU their first loss of the season. The story behind that game was that BU was late arriving to the rink and it showed as PC took a 3-0 lead. BU came back though, tying the game at three, before Providence scored two third period goals, bucking the Terriers 5-3.

From The Vault
Wade Megan fights through a check during a game at
PC's Schneider Rink back in February of 2011.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Other than that win, Providence has been up and down all year. Currently they sit tied for 27th in the PairWise with Bemidji State and are six points behind the Terriers for first in Hockey East. This is a critical weekend for both teams. If BU sweeps, they will not only pick up four points in the league standings, but could (with some help from a Minnesota Duluth loss or two) move into the top spot in the PWR.

Scouting Providence 
PC is an even .500 this season, with a record of 9-9-2. There are not many notable wins to report other than when they beat BU in their first game of the season. A week after dropping BU, the Friars skated into a two game series, at home, with current number one ranked Minnesota Duluth. Providence was outplayed in game one, a game that I actually was in attendance, losing 5-2. The next night though, PC tied the defending National Champions 2-2. PC's next big win was an overtime shocker, in which they topped previously unbeaten Merrimack 2-1. the next night, the Friars rolled over the Warriors 6-1 at Merrimack.

Scoring leaders
Freshman Ross Mauermann has racked up a team leading 17 points (8g, 9a) in 20 games. Closely behind is Sophomore Derek Army with 15 points, eight goals and seven assists. Providence's goal scoring leader is Tim Schaller, a junior from Merrimack, New Hampshire has 10 goals in 17 games played.

In goal
Every time BU plays Providence and Alex Beaudry is between the pipes, I think of when he stood on his head and knocked off the team of the decade, the '09 BU team, at Agganis on a Tuesday night in February. This year, the Cumberland, Ontario native has an 8-8-2 record with a .902 record and one shutout. He has allowed 50 goals on 510 shots thus far. Beaudry holds a 3-7-0 record vs BU.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend in Review: The Comeback Kids

Player of the Week
Finally, the Captain registered a goal.
For that, Chris Connolly is my player of
the week. His two goal night at Harvard
helped the Terriers battle back and win a
preview of the opening round of the
(photo by Matt Dresens)
This past weekend, BU picked up two more wins. They were not your typical two wins, though. Friday night at Northeastern, BU fell behind 2-0 after the first period. At the end of the second period they were leading the Huskies 3-2. Adam Clendening put the Terriers on the board half way through the period, and a minute later, Wade Megan tied the game. Evan Rodrigues added a power play goal to finish out the scoring in the second.

Megan notched his second of the game less than two minutes into the third, also on the power play. NU's Ludwig Karlsson cut the BU lead to 4-3 with about three minutes left, but BU hung on for the W. The obvious player of the game is Wade Megan: two goals, including the game winner, but if you really watched the game, you would have noticed that Ryan Santana, yes the fourth line winger, played a great game. He was all over the ice, breaking up NU shots and his hustle lead to BU's game tying goal. He went balls to the wall to pick up a loose puck behind Northeastern's net, and as he was falling, slid a pass over to Megan who slammed it past NU goalie Chris Rawlings.

Friday's game was a great hockey game to attend. It ranks right up there for best game of the year. There is nothing like a front row balcony seat at Matthew's Arena. Luckily, I was able to sneak into the front row midway through the first period. The balcony actual hangs over the glass and there is no view quite like it any where else in Hockey East.

Unfortunately, I was unable to make it over to Harvard Saturday night to catch BU's come from behind 4-3 overtime win. The reason I could not go was that I was at the Patriot's game. Anyway, from all accounts of the game, it sounds like BU was a bit lucky to come away with the win.

Harvard took a 1-0 lead, before Chris Connolly, finally scored his first goal of the season, to tie the game at one. Harvard picked up two more goals in the first, including one with just nine seconds left in the period. The Crimson took a 3-1 lead into the dressing room. After a scoreless second frame, BU battled back, scoring twice in the third stanza to tie the game. Connolly picked up his second of the night and Ben Rosen tied the game with about four minutes to play. In overtime, it was Garrett Noonan converting on an odd man rush for the Terriers, giving BU the win and continuing the Terrier win streak, which is now at three games.

At The Polls
BU moved up four slots from 6th to 2nd in the USCHO polls. Minnesota Duluth picked up all 50 first place votes. The top five looked as follows: Minnesota Duluth, Boston University, Boston College, Minnesota, and Ohio State.

USA Today had BU in the number three slot with a top five of Duluth, Minnesota, BU, BC and Ohio State.

Around Hockey East
Wednesday: New Hampshire blanked Providence 1-0 at Schneider Rink.

Friday: Merrimack topped Maine  6-2 at home... UMass shutout Boston College at home 4-0... Vermont upended Lowell, 3-2 in overtime... BU beat Northeastern 4-3 at Matthew's Arena.

Saturday: Merrimack and Maine skated to a 2-2 draw at Lawler Arena... BC snuck by Northeastern, 2-1 at Fenway Park... New Hampshire beat in-state rival, Dartmouth 4-1 at Thompson Arena, the Big Green's home rink... BU fought back to beat Harvard 4-3 in overtime at the Bright Center.

Sunday: Providence defeated Vermont 5-2 at Gutterson Field-House

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Megan's Two Goal Night Leads BU Comeback Over Northeastern

Tonight, BU once again proved they have the capability to come back and win a hockey game. They have done it a number of times this season and tonight was no different.

After a fast start by both teams, that saw several good scoring chances wiped out by impressive goaltending, Northeastern broke the ice late in the first. Alex Tuckerman's goal at the 18:38 mark of the period was a result of BU getting out worked and out played. Less than a minute later, a turnover in the high slot allowed Ludwig Karlsson to walk down central and rip a shot over Millan’s glove and in. Northeastern took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room.

Alex Chiasson and Wade Megan battle for position in front of
the Northeastern goal while on the power play.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Whatever Parker said in between periods must have really sunk into his players, as BU came out flying in the second frame and totally dominated the play. Adam Clendening put BU on the board at the 8:23 mark. Clendening made a real highly skilled move after he got the puck from Justin Courtnall at the point. An NU defender was playing the man (Clendening) and Adam took two steps towards him and then backed off two steps. That created separation, allowing him to let a shot fly that Huskies goalie Chris Rawlings never saw. The puck found its way into the upper twine, cutting NU's lead to 2-1.

Less than a minute later, Ryan Santana made a great hustle play to chase down a loose puck behind the NU net. As Santana picked up the puck behind the goal, he dished it over to Wade Megan, as he was falling down. Megan slammed home the pass, through Rawlings leg's and into the back of the net, tying the game at 2-2.

Former teammates Vinny
Saponari (white) and Chris
Connolly (red) meet at the end
of the game.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU had a golden opportunity to break the game wide open, when NU's Josh Manson was called for a five minute major for contact to the head roughing. It was called after he smashed Matt Nieto who was cutting back to the middle of the slot to gain a better shooting angle on Rawlings. BU was only able to convert once on the all you can eat five minute man advantage, but it did give them the lead nonetheless. Evan Rodrigues was able to get a stick on Alexx Privitera's shot from the point, tipping it past Rawlings. For reasons I still don't understand, the play went to review. After a lengthy delay, the goal stood. That closed out the scoring in the second, despite BU having a 48 second five on three power play.

Wade Megan potted his second goal of the night, less than two minutes into the third. Alex Chiasson made a nice move to cut to the front of the net, but ran out of room and passed to Megan, who picked the top corner on Rawlings, upping BU's lead to 4-2. It was Megan's 10th goal of the year and it came on the power play.

Later in the stanza, NU had a full two minutes of five on three, but could not score. With 3:07 to play, Northeasten’s Ludwig Karlsson beat Millan with Rawlings pulled. That made it 4-3, but time ran out on the Huskies and BU skated away with the victory.

BU is now in first place in Hockey East with 21 points. BU is also third in the PairWise rankings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dog Fight: BU travels to NU

From The Vault 
BU and NU face off in the opening
round of the 2010 Beanpot. BU won
Tomorrow, BU will travel to crosstown foe Northeastern and take on the suddenly surging Huskies at Matthew's Arena.

After winning just one of their first ten games, Northeastern caught fire and rolled off six straight wins and are winners of seven of their last eight. Victories include a 4-1 win at Michigan, a 9-2 shellacking of Notre Dame in South Bend (they completed the sweep a night later with a 2-1 win over the Irish) and a 3-2 win over at Minnesota in the Championship game of the Mariucci Classic. Despite the 8-7-3 record, NU finds themselves tied for 16th in the PairWise. With all the non-conference success, you would think the Huskies are killing Hockey East too. Not so fast. NU is just 4-7-2 in league play this season and is currently tied with UMass for 7th.

This game has a little bit of a second story behind it, too. Former Terrier Vinny Saponari, who was kicked off the BU Hockey team in the Summer of 2010 for disciplinary reasons, is now on the Northeastern roster. Vinny had planned to play at Boston College this season, but did not get the grades to get into school there. Last season, Saponari helped lead the Dubuque Fighting Saints to the United States Hockey League Championship. This season at NU, he has just 3 goals and 10 assists in 18 games. Last year with Dubuque, Saponari was the sixth highest scorer in the USHL with 64 points (18 goals 46 assists) in 56 games.

NU Scoring Leaders 
Senior Steve Quailer leads the charge with 18 points (7g, 11a) in 16 games. Freshman Ludwig Karlsson is second in points with 15. This season, Karlsson has 6 goals and 9 assists.

Between the pipes.
Chis Rawlings is right up there in terms of the best goalies in Hockey East. The Junior netminder currently has a 2.31 goals against average. In 17 games played, he holds an 8-6-3 record and has one shutout.

The Last Time They Met...
was in last year's Hockey East Quarterfinals at Agganis Arena. NU won the first game 4-2. BU came back with an impressive 5-2 victory, before NU edged the Terriers in the final game 5-4, sending the Huskies to the Garden.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend In Review: Exceeding Expectations

Player of the Week:
Alexx Privitera/Kieran Millan
I'm split this week. Millan had a
very strong game against MC.
He turned away 42 shots,
 including 20 in the third frame.
Privitera (photo), on the other 
hand, had the game winning goal in
the best game of his BU career. 
Both make a great case, so I'll go 
with co-players of the week.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
The start to Friday's 4-2 win over Merrimack was less than favorable, as MC scored on the power play under five minutes into the game. 14 seconds later, BU answered right back with a pair of goals just 45 seconds apart. Justin Courtnall struck first and Alex Chiasson added the other. Freshman Alexx Privitera banged home a power play goal off a great pass from Matt Nieto. In the words of BU announcer Bernie Courbet, "Privitera was staring at a soccer net".

Merrimack cut the lead in the third on the power play, as Kyle Bigos beat Millan high blocker side. Sahir Gill drilled a one-timer off the post and in at the 17:23 mark, closing the scoring for the night.

The win did more than put BU in first place in the Hockey Standings. It gave hope to many fans (myself included) and even the team, that they can still play well and still win games even without Coyle and Trivino.

The most notable observation was the return of Adam Clendening. Clendening makes the defense very solid when he is out there. There is no questioning that he is 20x better than Ryan Ruikka, who was exposed on a number of accounts against Notre Dame. Clendening looks much more confident with the puck and his skill level really showed Friday night. The World Juniors made him a better player, regardless of how poorly the USA played.

At The Polls
In the USCHO rankings, BU moved up four slots from 10th to 6th. Minnesota Duluth was the overwhelming number one, receiving all 50 first place votes. Ohio State was two, Notre Dame three, Boston College four, and Minnesota rounded out the top five.

In the ever changing PairWise, BU currently finds themselves in fifth.

Around Hockey East
Wednesday Night: Maine skated past Vermont 3-1 at home.

Thursday night: UMass and Providence tied 4-4 at Schneider Rink, home of The Friars... Lowell defeated The Russian Red Stars 6-4 in an exhibition game at Tsongas Center.

Friday Night. BU slipped past Merrimack 4-2 at home.

Saturday Night. UMass upended Vermont 3-2 in the first game of Frozen Fenway part two... Maine knocked off New Hampshire 5-4 in the nightcap of the double header at Fenway Park... Northeastern fell 7-4 to the USA U18 team at Matthew's Arena.

Sunday Night: Boston College held off Merrimack to salvage a 2-2 tie at home. MC scored the game tying goal with 1:10 to go, then had a goal taken away in overtime... BU tied the USA U18 Team 3-3 at Agganis.

Friday, January 6, 2012

BU, Millan Hold Off Merrimack

Tonight, BU did more than just beat a top ten ranked team. They proved that even though Coyle and Trivino are gone, they still have a strong hockey team. BU looked like they regained some of the swagger that helped them roll through late November and into December.

Before BU took over the first period, Merrimack notched a goal less then five minutes into the game. BU came back with two quick strikes. The first from Justin Courtnall, who put his own rebound past MC goalie Joe Cannata. The lone assist went to freshman, Cason Hohmann. Less than a minute later, Alex Chiasson converted on the power play, putting BU up 2-1. All three goals were scored in a minute and one second of game time.

With little over a minute and a half to go in the first, BU picked up their second power play tally of the game. After a perfect setup, Matt Nieto found defenseman Alexx Privitera all alone on the far post. Privitera one touched the puck past Cannata, upping BU's lead to 3-1. Privitera did a great job to sneak down from the point and become an option for Nieto. Clearly it worked, as the freshman defenseman scored his second goal of the year.

Merrimack cut the lead to 3-2 on the power play of their own, nearly half way through the second stanza. Kyle Bigos netted a shot from the point as BU goalie Kieran Millan was screened.

The Terriers regained a two goal lead at the 17:23 mark of the period. Max Nicastro made a heads up play to keep the puck in the attacking zone. He then found Sahir Gill unguarded at the top of the slot. Gill one timed the pass off the posted and into the goal behind Cannata. Nicastro's keep was more of a mistake by Merrimack's Brandon Bradhag than anything else. The junior forward turned toward center ice instead of to the boards where the breakout pass was. Instead of MC breaking out cleanly, Max picked-off the pass and the rest is history.

The score of 4-2 held up throughout the third period, but not without drama. Millan made big save after big save in the closing minutes. Nieto had a chance to salt the game away after making very skilled move to cut against the grain. It left an MC defender wondering where his jock was relocated to. Cannata shut the door on the play with his leg pad though and that prevented what could have been Sport Centers top play of the night.

Since BC was idle tonight, BU is currently in first place in the Hockey East standings with 20 points. BC and MC play Sunday.

BU's next game is Sunday, an exhibition game against the USA U18 team. I will not be able to make that game, so there will be no preview or recap. Sorry.

Just Watch This

Thursday, January 5, 2012

BU-MC Round Two

Ben Rosen makes a move in the
corner against Merrimack in a
games played earlier this season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Tomorrow, BU will play their first game of the new year, as they welcome Merrimack to Agganis for the second time this season. Earlier this year, Merrimack handed BU their first Hockey East regular season loss in overtime since 2003, dropping the Terriers 3-2 in the extra session.

Merrimack was the last unbeaten team in all Division One College Hockey this season. Strangely enough, BU was the last unbeaten team a season ago. Since going 9-0-1 to start the season, MC is just 2-3-1 in their last six games. Last weekend, the Mack tied St. Lawrence 6-6 in the opening round of the Ledyard Bank Tournament, but lost the shootout and ended up in the consolation game where they topped Holy Cross 3-0 to take third place. Merrimack is currently in third place in Hockey East, just two points behind the Terriers. With a win, BU will move into first place because league leading Boston College does not play until Sunday against who, but Merrimack. So that means the top three teams in the league are all playing each other this weekend. Needless to say, this is a huge weekend for all involved..

Scouting the Warriors
Senior Ryan Flannigan leads MC in total points and goals. In 15 games, he has 6 goals and 14 points. Mike Collins comes in second for total points with 11 (5 goals, 6 assists). Between the pipes, Merrimack has a literal brick wall in Joe Cannata. The Senior from Wakefield Mass has a 10-3-3 record with a .929 save percentage. He has only allowed 31 goals all season.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clendening To Play Against Merrimack

Adam Clendening
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Prior to the World Junior Championships, there were rumors that Adam Clendening would leave the team and join a Canadian Major Junior squad in the Ontario Hockey League, much like Charlie Coyle did. A week ago, Clendening said he was coming back, but did not know if he would be back in time for Friday's game against Merrimack. If Team USA had made the medal round, Clendening would not have been back in Boston in time to play Friday night.

Instead, Team USA is in the regulation round or the qualifying round for next year's WJC. Yesterday, Clendening picked up his first goal of the tournament in USA's 12-2 win over Latvia. Last night I asked Adam if he would be back for the MC game, even though the US have a game today (January 4th) against Switzerland. He said quote: "Yes I will. Time to get back on track. Just win baby".

With Clendening back, BU will have its entire defense back to normal and Ryan Ruikka will likely sit out. BU’s defense was just plain awful against Notre Dame. With Adam coming back, that will at least give some stability to a depleted BU roster.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weekend Review: This Could Be Bad

Player of the Week:
Wade Megan is pictured
because he scored and I
had to put someone's
photo up.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Saturday night BU was trampled like a piece of confetti that had fallen from the sky and landed in Times Square on New Years Eve. Notre Dame had their way with the Terriers in both teams's last game of 2011 and BU's first game without Charlie Coyle and Corey Trivino. In addition, to those two no longer being on the team, BU was also without defenseman Adam Clendening, who was in Alberta at the World Junior Hockey Championships. That made the D pairings very mixed up and it showed.

BU actually took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room, headed to the second period, as Justin Courtnall put home a rebound from Cason Hohmann's shot off a face off late in the first. In the second, BU's D showed a huge hole by Clendening not being there, as they allowed three second period goals. One was a power play strike, but the others were all results of bad turnovers and/or poor defensive coverage.

Wade Megan showed a little fight for the Terrier when he scored BU's nation leading eight shorthanded goal late in the third, but it was way to little way too late and Notre Dame claimed a 5-2 victory at the final buzzer.

The result was rather depressing, seeing how BU was completely dominated from start to finish on national television. That's besides the fact though, and the team needs to focus on Friday's game against Merrimack, where two critical points in the Hockey East standings are at stake. How BU beats MC is a major question mark. Somehow, someway, someone will have to step up and lead this team, or the remainder  of this year will be a huge struggle.

At The Polls 
BU dropped from 9th to 10th in the USCHO rankings. USA Today has BU slotted 11th, two places down from 9th. In the ever-changing Pairwise, BU fell from 4th to 7th after losing.

Around Hockey East
Thursday: Lowell ran circles around RPI at the UConn Hockey Classic winning 7-2... Maine dumped Clarkson 6-1 in the semi finals of the Florida Hockey Classic... Vermont was upended by Lake State 5-3 in the opening round of the Catamount Cup... UMass skated by Cornell 5-2, also in the Florida Hockey Classic... Michigan topped Boston College 4-2 in the first round of the Grate Lakes Invitational.

Friday: BC escaped with a 2-1 win over Michigan Tech in the GLI consolation game... Merrimack came back to tie St. Lawrence 6-6 in the opening round of the Ledyard National Bank Classic, SLU won the shootout for tournament purposes only... Northeastern tied Princeton 3-3 in the semis of the Mariucci Classic, but won the shootout in 8 rounds to advance to the Championship game... Brown topped New Hampshire 5-2... Vermont salvaged third place in the Catamount Cup by beating Ferris State 4-2 in the Consolation game... Lowell won the UConn Hockey Classic after defeating tournament host UConn 4-3 in overtime... Maine rolled past UMass in an all Hockey East final at the Florida Hockey Classic.

Saturday: Merrimack blanked Holy Cross 3-0 in the consolation game of the Ledyard National Bank Classic... Northeastern was crowed the champions of the Mariucci Classic after beating tournament host Minnesota 3-2... BU lost at Notre Dame 5-2.

Sunday: Brown defeated Providence 5-2 to claim the Mayor's Cup.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

BU Falls To Notre Dame 5-2

Justin Cournall gave BU the lead in the
firs period.
(Photo By Matt Dresens)
In BU's first game back from the holiday break it is clear they they will need a few weeks to get used to the new line combinations, as they were dominated by Notre Dame on national television, last night.

Justin Courtnall scored the game's first goal, and put the Terriers on the board with just 1:34 to go in the first. BU could not hold the lead as Notre Dame scored three second period goals. Anders Lee scored his first of two on the power play, less then two minutes into the frame. Garrett Peterson tacked on another minutes later and Jeff Costello potted a goal on a two on one seven minutes into the second.

Lee added another tally in the third and Billy Maday scored on the power play to make it 5-1 before Wade Megan converted on a shorthanded break a way, late in the third. It was BU's eight shorthanded strike of the year, good for the Nation's number one spot in SH column.

Millan made 29 save including 17 in the third period in a losing effort.