Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Recap: A "Guttsy" Effort

Player of the Weekend
In his first weekend back from a
broken wrist, Alexx Privitera
notched two points in two games at
Vermont. His overtime goal Saturday
night is the reason why he is my
player of the week.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Say what you want about how good (or in this case) bad Vermont is. Four points is four points, no matter who you beat. BU's sweep of the Catamounts marks the first time the program has swept Vermont in Gutterson Field House since UVM joined Hockey East in 2006.

Friday night, BU ran circles around Vermont. After a scoreless first period, the Terriers broke the game open, scoring three second period goals. Sean Escobedo potted the first and third Terrier goals, with Cason Hohmann scoring the second. BU added two more before the two minute mark of the third. Wade Megan scored at 1:13 and just 31 seconds later, Justin Courtnall scored on a semi break away. Grant Rollheiser made 18 saves for his third win of the season.

Saturday was a different story.  BU came out really flat and UVM jumped on them, scoring less than four minutes into the game. The goal was a result of bad turnover deep in the Terrier zone. Conner Brickley picked up the loose puck and beat Kieran Millan five hole. Before the period ended, Sebastian Stalberg made it 2-0 Cats. This was an all around awful period of hockey.

For how badly BU played in the first, they certainly got better in the second. They held UVM to just three shots all frame and Sahir Gill scored on a diving play, halfway through the stanza. BU had a goal waved off, so it was Vermont leading 2-1 heading into the third.

With time running out, BU pulled Millan with 1:41 left. Wade Megan tied the game at 2-2, with just 1:25 left in regulation a rebound. It was BU's first six on five goal of the year. Not looking to settle for a tie, the Terrier's Alexx Privitera sent a slap shot sailing low to the ice towards the UVM net in overtime. The puck hit off Vermont forward HT Lenz's stick, past Rob Madore and into the net. The goal gave BU their fourth overtime win of the year. It also clinched home ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals.

At The Polls
BU is up two slots from 6th to 4th in the USCHO poll. BC has taken over the number one spot with Minnesota Duluth, Ferris State, BU and Minnesota rounding out the top five. BU and Minnesota are actually tied for fourth, after they both received 814 points from the voters.

BU also moved up from 6th to 4th in the PairWise rankings. Duluth currently leads the PWR, BC is second, Michigan third and BU, Lowell and Ferris State are all in a log jam for fourth. Other Hockey East teams in the PWR are: Maine (10) Merrimack (14) Northeastern (27) New Hampshire (29) and UMass (32). Roughly the top 16 make the NCAA tournament.

Around Hockey East
Friday: Northeastern tripped up Maine 4-2 at home... Boston College shutout Providence 3-0 in the capital of Rhode Island... Merrimack beat Lowell 5-2 at Lawler Rink... New Hampshire snuck past UMass 4-3 at home... BU routed Vermont 5-0 at Gutterson Field House.

Saturday: Boston College completed the sweep of Providence with a 7-0 win at home... Merrimack and Lowell skated to a 2-2 tie at Tsongas Center... Maine ran over Northeastern 7-1 at Matthews Arena... UMass upended New Hampshire at the Whittimore Center on the campus of UNH... BU came back to beat Vermont 3-2 in overtime.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Terriers Comeback, Drop Vermont In OT

Tonight, BU proved they still have the capability to come back and win games like they did at the beginning of the year.

Vermont took it to the Terriers in the first, scoring two goals before BU realized the game started. Conor Brickley converted off a BU turnover deep in their own end. Brickley beat Kieran Millan five hole, making it 1-0 less than five minutes into the game.

BU could not make a tape to tape pass all period and nothing was going right at this point. Millan looked shaky for the most of the first period. Any shot to the glove side was not a clean save. Even if Millan was on top of his game, he still would have had no shot at stoping the second Catamount goal. Nick Bruneteau set up Sebastian StÃ¥lberg from behind the net. StÃ¥lberg banged home the back door play to give Vermont a two goal lead.

After a terrible first period of hockey, BU really picked it up in the second and shut down Vermont, holding them to just three shots. The Terriers finally got on the board on a two on two rush midway through the frame. Wade Megan came flying up the left boards inside the UVM zone. There, he dished across to Sahir Gill, who tipped the pass by Vermont goalie Rob Madore and into the back of the net.

BU nearly tied later in the period. Matt Nieto lead a two on one rush into the UVM zone. At the top of the dot he ripped a shot off the post, cleanly beating Madore. Alex Chiasson and Chris Connolly were both there for the rebound and of them put the puck in. From where I was sitting, I could not tell who actually put the puck in the net. I thought it was Chiasson, but it would not matter because after a lengthy review, the goal was called off. The puck must have been kicked in. It's the only thing I can think of that would caused the goal to be disallowed.

The third period saw the game really open up. Both teams traded chances and both Madore and Millan kept their respective teams in the game.

After up and down action at both ends, BU pulled Millan with 1:41 left. With just 1:25 remaining in the game, Wade Megan picked up a rebound and snuck it into the goal, tying the game. The goal came out of huge scrum in front of the net. Three Terriers were there, Megan just got the last touch.

Before the game went to overtime, Sahir Gill hit the post with about 30 second left.

In overtime, it was freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, playing in just his second game back from a broken wrist, who won the game for the Terriers. Alex Chiasson passed to Matt Nieto in the far corner. Nieto one-touched the pass to the point where Privitera was stationed. Privitera received the pass, squared up to the net, and let a slapper go. The shot tipped of Vermont's HT Lenz's stick, past Madore and into the net. It was Privitera's fourth goal of the year from Nieto and Chiasson at 3:02 of overtime.

With the win and Merrimack's tie with Lowell, BU has now clinched home ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals.

Next weekend, the Terriers close out the regular season with a home and home series vs Northeastern.

Friday, February 24, 2012

BU Rolls Past Vermont

Tonight was a strange night to say the least. I had intentions of getting to the game at Gutterson Field House, but mother nature had other plans. Throughout the drive up from MA it rained, sleeted, and yes even snowed... A lot.

There was a good six inches of white powder on the highway to Burlington, causing several cars to slide off the road. Thankfully my dad and I stayed on the road, but we missed the entire game.

I was able to follow the live blog on the Boston Hockey Blog, so I'll give you a brief recap of the goals.

After a scoreless first period, BU erupted for three goals in the second. Sean Escobedo put home his first of two at the 2:21 mark from Adam Clendening and Evan Rodrigues. It was Escobedo's first goal of the year.

At the midway point of the second, Cason Hohmann potted his second goal of the season. The lone assist went to defenseman Ryan Ruikka. Two minutes later, Escobedo picked up his second of the game on the power play from Sahir Gill and Alexx Privitera.

BU wasted no time getting on the board in the third. Wade Megan scored his team leading 16th goal of the year, just 1:13 into the third. 26 seconds later, Justin Courtnall found the back of the net. The assists went to Rodrigues and Ruikka.

Grant Rollheiser improved to 3-0-0 on the year, picking up the shutout and stopping 18 shots in the 5-0 win. BU is now 19-11-1 and have leapfrogged Lowell in the Hockey East standing, after the RiverHawks fell to Merrimack 5-2 tonight. The Terriers also passed Lowell in the PairWise and are now in 5th, Lowell is 6th and BC remains in 1st after they shutout Providence 3-0.

BU and Vermont will face off again tomorrow night and unless I die skiing tomorrow, I will be at the game.

Weekend With Vermont

From The Vault
Chris Connolly digs the puck out
of the corner vs Vermont In a
game played back in November.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Tonight, BU gets a chance to right the ship, at least on the ice anyway. The Terriers have will head up to Vermont and take on the struggling Catamounts at Gutterson Field House for a pair of games. Tonight's game (Friday) will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network for those who can't make the trip to Burlington. 

There is some good news for the Terriers, as they enter this weekend's games: Freshman defenseman, Alexx  Privitera is expected to play in Friday night's games. Privitera suffered a broken wrist in the last weekend in January vs Maine and has not played since. Depending on the pain level in his wrist, he could play in both games. His return will help fill the void that Max Nicastro left after he was charged with two counts of rape, early Tuesday morning. He is since, no longer enrolled at Boston University.

Vermont has had a bad year to say the least. They come into this weekend's games with a sad 6-23-1 record. The Catamounts have lost a lot of games this year, that’s obvious, but what’s strange is that they have beaten some very good teams. Vermont was the first team to hand Minnesota a loss this year and they did it in Mariucci Arena, home of the Gophers. Minnesota was ranked number one in the nation at that time. Later in the year, UVM took down current number one, Ferris State at home in the consolation game of the Catamount Cup by a score of 4-2. Vermont has actually taken three points from New Hampshire in Hockey East play. The Catamounts have only seven points in league play all season and have already been eliminated from the post season.

Scouting Vermont 
Sebastian Stalberg is running away with the points race for UVM. In 30 games played, he has 11 goals and 19 assists for 30 points. It does not take math wiz to point out that he is averaging a point a game. Kyle Reynolds is a distant second with 23 points in 30 games (10g, 13a). Other players that have a big impact for Vermont are Nick Bruneteau, H.T Lenz (yes, that's his name) and Anthony DeCenzo.

In Goal
Rob Madore used to be one of the top goals in Hockey East, and you could have made a good case that in 2009, his freshman year, he was one of the better goalies in the Nation. That same year, Kieran Millan –also his freshman year- and the Terriers toped Vermont 5-4 in the National Semi Finals in Washington DC. In 2009, Madore had a career high .912 save percentage and a 2.35 goals against average. This year, the goaltender from Pittsburg has a .874 save percentage and a 3.79 GAA. 

The last Time They Met... 
was back in November when BU had Corey Trivino, Charlie Coyle, and Max Nicastro were sill on the roster. BU snuck by with a 4-3 in front of 4,717 at Agganis Arena. Coyle and Trivino both potted goals in the win. Grant Rollheiser made 31 saves. Rollie is expected to start one of the games this weekend, as well. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nicastro Charged With Two Counts of Rape

Max Nicastro inside the court room where
he was charged with two counts of rape.
Photo by Mark Garfinkel/Boston Herald
Earlier today, BU defenseman Max Nicastro was arraigned at Brighton District Court. There, he was charged with two counts of rape. He was brought into the court room in handcuffs, and according to the Boston Hockey Blog, Nicastro was released on $10,000 bail and can not have any contact with the victim.

The victim has had medical testing done at a local hospital and was released. The police have impounded the police reports due to the "sensitivity of the case". 

Nicastro is due back in court on March 26th and according to the Boston Hockey Blog, “Suffolk County DA Press Secretary Jake Wark confirmed that Nicastro retained an automatic plea of not guilty 

to all charges.” Nicastro is not expected to plea until the 26th at his next court hearing.

According the Boston Herald, Nicastro has been moved into a different dorm, so that he could not be in the same building as the vicim.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nicastro Arrested For Sexual Assault

According to a report in BU Today, BU defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested for sexual assault early this morning. Nicastro has been suspended from the team for an undisclosed amount of time. He has not been kicked of the team like Corey Trivino was earlier this season, for a similar incident. 

BU police are still working on the investigation, but currently Nicastro is being held on $25,000 bail and will be arraigned in a Brighton District Court on Tuesday. The alleged incident happened early this morning (Sunday) on the BU campus and was said to have involved a female student. There was no mention if alcohol was involved, but it would not shock me if it was.

Last night, Nicastro picked up his third goal of the season on a power play. In 27 games played, the Junior defenseman has 9 points. 

Looking Ahead
BU has two games at Vermont this upcoming weekend, and without Max, the defense will really have to step up. The Terriers could get freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera back in the lineup soon as Saturday, but a more realistic timetable for his return would be vs Northeastern the following weekend. Privitera suffered a broken wrist in the last weekend of January against Maine and ha been out ever since.

In the meantime, Garret Noonan and Adam Clendening will have to shoulder the bulk of the load. Also, Ryan Ruikka and Sean Escobedo will be looked upon to pick up their respective play. BU has been without Nicastro before this year after he suffered a shoulder injury in the same game Privitera was hurt in. BU went 1-1-0 without Max in the lineup, including a 4-1 win at Merrimack.

***More to come in the next few days***

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Snakebitten Terriers Fall To Lowell

Tonight's 4-2 loss to Lowell could have easily been a win for BU, if they just had capitalized on more opportunities. Seconds into the game, Chris Connolly and Matt Nieto set up Alex Chiasson for slam in goal. Chiasson miss-hit the puck, and it slowly slid into Lowell goalie Doug Carr's pads. It would be a re-accuring theme for the Terriers all night.

With BU not able to score after applying heavy pressure in the opening minutes, Lowell picked up the game's first goal. A bad turnover deep in the BU zone, allowed Scott Wilson to tee up an uncontested slap-shot that whizzed past Kieran Millan, off the post and into the top corner. It gave Lowell a 1-0 lead just 3:37 into the game. It was Lowell's first shot on goal.

After the goal, BU played a pretty sloppy period with Millan making some key saves to keep the BU in the game. Lowell came out a bit sluggish in the second frame, and BU did in fact take advantage of that The fourth line, which played very well over the weekend, teamed up to tie the game. Ryan Santana got the puck to Yasin Cisse along the far boards. Cisse whipped a shot/pass to the mid slot. There, Ross Gaudet was able to get a stick on the puck, redirecting the pass into the net. It was Gaudet's fourth goal of the year.

Lowell dominated the second half of the period, mainly because they had a five minute power play. Sahir Gill was called for hitting from behind along the near side boards. At first, I thought it was awful call. After looking at it again, I think it was certainly a penalty. There was no need for Gill to plaster the UML player into the boards.

Lowell took full advantage of their five minute power play, scoring just 50 seconds into the major. Scott Wilson again got credit for the goal, as he tipped Chad Ruhwedel shot past Millan at the 12:17 marker of the second. It was Wilson's 15th goal of the season.

BU was able to kill the remaining 4:10 left on the all you can eat five minute power play, but Lowell was not done scoring in the period. Dan Furlong wristed a shot from the point, with just 26.2 second left in the period, past Millan giving Lowell a 3-1 headed to the dressing room. The goal was a real back-breaker in the overall out come of the game.

Lowell taked on a fourth goal midway through the third. Ruhwedel was able to burry a rebound in the slot at 9:02. The assists went to Furlong and Derek Arnold.

BU really started to bring the pressure after that goal. Chiasson hit the post and Matt Nieto missed two centering passes that had he got a stick on, very well could have gone in the net. The most un-opportunistic play the Terriers made all night came less than two minutes into the third period. Justin Courtnall made a strong play to cut tho the goal mouth before dishing a pass over to Cason Hohmann. Hohmann, who was trailing the play, slowed up a bit on his way to the far post. He never was able to get  a good crack at the puck, and if he did, it would have been a goal. Carr was way out of position because of the Courtnall pass. All Hohmann had to do was get a stick on the pass and it would have gone in.

BU was able to to get the score to 4-2 one a power play goal. Ben Rosen found Max Nicastro at the right point. From there, Nicastro ripped a slapper past Carr into the top corner of the net. From there, BU continued to pour on the pressure, accumulating 22 shots on goal in the third period alone.

BU's snakebitten offense could not solve Carr again, and the Terriers dropped their fourth straight home game in the proses.

This games was a tough one for the Terriers to drop because of how close the league race is. After the loss, BU finds themselves in third place in Hockey East with 29 points, one point behind Lowell and two points behind Boston College. In addition, BU fell for 3rd to 6th in the PairWise. That's probable the least of BU's worries at the monument, but keep in mind the top four teams in the PWR get number one seeds in the NCAA tournament, and they also play in locations closest to home.

Next weekend, BU travels up to last place Vermont for a pair of games. I will be making my first ever trip up to Guterson Field House Friday night.

BU Wins A Huge One In Lowell

Tonight, BU held off UMass Lowell in a critical game at Tsongas Center. After the 7-4 win, BU moved into a tie with Boston College (BU owns the tie breaker) for first place in Hockey East with 29 points. Lowell is just one point behind with 28.

On to the actual game. After a strong start by both teams, it was Lowell taking the early lead. Michael Budd put home his 5th of the year from Stephan Buco and Joe Pendenza at 5:53 to give Lowell a 1-0 lead. From there, BU would go on to score five straight goals before UML found the back of the net again.

Less than a minute after Buco's goal, Wade Megan evened the score at 1-1. RiverHawk goalie Doug Carr kicked Patrick MacGreger's shot into the low slot. There, Megan went upstairs on the now out of position Carr to tie the game. It was Megan's 15th if the year.

BU took the lead on the power play at the 13:18 mark of the first. Matt Nieto found Chris Connolly on the near side boards. After receiving the pass, Connolly set up Alex Chiasson for a one-timer in the middle slot. Chiasson did not miss, drilling a rocket past Carr and into the net.

BU's fourth line rounded out the first period scoring with little over three minutes to play in the frame. Ryan Santana carried the puck into the high slot, before dishing to Yasin Cissè, who one touched it past Carr, into the bottom of the net. It was Cissè's second goal of the season.

The Terriers started period two a bit sluggish. Thankfully, Kieran Millan was on top of his game and bailed BU out before they could score again. That they did, again on the power play. Chiasson, with back facing Carr, was able to spin around in the high slot and direct a shot on goal. Carr put the rebound right on Connolly's tape, who backhanded it top shelf making it 4-1 Terriers.

BU threatened to run Lowell right out of their own building less than five minutes into the second. Adam Clendening was called for cross checking, which gave Lowell a five on three power play for 1:20. They did not score, and as Clendening was leaving the box, Chiasson hit him with a strech pass. The pass sprang the defenseman in on a clear cut break a way. Clendening made an excellent forehand, backhand move, completely undressing Carr and giving the Terriers a 5-1 lead.

BU seemed to relax after the fifth goal, allowing Lowell a chance to get back in the game. Malcolm Lyles scored his first goal of the season from the mid slot on the power play at 19:17, giving Lowell some momentum headed into the third period.

Just 20 seconds into the third, Riley Wetmore potted his 10th of the year on a backdoor play that Milan had no chance on. That made it 5-3 and there was plenty of time left for the RiverHawks.

Ross Gaudet helped put out the Lowell fire as he raced after a loose puck at center ice. After gaining position at about the Lowell blue line, Carr, the goalie, tried to come out and break up the play. Gaudet simply stepped around the sliding goaltender and shot the puck into a now vacant net.

Lowell continued to hang around, though. Matt Ferreira scored at the 7:32 mark of the third, high glove side on Millan. BU shut down any hope of a comeback, though, as Matt Nieto slammed home an Alex Chiasson pass on the power play at 11:10. BU hung on and came away with two points and a 7-4 win. It was not a convincing win, but a win's a win.

Millan stopped 38 of 42 shots. The two teams will go at it again tomorrow night back in Boston, starting at 7:30. The game cane be seen live on NESN.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Most Important Weekend of The Year

From The Vault
Wade Megan sets up a play
along the boards in a game
at Lowell last season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Say what you want about the Beanpot. Yes, it's a great tournament and it's great to win the thing, but it is way overplayed. Yes, it would have bean nice to beat BC in the championship game, but this weekend's games against Lowell have far greater value on the season than the Beanpot.

Currently, Lowell stands atop the Hockey East standings with 28 points, just one point ahead of the Terriers. Lowell is also 5th in the PairWise. Not to put down the Beanpot, but besides bragging rights and a shiny trophy the Beanpot does nothing for a team in a league title race. A pair of wins this weekend would go a long way to helping that cause.

As said before, Lowell is in first place in Hockey East and are firmly intrenched in the PWR but they also own the best record (win % based) in the Nation at 19-8-0. After being swept by Boston College in the last weekend of October, the RiverHawks rolled off an impressive streak where they went 10-2-0, before losing a stunner at Vermont. That streak got started with a 7-1 beat-down of BU -the worst hockey game I have ever been to- and also included a tournament victory -The UConn Hockey Classic- with wins over Rensselaer and UConn. The RiverHawks had a five game streak snapped last weekend, as Maine beat them at Tsongas Center 2-1.

Scouting the RiverHawks
Scott Wilson and Rilely Wetmore are tied for the team lead in points at 28 apiece. Wilson has 13 goals and 15 assists in 26 games played. Wetmore has racked up 9 goals ad 19 assists in 27 games. Lowell's leading scorer is Derek Arnold who has 15 goals in 27 games.

In Goal
Doug Carr has taken over the goalie position this year and in 23 games played he has a record of 18-5-0 with a goals against average of 1.81. He also boasts a .935 save percentage and four shutouts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This One's Gonna Sting

Last night, BU dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime decision to Boston College in the Beanpot Championship game. It was your typical BU-BC battle in the Garden. Both sides had their chances and the building was rocking the entire night.
The National Anthem prior to puck drop.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BC's Pat Mullane gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead at the 8:54 marker of the first on a shorthanded goal. Mullane created space as he cut back against BU defenseman Sean Escobedo and then reeled off a shot that beat Kieran Millan blocker side. The puck clanked of the center support bar inside the goal before puffing the TD Garden net.

BU generated a few good scoring chances in the first, their best being Max Nicastro's shot from the point that rang the post, after it cleanly beat BC goal Parker Milner. That happened just seconds after Mullane's go-ahead-goal.

The second period was chalk full of penalties, mostly on BU. The Terriers racked up five penalties and one ten minute misconduct. Were all the penalties legit? Maybe. Maybe not. Nevertheless, BU had to kill an extensive amount of five on three time, plus deal with the loss of Chris Connolly for ten minutes. Connolly was called for a 10 minute misconduct after he fired the puck down the ice after BC scored their second goal. Now I've seen a lot of hockey games in my life, and guys shoot the puck down the ice after the other team scores all the time. I've never once seen it called before last night. I'm just saying.

BU celebrates after
Garett Noonan's first
goal of the game.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Anyway, prior to the Connolly misconduct, BU was able to tie things up on a power play of the their own (yes, we had a few power plays. I know it's hard to believe). Matt Nieto made a heads up pass to Garrett Noonan, who was sliding down from the point on the far side. Nieto connected with a tape to tape pass to the defenseman, who received it, then buried it past a diving Milner to tie the game at 1-1. It was Noonan's 10th goal of the year, and his first of two on the night.

Before the period ended, BC regained the lead on one of their many power play opportunities. Noonan was called for tripping, and BU did a nice job killing the first 1:30 of the power play, but then Escobedo (who else?) was flagged for cross checking. This gave BC another on a five on three power play. BU killed the remainder of Noonan's penalty, but could not kill the remainder of the five on four pp. Finally, BC's power play got off the shnide as Chris Kreider picked the top corner on Millan. After this goal is when Connolly was called for the misconduct.

The third period was one of, if not the most intense periods of hockey I've sat through this season. Chances went back and forth and low and behold, BU picked up a five on three power play for themselves, after Steven Whitney was called for high sticking. Ten seconds later, Paul Carey was whistled for boarding. BU, unlike BC, took full advantaged of their five on three, and who but Garrett Noonan tied the game on the power play. Noonan was down low and redirected a pass from Alex Chiasson off Milner's right leg and into the goal.

The goal came at the 7:12 mark of the third, leaving plenty of time for someone to score and win it in regulation. It was not to be.

The game headed to overtime, and the refs put away their whistles. Following Noonan's second goal, there was only one more penalty called the entire game, including overtime. In the latter stages of the third, players could basically do whatever they wanted, fully knowing they were not going to get called for it. The most notable case of this is when BU's Justin Courtnall took about 15 strides and launched himself at a BC forward cutting across the middle. I want to say he hit Johnny Gaudreau, but I'm not exactly sure.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Championship Game Preview

Who will raise the 2012 Beanpot banner to the rafters of the Boston Garden? Well we've already taken Harvard and Northeastern out of the equation. That leaves Boston University and Boston College to face off in the 60th annual Beanpot Championship game, taking place tomorrow night at 7:30.
Alex Chiasson skates the puck up ice vs BC earlier this year.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU beat Harvard 3-1 in what seemed to be a rather sloppy game. BU jumped out to a three nothing lead on a pair of Wade Megan goals and another tally from Matt Nieto. Harvard cut the lead to 3-1 on a power play goal by Alex Killorn midway through the third. BU did not make any real effort to put the game away and sat on the two goal lead for the remainder of the game. The Terriers were lucky to escape with a 3-1 win.

Boston College roasted Northeastern 7-1 in the late game last Monday. BC jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back. NU made it a one goal game heading into the second period on a 5 on 3 strike from Anthony Bitetto. After the second period the score read 5-1. BC potted two shorthanded goals, both scored by Steven Whitney. His second of the two shorties was the most impressive, as he attempted to make a pass on a 2 on 1 rush. The pass was blocked by a sliding NU defender. Whitney regained possession, paused, then ripped a snap shot short side high on NU goalie Chris Rawlings.

Head To Head
This year, BU took the season series two games to one. The Terriers shutout BC in mid November 5-0 at Conte Forum, home of the Eagles. In early December, the two teams split a weekend home and home series. BU won the first night 5-3 (again at Conte) despite being out shot 45-15. Saturday night was a completely different story. BU won the shot battle, but BC won the game 6-1 at Agganis.

A lot has changed since the arch rivals last met. BU lost both Corey Trivino and Charlie Coyle, who were both critical part of those two wins over BC. Trivino posted three goals in those three games (one was an empty netter). Coyle add two assists and a goal in the first two meetings. He was held scoreless in the final game. It will be hard to make up that kind of production, but BU has done a pretty damn good job of replacing those two against every other team they played since their departures, so that situation is kind of a push.

The kicker is that BC will now have Patrick Wey back in the lineup for Monday's game. Wey is arguably BC's best defenseman and he was sidelined with a torn ligament in his right foot for a good chunk of the first half. He missed all three match-ups with BU. It will be interesting to see how the new BU offense responds to the new BC defense.

Between the Pipes
Kieran Millan makes a kick save
during a BC power play, part of
BU's 5-3 win on December 2nd
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Advantage BU. Big time. I know Parker Milner has played well as of late, but his play against BU (lifetime) is just plain awful. In three games played he is 0-3 with a 4.97 goals against average (15 goals allowed) and a .773 save percentage.

I dont know Kieran Millan's all time stats vs BC, but I would imagine they're a little better. Millan also has proven over his time at BU that he is very cool under pressure and plays well in big games. Millan is also a four year starter.

Miller has been stuck on the bench for two years behind John Muse. This year Milner has been very inconsistent and has struggled to keep his starting job. In fact, BC has started three goalies over the course of the year, and not one has truly proven to be BC's number one starter. Milner will likely start tomorrow night, but Chris Venti and Brian Billett will be ready at a moments notice (like they have all year) if Milner has an off night.

Northeastern beats Harvard 5-3 in the consolation game.

Friday, February 10, 2012

UMass Visits BU

Here we go again, the game in between the Beanpot and it's potential to be a huge trap game. Somehow the team will have to focus on tomorrow's game before looking to far down the road to Monday's Beanpot final vs Boston College. Historically, BU does very well in this game and dating back to 1994, BU is 15-2-0 in the in between game. Their only loses came to Providence in 2004 and Lowell in 2001.
From the Vault
Former Terrier Zach Cohen scores his second goal of the night
against UMass in a game played on January 2nd, 2010.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
This season for the Minutemen has been a roller coster and come into Friday's game with a 9-12-5 record. UMass has beaten  some quality teams this year, including Boston College at home. The Minuteman also defeated Cornell in the Florida Hockey Classic over the holiday break. UMass is 0-4-0 in their last four games, being swept by Lowell, before Northeastern and Merrimack both won games by a score of 4-3 in back to back games. The Northeastern loss was an overtime defeat.

Earlier this season, UMass and BU played two very closely contested games, both of which went to over time. BU battled back to tie the Minutemen 2-2 on Friday October 28th at the Mullins Center. The next night, back in Boston, BU overcame a 3-0 UMass lead and won 5-4 in overtime on a Matt Nieto power play goal.

Scouting the Minuteman 
To no one's surprise, TJ Syner leads the points race for UMass. In 26 games played, the senior from Springfield Mass has amassed 11 goals to go along with 19 assists for a total of 30 points. Conor Sheary is close behind with 28 points (9 g, 19 a) and brother of former Terrier captain Joe Pereira, Mike Pereira has 23 points (11g 12a).

In The Cage
UMass has three goalies that have seen regular playing time this year. Kevin Boyle is the leader in minutes played with 724. In 13 games played he has a 5-4-4 record. Jeff Teglia has seen action in 8 games so far and holds a 1-5-1 record with an .886 save percentage. Steve Mastalerz has also seen action in 8 games with a 3-3-0 record.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Whats Happened To The Beanpot?

Last night, BU and BC both advanced to the Championship Game in the 60th annual Beanpot. No shocker, really. What was surprising though, was the how many people (or lack there of) who attended the games.

Now I know that it says it was a sellout, but if anyone went to the first game, they will all say that there were far more empty yellow seats than actual people in them. Generally, in the third period of the first game, the place starts to fill up, but not last night. No, for some reason there seemed to be a whole lot less people at the Garden last night than in years past.

It may just be that BU played Harvard in the early game. Harvard has no student fan support so there's half the battle, but even in the third period when both Northeastern's and Boston College's students usually start to fill up the upper deck, it still seemed pretty empty.

The BU support was top notch as it usually is in the Beanpot. BU had a good chunk of the upper deck covered in Scarlet and White.

It seems to me, that at least the first round of the Beanpot has kind of lost it's luster. Next Monday should (hopefully!) be a different story, as BU and BC face off for the tournament championship.

My Top Five Beanpot Memories 

Monday, February 6, 2012

BU Hangs On and Beats Harvard

Tonight, BU was able to hold on to a 3-1 lead late in the third, despite getting vastly outplayed in the final minutes by Harvard in the Beanpot semifinals.

BU got on the board about half way through the first period. Matt Nieto picked up his 11th goal of the year on a wrap-a-round. The assists went to Alex Chiasson and Sean Ecsobedo.

I missed the entire first period, as my flight was delayed trying to come home from Indianapolis.

BU took a 2-0  lead in the second on Wade Megan's 13th of the season. Sahir Gill set up Sean Escobedo for a one-timer. The defenseman miss-hit the puck inside the near circle. By miss-hitting the puck, it actually turned out to be a perfect pass to Megan, who was stationed at the bottom of the circle. Megan slipped a shot through Harvard goalie Steve Michalek's legs.

Megan and Gill paired up for BU's third goal, as well. Megan received a pass along the boards in the far corner. He then cut all the way across the goal mouth before shoveling a backhander over Michalek's shoulder and into the net. At this point, it looked like BU was in control of the game, but minutes later Harvard's Alex Killorn scored on a partial break-a-way, while on the power play. He beat Millan on a nice little deek, beating him with a wrist shot, blocker side.

Kevin Gilroy nearly broke the game open, minutes into the third, but instead of scoring, he rang the inside of the post. It was originally called a goal, but upon further review the call was reversed.

That was the only real chance for BU in the third. Harvard really controlled the period. Despite generating ample scoring chances in the final stanza, Millan held them at bay and BU will advance to the Final for the first time since 2010.

The third period was an overall terrible period for the Terriers. They had no will to go out and score and really put the game away. Instead, the team sagged back and sat on the lead. It was very frustrating to watch, but at least Millan was on his game, kicking away 10 shots in the final frame. He made 30 saves in all.

BU's next game is Friday night against UMass at home.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Beanpot Preview

Tomorrow kicks off the 60th annual Beanpot Tournament. BU takes on Harvard in the first game at 5:00. Boston College and Northeastern are scheduled for the night cap, beginning at 8:00.

BU and Harvard met in last year's Consolation, with Harvard winning 5-4 and handing BU their first fourth place finish since 1980. The Terriers and Crimson have already met this season, back in January. BU came away with a 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win after Garrett Noonan scored on a 3 on 2 rush in the extra session.

This season, Harvard has played some very tight games and come in with a 7-6-9 record. Notable wins include a 4-3 victory over Colgate in November, a 4-4 tie at North Dakota, and a 4-3 home win over Yale.

Senior Alex Killorn leads Harvard in total points with 29 (14 g, 15a) in 22 games played. A close second in the points race is defenseman Danny Biega, who comes in with 26, also in 22 games played. Biega has 7 goals and 19 assists on the year. In goal, Steve Michalek has a .900 save percentage, with a 6-5-8 recorded in 8 games played.

BU's starting lineup should look like this: Alex Chiasson will center Chris Connolly and Matt Nieto on the first line. Adam Clendening and Sean Escobedo are be the defense pairings with Kieran Millan between the pipes to start the game.

First Round Predictions
Game 1: BU 5, Harvard 2
Game 2: BC 3, Northeastern 2 (ot)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Terriers Drop Merrimack At Lawler

Tonight's 4-1 win at Merrimack, may be the best 60 minutes of hockey the team has played all year. BU came out guns blazing and Alex Chiasson was stopped on a break a way just seconds into the game. On the follow up chance, Matt Nieto was also stoned by MC goalie Joe Cannata. This really set the tone for the entire night.

"It was a real good effort for us in every phase. We played well right out of the gate and they never got a chance to get going.”- Jack Parker

With those two chances being confidently turned aside by Cannata, it looked as if it was going to be a hard night to score on Joey. Less than a minute later though, Chris Connolly changed that thought, as he beat Cannata between the legs, giving BU a 1-0 lead just 1:30 into the game.

BU dominated the first half of the opening period and at one point the shot counter read 10-2 in favor of the Terriers. BU could only muster that one goal, despite vastly outplaying Merrimack.

BU picked up a pair of four on four goals in the second period. The first came from Sahir Gill. Adam Clendening had the puck at the point, paused, and waited for space to open up, allowing him to deliver and NHL quality slap pass right on the tape of Gill's stick. Gill simply put his blade on the pass and redirected it past Cannata, doubling the Terrier lead.

Less than a minute later, Alex Chiasson potted his tenth goal of the season on a three on two rush. Chris Connolly found Chiasson on the far side. The Quebec native blasted home the pass through Cannata's out-stretched legs and into the bottom of the net. It was Chiasson’s 10th goal of the season.

Following BU's two quick goals, a large portion of the Merrimack student section emptied out, and the play on the ice became rather chippy.

BU took a 4-0 lead on Connolly's second of the night, a power play goal. Off the draw, Matt Nieto cut to the net, but no one picked up Connolly, who was all-alone in the slot. Connolly received the puck from Nieto and made a nifty backhand move to roof a shot over Cannata and into the top shelf. This was Connolly's fourth goal of the year, his second two-goal game of the season. On this goal, both Nieto and Connolly picked up their third point of the game, respectively.

Merrimack's Mike Collins scored with just 1:42 left, robbing Kieran Millan of a well-deserved shutout. Anyway, BU did what they had to do: pick up two points at Lawler Rink, something they have not done since 2009.

BU's next game is Monday night. Yes this is the Beanpot and BU will take on Harvard at 5:00 at the Garden.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weekend Preview: One More With The Warriors

Tomorrow night, BU will head up to North Andover and invade Lawler Rink, home of the Merrimack College Warriors. In the two prior meetings this season, BU and Merrimack have split, with Merrimack winning the first game 3-2 in overtime and BU coming away with 4-2 win in early January.

From The Vault
Garrett Noonan scores a power play goal against Merrimack
earlier this year. Merrimack went on to win this game 3-2
in overtime.
(photo by Matt Dresens)
Merrimack has had an up and down year. They started the season on a tear, and were actually the last team in the Nation to lose a game. MC took a 9-0-1 record into a weekend series with Providence at the start of Decembrer. PC bucked Merrimack 2-1 in overtime on Friday night, then destroyed the Warriors 6-1 at Lawler Rink. Since those two losses, Merrimack has not played nearly as well as they did in the beginning of the year. Merrimack tied Colgate and a 3-1 home loss to Union prior to the Holiday break is no way to end the year on a good note. Merrimack resumed play three weeks later, and fared no better, tying St. Lawrence and beating Holy Cross in the Ledyard Bank Tournament. After losing to BU, MC picked up three points (win and a tie) against Maine. Merrimack comes into this game winners of their last two games, a 3-2 overtime victory at New Hampshire and a 4-2 home win over Providence last weekend.

Scouting the Warriors

Ryan Flanigan is the team's total points leader with 19 (7g 12a) in 19 games played. Karl Stollery is a close second in the points race, coming in with 16 - five goals and eleven assists- in 19 games. Jesse Todd is the team leader in goals with nine in 18 games. I once thought Maine's Joey Diamond was the league's dirtiest player. I have since changed my mind on that and the award now goes to Merrimack's Kyle Bigos. Bigos is a big, bulky defenseman with a decent shot, but he is known more for his knack for vicious penalties. Earlier this year against BU, Bigos was tossed for drilling Wade Megan into the boards blatantly from behind. On the year, Bigos has committed 36 penalties for a total of 86 minutes in the sin bin. Against BU alone, he has racked up 19 penalty minutes this year.

In The Cage
Senior Joe Cannata is once again piecing together a solid season in the Merrimack net. So far this season, he has a 13-5-5 record with a .929 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average. .

Injury Report
BU will be without Freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, who suffered a broken wrist in last weekend's series with Maine. Also, the Terriers will miss Max Nicastro, who suffered a shoulder injury last Friday night.

In Other News
If your headed up to Lawler tomorrow, wear red. Merrimack is attempting to "White out" the rink, so stand out and be loud. Go Terriers.