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
(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
(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
(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.

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
(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