Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Thoughts: 3 Out of 4 Ain't Bad

Player of the Week
Danny O'Regan.
(PHoto by Matt Dresens)
Considering BU was without Garrett Noonan for the whole weekend and lost Evan Rodrigues in game Friday night, taking three of a possible four points from the Friars comes out to be a pretty successful weekend.

Friday night BU came back from two goals down to beat Providence on three unanswered goals, two by Rodrigues and one from Sahir Gill. Saturday night, BU again came back and tied the game late on Danny O'Regan's ninth goal of the season.

Evan Rodrigues 
Coming into the weekend, Evan was already playing great hockey. Friday night only backed that up as he posted two goals. It was his second two goal game in as many weekends. E-rod has posted five goals in three games, pretty good considering he only had two goals all of last year.

As mentioned before, Rodrigues did suffer an injury in the third period of Friday's game. He was hit from behind and looked to have jammed his wrist into the end boards. He got up after a long time down on the ice and opened and closed his hand. After the game, it was thought that the sophomore forward had broken his hand. On Saturday it was released on Twitter that Rodrigues' hand was not fractured and he would be listed as "day-to-day". He missed Saturday's game, though. It is still unknown if he will be available this Friday at UMass.

Danny O'Regan
The Freshman forward stayed hot this weekend and after posting two assists Friday night, he scored the most important goal of the weekend Saturday, tying the game at 3-3 with just over five minutes left. O'Regan now has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in his last 6 games. He is now second on the team in points with 22 (9g, 13a), one behind Cason Hohmann.

I thought both goalies played pretty well this weekend. Sean Maguire stood tall, stopping 32 of PC's 34 shots on Friday night. The first goal he had no chance on, as it was a great set up by the Friars on a back door play. The second goal I did not really get a good look at, but I'm pretty sure it was a rebound goal. Other than that, Maguire once again played a very solid game.

Matt O'Connor also played well in Saturday's tilt. He turned aside 26 shots. The first goal was a power play goal on a shot from the point. He was screened and the puck may have been deflected on its way through his legs. Goal number two was an all around bad play by the Terriers. Sam Kurker picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and skated back into his own end looking to regroup. In the process, he was pick pocketed right in front of O'Connor and the Terrier net. The puck slid on to O'Connor's pad without him really knowing. The puck ended back up on the PC's player's stick and then in the back of the net. It was just an all around horrible play. Providence's third goal came on a two on two rush that at first looked to be a soft goal. After watching the highlights again though, it was a perfectly placed shot, as PC's Shane Luke used a quick release shot from the top of the slot to beat O'Connor high glove side.

Around Hockey East 
Friday: Maine topped Boston College 4-1 at Conte Forum... Lowell and Northeastern skated to a 4-4 draw at Matthews... UMass edged Vermont 3-2 in Burlington... Merrimack beat New Hampshire 3-2 at home... BU came back to beat Providence in Providence.

Saturday: New Hampshire made quick work of Merrimack in Manchester, NH 6-2... Maine completed the sweep of Boston College with a 3-1 win... Lowell took down Northeastern 5-4 in overtime at home... Vermont came away with a 3-2 victory at home over UMass... BU and Providence were tangled in knots at 3-3.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rodrigues Leads BU Comeback As Terriers Top Friars

Tonight, BU picked up two huge points in the Hockey East standings and after a night that saw Boston College and New Hampshire fall, BU stepped into a tie with the Wildcats after defeating Providence.

The win did not come easy and came at a cost. Providence stormed the fort early and took over control of the game in the first. Ross Mauermann finished on a text book set up from teammates Paul de Jersey and Nick Saracino at the 7:52 marker of period one.

With less than five minutes left in the frame, Brandon Tanev converted on a rebound opportunity beating Sean Maguire and giving the Friars a 2-0 lead.

It was not looking go for BU, as they played flat for most of the period. Finally, Evan Rodrigues got the Terriers on the board with 43 seconds left in the stanza. Matt Nieto left a drop pass for Rodrigues in the high circle. From there, Rodrigues beat Providence goalie John Gillies five hole and put the Terriers back in the game.

Rodrigues was not, as the sophomore would tie the game little over five minutes into the second. Matt Grzelcyk Danny O'Regan picked up the assists on the goal that resulted from a scrum in front. I really did not get a good look at the play because I was at the far end of the rink away from the net the goal was scored on. Its very hard to see in that arena due to the obstructed views of the tight confines.

BU played an overall better period in the second, but still could not score on the power play, a theme that would continue for the remainder of the night.

After some good chances on the power play and back and forth play in the third, Sahir Gill put the Terriers up 3-2 at the 7:14 marker. He looked to have picked up the puck in the slot before circling all the way behind the net to the far post for a wrap-a-round that he just did beat Gillies on. It was a strange play, but unlike the previous goal, I had a very good look at this one. When he eventually got behind the net, I knew exactly what he was going to try and do. Then I looked at Gillies and he was still on the left post. Gill cleanly beat him to the inside of the right post on the tuck in. It was Gill's fifth goal of the season.

All was well after Gill's goal until  Evan Rodrigues went down hard in the near corner. He was pushed from behind and on his way into the boards as in an attempt to brace himself jammed his wrist into the wall. He stayed down for a good while before getting up and skating right to the dressing room. He did not return. Coach Parker said after the game that he may have broke his hand. When he got up he did appear move his hand and wrist.

Providence nearly tied the game with Gillies pulled, but could not solve Sean Maguire in the third and BU held on for a huge win.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Weekend With The Friars

Starting tomorrow, BU will play what has quickly become one of the most important weekends of the year. With a win at UNH coupled with BU getting swept last weekend Providence has moved themselves into a tie with BU for the third spot in the Hockey East standings. Tomorrow's game will be down in Providence with Saturday's tilt at the Greek. BU won the first game of the series 4-2 at home. I will not be at the game Saturday, as I also have a game that night. That (hopefully) will be the last game I miss this year.
Evan Rodrigues (26) and Matt Nieto (17) help celebrate
Sahir Gill's (28) goal

Following the holiday break, Providence has played solid hockey. Two hard fought losses at Minnesota Mankato, followed by a sweep of UMass lead into the team's two most challenging games of the season. A Thursday night contest saw the Friars bow 2-1 to Lowell before topping UNH 6-5 at the Whitt. The recent league success has vaulted Providence into home ice contention in the Hockey East Playoffs. Currently the Terriers and Friars have 18 points.

Junior Derek Army leads the team in points with 17. In 21 games played the North Kingstown, Rhode Island native has posted 10 goals and 7 assist. Behind him is standout Sophomore Ross Mauermann, who is the holder of a 7-8-15 line in 21 games. Freshman Mark Jankowski, who has been riddled with injuries all season, was a first round pick in last year's draft. He is certainly a player to watch for.

In goal, Providence will send the USA World Junior Team's backup netminder between the pipes. In 18 games played, Jon Gillies has a 10-6-2 record to go along with a .927 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average.

To counter, BU will go with the hot hand and make Sean Maguire the starter Friday night. Saturday will see Matt O'Connor back in the BU net.

---> Garrett Noonan will miss both games this weekend due to a suspension. Here is the press release from Hockey East: "Hockey East Coordinator of Officials Dan Schachte announced on Tuesday an additional one-game suspension for Boston University Junior defenseman Garrett Noonan.

Noonan will sit out a total of two games, which includes one game from his disqualification penalty in the UMass- Lowell game on Saturday, January 19. Noonan will be eligible to return to the Terriers' lineup on Friday, February 1 at Massachusetts."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Looking at Lowell

Tonight, BU will look to get back on track after a tough loss last night against UMass Lowell.

Lowell is lead offensively by scott Wilson who has 7 goals and 11 assists, good for 18 points in 19 games played. Behind him is Joe Pendenza who has a line of 7-8-15 in 19 games.

In goal, Junior Doug Carr and Freshman Connor Hellebuyck have split time. Carr posts a .500 record at 6-6-1 with a .904 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against. Hellebuyck is 5-1-0 on the year and has a stellar 1.62 GAA and .939 SV%.

I will not be there tonight, as I also have a hockey game to play at the same time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Terriers Comeback, Then Fall Late To Huskies

Braden Pimm grabs BU's Mike Moran by the leg in the
first period. Throughout the night, both teams played a very
scrappy game
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU came out and played maybe their worst two periods of hockey all season. Nothing and when I say not, nothing was working for BU early on. Northeastern struck first on a really flukey goal that only made things worse. Robbie Vrolyk fired a shot on Sean Maguire (32 saves) that the Powell River native stopped with his blocker. The rebound deflected about 10 feat in the air above the BU net. Maguire had no clue where the puck was until it fell behind him and into the net. It was one of the stranger goals I have seen.

After a horrendous power play, the Terriers were able to right the ship on the man advantage at the 4:21 marker of the first. Evan Rodrigues found Danny O'Regan at the low crease. From there, O'Regan was able to feed a pass over to Matt Nieto through a sliding NU defender. Nieto buried O'Regan's pass to tie the game. 

27 seconds later, BU took the lead on another power play. Cason Hohmann set up Garrett Noonan for his fourth goal of the season. Noonan got Hohmann's pass in the slot and wasted no time riffling it past Chris Rawlings out stretched blocker. 

NU tured the tables on BU late in the period, scoring two quick goals of their own. First Adam Reid potted his second goal of the year at the 17:26 marker of the first. Then just 31 seconds later, Kevin Roy took advantage of a horrible turnover by Ahti Oksanen right in front of his net. Roy deposited the loose puck into the back of the net after lifting a shot over Maguire's glove. Sean was hung out to dry on this goal.

Northeastern upped their lead to 4-2 on a five on three power play in the second. Braden Pimm had the final whack at a loose puck in the crease that seemed like slow motion when it eventually crossed the line. 

With less than five minutes to play in the frame, Cody Ferriero scored a highlight reel goal to put the Huskies up three. He undressed Alexx Privitera, who did all he could to slow down the NU forward before Ferriero roofed a shot from in tight to cap off the play. 

BU struck less than a minute into the third. Evan Rodrigues was able to corral a bouncing puck at the top of the slot. From there, he turned and torched Rawlings with a quick release wrist shot to cut the NU lead to two goals.

Less than five minutes later, Rodrigues again found the back of the net. Garrett Noonan sent a slap shot off the cross bar causing the puck to deflect off Rawlings back and into the low crease. That is where Rodrigues was drilled from behind, but in the process put both himself and the puck into the goal to make it a one goal game with more than 15 minutes to play.

Less than two minutes after E-Rod scored his second, Danny O'Regan tied the game on the power play. A shot from Rodrigues pin-balled around the low slot and eventually it hit O'Regan before winding up in the goal. The goal was originally given to Garrett Noonan who looked to have gotten the last touch before the puck went in the net. 

BU had some chances to take the lead as the period wore on, but at 17:57 former Terrier Vinny Saponari helped quite the house as he found the back of the net off a Keven Roy rebound. It was Vinny's second game winning goal against BU in as many games. This loss also marks the first time in 14 season BU has lost back to back games to the Huskies. 

Dog Fight

Tonight, BU hosts Northeastern in the first of four game the two teams will play this season. This will be a preview of the early game in the first round of the Beanpot, which is (don't look now) less than a month away.
From The Vault
Vinny Saponari and
Chris Connolly after BU's 4-3
win at Matthew's Arena
last year.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

BU will send red hot Sean Maguire back between the pipes this evening. The freshman netminder has won his last five starts and is playing with confidence right now, something that really lacked at the beginning of the year.

Scouting Northeastern
NU started the year with two wins. One of those was a surprising 3-1 win over Boston College at home. Since beating BC, NU has won just four more games, two against lowly Alabama Huntsville. Following the holiday break, the Huskies are 1-1-1 topping Harvard 5-1, tying Maine 1-1 and losing to Bentley 6-2 at home.

Freshman and former USHL Player of the year Kevin Roy leads the team in all three major statistical categories. In 18 games played, Roy has 9 goals 11 assists, good for 20 points. Some six points behind him is Junior Cody Ferriero who has posted a 7-6-13 line in 18 games played. Then there is former Terrier and current Northeastern Captain Vinny Saponari, who has just three goals on the year. He also has 9 assists for 12 points and third on the team in scoring. Ludwig Karlsson stands out to me as one of the better players on the Huskies. In the lone game I have been able to see NU play this year, he had a very solid game. Granted it was against Alabama Huntsville, but the kid can play. He scored a handful of goals against the Terriers last year.

In goal, NU will more than likely send out Senior Chris Rawlings, who has been up and down his entire career as a Husky. This season, he holds a 6-6-1 record in 14 appearances as well as a .927 save percentage and 2.34 goals against average. 

The Last Time They Met...
was a home and home series in March. BU won convincingly on Friday night, before NU won a thrilling game in overtime 5-4 the following night. Vinny Saponari scored the game winner. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

BU Beats Merrimack 4-1

After a relatively slow start for the Terriers that saw Merrimack carry the play in the opening few minutes , Wade Megan put BU on the board shorthanded. 

Megan skated the puck into the MC zone and just after crossing over the blue line flipped the puck over a defender's stick and cut to the middle. Megan then corralled the bounding puck and was able to get a shot off. Hist wrist shot deflected off the shaft of the defenders stick, changing directions and fooling Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen, who helplessly watched the puck flutter into the back of the net. It was Megan's second goal in as many games and his 11th on the season. 
Casson Hohmann leads a rush into the Merrimack zone
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Sean Maguire stood tall for the remainder of the frame and BU took the 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

A quality shift by the second line seemed to really spark the Terriers and BU took off in the second period. Less than five minutes into the period, BU doubled their lead. 

Alexx Privitera, who has been in the doghouse the last few games helped set up one of the prettiest goals of the year. He was stationed at the near point with Merrimack forward fright in his face. Privitera wound up as to take a big time slap-shot. The MC defender went down on one knee to attempt to block the shot. Privitera calmly faked the shot and stepped around the MC player before sliding a pass over to Sahir Gil,l who was all alone in the bottom of the slot. Gill one touched the pass into a wide open net to give BU a 2-0 lead. 

Later in the period, Cason Hohmann finished off another nice passing play. Wade Megan and Hohmann had a partial two on one and Megan dished to Hohmann who was in the slot. Hohmann got a stick on the pass and redirected it between Tirronen's legs. It was Hohmann's 6th goal of the year. 

Matt Nieto made it 4-0 midway through the third Danny O'Regan and Evan Rodrigues both made some nifty cross slot passes to set up Nieto, who slammed home Rodrigues' pass into the bottom of the net. Tirronen had no chance. 

Merrimack's Kyle Bigos scores in the
third period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Merrimack finally broke up Maguire's shutout bid with about seven minutes left. Kyle Bigos found twine with a slap-shot that made its way through traffic, past maguire and into the net. 

Bigos and Sam Kruker got into a heated scrum in the closing minutes of the game. It was the closets thing to an actually fight in college hockey. Both were only sent to the host for two minutes and both will be allowed to play in their next respected games, as no putches were thrown. Just some very aggressive face washes that left Bigos helmet-less at one point.

In all, it was a solid win. Maguire looked very solid, making some really clutch saves. In total, he stopped 37 shots. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

BU Heads To Merrimack

Looking to rebound from their forgettable 6-5 overtime loss to Harvard, tonight BU will take the short trip to North Andover and take on the Merrimack College Warriors. BU won the first game of the three game series back in November behind solid goaltending by Matt O'Connor. Tonight, Sean Maguire will get the start in the Terrier net.
From The Vault
Vinny Saponari threads a pass through a Merrimack defender
to Colby Cohen who would bang home the pass for a power
play goal back in 2010.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Scouting the Warriors 
MC is 7-8-4 on the year. Their best win came in their first game of the year against Union College. Since then, Merrimack has not really been able to put a string of wins together except for when they swept Northeastern in a home and home series in November. Last weekend, the Warriors defeated Vermont 4-1 up in Burlington.

Junior Mike Collins is far and away the top scorer on the Mack. His 21 points is more than double Jordan Heywood's 10, who is second. Collins has 9 goals and 12 assists in 19 games played. Not surprisingly, Kyle Bigos leads Merrimack in penalty minutes with 53.

In goal, MC has two netminders who have nearly identical numbers. Junior Sam Marotta holds a 4-4-2 record and a .916 save percentage to go along with a 2.40 goals against. Finnish born Sophomore Rasmus Tirronen posts a 3-4-2 record, .912 save percentage and a 2.42 goals against. My guess is that Tirronen will get the start simply because if MC follows the normal goalie rotation it is his turn, seeing how Marotta played the game.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Thoughts: Good, Not Great

Player of the Week
Sean Maguire: Here he makes a stick
save in the first period of Friday
night's game.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU played a rather poor game Friday night, but they played well enough to win. Something was clearly missing without either Wade Megan and Alexx Privitera in the line up. Both spend some serious time on the power play and that's where I think BU missed both of them the most.

Privitera was serving a one game suspension for kicking a player in the Denver game. Megan was out with a shoulder injury. I don't expect either of them to be back for the Harvard game on Wednesday; Megan for the injury and Privitera will likely sit out at Coach Parker's discretion for his poor play and stupid penalties in the DU game.

Sean Maguire
Since struggling in his first two starts as a Terrier, Maguire has definitely put himself right back in the ever competitive goalie rotation. Mags was basically set up to fail in his first two starts, seeing how they were both road games at New Hampshire and North Dakota. Besides Boston College, I don't think there could have been two tougher opponents to make your first two starts. For times in the RPI game, Maguire did what any good goalie needed to do: Keep his team in the game. Sean made some key saves in the first period when BU was getting badly out played.

Cason Hohmann
Not only did Hohmann score the game winning goal in overtime, but the RPI game was one of his better games as a Terrier. He looked like he took over an unofficial leadership roll with Megan out. He was quarterbacking the power play and setting up rushes all night. It was only fitting that he scored the game winner on a spectacular play. This was a play that Hohmann would not have had the patience to make last year.

Cason did an excellent job of holding onto the puck, rather than trying to force a move or a shot. He waited for a sliding Engineer defenseman to slide past him before he fired a perfectly placed wrist shot into a credit card size opening in the top corner of the net. Last year, Hohmann would have tried to force a pass over to Matt Nieto, who was the other forward on the two on one. On this play, the RPI defenseman, who opted to go down, blocked the pass across to Nieto, forcing Hohmann to make a perfect shot, which he clearly did.

At The Polls
BU was up one slot in the USCHO rankings from 9th to 8th. Minnesota was again the Nation's top team with Notre Dame, Boston College, New Hampshire and upstart Quinnipiac rounding out the top five in that order.

Over in the rankings that actually matter, BU finds themselves in 5th in the Pairwise. Boston College is one with Quinnipiac, UNH, and Notre Dame closing the top five.

Around Hockey East
Monday: New Hampshire topped Bemidji State 3-2 in overtime in the consolation game of the Ledyard Bank Classic Consolation Game in Hanover, New Hampshire... UMass upset Dartmouth in the Championship Game of the LBC.

Friday: Maine one upped Mercyhurst 2-1 at home... Lowell defeated Clarkson 2-1 at Cheel Arena in Potsdam, New York... Yale and Boston College skated to a 3-3 tie in New Haven... Minnesota State beat Providence 4-3 in overtime at home... BU was victorious against RPI 3-2 in overtime.

Saturday: Merrimack took two points from Vermont in the only Hockey East game of the weekend... Bentley throttled Northeastern 6-3 at Matthews Arena... Mercyhurst avoided the sweep at Maine with a 5-2 win... Lowell completed the sweep of Clarkson with a 6-2 win... Minnesota State blanked Providence 4-0 at home.

Cason Hohmann was named Hockey East Player of the week

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Photos From Last Night

Hohmann Nets Winner In Overtime

Tonight BU did not play their best game. At times it looked like their worst, but in the end they did what they needed to do to win the game. Cason Hohmann not only scored the game winning goal in overtime, but he was one of the few bright spots for the Terriers all night.

Rensselaer took advantage of the the slow starting Terriers and had few good chances early in addition to out shooting BU 13-9 in the first. RPI grabbed the game's first goal at the exact half way point of period one. Ryan Haggerty beat Sean Maguire (27 saves) right off a faceoff in the BU end. It was the first goal Maguire ever allowed at Agganis Arena.

BU celebrates after Ryan Santana scores in the first Period
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU continued to struggle later in the period, but were able to tie things up a little over five minutes after the Engineers' goal. Mike Moran made a strong drive to the net, drawing a penalty in process. The puck dribbled into the high crease where Ryan Santana swooped in and roofed a quick shot. The shot knocked the water bottle off the top of the net, quite a way to score his first goal of the season.

Throughout the first and from there on, Maguire played very well. He made some really key saves in the early stages of the game that made up for some of the poor play BU demonstrated.

After creating a few good scoring chances, none more obvious than Hohmann's opportunity on a rebound in which he had the entire top of the net only to toss the puck back into Bryce Merriman (38 saves), who was lying flat in his back the, The Terriers saw RPI take a 2-1. CJ Lee corralled a loose puck in the mid slot, spun around, and beat Maguire blocker side. The assists went to Mark McGowan and Luke Curadi.

Merriman was leaving huge rebounds all night and BU, for some reason, was not able to bang home pucks that were really just sitting in the crease, waiting to be shoved into the net. Finally, Sahir Gill put home one of those rebounds, little over five minutes into the third. Garrett Noonan cut to the net and threw a shot on goal. The puck pin-balled around the slot before Gill deposited the puck into the back of the net. It was his third goal of the year.

BU looked much better in the third period, but the power play was still mind-bogglingly poor and was down right frustrating to watch. Meanwhile, Maguire and Merriman held the fort and the game went to overtime.

Seconds in to the free hockey session, RPI nearly won it and if not for Maguire's split save. Thankfully for BU, he did make the save and at 2:56 of OT, Cason Hohmann scored his fifth of the year and handed the Terriers their 11th win. Hohmann and Matt Nieto had a two on one break into the RPI zone. Nieto was well defended leaving Homhann's only option the shot. Hohmann had time to pick his spot and that he did, as he torched Merriman high glove side on a ridiculous snipe.

To the left is the frame by frame of the overtime winning goal.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

RPI Visits Agganis

Tomorrow night, BU will host RPI in the first game of the new year. BU will have their top offensive defenseman in Matt Grzelcyk back in the line up after he missed the Denver game because a late scratch from the USA World Junior team.
From The Vault
Kevin Shattenkirk scores on a shorthanded break a way
in a game played in December 2009 at Agganis. BU lost 5-3.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 

BU's roster will look a bit different than it has in the past. Captain Wade Megan is out with what the Boston Hockey Blog is calling a "shoulder subluxation" that he suffered on an a gruesome leg check in the Denver game. Megan landed awkwardly on his shoulder after being clipped and tossed to the ice. Replacing him on the first line will be Freshman Wes Myron. Defensman Alexx Privitera is out due to a one game suspension he picked up against the Pioneers for kicking a DU player while he was down. Parker said that would not be the only game that he will miss. Former Division III standout and walk on forward Jake Moscatel will make his BU debut tomorrow night on the forth line. Finaly, Sean Maguire will be between the pipes for the Terriers.

Scouting the Engineers 
RPI on the year is 6-7-4. Their notable wins include a 4-3 victory at St. Cloud State and a 6-1 shellacking over the Yale Bulldogs. At one point this year though, RPI lost five game in a row, including getting shutout twice on back-to-back nights by the score of 4-0 by Dartmouth and Harvard. RPI is 1-5-2 in ECAC play, but is 5-2-2 in non-conference action.

The Engineers are led by Sophomore forward Jacob Laliberte, who has 7 goals and 8 assists for 15 points in 15 games played. Behind him is Nick Bailen, who has posted 4 goals, 9 assists (13 points) in 17 games. Senior forward CJ Lee leads the team in penalty minutes with 29 in 16 games. In goal, Freshman Jason Kasdorf has really opened some eyes with his play in the RPI net. In 7 appearances, he holds a 2-1-2 record stopping 149 shots in 368 minutes. In that time, he has a .937 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average.

The Last Time The Met...
was in December of 2010. RPI came away with a 4-1 win. BU controlled the pace of play, but just could not find the back of the net. In addition, the game was chock full of penalties.