Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Lookback: 3 Out of 4 Isn't Great

Player of the Week
Danny O'Regan
Hattick on Friday night, one goal
Saturday. Was also named
Hockey East Player of the
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
This was a bit of a strange weekend. BU took three of a possible four points from New Hampshire and yet it seems like a total failure. Going into the weekend, BU was three points behind Lowell who was idle this weekend. They successfully caught the River Hawks, but still are tied with them entering the least weekend of the season with 26 points. 

Both Lowell and BU have huge tests this upcoming weekend. BU is at third place Notre Dame for a pair of games and Lowell has a home in home series with first place Boston College. It works out to be a pretty simple scenario. If BU sweeps ND, the Terriers will finish third, the highest they possibly can. If both BU and Lowell are both swept, BU finishes fourth. Finally, if the both teams sweep or both split, Lowell wins the tie breaker because of their head to head record vs Boston College. 

Being the higher seed means getting a first round bye. It also grants you home ice in the almost inevitable showdown between BU and Lowell in the quarterfinals. Whoever does finish fifth will almost certainly (99% according to Playoff face UMass in the octofinals. I don't see either of these teams losing to UMass in a three game series.  

Going back to this weekend, I was not at Saturday night's game, but what I have heard and read about the game wasn't great. BU jumped out to a 3-0 lead and pretty much put it on cruise control while UNH mounted a comeback to make it 3-2 in the third. Friday night at the Whitt was one of the more frustrating games in a long time. BU totally dominated the game but only came out with a tie. 

Injuries Starting to Mount
Watching BU the last few weeks has reminded me a bit of how the Patriots season went. Coming out of the break the teams was on fire. They had just dropped Quinnipiac in Hamdon and came back to beat Harvard in stunning fashion. BU finally got everyone back from injury and the goaltending woes of this first semester were a distant memory. Then, just like the Pats, the injury bug came back. Sean Maguire broke his finger and Conor LaCouvee took over the cage this weekend. 

In addition to Maguire being out, Brandon Hickey injured his right leg on Friday night off a brutal hit from behind. There is no timetable on his return. Then, there is Robbie Balliargeon. He was also absent from this weekend's games with a "lower body injury". Oh, and lets not forget that Nik Olsson has already been ruled out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury. 

All the injuries led to an interesting lineup this weekend. Dillion Lawrence saw time as the fourth line center in both games. Shane Switzer took over in place of Hickey on Saturday night and actually recorded a pretty nice assist to Danny O'Regan to put BU up 2-0. Both Lawrence and Switzer were playing in their first games since Quinnipiac on December 12th. The decision to play Switzer was a bit of a strange one. John MacLoud is (presumably) healthy. Why he wasn't in there is anyone's guess. 

O'Regan Heating up
After going pointless in his last three games, Danny O'Regan exploded for a four goal weekend. He notched all three of BU's goals on Friday night and added another one on Saturday. He now has 14 goals and 22 assists for a team leading 36 points. 

The three game drought in production could have come to adjusting to new linemates. Since Jordan Greenway has been moved up with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and O'Regan on the top line, the three have been taking over games. I feel like I say it every week, but Greenway is an absolute force in the corners. Once he gets the puck, it is almost impossible to legally take it away from him. Also, he is the perfect compliment to JFK and O'Regan. Two skill guys with a moose that can win battles and move the puck is a tough combination for any opposing team to face. 

Danny O'Regan: “I was having trouble finding the net the last couple of weeks, so it was nice to get some chances on net and have a few go in for me. It was a good weekend for me, but I wish we got four points instead of three"

Connor LaCouvee: “It kind of sucked for a good portion of three weeks or so, but then I was just, ‘Well, there’s no sense being a moody little kid; I might as well just work hard and support the team.’ ‘Mags’ is playing unreal, so I keep supporting him. You never want to come in and play when someone’s injured, but it was really nice to come in and get a couple of games there. I was shaky for the first bit, but it was awesome that we got three points — would’ve liked to get the fourth.”

Dave Quinn: “There was a lot I liked about our game tonight but obviously the result isn’t what we wanted. Obviously i thought we possessed the puck well, got pucks to the net, just weren’t able to capitalize and our goals we had to earn.”

At The Polls
BU stayed pat in the 9th slot in the USCHO rankings. In fact, there was no change to the top six teams either. Quinnipiac 1, BC 2, St. Cloud 3, North Dakota 4, Providence 5, and Yale 6. 

BU climbed into a three way tie with Denver and Notre Dame in the PWR. Due to the RPI tiebreaker, BU is basically in 10th. 

Around Hockey East
Tuesday: Lowell avoided a scare and came back to beat America International 5-4 in Springfield. 

Friday: Merrimack took down Maine 6-4 at the Alfond… Providence snuck past Notre Dame 3-2 in overtime at home… Northeastern rolled over UConn 5-2 in Hartford… Boston College topped Vermont 3-1 at the Gutt… Lowell won a non conference game against UMass in Amherst… BU and UNH played to a 3-3 tie in Durham. 

Saturday: Maine upended Merrimack 3-2 in overtime… Northeastern completed the sweep of UConn with a 4-1 home win… Providence swept Notre Dame after a 3-1 win… Boston College also finished off a sweep of Vermont with a 4-1 win… BU beat New Hampshire 3-2 at home. 

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