Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Weekend Lookback: A Welcome Return

Player of the Week: Clayton Keller
2 goals, 4 assists
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Last night, BU topped Yale 5-2 at home, and over the weekend, split a pair of games at Vermont to close out the first half of the 2016-2017 season.

The weekend marked the return of Clayton Keller, who gave the BU offense a major shot in the arm. Keller in three games back after suffering a knee injury notched six points and is rolling into World Junior Camp.

Speaking of the World Juniors, BU could potentially be without eight players for their game against Union on January 5th.

“It’s such a wonderful tournament,” said Quinn. “It's a great experience to play for your country. We’re talking about one of the few tournaments in hockey where all the best players at that age group in the world are actually in the tournament.”

When asked if his players would be tired from the festivities, Quinn said “No, they’re 18 and 19 years old. They get plenty of rest.”

Oettinger Standing Tall

Over the weekend, Jake Oettinger recorded his first road shutout as a Terrier, blanking UVM 4-0 and turning aside all 28 shots he faced. Last night against Yale, the freshman netminder, who will also be at WJC camp, stopped 28 of 30 shots faced. In a 5-2 game, the play of the goalie can sometimes be overlooked, but not by coach Quinn.

“We don’t take him [Oettinger] for granted, that’s for sure. He’s had a great first half. He gives our team a calming effect and I’m really happy he’s a Terrier,” mentioned Quinn.

Oettinger was also named Hockey East rookie of the week prior to the Yale game for his performance in Vermont.

Offense From Other Places
Yes, Clayton Keller returned this weekend, but BU also found some goals from down the depth chart. Last night, Shane Switzer netted the first two goals of his BU career. In total, the Detroit area defenseman has played in just nine games in the last two years. Chase Phelps notched his first two points of the year, including the game-winner on Saturday in Vermont. He added an assist to Switzer’s second goal last night, as well.

Bellows to the Bench
It was a tough weekend for Kieffer Bellows. The freshman forward, who was invited to USA WJC camp found himself on the bench for two of the three games. This comes after getting sat down for the majority of BU’s home game against Providence last weekend. Friday in Vermont he was -2 and took a tough slashing penalty that UVM scored on right before the conclusion of the first period.

Quinn said after Saturday’s UVM game, “sometimes guys need to watch from above.”

At The Polls
Prior to last night’s 5-2 win over Yale, BU fell one peg in the USCHO rankings from 5th to 6th. The top three from a week ago remained the same: Minnesota Duluth 1, Denver 2, Penn State 3. Harvard jumped up two slots from 6th to 4th and BC rounded out the top five.

Hockey East Scoreboard
UMass 1, at UConn 3
Merrimack 1, at Lowell 4
America International 3, at Maine 5
Providence 5, at RIT 1
Boston University 2, at Vermont 4

Lowell 5, at Merrimack 1
Boston College 2, at Notre Dame 3
America International 2, at Maine 7
New Hampshire 1 at Dartmouth 5
Providence 3, at RIT 1
Boston University 4, at Vermont 0

UMass 3, at Princeton 4
Yale 2, at Boston University 5

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pair of Switzer Goals Power BU Past Yale

It was Shane Switzer’s night to shine as the sophomore defenseman, who makes the occasional appearance in the Terrier lineup, netted the first two goals of his college hockey career in BU’s 5-2 win over Yale. 

Charlie McAvoy opened the scoring midway through the first. Jordan Greenway wristed a shot up top that caromed off McAvoy in the slot and past Yale goalie Sam Tucker. It was McAvoy’s second goal of the year. 
Shane Switzer celebrates after scoring his first goal as a Terrier
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“It was a good win against a good team,” mentioned Coach Quinn. “We got off to a bit of a slow start and I thought about eight minutes into the first we started to have some offensive zone time and going to the net.”

Going to the net is exactly what defenseman Shane Switzer did.

Switzer potted his first of two just before the conclusion of the period. The whole play was set up by a fabulous pass by Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson that found Switzer uncovered in the low slot. The offensive defenseman was all alone, but was right on top of Tucker. Switzer made a nifty move to move the puck to his backhand and slide it into an open net.

“It was just a great feed from Jakob. I wasn’t sure he was going to get it to me and I was just able to put it in, said Switzer after the game.
Bobo Carpenter scores from
Clayton Keller.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Bobo Carpenter made it 3-0 59 seconds into the second frame. Clayton Keller made a strong feed from behind the goal line to find Carpenter out in front. From there, Carpenter slammed it home low on Tucker for his fourth of the year.

Then it was it was back to the Switzer show. Oskar Andrén pulled a loose puck out of the pile in the slot and worked it back up to Switzer at the point. In the high slot, Switzer patiently waited for a lane and picked a corner on Tucker to make it 4-0.

Jokingly, Switzer noted, “the Swedes loves passing to me today.”

“We’ve always liked Shane as a player. He’s a great kid, works hard and is a very good hockey player,” said Quinn.

John Hayden finally got Yale on the board at the 6:39 marker of the period. Rain Hitchcock and Joe Snively picked up assists on the play.

Clayton Keller added a power play goal off another nice feed from JFK for his seventh on the year.

Hitchcock rounded out the scoring early in the third with a nice shot from the mid slot through a screen.

Jake Oettinger made some timely saves and was a key factor in the win despite the score. He finished with 28 on the night.

BU is off until January 5th when Union comes to town.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Looking At Yale

In the final game before the semester break, BU takes on the struggling Yale Bulldogs at Agganis, Tuesday night. 
From The Vault
Bobo Carpenter celebrates after scoring an extra-attacker goal
at Yale last December. The Bulldogs hung on for a 3-2 win.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Yale comes into this game with a 4-5-2 record, which is somewhat disappointing for a team projected to finish at the top of the ECAC. The Bulldogs returned 70% of their scoring from a year ago, and while scoring really hasn’t been an issue (3.09 goals per game) quality wins has been. Yale has beaten RPI twice, Sacred Heart and Holy Cross. Among those four, Holy Cross has the highest PWR at 46.

Yale did manage to tie Clarkson twice in back to back games. The Golden Knights have had a decent start to the year, currently sitting at 9-7-3.

Scouting the Bulldogs
It’s no surprise to see senior John Hayden atop the Yale scoring chart. In seven games played, the former USA WJC member has nine goals and six assists for fifteen points. Sophomore Joe Snively also comes in with fifteen points by way seven goals and eight assists.

Other players to watch include Ryan Hitchcock, Adam Larkin, and Frankie DiChiara.

In goal, both Patrick Spano and Sam Tucker have split time in hopes of filling the gap left by Alex Lyon’s departure. Spano, a senior, played all of one game last year and has seen time in nine games this year. He holds an .892 save percentage and a 2.84 goals against to go along with a 4-3-2 record. Tucker, on the other hand, is 0-2-0 in three appearances with an .839 SV% and a 3.98 GAA.

BU Notes
- Dante Fabbro will be out of the lineup for the second straight game, as he is at Canada’s World Junior camp. 

- When asked why Kieffer Bellows didn’t play Saturday night in Vermont, Coach Quinn said, “sometimes guys need to see the game from above and take a night off.” It wouldn’t surprise me if he sat tomorrow night.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Oettinger, BU Blank Vermont

BURLINGTON - Shooting percentage isn’t normally a stat tossed around in hockey. However, it is when a team shoots the lights out and that's exactly what BU did in the third period. The Terriers shot 100% in the third period tonight, going three for three to break open a 1-0, nail-biting contest at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Nick Roberto celebrates after scoring in the third to put BU
up 3-0.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
It started just 45 seconds into the final frame. Clayton Keller, after setting up some very promising looks last night on the man advantage, found the back of the net to double the Terrier lead. Jordan Greenway won a battle in the corner and worked the puck up top to Keller. From the dot, Keller patiently waited for a shooting lane to open. When he got his look, he didn’t miss, ringing a shot off the far post and in.

“Greenway did a great job retrieving the puck; we were able to keep the play alive and get a huge goal. A game changing goal. The power play delivered in a key time. Our power play was pivotal all weekend,” noted Coach Quinn after the game.

Nick Roberto scored on the second Terrier shot of the third with 3:56 to play. It was a high rising dart that beat Lekkas up stairs. Pat Curry picked up the lone assist on the play.

Back in the first, Chase Phelps opened the scoring on his first goal of the year. Oskar Andrén let go a shot from the high circle, and the rebound from UVM goalie Stefanos Lekkas dropped right in Phelps’ lap. From the bottom of the crease, the junior forward was able to swat home what turned out to be the eventual game winner.

Jake Oettinger was excellent in net. He turned aside 28 shots in total for his first road shutout of the year. Without a doubt, his most notable save was on a two on none at the tail end of the second period. He calmly followed the play and was in position to make a strong save after some quick passing.

“He made some huge saves,” mentioned Quinn. “A 2 on 0 and a 1 on 0, you don’t want to give those up and we obviously have to limit those opportunities. I thought we did a pretty good job defensively. We minimized our turnovers compared to last night and I thought we managed the puck better tonight.”

Brandon Hickey made it three for three in shots with an empty netter with a little over a minute to play.

Coach Quinn was pleased with his team’s effort tonight. “To come in here and play a really good hockey team and to play in the fashion we did after having a tough loss last night, I’m really proud of our guys.”

Yes, BU only generated three shots in the third, but there were some dominant stretches of hockey by all four lines. They didn’t generate shots, but there was no way Vermont was getting the puck out. Like Quinn said, the second goal was huge. It was a totally different game after that and with the way Oettinger was playing, a Vermont comeback didn’t seem possible.

BU is back at it on Tuesday at home against Yale in the final game before the semester break.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Forgione Tally The Difference, Cats Take Game One

BURLINGTON - It was a frustrating night for the Terriers, as they watched the UVM Catamounts score twice in the third period to bust open a 2-2 tie and, take game one of a two game set up here in Burlington.

Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas stones Charlie McAvoy at
the end of the first period, one of 20 saves on the night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Tom Forgione netted the game winner with 12:29 left in the third on a delayed penalty. The goal came after some serious UVM pressure that drew a Chad Krys holding call. Before BU could touch up, Forgione buried his fourth goal of the year to give the Cats a 3-2 lead.

BU never got a push in the third. They had some decent looks on the power play prior to the go-ahead goal, but not enough shots. In total, BU generated just five shots in the third period.

Back in the first, the Terriers got on the board early with a power play strike from Bobo Carpenter just 3:17 into the game. It was his third of the year, with assists from Kieffer Bellows and Chad Krys.

Midway through the frame, UVM found the equalizer when Anthony Petruzzelli scored his first goal of the year. It came after Vermont looked rather sloppy in their own end, but the game totally changed when Petruzzelli picked up a loose puck in the bottom of the circle and roofed it on Jake Oettinger.

Vermont took the lead with less than a minute to play in the period on the power play. Matt O’Donnell got a shot through from the right point that found it’s way up under the bar and past Oettinger for his first colligate goal.

BU answered with another power play goal in the second to tie it 2-2. Patrick Harper scored on a broken play after a strong setup by Clayton Keller and Jordan Greenway. Harper beat UVM goalie Stefanos Lekkas up top, as the netminder was out of position on the quick release by Harper in the slot.

Ross Colton sealed the deal with an empty netter with 1:05 remaining.

The third period did offer two nice brawls. It’s clear these teams don’t have very much love lost and also shows how competitive this series is. It should be interesting, as the two teams will go at it again tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Weekend With The Catamounts

From The Vault
Charlie McAvoy bodies UVM's Johnathan
Turk in last year's meeting on
December 4th, 2015. 
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
For a weekend series that really didn’t have a lot of flavor behind it when the schedule was first announced, this weekend's pair of games at Vermont could have a major impact on not only the Hockey East race, but the national tournament as well.

Vermont was a consensus pick to finish in the bottom of the league standings and well out of the top 16 in the PWR prior to the season. Add on to that the fact that they faced a hazing scandal involving the freshmen, which led to some of the players from last year’s roster being cut for “athletic reasons” (they over recruited), and the outlook for the season was bleak.

Well, UVM has been anything but dull so far. The Cats are 9-3-2, tied with Harvard for fourth in the PairWise (yeah, it’s about time to start looking at that, I guess), and sit in third place in Hockey East with nine points.

UVM is currently riding a six game unbeaten streak, in which they picked up four points over UMass, three points from Maine and, trounced Quinnipiac 5-1 in Belfast in the Friendship Four championship game. Other notable wins include a 3-0 blanking of Michigan at home and a 5-2 win at Clarkson to open the season.

BU has dominated Vermont in recent competition. The Terriers are 11-3-1 dating back to February 28, 2010, the last time UVM won two straight games against the Terriers. Last year the two teams split a two game series at Agganis in December, with Vermont winning 4-2 on Friday and BU scoring a 5-3 win on Saturday.

Scouting The Catamounts

Freshman Ross Colton leads the team in scoring with twelve points by way of a balanced six goals and six assists. Senior Captain Mario Puskarich, who was suspended five games in the hazing scandal, is second, coming in with five goals and five assists. Craig Puffer also has ten points, posting six goals and four assists.

Other players to watch include Jarid Privitera, Rob Darrar and Brady Shaw.

In goal, freshman Stefanos Lekkas has stolen the starting job from senior Mike Santaguida. In 11 games played, Lekkas is 8-1-2 with a 1.72 goals against average and a .940 save percentage. Satnaguida, on the other hand, is 1-2-0 and has registered a 3.66 GAA to go along with a .889 goals against.

BU Notes
- Clayton Keller could potentially be back this weekend. The Boston Hockey Blog reports he is “day to day”

- Tommy Kelley will be done for the rest of the semester with a lower body injury. He was walking around the rink on Friday in Providence with a boot on his foot.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekend Lookback: Boxed Up

Player of the Week
Nik Olsson
2 goals, no assists, 2 points.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Penalties. Penalties. Penalties. There is simply no other storyline from this past weekend’s series with the Providence Friars. Over the course of the two games, BU took 18 of them, including five alone in the first period on Friday night.
The Terriers did a nice job on the kill Friday, holding the Friars scoreless on the man advantage dispute having to kill off a five-minute major and an extended five on three. Even though Providence never found the back of the net on Friday, the penalties still took their toll.

“We had to kill eight minutes of penalties in the first period and that really took us out of our rhythm,” Said Coach Quinn.

Saturday was much of the same. BU took a staggering 10 penalties and was chasing the game from midway through the opening frame. Unlike the night before, PC was able to cash in on the power play once and scored again just one second after a Nick Roberto penalty expired.

Penalties were a major issue for the entire team, but maybe more so for Kieffer Bellows. Bellows only (I use that term nicely) took three penalties over the course of two games, but was benched for the majority of Saturday’s game. When asked about why Bellows was sat, Quinn simply said, “penalties.” Like the old toilet paper ads used to say “less is more.” I think that’s what we got from Quinn on this one.

Coming Back
The comeback: It’s been a staple of Dave Quinn’s BU teams since he took over in the Fall of 2013. BU once again dug themselves out of a late third period hole on Saturday night to salvage a 2-2 tie. Friday, despite not playing their best game and having a parade to the penalty box, the Terriers overcame a first period deficit by scoring two goals in the second to win 2-1.

“I’m not going to apologize for winning a hockey game that you don’t feel great about your performance in because the season has a funny way of playing out. There are going to be nights you play really well and you don’t win and there are gonna be nights you don’t play great and you win… I think we dodged a bullet,” Quinn said after Friday’s game.

They may have dodged a bullet, but they also showed some character. Good teams have to go through games like these and find a way to win (or tie). It’s these types of situations that help the team become battle tested for a playoff run in March and hopefully April.

Good To Be Back
Nik Olsson made an immediate impact in his return to the Terrier lineup this weekend. The junior forward from San Diego scored the game-winning goal Friday night and the game-tying goal with less than three minutes left on Saturday. According to Brian Kelley, BU’s director of Media, Olsson’s Friday night tally was his first since the 2015 Hockey East Championship game vs Lowell. BU has played 56 games since, and Olsson has missed 32 of them due to injury. His most recent setback was due to an undisclosed “upper body injury” that was reportedly not related to the shoulder injury that sidelined him for most last season. Olsson's last game was against Quinnipiac back on October 22nd.

Scoring In Bunches
Daily Free Press writer Nick Frazier pointed out after BU scored two quick goals on Friday that it was the fifth time this year the team had scored two goals in less than 1:25. Saturday, they scored two in 2:21.

At The Polls
BU jumped up one peg to 5th in the USCHO rankings. Minnesota Duluth was again number one and Denver was second. Making their first ever appearance in the top five was Penn State at three, while Boston College was fourth.

Hockey East Scoreboard
Boston College 2, @ Northeastern 1

Notre Dame 4, @ UMass 5
Maine 1, @ New Hampshire 5
UConn 3, @ Lowell 2
Boston University 2, @ Providence 1

Lowell 2, @ UConn 2 (OT)
Notre Dame 3, @ UMass 0
New Hampshire 4, @ Maine 3
Boston College 3 vs North Dakota 4 (at Madison Square Garden)
Providence 2, @ Boston University 2

Friday, December 2, 2016

BU Doubles up Providence

Tonight in Providence, Jake Oettinger and the BU penalty kill were able to propel the Terriers past the Friars behind two second period goals by Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Nik Olsson.

BU got into penalty trouble early in this one, taking five penalties in the first period. One of those was a contact to the head game misconduct by Nick Roberto that put the Terriers down a man for 5:00 minutes. Inside the major, John MacLoud was hit with a roughing call that gave PC an extended five on three.
Jake Oettinger makes one of 12 first period saves. The
freshman netminder finished with 38 on the night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
The Terriers were able to get a couple key blocks and some very timely saves by Oettinger to avoid going down big early.

“Certainly the story of the game was our goalie. He was immense. We had to kill 8 minutes of penalties in the first and that really took us out of our rhythm,” added coach Quinn.

Providence got on the board 4:46 into the game on a horrendous turnover behind the BU net by Charlie McAvoy. The puck squirted loose into the slot, where Kasper Bjorkqvist was able to take two good strides, cock back and fire a laser past Oettinger, who had no chance.

BU finally was able to gain some momentum in the second period after posting only four shots in the opening frame. JFK was able to break in on the far side and with speed, and then cut across the crease and beat PC goalie Hayden Hawkey blocker side on a backhander. McAvoy and Brandon Hickey picked up the assists.

Less than two minutes later, Nik Olsson found a loose puck in the bottom of the right wing circle, before gathering it and roofing a turnaround shot. It was his first goal since the 2015 Hockey East Championship Game.

Overall, Providence carried the majority of the play. They had several opportunities to tie it late, but Oettinger again slammed the door shut.

"I thought we were chasing the game for most of the night. We had a push in the second period when we got our two goals and looked like we were going to right the ship. Then we took another penalty and they really stoned us in the third," said Quinn.
It was the type of game where BU didn’t have their best effort but still came away with two points. It was something coach Quinn mentioned, saying, “anytime you can come on the road and get two points in Hockey East it is an accomplishment.”

BU will have to be better tomorrow night, as the two teams go back at it again at Agganis.