Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Our Season Ended in Notre Dame"

Seniors Matt Lane and Mike Moran
were the last two head off the ice
yesterday after they played their final
game as a Terrier.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
As the sparsely populated crowd departed the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota last night, somewhere deep under the seats in the bottom of the building Dave Quinn was in tears. Captain Matt Grzelcyk, still in his uniform, was right next to him as they answered questions from the press. 

Grzelcyk and the rest of the senior class were sophomores when Quinn took over for longtime coach Jack Parker in October 2013.

"They mean so much to our program, they're incredible people," said Quinn following yesterday's 7-2 loss to Denver. "The great part about coaching college sports is you get to build friendships with your former players. Hopefully they like me enough to continue friendships moving forward - maybe if I pay for golf moving forward, they'll spend some time with me. It's a sad day for me personally.”

Unlike last year, this season seemed to have a very gradual end to it. Since the Beanpot final, BU never really found their game. They were one goal away from beating Boston College, a team that is currently packing their bags for Tampa. BU never played the same again.

They followed the Beanpot with a split against Lowell and three point weekend vs New Hampshire. Still, BU wasn't playing great hockey. UNH should have been a relatively easy sweep. Instead, BU struggled to score and barely held on in the second game of the series.

Then it was onto Notre Dame. BU won game one. They came out, played strong from the get go and scored first, eventually building a 3-1 lead in the third. Even though ND struck late, BU won their first game in South Bend… ever. Game two saw Sean Maguire stand on his head, making 27 saves and allowing only one goal. It was not enough. BU threw 39 shots at Cal Peterson, but could never find the back of the net. That killed BU.

"It seems like our season ended at Notre Dame," said Quinn. "I don't know what happened to us mentally. We were playing good hockey and we became a fragile group mentally. All of a sudden we're playing well and we go down 1-0, and we just never really recovered from that. It's certainly disappointing, to say the least."

He could not have been more right. After the loss and the way the league standings filtered out, BU finished as the fifth seed in the Hockey East Tournament. That meant they had to face last place UMass in the opening round at home, instead of having a bye to the quarterfinals.

A series that should have been a no problem, slam dunk turned into a major struggle. BU needed overtime in game one and really should have lost. Just prior to Bobo Carpenter scoring his second goal of the game in OT, UMass was on the power play. Sean Maguire made two huge saves to keep the game going. Unfortunately, that was his last great game as a Terrier.

He allowed four goals the following night and BU again had difficulties putting away a scrappy UMass club. Eventually, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson scored the go ahead goal midway through the third and that was enough to push BU past the Minutemen. They didn't play well at all, but because of the competition, it was enough.

That certainly was not the case in Lowell. Again, once Lowell got the lead in both games it felt like the game was over. Maguire was not sharp, but it was certainly not all on him. BU scored just two goals the entire weekend and completely no-showed in game two.

At least yesterday they came out fast. But once again, the second Denver got one the board, BU was sunk. The Terriers had no offense. They never were able to find that comeback magic they had at the start of the year. First semester, BU was always in a game, no matter how much time was left or what the score was. After the Beanpot, it seemed like once they were down a goal the game was out out reach.

Quinn added, "I wish I could explain how our season kind of unfolded here after that Notre Dame loss. We played well the second night at Notre Dame and it cost us a bye. We just never recovered from it. For a team that had battled back from a lot of adversity early in the year - we'd get down and we just kept battling back and we were mentally tough - somewhere along the way we lost that. It's too bad.”

It will be interesting (as always) to see who sticks around. Personally, I think the biggest flight risks for next year come from the backend. Doyle Somerby and Brandon Hickey could both be on their way to the NHL or at least the AHL. That being said, if Somerby stays he will more than likely be the captain for next year's squad. BU could potentially have five (5) first round picks on their roster next year.

To Danny, Ahti, Matt, Sean, Matt and Mike, if you are reading this A) thanks you for doing so, and B) it has been a pleasure to watch all of you over the past four years. Good luck, I wish you well.

I would also like to thank everyone who followed along this year. I will have one or two more posts, maybe a video to wrap up the year. Otherwise, see ya in October.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Disaster

Denver Runs Over BU, Terriers Season Ends

ST. PAUL - We should have seen this coming. Two weeks ago the team looked all out of sorts. Tonight, they might have been worse. Denver walked all over BU 7-2 and sent a Terrier team that could not get any aspect of their game in gear back to Boston, thoroughly beaten. Denver will play Ferris State tomorrow night in the Regional Final. 
A dejected group of Terriers head off the ice following the game
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Denver hit the post on their second shot of the game. Despite that, BU had the early momentum with two power plays. Unfortunately they could not cash-in on either, but were out shooting DU 7-2 at one point. It was a steep and never ending decline from there. 

Coach Quinn said it pretty straight forward: "When you lose 7-2, you lost to a better team."

Denver first struck midway through the opening stanza on a rebound goal from Blake Hillman. Evan Janssen slipped a pass to Troy Terry, who fired in a shot from the far side wing. It hit perfectly off Sean Maguire's right pad, out into the slot and onto Hillman's stick. Hillman one touched the rebound into a wide open net. It was just Hillman's second goal of the year. 

"We came out with a lot of energy," said senior captain Matt Grzelcyk. "Then they got the first goal and it seemed like we had never faced adversity before. You could kind of see it coming. It just kind of snowballed on us."

The Pioneers doubled their lead with 2:20 left in the period. BU had a decent chance down in the Denver end, but the Pios transitioned well from defense to offenses and the rush went the other way. From behind the net, Danton Heinen worked the puck over to Dylan Gambrell in the low circle. Gambrell finished with a backhand roof job up over Maguire's left shoulder and in. 

To say Denver was the better team in the second period would be an incredible understatement. BU needed to come out with some jump, play with a spark. The did the exact opposite. Denver out attempted BU 20-9 and out scored them 3-0.

Denver scored 24 seconds into the period on a cary-over power play. Will Butcher wristed in a shot from the point, through a screen for his 7th goal of the year. 

"We always felt like we had a chance," mentioned Quinn. "We talked about getting back to basics, getting back to the way we played in the first 15 minutes. But then they got an early power play goal and it's always tough because you see the heads go down and we kind of lost belief right then and there."

Less than three minutes later, it was 4-0. Matt Marcinew burred a centering pass from below the goal line from Jarid Lukosevivi five hole on Maguire. 

Looking for a change in momentum, Quinn opted to pull Maguire in favor of Connor LaCouvee. Maguire made 9 stops on 13 shots. 

With Maguire out, Denver continued to pour it on. Evan Janssen tucked a breakaway attempt through LaCouvee's legs to make it 5-0 before the end of the second.

Butcher notched his second of the game 3:23 into the third on a five on three power play, before Danny O'Regan got on BU on the board at the 12:45 marker. 

Trevor Moore regained a six goal lead for Denver with a wraparound bid a little over a minute later. Finally, Mike Moran rounded out the scoring for BU with 15 seconds left. The senior forward looked to have tears in his eyes after scoring in his last shift as a Terrier. 


I'll have more up tomorrow to wrap up the year. Thanks to all who followed along this year. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Denver-BU Square Off In Opening Round Of NCAA's

The break is over. Now, let's just see how they come out of it.

As you know, BU did not make it past Lowell in the Hockey East Quarterfinals and thus did not play last weekend at the Garden. BU was off for the first time since the holiday break. That brings us to Saturday.
The Terriers will be headed west to St. Paul, Minnesota and play Denver in the first round of the NCAA tournament. This is the second straight year BU has qualified for the tournament and that's as far as I will go in reference to last year's appearance. It marks the first time since 2007 that BU has made the dance in two consecutive years. The Terriers were in the NCAA's from 2002-2007 with the exception of 2004.

BU and Denver have already met this year. That was back on Halloween at Agganis. BU was coming off their first two game losing streak since 2014 with back to back losses to UConn and Merrimack. Denver on the other hand, played Boston College the night before and lost by a goal.

The Terriers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead on a Ryan Cloonan goal just 1:58 in. A quick start will be critical for BU. Denver accumulates the majority of their offense from their top line and if BU can get up early, that line is going to be gassed. Easier said than done, as BU's offense has been almost non existent recently.

DU did find an impressive way to come back on BU in that Halloween tilt. With BU leading 4-2 entering the third, things were looking pretty good. That was until Denver out shot BU 18-5 and outscored them 2-0 to tie the game in the final frame. It was not to be for the Pioneers, though. Ahti Oksanen scored his second goal of the game just 21 seconds into overtime to give BU the win.

Fast forward to this weekend, both teams are in very similar spots. At the time, BU was ranked 8th in nation, Denver was 5. This weekend, BU is the 9 seed, DU the 6. Also, BU is on a two game losing streak.

“Maybe the break did us good,” said Quinn. “We’ve had some great practices; I love our attitude right now. One of the things we’ve talked about over the last 10 days is keep building on feeling good, and the best way to feel good is to work hard, and they’ve worked hard.”

As for the rest of the season, Denver lost only six games after coming to Boston in October. They went winless in December, with a pair of losses to North Dakota and St. Cloud. DU all but made up for that tough stretch by reeling off 11 wins in a row from January 30th to March 12th. In that span, they beat North Dakota twice, Colorado College twice, Western Michigan twice and Omaha four times… in a row. Last weekend, DU fell to St. Cloud 4-2 in the NCHC semis.

Speaking of St. Cloud, they will most likely be the team the winner of the BU-DU game faces. The Cloud plays Ferris State, who made an impressive run at the WCHA title, in the early game on Saturday.

Scouting The Pioneers
Like I said earlier, Denver is led by mostly one line. Freshman Dylan Grambrell leads the Pios in points with 43 (15g, 28a) in 38 games played. Right behind him is Trevor Moore and Danton Heinen. Heinon could potentially be on the Bruins third line next week if DU doesn't go to Tampa. He has a team high 19 goals and 22 assists for 42 points. Moore is the set up man on the line. He comes in with 33 assists and 9 goals for 42 points. Other players to watch: Will Butcher (scored vs BU last time, former US WJC Member), Quentin Shore and Troy Terry.

In goal, BU saw Tanner Jaillet back in October. On the year, he has a .925 save percentage and a 2.23 goals against average and three shutouts.

Common Opponents
Boston College
Denver 3, @ BC 4 (October 30)
BU 3 @ BC 5 (January 15)
BC 1, @ BU 1 (January 16)
BC 1, vs BU 0 (OT) (Beanpot Final)

Wisconsin
Wisco 1, @ BU 4 (October 17)
Denver 3, @ Wisco 3 (November 20)
Denver 6, @ Wisco 2 (November 21)

Notre Dame
BU 3, @ Notre Dame 2 (Febuary 26)
BU 0, @ Note Dame 1 (February 27)
ND 1, @ Denver 1 (January 1)
ND 2, @ Denver 2 (January 2)

History
BU and Denver have met four times in the NCAA tournament that dates back to 1948. The first meeting was in 1960. Denver won the third place game in that year's tournament. Until 1976, the field was just four teams in a one game playoff format. The teams met again in '66, with Denver winning again, 4-3. BU picked up their first win in playoff action vs the Pioneers in 1971. They won the opening round of the final four 4-2 against Denver, before beating Minnesota by the same score in the final. Finally, in 1997 the two teams met in the second round of the east regional in Worcester. BU won the game 4-3 in overtime off a Chris Drury goal. That sent BU to the frozen four in Milwaukee where they upset Michigan before losing to North Dakota in the championship game.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Catching Up

After getting bounced in rather ugly fashion from the Hockey East Tournament by Lowell two weekends ago, BU was idle last weekend. Luckily, that didn't kill their chances of getting into the NCAA tournament. However, it did have an impact on where BU was seeded in the field. A single win over the River Hawks, a Lowell loss to Providence in the HE semis, or one more win against anyone on the schedule would have kept BU in the East. It was not to be. 
My Seats from BU's game with Minnesota in the 2012
West Regional in St. Paul.
The Terriers and River Hawks tied in the final PWR, but Lowell had the RPI tiebreaker by .003 points. That's why BU was sent out West and will play Denver in St. Paul on Saturday at 6:00ET. 

BU and Denver played back on Halloween, with the Terriers winning 5-4 in overtime off an Ahti Oksanen goal. I will have a preview of that game and the rest of the regional on Thursday or Friday. St. Cloud, the NCHC league champion takes on Ferris State, who made a magical run to the WCHA title in the early game on Saturday. Game time, 1pm. 

I will be making the trip out to St. Paul to cover the games. I went out in 2012 when BU played Minnesota in the West Regional and I can't wait to go back. The Xcel Center is one of the nicest arenas I've ever been to.

Around Hockey East
Friday, League Semifinals: Lowell needed triple overtime and an outstanding goaltending performance by Kevin Boyle to take down Providence 2-1. The game winner did not come without some controversy. CJ Smith directed the puck into the net with his skate. The play was originally called no goal and then after a lengthy review, was overturned… Northeastern topped BC with a 5-4 win to advance to just their second championship game in program history. 

Saturday: Northeastern held off Lowell in the Hockey East Championship Game, winning their first title since 1988 with a 3-2 win. 

The Rest Off The NCAA
- For the second straight year, RIT beat Robert Morris in the Atlantic Hockey Conference Championship game, 7-4. 

- Michigan dropped Minnesota in the Big10 title game by a score of 5-3.

- Quinnipiac won their first ever ECAC league title after falling last year's champion Harvard, 4-1. 

- In the NCHC, St. Cloud State won just their second league championship in program history and their first in the National Conference with a 3-1 win over Minnesota Duluth. The Cloud won the 2001 WCHA crown.   

- Finally, Ferris State claimed their programs first ever league title with a  2-1 win over Minnesota State. The Bulldogs scored the eventual game winner on a penalty shot goal in the second period. 

Notre Dame To Leave Hockey East
According to multiple reports that came out this afternoon, Notre Dame is expected to leave Hockey East in 2018 and join the Big10. The Irish came to Hockey East two years ago when the (now defunct) CCHA dissolved. According to Mike McMahon of College Hockey News, Notre Dame will owe Hockey East a $250,000 exit fee. There has been plenty of speculation already as to whether Hockey East will add another team to get back to an even 12 teams. 

The one scenario that makes the most sense would be for Quinnipiac to join HE from the ECAC. In addition to that, Holy Cross/RIT could join the ECAC. That would leave Hockey East and the ECAC with 12 teams and AHC with 10.


Apparently, Arizona State is also close to choosing a league. With ND going to the Big10, ASU would give them an 8 team league. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Brakets, My Final Take

Ah yes, we finally know the field. All the games have been played. Now it is time to once again try and predict what the committee will do on Selection Sunday. Here's what I got:  

The Field
1. Quinnipiac
2. St. Cloud
3. North Dakota
4. Providence

5. Boston College
6. Denver
7. Michigan
8. Lowell

9. Boston University
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Notre Dame

13. Northeastern
14. Duluth
15. Ferris State
16. RIT

Every league in the NCAA must have one team in the field and that is determined by league title winners. So, Northeastern (HE), RIT (AHA), Ferris State (WCHA), Michigan (Big 10), St. Cloud (NCHC) and Quinnipiac (ECAC) get auto bids. The rest of the field is made up of at large bids based off the PWR. 

The field is then broken into four groups or the four regional with the goal of "bracket integrity", i.e 1vs16, 2vs15 and so on. There can not be inter-conference match-ups in the first round and hosts of regionals must be placed in their host city no matter what their ranking is. Holy Cross hosts in Worcester, Union in Albany, Minnesota in St. Paul and Miami in Cincinnati. Teams can also be moved to "boost attendance" (see Providence playing in Providence last year). 

Albany
1. Quinnipiac  vs 16. RIT
8. Lowell vs 9. Boston University

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud vs 15. Ferris State
7. Michigan vs 10. Yale

Cincinnati
3. North Dakota vs 14. Minnesota Duluth
6. Denver vs 11. Harvard

Worcester
4. Providence vs 13. Northeastern
5. Boston College vs 12. Notre Dame 

There are a slew of intra-conference match ups. First, all four teams in Worcester are from Hockey East. In addition to that, North Dakota and Duluth both come from the NCHC and BU and Lowell are stilled paired. BU can flip with Yale, Notre Dame and Harvard will switch and NU and Duluth can flip. Also for attendance, Michigan and Denver will probably be swapped.  

So what do we have?

Albany
1. Quinnipiac  vs 16. RIT
8. Lowell vs 10. Yale

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud vs 15. Ferris State
6. Denver vs 9. Boston University

Cincinnati
3. North Dakota vs 13. Northeastern
7. Michigan vs 12. Notre Dame

Worcester
4. Providence vs 14. Minnesota Duluth
5. Boston College vs 11. Harvard 
  

The real, actual bracket comes out tomorrow at 12noon. 

Brackets, One Day Away

Current PairWise 
1. Quinnipiac
2. St. Cloud
3. North Dakota
4. Providence
5. Boston College
6t. Denver
6t. Michigan 
8t. Lowell
8t. Boston University 
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Notre Dame
13. Minnesota Duluth
14. Northeastern
15. Cornell
16. Michigan Tech
17. Minnesota
19. Robert Morris 
21. Mankato
30. Ferris State
36. RIT

Every league in the NCAA must have one team in the field and we are down to championship Saturday across the country. Teams that 100% have to win their league title to get into the tournament include Minnesota, Robert Morris, RIT, Mankato and Ferris State. Mankato and Ferris state play in the WCHA championship and Robert Morris and RIT in Atlantic Hockey. Minnesota must beat Michigan in the Big 10 final, otherwise they are out. For this bracket, I will assume the team with the higher PWR rank has won their league title. 

The Field
1. Quinnipiac
2. St. Cloud
3. North Dakota
4. Providence

5. Boston College
6. Denver
7. Michigan 
8. Lowell

9. Boston University 
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Notre Dame

13. Minnesota Duluth
14. Northeastern
15. Robert Morris
16. Mankato

The field is then broken into four groups or the four regional with the goal of "bracket integrity", i.e 1vs16, 2vs15 and so on. There can not be inter-conference match-ups in the first round and hosts of regionals must be placed in their host city no matter what their ranking is. Holy Cross hosts in Worcester, Union in Albany, Minnesota in St. Paul and Miami in Cincinnati. Teams can also be moved to "boost attendance" (see Providence playing in Providence last year). 

Regionals 

Worcester
1. Quinnipiac vs 16. Mankato
8. Lowell vs 9. Boston University

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud vs 15. Robert Morris
7. Michigan vs 10. Yale

Cincinnati  
3. North Dakota vs 14. Northeastern
6. Denver vs 11. Harvard

Albany
4. Providence vs 13. Minnesota Duluth
4. Boston College vs 12. Notre Dame

There are two intra-conference match ups: BC-Notre Dame and BU-Lowell. In the BU-Lowell game, Lowell gets to stay because they are the higher seed. BU could go to St. Paul and flip with Yale. Notre Dame goes to Cincinnati and pushes Harvard to Albany. 

Now, how about attendance? Denver and Michigan is an easy flip and since there are so many teams that are close to Worcester in the Albany Regional, let's go ahead and just switch those two. 

Final Bracket

Albany 
1. Quinnipiac vs 16. Mankato
8. Lowell vs 10. Yale

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud vs 15. Robert Morris
6. Denver vs 9. Boston University

Cincinnati  
3. North Dakota vs 14. Northeastern
7. Michigan vs 12. Notre Dame

Worcester
4. Providence vs 13. Minnesota Duluth
4. Boston College vs 11. Harvard

A lot can change with just the results of tonight's games. For BU to get in the east, Harvard must win the ECAC title game vs Quinnipiac and Northeastern has to beat Lowell. 


Selection Sunday is tomorrow at 11:30. I'll have my final bracket up tonight after all the games. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Brackets Week 8

Current PairWise
1. North Dakota
2. Quinnipiac
3. St. Cloud State
4. Providence
5. Boston College
6t. Denver
6t. Michigan 
8t. Lowell
8t. Boston University
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Notre Dame
13. Minnesota Duluth
14. Northeastern
15. Michigan Tech
16. Cornell
17. Minnesota
19. Robert Morris 

Every league in the NCAA must have one team in the field and here I am assuming the current leaders of each conference have won their league championship. Winners of league titles get auto bids. So, Boston College (HE), Robert Morris (AHA), Michigan Tech (WCHA), Minnesota (Big 10), North Dakota (NCHC) and Quinnipiac (ECAC) get auto bids. The rest of the field is made up of at large bids based off the PWR. Tie breakers are determined by RPI. Denver 6, Michigan 7. Lowell 8, BU 9. 

The Field
1. North Dakota
2. Quinnipiac
3. St. Cloud State
4. Providence
5. Boston College
6. Denver
7. Michigan 
8. Lowell
9. Boston University
10. Yale
11. Harvard
12. Notre Dame
13. Minnesota Duluth
14. Michigan Tech
15. Minnesota
16. Robert Morris 

The field is then broken into four groups or the four regional with the goal of "bracket integrity", i.e 1vs16, 2vs15 and so on. There can not be inter-conference match-ups in the first round and hosts of regionals must be placed in their host city no matter what their ranking. Holy Cross hosts in Worcester, Union in Albany, Minnesota in St. Paul and Miami in Cincinnati. Teams can also be moved to "boost attendance" (see Providence playing in Providence last year). 

Regionals

St. Paul
1. North Dakota vs 15. Minnesota
8. Lowell vs 9. Boston University

Albany
2. Quinnipiac vs 16. Robert Morris
7. Michigan vs 10. Yale

Cincinnati
3. St. Cloud vs 14. Michigan Tech
6. Denver vs 11. Harvard

Worcester 
4. Providence vs 13. Minnesota Duluth
5. Boston College vs 12. Notre Dame

There are two intra-conference games: BC-Notre Damme and Lowell-BU. The committee is going to do everything possible to get Notre Dame to Cincinnati, so that's an easy switch. As for the BU-Lowell game, the switch is not so easy. Flipping BU and Yale would make some sense, but since Lowell is the higher seed, they theoretically should deserve to come east more than BU does. So, here's another idea. Lowell goes to Albany, Michigan goes to Cincinnati and Denver heads to St. Paul. 

There is another scenario. Since Hockey East has five teams in the field intra-conference match-ups are permitted. BU and Lowell could play and in that situation, I think they would both be in Albany. 

Bracket integrity is shot, but that's what happens when you run a tournament with a selective fan base, charge through the roof for tickets and have to somehow make a profit. Seed them 1-16 with the higher seed hosting a best of three series and all of this is avoided. There are more games, more tickets sold and more games on TV. 

Final Bracket 
1. North Dakota vs 15. Minnesota
6. Denver vs 9. Boston University

Albany
2. Quinnipiac vs 16. Robert Morris
8. Lowell vs 10. Yale

Cincinnati
3.St. Cloud vs 14. Michigan Tech
7. Michigan vs 12. Notre Dame

Worcester 
4. Providence vs 13. Minnesota Duluth
5. Boston College vs 11. Harvard


Selection Sunday is this weekend. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Lookback: No Show

Player of the Week
Ryan Cloonan

No goals No assists.
He was the only player who had
any jump on Saturday.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
This past weekend was a combination of two things: BU's inability to score and Lowell's nearly perfect game plan and execution. I have already said a lot about this series in the game recaps and the post on Saturday afternoon, but I just want to go over a few things. 

Thankfully, despite not showing up in Lowell and not advancing to the Garden these results haven't ruined BU's chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament. All indications are that BU won't finish worse than 9th in the PWR regardless of next weekend's results. 

Whoever they end up playing in two weeks in the tournament, BU has to find a way to put the puck in the net. BU has not scored more than three goals in a game vs anyone other than last place UMass since January 29th. That was to Merrimack. In fact, BU has only scored more than three goals against a team in the top 16 in the PWR once since the break and that was to Harvard. 

Somehow, this team needs to find a way to get more offense. They played a nearly perfect game against BC in the Beanpot and never scored. Same with the Notre Dame loss. I alluded to this on Saturday… the key might be getting a two goal lead. In the second semester, when BU has a multi goal lead, they are 8-0-0. Playing from behind like BU did in the first semester was playing with fire. Luckily they found a way not only to avoid losses, but they actually won a handful of games with huge comebacks. 

There have been no such comebacks in the second semester, outside of the Harvard game, which was the first game back from break. BU needs to get the lead, extend it, and make teams play from behind. That will be the formula if BU has any chance of winning a game in the tournament. Hopefully, having this week off will give the team a chance to regroup and get back on track. 

So What Went Wrong 
BU's student newspaper The Daily Free Press ran an article following Saturday's loss and there were a few quotes that really stood out. The first one is from Danny O'Regan, the second from Matt Lane.  

“It’s tough to create offense on them, but I think we didn’t do the things that we’ve been doing in the past that made us successful offensively, so a lot of it’s on us,” O’Regan said. “We didn’t get a lot of grade-A chances or get to the net enough and make it hard for the goalie so I mean that’s kind of on us, I guess.”

“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing,” said senior assistant captain Matt Lane. “I thought we came out with the right attitude, the right mindset, we definitely had a lot of energy … They got some bounces, we didn’t. Their goalie was hot, he was good last night [Friday], just a couple little things in all areas.”

They are both right. Nothing did go right and it is incredibly hard to score on Lowell. It always has been. Lowell plays a very defensive style game and jumps on opponents mistakes. They scored two power play goals on Friday night and got a fortunate bounce off Brandon Hickey's skate that completely altered Mike Louria's shot. It threw Maguire off and he couldn't react in time to recover. 

That's all Lowell had on Friday. That and a suffocating defense that got every puck that needed to get out, out and they made life for BU in front of the net almost non existent. 

Saturday, BU just didn't show up. They had no offense, less of a defense and the goaltending was the worst it has been since mid October. It was just a huge step backwards in all departments at the absolute worst time of the year. 

At The Polls 

No one cares

Around Hockey East
Friday Game 1's: Providence took down Merrimack 3-1… Boston College blanked Vermont 3-0… Northeastern dropped Notre Dame 3-1… Lowell got past BU 3-2. 

Saturday, Game 2's: Providence swept Merrimack with a 2-0 win… Vermont forced Game 3 with Boston College after a 4-2 win… Northeastern advanced to the Garden for the first time since 2011 with a 6-4 win at Notre Dame… Lowell cruised to a  5-0 win and series weep over BU.

Sunday' Game 3's: Boston College needed overtime to dispatch Vermont, 4-3. 

Semi Final Match-ups

1. Boston College vs 6. Northeastern. 
2. Providence vs 4. Lowell. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lowell Cruises In Game 2, Sweeps Series

From the drop of the puck, it was easy to see this wasn't going to be BU's night. 

Lowell scored on their first shot of the game and took the Terriers to the woodshed from there on out. Jake Kamrass wristed in a long shot from just inside the blue line 3:07 into the game. The shot cleanly beat Sean Maguire and the only thing that could have thrown him off was that the shot went through a Terrier defender legs. It was an awfully weak goal to allow.

Ryan Cloonan was one of just a few Terriers who had any
sort of jump at all tonight.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
That was the lone goal of the opening period and the shots were not hugely in Lowell's favor (12-8), but the River Hawks were all over BU. 

More of the same followed in period two. Lowell scored another soft goal as Joe Gambardella stuffed one home five hole on Maguire from out if the near corner. That ended the night for Maguire. He allowed two goals on 13 shots in 26:26 of game time. 

Connor LaCouvee didn't fare much better. He allowed three goals on 14 shots in 34:34. 

CJ Smith gave Lowell a 3-0 lead midway through the second when he slipped in a shot shot five hole after a hard net drive. 

BU had no push back. They never showed up. The second period was a the absolute worst period of the year and it is not even close. None of their seven shots on net had any realistic chance of going in and the goaltending was terrible. That kind of effort in a playoff game is just unfathomable. 

They even had a power play late in the frame. A goal there would have at least gave some sort of hope for a come back in the third. Nope. Nothing. 

Even when BU had some decent pressure in the opening minutes of the third and the game was somewhat still in hand (at least on the score board) they fired their chances high off the glass. 

After pouring on their only real pressure of the night, it took just one Lowell rush the other way and it was 4-0. Smith picked up his second goal of the night off a rebound. LaCouvee was all sprawled out and on his stomach after a a few prior chances were denied. All smith had to do was elevate his shot.

John Edwardh closed out the scoring after he roofed a backhand shot at the 8:30 marker of the third. 

BU's ineptitude shouldn't underscore how well Lowell played. They did everything right. The River Hawks never allowed BU to set up in the attacking zone and they broke up rushes through the neutral zone. Defensively Lowell was perfect. Every puck that needed to get out got out and Boyle stopped everything that came his way. Still, a better effort from BU was needed. They made Lowell's job a lot easier that in should have been.

Tonight was worst defeat for BU in the Hockey East Tournament since since 2002 when they lost 8-2 to Providence in game one. This also marks the first time BU has been swept in the Quarterfinals since 1988.

Luckily, the Terriers are still in great standing to make the NCAA tournament. They currently sit in a tie with Lowell for 8th in the PWR. 


Maybe a break is what this team needs. They came out of winter break and played their best hockey of the year. The year isn't over. Here's to hoping we don't get shipped to Cincinnati. 

Have A Little Faith

So it's do or die in the Hockey East Tournament for BU, tonight. Historically when BU has been down 1-0 in these types of series, they almost always find a way to force a game three.  Since the turn of the century, BU has dropped game one five times (2012, 2011, 2007, 2005, 2001) and forced a game three every time. They ended up winning three of those five series and both game three's were one goal decisions. The Terriers were last swept in a Quarterfinal series in 1988 by Providence. They were bounced from the QF's in 1992, but it was only a one game set vs Boston College.

Matt Lane had BU's best chance to get the lead in the third
period last night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

What does any of this have to do with tonight? Probably not much, seeing how no one on either of these teams were even in the league in 2012. What it does show is that BU isn't going to go away easily. Jack Parker used to say that who ever won game two usually would win the series.

If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Obviously if you win the first two games you win the series. The kicker is if you can grab game two and avoid the sweep, you have all the momentum headed into a decisive game three.

Just take the Merrimack-New Hampshire series in the octo-finals of example. UNH won game one, Merrimack responded with a win in game two and then territorially dominated UNH in game three, winning 2-1.

Find A Way To Finish
Lets switch gears back to last night's game and really the end of the season. BU has had a tough time scoring as of late. Last night there were a number of chances and rebounds for BU to put home, but every time they were unable to capitalize. You have to give credit where credit is due. Lowell played a very strong defensive game and Kevin Boyle controlled and placed rebounds in the right places. That's not to say BU shouldn't have scored more. They have to find a way to bury one or two of those chances tonight.

Getting A Two Goal Lead
BU has only had a two goal lead twice since February 5th. That was the game between the Beanpot at UMass and the Terriers won 6-3. The killer instinct and the inability to put teams away has been an issue for the team all year. In the two games since February 5th that BU has had a two goal lead, they won both. BU went up 3-0 on UNH and won 3-2 and 3-1 on Notre Dame and also won 3-2.

That will be the key to tonight's game. If BU can get a two goal lead, they should win the game. Lowell has beaten BU twice this year. In both games, they had multi goal leads and it payed off. Lowell is a much stronger team when they play with the lead. BU has to make them play from behind and get them back on their heals.

Last night would have been a totally different game if the Terriers could have extended their 1-0 lead.

Have a little faith. With the chances BU generated last night and with a little more finish, BU should extend this series, like they almost always do in this situation.

Boyle, Lowell Take Game 1

Well, to no one's surprise tonight's Game 1 of the Hockey East Quarterfinals between Lowell and BU was tightly played and a grind-it-out type of game. Lowell picked up two power play goals and strong goaltending performance from Kevin Boyle on their way to a 3-2 win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Lowell's Joe Gambardella throws a backhanded shot on net in
the second period that Sean Maguire kicked out. He later scored
the power play for Lowell.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU was certainly the stronger team tonight. They generated more chances and outshot the River Hawks 35-19, including an 18-6 margin in the third. Despite that statistical dominance in the final frame, Lowell scored twice to BU's one.

After a scoreless first period that saw both teams threaten with odd man rushes, BU opening the scoring  6:22 into the second stanza. Danny O'Regan set up Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson with a pass out of the far corner. Karlsson then cut across the slot with his eyes looking for an opening. After improving his angle, he beat Boyle five hole for his 10th goal of year.

Lowell responded on the power play just over two minutes later. CJ Smith moved the puck to Joe Gambardella right in front of the net. Gambardella caught the pass on his forehand and quickly transferred it to his backhand and slipped a shot past Sean Maguire low glove side.

The third period would turn out to be one of the more frustrating frames of the year for BU. Matt Lane was absolutely robbed by Boyle on a point blank bid around five minutes in. Mike Moran generated several rebound chances with shots off the rush, but no one was ever able to bang home the loose change.

Midway through the frame, BU had a pitiful clear out of their own end. Maguire got caught playing with the puck a bit too long and the whole breakout was disrupted. The puck finally got out, but Lowell quickly regrouped in the neutral zone and reentered. Just after crossing the blue line, Michael Louria took a long range wrist shot that that nicked off Brandon Hickey's foot on the way to the net. The deflection threw off Maguire and the puck found its way in the net to give Lowell their first lead of the night.

The River Hawks made the deficit two goals less than five minutes later, again on the power play. Tommy Panico started a very pretty set up when he moved the puck to CJ Smith. Smith wasted little time as he gunned a pass through the box to Adam Chapie in the low circle on the near side. Chapie onetimed the pass into a vacant net, just beating a sprawling Maguire.

BU struck right back. Matt Grzelcyk wristed home his 11th goal of the year 22 seconds after Chapie's goal. Originally, Bobo Carpenter was credited with the goal, but on a closer look, the puck deflected off a Lowell defender and not Carpenter.

That rounded out the scoring, but BU continued to apply pressure. They had a few good looks with Maguire pulled, but could not solve Boyle again. He finished with 33 saves.

It was yet another one goal game. Another game where BU was missing just by a little. Another game the penalty kill let them down. And yet another game where the finish just wasn't there.

Game 2 is tomorrow night. Start time, 7:00
 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Looking At Lowell

I can't remember a more anticipated and compelling Hockey East Quarterfinal matchup involving BU in recent years. BU has hosted the Quarterfinals at Agganis every year since 2004, with exception of 2014, when they didn't even make it to that stage of the tournament. 
From The Vault
Lowell's Tyler Mueller crashes into the end boards in a game
earlier this year.
(PHoto by Matt Dresens)
Every series at the Greek saw BU favored and playing in front of practically a rink full of empty seats. Even though seven (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) of these series went to a decisive game three, BU only lost one series. That was in 2011 to Northeastern. The 2012 paring with New Hampshire is really they last series I was genuinely excited about and the series did not disappoint. Games one and three went to double overtime and Alex Chiasson won game three in 5-4 OT after BU was down 4-1 at one point.  

That all being said, there was really no hype going into any of those series. Yes, of course each series has it's own story lines, but nothing like this year. BU and Lowell are about as evenly matched as two teams can be. This was a series that could been seen down the pike for some time. It was only a matter of where it was going to be played. 

Whoever was going to finish fifth in the league was going to play UMass and presumably dispatch them with little issue. Was the series a bit more competitive that BU was anticipating? Sure, but there was no way BU was losing that series to UMass. The final game of the regular season determined that BU was going to be the fifth seed and Lowell would be the four and with that, host the inevitable clash of the Terriers and River Hawks.

BU lost 1-0 to Notre Dame and Lowell rolled over Boston College, who had won the regular season crown the night before. 

The two teams split the season series that was played in mid February. BU won the first  game at home 2-1 in overtime on a Jordan Greenway power play goal. The next night, Lowell ran away with a 6-3 win, their first against BU since since January of 2014. Lowell is an impressive 12-2-3 on home ice this season. 

After the two met, Lowell narrowly escaped in a game with America International, before dumping UMass 4-2 in a non conference game and then split with BC. 

Scouting The River Hawks
Lowell has a cluster of players atop their scoring charts. CJ Smith leads the team with 33 points off 14 goals and 19 assists. Adam Chapie has the same goal total, but two fewer assists for 31 points and Joe Gambardella has 24 assists to go along with 6 goals for 30 points. After those three, there is a drop to AJ White with 22 points. Other players to watch include Michael Kapla, Even Campbell, Dylan Zink and Jake Kamrass. 

Keven Boyle has had a solid season between the pipes for the River Hawks. In 33 appearances, the senior and one time UMass Amherst goalie has a .932 save percentage. He has allowed 60 goals in 1952 minutes and has a 1.84 goals against average. 

History 
BU and Lowell have a pretty deep history in the Hockey East Tournament. BU dropped the River Hawks 3-2 in the 1994 Championship Game. They met again in 1995 and 1997 in the semis. BU won  4-2 and 3-2 those respective years. In 2009, they once again met in the Hockey East title game and BU scrapped out a 1-0 win. Lowell flipped the script in the 2013 HE Final with their own 1-0 win. The two teams have only met once in the Quarterfinal and that was 2008. Second seeded BU took game one 5-3, before the 7th seeded River Hawks snagged game two 4-1. Lowell had a 2-0 lead in a decisive game three, only to see BU score four unanswered goals to advance to the Garden. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

This Week In '06: Garden Bound

After tying a pair of games with the Catamounts in Burlington, the following weekend saw the Terriers sweep a home in home series with Northeastern and capture the Hockey East regular season title for the first time once 2000.

That set the stage for a 1 vs 8 matchup with the top seeded Terriers hosting UMass at the Greek on March 10th and 11th.

BU won the series with a two of 4-1 wins to advance to the Garden.

Game 1 
David van der Gulik notched his first of two hat-tricks in the league playoffs. He scored BU's first two goals, before UMass answered on a five on three early in the third. John Laliberte regained the two goal lead for BU midway through the final frame and Vandy caped off the hat-trick with an empty net goal.

John Curry and UMass goalie Gabe Winer both turned aside an identical 25 shots.

“The first thing that jumps out at me tonight about my team is that John Curry played very well,” Terrier coach Jack Parker said. “He had some tough saves in the first period and third period. We didn’t give up a lot of shots, but we gave up some good ones. I thought he made a couple of subtly great saves that kept them from getting any kind of momentum. You saw what happened when they scored the goal: they got a lot of momentum for a while there.

“In general I thought it was a good effort by our team against a team that gives us trouble because they can skate. We’ve had real good games with them this season, and this was a similar kind of game that we’ve had the last three, and I’m sure it will be the same tomorrow night. We’re going to have be more thorough tomorrow night if we’re going to get by this team. I thought that they were more thorough than we were tonight.” From USCHO

Game 2
The BU offense picked up right where it left off a night before. Boomer Ewing netted a goal from Peter MacArthur and Kenny Roche just 1:16 into the game. 

That was the only goal until the 5:50 mark in the third. Laliberte and Roche scored less than four minutes apart to give the Terriers a 3-0 lead. UMass gave some pushback with an extra attacker goal in the final minutes, but MacArthur put the final dagger in the 2006 UMass hockey season with empty net goal. 

Curry again played well, stopping 32 saves including 13 in the third. John Quick was back in he UMass cage, and he also made 32 saves. 

“I thought that this was a better game all-around for both teams,” Parker said. “I told my team today at the pregame skate after watching the film from last night that I thought that we played a ‘C’ game, and they played a ‘C’ game. And I told them I thought that they would play much harder tonight, and they did, and that we needed to play much harder tonight, and we did.

“We made a lot of good plays, but their goaltender played very well. We also gave up jumps, and they forechecked us hard — came at us pretty well. We haven’t given up 33 shots in a while, so it was nice that we outshot them, but we gave up a few too many shots in the third. I was very, very happy to get by them.” From USCHO

After the series win, BU moved on to the league semis finals and a date with UNH, the only team to beat them in over a month.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bracket Projections Week 7

Current Pairwise
1. North Dakota
2. Quinnipiac
3. St. Cloud State
4. Providence
5. Boston College
6t. Denver
6t. Yale
8t. Michigan
8t. Boston University
10. Notre Dame
11. Harvard
12. Lowell
13. Minnesota Duluth
14. Michigan Tech
15. Nebraska Omaha
16. Cornell
17. Minnesota 
21. Robert Morris 
22. Mankato 

Every league in the NCAA must have one team in the field and here I am assuming the current leaders of each conference have won their league championship. Winners of league titles get auto bids. So, Boston College (HE), Robert Morris (AHA), Mankato State (WCHA), Minnesota (Big 10), North Dakota (NCHC) and Quinnipiac (ECAC) are all automatically in. The rest of the field is made up of at large bids based off the PWR. Tie breakers are determined by RPI. Denver 6, Yale 7. Michigan 8, BU 9. 

The Field
1. North Dakota
2. Quinnipiac
3. St. Cloud State
4. Providence

5. Boston College
6. Denver
7. Yale
8. Michigan

9.Boston University
10. Notre Dame
11. Harvard
12. Lowell

13. Minnesota Duluth
14.  Minnesota
15.  Robert Morris
16. Mankato

The field is then broken into four groups or the four regional with the goal of "bracket integrity", i.e 1vs16, 2vs15 and so on. There can not be intra-conference match-ups in the first round and hosts of regionals must be placed in their host city no mater what their ranking is. Holy Cross hosts in Worcester, Union in Albany, Minnesota in St. Paul and Miami in Cincinnati. Teams can also be moved to "boost attendance" (see Providence playing in Providence last year). 

Regionals

St. Paul
1. North Dakota vs 14. Minnesota
8. Michigan vs 9. Boston University 

Worcester
2. Quinnipiac vs 16. Mankato
7. Yale vs 10. Notre Dame

Cincinnati
3. St. Cloud vs 15. Robert Morris 
6. Denver vs 11. Harvard

Albany
4. Providence vs 13. Minnesota Duluth 
5. Boston College vs 12. Lowell. 

There is one intra-conference game and that is BC and Lowell. If we swap Harvard and the River Hawks, that should solve the issue. Now, what can we do for attendance? BU and Notre Dame seem like a logical switch. BU comes east to Worcester and ND goes west to St. Paul. The attendance is going to be iffy no mater what in Cincinnati. There is no sense in blowing up the bracket to just marginally improve the gate there, so I think that's all we can do. Things are starting to come together and selection sunday is just two weeks away. 

Final Bracket 

St. Paul
1. North Dakota vs 14. Minnesota
8. Michigan vs 10. Notre Dame

Worcester
2. Quinnipiac vs 16. Mankato
7. Yale vs 9. Boston University

Cincinnati
3. St. Cloud vs 15. Robert Morris 
6. Denver vs 12. Lowell

Albany
4. Providence vs 13. Minnesota Duluth 

5. Boston College vs 11. Harvard

Monday, March 7, 2016

Weekend Lookback: Onto Lowell

Player of the Week
Danny O'Regan
2 goals, 2 assists.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
It took a little more effort and a lot more anxiety, but BU did end up sweeping UMass in the Opening Rround of the Hockey East playoffs. The prognosticators picked this to be a quick, easy march of the tomato cans sweep for the Terriers. That was hardly the case. 

UMass carried a 1-0 lead into the second period in Game 1, before Bobo Carpenter scored to tie things up. He later won the game in overtime. If not for an unreal blocker save by Sean Maguire just minutes before the game winner, UMass would have had a one game series lead. Game 2 was a see-saw affair. Danny O'Regan and Jakob Forsbaka Karlsson both scored two goals, with Matt Grzelcyk picking up the other Terrier goal in the 5-4 win. 

Game 2 was statistically a lot closer. UMass generated 36 shots and at one point were outshooting the Terriers in the third period. Maguire didn't have his best game, but made timely saves to preserve a one goal lead late in the third. 

With the series win, BU advances to the Quarterfinals in Lowell. It will be their first road Quarterfinals since 2004 at Boston College. 2014 saw BU head to Notre Dame for a one game playoff in the Opening Round. The Terriers fell 3-2 and that marks the last loss in the Hockey East playoffs for BU. They ride a six game win streak in tournament play headed into Lowell. 

Getting A Boost
Since moving up to the top line on Febuary 19th, Jordan Greenway has six assists. Half of those have gone to Danny O'Regan. In that same stretch, O'Regan has posted six goals and four assists. In the three games prior to Greenway being added to the line, O'Regan had no points. It was one of only two three game spans of his career where he was held pointless. 

JFK also has benefited from Greenway's promotion. The big-man assisted on his first goal on Saturday and that was the Swede's first goal since late January. 

Bobo Carpenter
Carpenter was moved up to the second line center position before Friday's game. He immediately made an impact. As stated before, he scored both goals in Game 1 including the OT winner. Carpenter has quietly amassed the 11 goals on the year, good for fourth on the team. The move gives BU a little bit more of an offensive look on that line. He does compliment Matt Lane and Ahit Oksanen well. It will be interesting to see if the move sticks as the playoffs continue. 

Charlie McAvoy
MaAvoy was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week. He had four assists and was +5 on the weekend. 


PairWise Predictor 
According College Hockey New's PairWise Probability Matrix, BU has a 100% chance to make the NCAA tournament. Selection Sunday is just two weeks away and BU currently sits in 8th place. 

At The Polls
BU jumped up one slot in the USCHO rankings from 9th to 8th. Quinnipiac was once again First. In fact, there was no change to the top five. North Dakota 2, BC 3, Providence 4 and St. Cloud 5. 

Around Hockey East (Opening Round Playoffs)
Thursday: UNH slipped past Merrimack 3-1 at Lawler.

Friday: Vermont took a one game series lead on UConn with a 2-1 win in Hartford… Merrimack stayed alive after a 3-2 overtime win… It also took overtime for Northeastern to win game one 3-2 over Maine at home… BU won the third overtime game of he night 2-1 over UMass.

Saturday: Vermont finished off the two game sweep of UConn with a 4-3 win… NU again need OT, but knocked out Maine with a 4-3 win to complete the sweep… BU closed out UMass with a 5-4 win.

Sunday: In the only Game 3 of the weekend, Merrimack held off a late UNH charge to win 2-1. 

Quarterfinal Match Ups 
9. Vermont @ 1. Boston College
7. Merrimack @ 2. Providence 
6. Northeastern @ 3. Notre Dame

5. Boston University @ 4. Lowell

Sunday, March 6, 2016

BU Knocks Out UMass, Faces Lowell Next Week

Tonight was a sea-saw battle that saw both teams control the pace of play at different times. UMass played far better than expected and had an answer for every Terrier goal except the last one.
Robbie Bailargeon and Jake Horton get into a shoving match
after the whistle in the first period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson put BU ahead 5-4 on his second goal of the night midway through the third. Danny O'Regan worked the puck up to the point, where Charlie McAvoy threw it back into the mixer. JFK picked up the lose puck and patiently moved out of the slot to increase his angle. Finally, he beat UMass goalie Nic Renyard, who was well out of position by then to give BU a lead they would not relinquish.

That wasn't that case for most of the night. It seamed as if UMass had a quick response for every goal BU scored. BU never had more than a one goal lead and UMass never was ahead at any point.

"Im proud of our guys to find a way to win tonight", said Coach Quinn about tonight's game. "It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of that had to do with how hard and how well UMass played. Some of it had to do with the way we played: taking penalties, ten minute misconducts. It was a reflection to our mental commitment to the weekend, but when we needed to, we played hard and we played smart and did enough to win."  

JFK kicked the scoring off just under six minutes into the game. He was able to bat home a deflected Danny O'Regan pass out of mid-air to Renyad's left. Jordan Greenway also had an assist on the play, as he moved the puck to O'Regan down low.

UMass responded less than three minutes later. Denis Kravchenko swatted home his 12th goal of the year to Sean Maguire's right side to tie the game 1-1.

The rest of the first period saw a parade of players head to the box. JFK and his  Sweden teammate from the World Juniors, William Lagesson, got into a bit of a scrap. Both were sent to the box. Later, Ahti Oksanen picked up a ten minute misconduct after a two minute rouging call. The game was full of little confrontations and outside of those calls, nothing else was penalized.

BU cashed in on the power play a little over five minutes into the second stanza. Matt Grzelcyk found Danny O'Regan with a cross box feed. O'Regan was able to get good wood on a onetimer and blasted his 15th goal of the year past Renyard's blocker side.

Minutes later, Shane Walsh once again tied the game on his 18th goal of the season. Maguire had a bit of an issue on the play, as his stick somehow got stuck in his leg pad or pants.

Less than a minute and a half later, Matt Grzelcyk put BU back on top. He wristed one through a crowd from the left point. The puck deflected off a UMass player or Renyard's stick (it was hard to tell) and into the net.

UMass again had an answer, this time on the power play. Sean Maguire had made a series of strong saves before Kurt Keats was able to beat him short side.

The game wasn't tied for long, however. From out of corner and along the end boards, Jordan Greenway own a puck battle and was able to shovel a one handed centering pass to Danny O'Regan. O'Regan wasted little time as he banged in his second of the game right past Renyard. The puck was in the back of the net before the goalie knew what happened. Charlie McAvoy also had an assist on the play. The goal came just 55 seconds after the Keats goal.

UMass didn't let their season end without a fight. Less than four minutes into the third, Austin Plevy potted a rebound goal glove side on Maguire to make it 4-4.

UMass battled the entire series. They played much stronger than a lot of people thought and made this series much closer than anticipated.

That being said, BU will indeed play lowell next weekend in their first road Quarterfinal series since 2004.

Tonight, Danny O'Regan became just the 18th Terrier to hit the 150 career point plateau.

With the win, BU finished 14-2-2 at home this season. That is good for the best home record in Aggains Area history.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hockey East Round One: UMass

The way things shook out last weekend with BU and Notre Dame splitting and BC and Lowell also splitting, left BU on the outside looking in on a first round bye in the Hockey East Playoffs as the 5th seed. That brings us to this weekend's Opening Round series with Umass at Agganis.
From The Vault
Matt Lane cuts to the net in a game at UMass in February 2013.
UMass goalie Kevin Boyle is now with Lowell, who BU would
play with a series win over the Minutemen.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)  
BU won the two regular season matchups with the Minutemen in convincing fashion by scores of 7-2 and 6-3. UMass finished last in the conference with just eight points, four behind 11th place Maine. The Minutemen have won just two games, both in overtime to AHA opponents since November 13th. Since beating America International on February 9th, a win that snapped a nine game losing streak, UMass has lost their last five games in a row. That winless streak includes being swept by Northeastern and Providence and a single non conference game with Lowell.  

BU and UMass last meet in the Hockey East playoffs in the Quarterfinals in 2006. BU swept the series with a pair of 4-1 wins at home.  

The winner of this series already has a fixed opponent for next weekend regardless of the other results of the Opening Round. With a series win, BU will travel to Lowell for the Quarterfinals. If UMass pulls off the improbable upset, they will take on Boston College at the Heights. UMass was the the 12th seed last season and took Notre Dame to three games in the Opening Round. UMass won game one on a Shane Walsh goal in the fifth overtime that ended the longest game in college hockey history. Notre Dame won the next two game to win the series. 

The upset would be very unlikely, but not completely unheard of. Last year, 11th seeded Merrimack went into Matthews Arena and swept 6th seeded Northeastern with two overtime wins. BU was also knocked off by the Warriors in 1998 when they were number one overall seed and MC was the eight. 

Scouting The Minuteman 
Shane Walsh has a commanding lead on the UMass goal scoring race with 17. He also has 11 assists for 28 points in 34 games, good for a tie with Ray Pigozzi for the the team lead. Pigozzi has eight goals and 20 assists. Dennis Kravchenko is another offensive weapon and is second to Walsh in goals scored with 11. Other players to watch include: Austin Plevy, Steve Iacobellis and Ben Gallacher. 

BU has faced all three UMass goalies. They scored to goals on three shots on Henry Dill out in Amherst less than a month ago. Dill has a .879 save percentage on the year. Freshman Nick Renyard took over for him in that game and he comes into the weekend with a .895 save percentage and a 3.68 goals against. Alex Wakaluk was the goalie BU face in their first game this season. He surrendered seven goals to BU and has a team worst .862 save percentage. Renyard will most likely get the start. 

BU Notes 
- The Boston Hockey Blog reported that Coach Quinn was "toying" with the idea of shifting Bobo Carpenter up to the second line center position with Matt Lane and Ahti Oksanen on the wings. 


- Maguire in net.