Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekend Lookback

Prior to Saturday’s win against Lowell at home, it was a trying weekend for the Terriers. Merrimack hands the top-ranked team in the nation two losses, sweeping the season series from BU for the first time ever. Thankfully the team responded with an enormous rebound against the River Hawks, which I was unfortunately out of town for.

The story from the two Merrimack games is simple. Merrimack wanted it more. BU was back on their heels and wasn’t determined. It was a sentiment echoed by coach Quinn after both Tuesday and Friday night’s losses.

“To me the tell tale sign was faceoffs,” said Quinn after Friday’s 4-1 loss at home to MC. “They just walked out of their own end off of D-zone faceoffs in their own end. They got puck possession chances off every face-off. It's just a lesson, one I thought we learned, but that certainly wasn’t the case. We got out everythinged in a lot of ways. There’s not another sport where will and determination can lead you to victory. There was a huge, huge gap in will and determination as that game went on.”

The effort level was certainly an issue, but so was the offensive production. Two goals in two games vs Merrimack, a team that was allowing 2.75 goals a game going into the weekend is obviously not ideal. A lot of that goes back to the determination factor. Merrimack outplayed BU in the second period of both games, and unlike on Tuesday, BU had no push back in the third period of Friday’s game.

Overall it’s safe to say it was a disappointing pair of games. But the fact that the team was able to come back and post a strong showing against Lowell was a very good sign.

Gabe Chabot
The freshman from Quebec City scored his third goal of the season on Saturday night, as he netted BU’s first goal against Lowell. While Chabot may not be posting Clayton Keller numbers, the 5-8 forward has been more than effective.

“Gabe’s had a great year for us,” mentioned Quinn following the Maine game last weekend in Orono. “He brings a lot of energy, smart, physical, has good stick skills. We’re telling three guys a night ‘you’re not in,’ who could be in.”

Cabot has been in. He has played all but two games this season and has been an outstanding depth piece on the third and fourth lines.

At The PollsBU slipped back to third in this week's edition of the USCHO poll. Minnesota-Duluth took over the top spot with 46 of 50 first place votes. Denver was second and picked up three first-place votes, while Union and Harvard rounded out the top five.

Over in the PairWise, BU currently sits in third place there as well. Duluth is one, Denver two. Western Michigan has crept into the top four and would currently hold the final “one seed” if the NCAA tournament field was picked today.

Hockey East Scoreboard
UConn 1, at Boston College 2
Boston University 1, at Merrimack 3

Northeastern 4, at Lowell 3
Providence 3, at New Hampshire 0
Vermont 1, at UConn
UMass 1, at Maine 4
Merrimack 4, at Boston University 1

Notre Dame 4, at Boston College 6
UMass 1, at Maine 2
Providence 3, at New Hampshire 2
Lowell 2, at Boston University 4

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Looking At Lowell

Tonight, BU looks to find another gear and elevate their play as 12th ranked (PWR) Lowell comes to town.

From the Vault
Lowell's Joe Gambardella tries a stuff attempt on former BU goalie
Sean Maguire in last year's Hockey East Quarterfinals in Lowel.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Last night, both teams lost. Despite having a 3-1 third period lead, the River Hawks fell to Northeastern, who scored three goals in the final 8:30 to win 4-3 on the road at Tsongas.

A year ago, Lowell completely dominated BU in the Hockey East quarterfinals, sweeping the Terriers in two games, before advancing to the finals for the fourth straight year.

Lowell comes into this game as losers of their last three. Much like BU, the River Hawks were cruising through the second half before getting tripped up by Providence last weekend. The Friars went on to sweep that series, ending Lowell’s seven-game win streak that dated back to December 9th. In that stretch, Lowell swept Merrimack, won the Ledyard Bank Classic in Dartmouth and just snuck by both UMass and New Hampshire by a 2-1 score.

There will be more than just league points on the line, as is usually the case when these two teams meet. BU is still three points behind BC in Hockey East and those three games in hand have all been made up. Lowell, on the other hand, is tied with UNH for fifth with 15 points, five behind BU. And then there is the PairWise. The Terriers, somehow, are ranked fifth. Lowell is 12th. To say this game and season series with the River Hawks will have NCAA tournament implications seems like quite an obvious statement.

Scouting the River Hawks
Senior Joe Gambardella is far and away the team’s scoring leader. In 26 games played, the Staten Island native has posted 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points, seven more than second best CJ Smith. Smith is the team leader in goals scored with 13 to go along with 15 assists for 28 points. Dylan Zink is third with 24points.Other players to watch include John Edwardh, Jake Kamrass and Evan Campbell.

Freshman Tyler Wall, a Rangers prospect has seen the overwhelming majority of time in net. In 22 appearances, Wall has posted a .920 save percentage and a 2.10 goals against average. Fellow freshman Garrett Metcalf has seen action in 4 games with a 1-0-1 record and a .913 save percentage.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Determined Warriors Sweep BU

It was another frustrating night for BU as a determined Merrimack team came into Agganis and finished off their first ever season sweep of the Terriers with a 4-1 win in front of 4,335 at the Greek.

Ryan Cook runs over Nik Olsson in the first period. Olsson
would not return from the hit.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“The better team won tonight for sure,” said coach Quinn. “I thought we got off to a good start, looked like we were going to get back to the way we have been for a while. Then it looked like frustration set in. The whole game turned. As the game went on they became the more determined team. They worked harder.”

The teams traded power play goals in the first. Brett Seney scored his first of two on the night 6:25 into the frame on a quick release snapper from the low circle. The shot beat Jake Oettinger glove side high. That would be a reassuring theme for the carrier, as all four of their goals were to the netminder's glove side.

Less than two minutes later, Clayton Keller tied things up. From the near side dot, he hammered home his 11th goal of the year and extend his point streak to 12 games. Patrick Harper and Charlie McAvoy added assists on the play.

Seney notched the lone goal in the second frame before Michael Babcock scored shorthanded 5:11 into the third. He beat Patrick Harper in a foot race to a loose puck down low and then cut to the net before beating Oettinger on his left side.

“To me the shorthanded goal to me really summarized what happen in a nutshell,” added Quinn. “Our best players just got outworked and that changed the complexion of the game, really.”

Babcock wasn’t done. The sophomore and son of Maple Leafs’ Coach Mike Babcock wrapped up the scoring on a partial breakaway later in the third. He was able to get in behind Dante Fabbro on a long pass from John Lashyn at the far side blue line. From just inside the circle, Babcock again beat Oettinger glove side high.

“At one point the shots were 25-10 and we were doing a good job. Then frustration set in. We were lugging the puck instead of passing it. We got soft around the puck and cheated because it was 1-1,” said Quinn.

Nik Olsson was blasted in the opening period on a hit by Ryan Cook. The junior assistant captain was slow to get up and when he finally did, he put no weight on his right leg. Quinn mentioned that the injury was “not good,” but was not a knee injury. Olsson never returned.

The team has a quick turnaround. Lowell will be in town tomorrow night in a game that will inevitably have league ramifications as well as in the PWR.

Merrimack Preview -- Updated

Tonight, BU looks to get back on track in the back end of a home and home with Merrimack. Tuesday night in North Andover, Merrimack ended BU’s eight game win streak as they out worked the Terriers on their way to a 3-1 win.

Clayton Keller avoids a Brett Seny check along the wall in
Tuesday night's loss at Lawler Rink.
Photo by Matt Dresens
Merrimack currently sits in 9th place in the league standings, tied with Northeastern at nine points. The Warriors are 9-13-3 on the year, but have only found the win column twice since the holiday break, excluding Tuesday’s win over BU. Those two W’s came against Northern Michigan, 4-2 in the consolation game of the Florida College Hockey Classic, and against Notre Dame two weeks ago at home also by a 4-2 score. The Mack’s best stretch of games came at the end of October, where they swept Colgate in a weekend series, tied BC 2-2 at home and knocked off Cornell 3-2. Since that stretch, MC has only won five games.

Last season, BU and Merrimack split the season series. Merrimack won at home 4-3 on October 30th, and BU got even with a 4-0 blanking at Agganis on January 29th.

Scouting the Warriors
Brett Seny leads the team in scoring with 18 points by way of six goals and twelve assists. Senior Hampus Gustafsson is the team leader in goals scored with ten and has added eight assists on the year. Gustafsson scored a power play goal in the third period on Tuesday to really distance the Warriors from BU. Other players to watch include Jace Henning, Tyler Irvine and Jared Kolquist.

In goal, sophomore Drew Volger has seen the bulk of the time. He is 6-8-3 with a .897 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average. On Tuesday, BU saw Collin Delia stop every shot but the first one on net. In total, the junior has played in nine games with a 3-5-0 record and a .906 save percentage, averaging 2.58 goals against.

BU Notes
- Jake Oettinger will start in net.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Merrimack Out Works BU, Win Streak Ends at Eight

NORTH ANDOVER - Early on It looked as if newly appointed number one BU was going to have their way with Merrimack, after scoring on their first shot of the game and sending another off the crossbar from center ice. After that, it was all Merrimack. The Warriors scored the game’s final three goals to knock off the Terriers for the first time in nine games.

Clayton Keller attempts a backhand pass late in the third. It
did not connect.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“We got exactly what we deserved,” said coach Quinn. “I thought the first ten minutes we played pretty well, but after that, they won every puck battle, they were quicker to pucks, more determined. We got down 3-1 and started playing with a bit more urgency, but after yesterday’s practice, I’m not surprised.”

By all accounts, the practice yesterday afternoon was one of the worst of the year. In fact, Quinn said it was the worst practice since he took over the team in 2013.

Chad Krys opened the scoring 3:20 into the game. Patrick Harper dug a puck off the far wall and moved it over to Clayton Keller. From the bottom of the circle, Keller dished to Krys in the mid slot and from there, Krys rang a shot off the right post and in behind MC goalie Collin Delia.

Merrimack’s Mathieu Tibbet tied things up with a little over four minutes left in the frame on a tip-in goal from Ludvig Kolquist on the rush.

The second period started ominously for the Terriers. Charlie McAvoy hit Tyler Irvine from behind into the end boards. Irvine was slow to get up and McAvoy was tossed for hitting from behind. On the ensuing MC power play, however, it was Clayton Keller getting the best chance.

An MC defender fumbled the puck at the blue line and Keller jumped it, taking advantage of the turnover, and was in on a breakaway. Just before the top of the crease, Keller was tripped, the puck still went in the net, but was ruled it went in after Keller crashed into Delia and knocked the net off. Keller was given a penalty shot, but coach Quinn opted to make it four on four in hopes of easing the penalty kill.

“If I had to do it over again I would have taken the penalty shot,” said Quinn. “I'm sitting there thinking it's a five-minute penalty and we can knock two minutes off of it. You know, we got a four on four, maybe we can generate some offense that way. Looking back, I should have taken the penalty shot.”

Minutes later on another BU penalty, Logan Coomes redirected a Jared Kolquist shot at the side of the net in behind BU goalie Connor LaCouvee for his second of the year.

Hampus Gustafsson added another power play goal 2:19 into the third to really put BU back on their heals.

The Terriers, as Quinn said played a little better in the third. They threw 18 shots on Delia in the final stanza, but really didn’t generate many good chances.

“It was a pretty humbling loss, but it definitely started yesterday,” said captain Doyle Somerby. “We got a little cocky with the rankings and everything with an eight game win streak and it definitely got in our heads a little bit.”

BU and Merrimack will go at it again on Friday night back at Agganis

Monday, January 23, 2017

Merrimack Preview

Tomorrow night, the newly appointed number one ranked BU Terriers will play their th ird game in the last five days when they take on Merrimack at Lawler Rink. The two teams will play the back end of the home and home series on Friday night at Agganis.

From The Vault
Former Terrier Matt Lane scores against Merrimack last winter
in a 4-0 Terrier win at home.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)  
Merrimack currently sits in 10th place in the league standings with seven points, just two points above Maine, BU’s opponent from last weekend. The Warriors are 8-13-3 on the year, but have only found the win column twice since the holiday break. Those two W’s came against Northern Michigan, 4-2 in the consolation game of the Florida College Hockey Classic, and against Notre Dame two weeks ago at home also by a 4-2 score. The Mack’s best stretch of games came at the end of October, where they swept Colgate in a weekend series, tied BC 2-2 at home and knocked off Cornell 3-2. Since that stretch, MC has only won five games.

Last season, BU and Merrimack split the season series. Merrimack won at home 4-3 on October 30th, and BU got even with a 4-0 blanking at Agganis on January 29th.

Scouting the Warriors
Brett Seny leads the team in scoring with 18 points by way of six goals and twelve assists. Right behind him, senior Hampus Gustafsson is the team leader in goals scored with nine. He has also added eight assists for 17 points in 23 games played. Other players to watch include Jace Henning, Tyler Irvine and Jared Kolquist.

In goal, sophomore Drew Volger has seen the bulk of the time. He is 6-8-3 with a .897 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average. Last year, BU saw Collin Delia twice. This year, the junior has only played in eight games with a 2-5-0 record and a .917 save percentage, averaging 2.35 goals against.

BU Notes
- Today, the Daily Free Press reported that Connor LaCouvee will start in goal tomorrow.

- They also said Patrick Harper is good to go after missing most of the third period against Maine on Saturday night.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

BU Sweeps Maine, Streak Goes To Eight

ORONO - In a game with much better pace and feel than last night, BU once again found the win column against Maine, in front of 5,125 at Alfond. Clayton Keller, Patrick Harper and Brandon Hickey all scored and Jake Oettinger made 26 saves in BU’s eighth straight win.

Brandon Hickey celebrates after making it 3-1 late in the
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“It was a great weekend,” said Coach Quinn. “Anytime you can sweep in this league it’s a great accomplishment. I thought we started off the game well. I really liked our first period and I thought their guy [Rob McGovern] made some big saves. As the game went on we got a little sloppier.”

Both teams had bids go off the post, before Clayton Keller opening the scoring with 4:37 left in the first. While trying to breakout on the power play, Maine committed a horrendous turnover that left Keller all alone with the puck at the top of the slot. From in tight, the Coyotes’ first-round pick roofed a backhander past McGovern for his second goal of the weekend and third shortie of the year.

“It was a great play by Keller. He’s got great hand-eye and he’s done that a few times this year," said Quinn.

Maine certainly had their chances to tie it. In total, the Black Bears hit the post four times and twice in the second. The Maine PK was again stingy, allowing only one goal on seven BU power play attempts. BU even had a 5 on 3 late in the second and couldn’t cash in.

“We got really methodical and slow,” mentioned Quinn about the 5 on 3. “That’s a chance to really put the game away and we didn’t do it.”

Harper goal.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Prior to the two man advantage, Patrick Harper slammed home his eighth of the year on the power play. JFK made a strong cross-box pass to Harper on the near side and from the middle of the dot, Harper wired home a onetimer.

Harper would later leave the game and not return. The injury occurred during the 5 on 3 and it looked as if he got tangled up behind the net in a weird way.

Maine finally got on the board on a power play of their own as Blaine Byron found paydirt on a deflected shot of Dante Fabbro. The shot hit Fabbro in the foot, popped up in the air and fluttered in behind Oettinger. It was Byron’s second of the weekend.

Not long after, Brandon Hickey answered. Keller made a strong backdoor feed to the defenseman who joined the rush, and from the edge of the crease, Hickey deposited his fourth of the year.

Maine had a few good looks with McGovern pulled, hitting another post, but was not able to beat Oettinger again.

BU did not allow an even strength goal all weekend. In fact, you have to go back to Frozen Fenway and UMass’s third period strike to find the last even strength goal against.

The Terriers have a quick turnaround, as they head to Merrimack on Tuesday night.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Third Period Eruption Sends BU Past Maine

BU broke open a 1-1 game late in the third with three goals in a three minute span from Bobo Carpenter, Jordan Greenway and Nik Olsson to surge past Maine in front of a crowd of 4,888 at Agganis.

Nik Olsson Scores on a backhander in the third period to give
BU a 4-1 lead.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
While the third period may have been captivating, most of the game really wasn’t. BU carried most of the play, outshooting the Black Bears 41-14, but the game seemed closer. Maine almost scored less than thirty seconds in on a two on one, but Jake Oettinger said no to that. They had other chances like that, too.

“It certainly was not the prettiest first two periods,” said coach Quinn. “I thought we were lethargic and really weren’t sharp. We were too easy to defend, especially in the offensive zone and anytime we had it, they just took it away from us. We were fortunate to be tied 1-1 after two.”

Maine took a 1-0 lead on the power play with less the two minutes to play in the first. Blaine Byron got a tip on a Cam Brown shot and redirected it past Oettinger for his 11th goal of the year.

BU’s second period wasn’t really much better. They posted 11 shots and held Maine to only four, but they didn’t look sharp. The power play lacked cohesion and passes were not crisp.

Finally, Clayton Keller solved Maine goalie Rob McGovern with 1:32 left in the second. He was able to pick up a loose puck in the slot and pick the top corner on his backhand as McGovern sprawled to get back in position. It was Keller’s 9th of the year, with assists from Brandon Hickey and Bobo Carpenter.

The first half of third played out much like the first two periods. BU couldn’t cash in on a power play and they were still limiting Maine to single digit shots.

“They were a pretty aggressive team,” said Jordan Greenway. “We haven’t really seen a team come at us as aggressively as they did. It was kind of new to us. We weren’t moving the puck as quickly as we should have been. We didn’t get enough pucks to the net. Even myself. I don’t think I did a great job on the goal-line.”

Then the floodgates opened.

Bobo Carpenter slammed home a power play goal on a one-timer set up by Dante Fabbro and Chad Krys at 12:10. 1:50 later, it was Greenway’s turn to deposit a power play goal.

“They gave me a little more space,” commented Greenway on his 7th goal of the year. “I just took advantage of it and found a lane to the net. JFK was kind of in front screening the goalie, so I thought that if I found any kind of net, just put it there and the goalie wouldn’t be able to see it.”

Clearly, it worked. Greenway was able to rattle a shot off the inside crossbar on a perfectly placed bullet.

Just over a minute later, Nik Olsson really sealed things up. Ryan Cloonan made a strong cross-ice pass to Olsson on the near side that sprung him in behind the defense. From the top of the crease, Olsson made a nifty forehead-backhand move to undress McGovern for his third of the year.

Quinn also mentioned that BU played with more of an edge in the third. “I thought we really upped the ante in the third. We played with more passion. I thought we played with a physical side that we didn’t in the first two periods. Obviously, once we got one we started making plays and looking more confident with the puck.”

Maine coach Red Gendron wasn’t exactly pleased with his team’s effort to get pucks on net tonight. “You shoot the puck on the other team, you’re applying pressure. Ok? When you’re hanging onto it against the best defensive team in Hockey East you might be able to tick-tack-toe it on them, but probably not. When you get breakaways and two one ones, you might want to score there.”

Jake Oettinger only faced 14 shots tonight.

The two teams are back at it tomorrow night at the Alfond in Orono.

Weekend With The Black Bears

This weekend BU will be looking to continue their win streak with a home and home series with the Maine Black Bears. Tonight’s game is at Agganis, while Saturday night’s tilt is up in Orono. This scheduling certainly puts Maine behind the eight ball, as they essentially have to travel to play both games. BU will leave right after tonight’s game for the trip north.

Chase Phelps and Maine's Steven Swavely discuss a call
in BU's 5-2 win at the Alfond last winter.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Last year, BU swept a pair of games with Maine on the same calendar weekend. Up in Orono, BU scored a 5-2 win and a night later won 6-1 at home. The Terriers haven’t lost to Maine since January of 2014 in a rainstorm at Frozen Fenway, 7-3.

The Black Bears started the year off on a strong note, winning their first three games, including a 4-3 overtime win over Quinnipiac. They have since fallen on troubled times. It took Maine nearly a month’s time to find the win column again, and they come into this series with an 8-11-3 record. Last weekend, the Black Bears split a pair of games with Uconn, winning Saturday at Frozen Fenway 4-0. For anyone interested, that makes Maine 2-0-0 in Fenway games.

Scouting The Black Bears
Natick, Mass native Cam Brown sits atop the Maine scoring chart. In 20 games played, the senior forward has just four goals, but has posted 22 assists, far and away the most on the team. Fellow senior Blaine Byron and freshman Chase Pearson both pace the Black Bears in goals scored at 10 a piece. Other players to watch include Nolan Vesey, Mitchell Fossier and Patrick Shea.

In goal, three goalies have seen time. Rob McGovern has played the bulk of the minutes, coming into the weekend with a 7-7-3 record to go along with a .914 save percentage and a 2.80 goals against. Sophomore Matt Morris has a 1-4-0 record in six appearances with a .868svp and a 4.55 GAA. Freshman Stephen Mundinger has seen time in three games, but has no decisions to his record. BU saw both Morris and McGovern last year, with McGovern getting pulled in game two after giving up four goals on 22 shots.

BU Notes
- Jake Oettinger will be in net tonight.
- Shane Switzer was back on the ice at full speed at practice yesterday. He was recovering from a hit to the head in the Union game on January 5th.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lookback: Build A Wall

Player of the Week
Jake Oettinger, 2-0-0, 66 of 67 saves
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU is currently riding a six game win streak, the longest streak since Jack Eichel donned the scarlet and white back in 2015. This past weekend, the Terriers swept Boston College for the first time since 2002. Things are going pretty well on Comm Ave right now, but before anyone gets too ahead of themselves, a quick look at the league standings shows BU is still three points behind the Eagles for first place. Granted, BU has two games in hand on BC, but the race is not even close to over yet.

The Terriers needed a standout performance in net by Jake Oettinger to stymie a BC offense that was scoring at a 3.39 goals per-game clip coming into the weekend. Oettinger allowed one goal all weekend, a brilliant power play set up by Casey Fitzgerald to Colin White backdoor on Friday night. In total the Lakeville, Minnesota native, stopped 66 of 67 shots in two games and was named NCAA Hockey's first star of the week.

Oettinger’s most impressive period was easily the third frame of Friday night’s game. BU was heavily outplayed, but Oettinger stood tall and turned aside all twelve shots he faced in that period to preserve a 2-1 win.

“I think it's big for a goalie to have calm body language,” said Oettinger after Monday night’s 3-0 shutout. “It helps the whole team in front of me. Just being a rock back there for those guys helps them. They just did a really good job in front of me tonight.”

Special Teams
The Terriers were perfect on the man advantage Monday night, scoring all three goals with an Eagle in the box. BU also killed six of seven penalties on the weekend and currently sits second in the nation on the PK at 89.92%, just a few percentage points behind Bemidji, at 90.29%.

“Special teams were huge. Obviously, we kept them off the scoreboard on our penalty kill and our power play gets a huge goal at the key time," mentioned Quinn on Monday.

At the Polls
Prior to Monday’s game, BU jumped from fifth to third in the USCHO poll. For the first time in their short college hockey history, Penn State was ranked number one. Denver was second and Duluth and Lowell rounded out the top five in that respective order.

Hockey East Scoreboard

Northeastern 3, at New Hampshire 5
Miane 3, at UConn 6

Notre Dame 2, at Merrimack 1
Vermont 4, at Providence 3
Boston College 1, at Boston University 2

Maine 4, vs UConn 0 (Frozen Fenway)
New Hampshire 2, vs Northeastern 2 (OT) (Frozen Fenway)
Vermont 1, at Providence 4
Notre Dame 2, at Merrimack 4
Lowell 2, at UMass 1 (Non League Game)

Boston University 3, at Boston College 0.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Oettinger Blanks BC, Terriers Sweep Eagles

For the first time in 16 years, BU swept a weekend series with their rivals down the B-Line on the back of Jake Oettinger’s stellar 34 save shutout and goals from Pat Curry, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter.

“That was a great win,” said coach Quinn. “It felt like playoff hockey out there tonight. There wasn’t a lot of easy ice, two teams competing hard.”

Oettinger turned aside 14 shots in a first period in which BU did not really generate a tremendous amount of offense. BC nearly took the lead in the dying minutes of the opening frame. It was a backdoor setup to Colin White, but the Hanover native didn’t get all that he wanted on a one-time bid and Oettinger slid over to make the save. Oettinger would later call this his toughest save.
The save described in the paragraph above.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“That goes to show you how good our defense was tonight,” said Oettinger. “We didn’t give up any grade-A chances and that’s a testament to our D-core and our forwards. They made my job easy and I was there when they needed me to be.”

BC goalie Joe Woll, was equally impressive, making 29 saves in the 3-0 loss.

Pat Curry finally found the back of the net to open the scoring 7:26 into the second on the tail end of a Colin White slashing penalty. Curry picked up a loose puck close to the blue line before curling back into the slot and releasing a high wrister labeled for the far corner. It was a perfectly placed shot through a screen that Woll may not have gotten the best look at.

Curry celebrates after scoring his
third goal of the season and
eventual game winner.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
“Pat’s had a great year for us,” added Quinn. “In a class that has got a lot of attention, he didn’t and he’s been a very, very important part of our team. That was a heck of a shot, a quick release through a screen, you could see it from the bench, we had a great angle at it and Woll just didn’t see it.”

Getting the first goal was a huge key for BU and they were able to control most of the play in the second period, outshooting the Eagles 11-6.

In the third, BC had some dominant stretches and dumped 14 more shots on Oettinger. They utilized a tough forecheck that hemmed BU in and made breakouts an adventure at some points.

Unlike Friday night, though, BU slammed the door shut with a little help from BC’s Michael Kim and Colin White, who both took penalties with under three minutes to play. JFK deposited a power play goal on a five on three at the side of the net. Clayton Keller again used his patient style of walking into the slot to draw a defender out the passing lane to set up JFK back door. It was Karlsson’s team-leading 10th goal of the year and came with just 57 seconds left.

Bobo Carpenter added an empty net goal to seal the deal with 14 seconds left.

The shutout marks just the second blanking by a BU goalie vs BC since 1983. The other? Kieran Millan in November 2011, a 5-0 win at the Heights.

BU is back at it next weekend with the lovely home and home series with Maine.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Terriers Hang On, Take Game One From BC

John MacLoud lays a body on a BC
 forward in the third period. Tonight was
 one of his best games in a
Terrier uniform.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
In one of the more physical BU-BC games in recent memory, BU was able to hang on and cling to a 2-1 win at Agannis against their cross-town rivals. It was the first time since November 2012 that BU defeated BC at home and the first time since Dave Quinn took over as Terrier head coach.

After a scoreless first period that saw BU control most of the play and outshot the Eagles 15-11, the Terriers found pay dirt 3:47 into the second. It was Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson getting a tip on a Dante Fabbro point shot, redirecting it past BC goalie Joe Woll to give the Terriers the lead.

It didn’t last long. Patrick Curry was called for tripping and BC made quick work on their power play. Colin White was set up beautifully back door for a tap-in goal off of passes by Casey Fitzgerald and Matty Gaudreau. It was White’s first goal for the Eagles since the WJC, and it came less than two minutes after JFK’s opening strike.

1:55 after White’s goal, it was his WJC teammate Clayton Keller who found the back of the net for the eventual game winner. Jordan Greenway made a great hustle play to win a footrace to a loose puck behind the net. From there, Greenway used his size to create separation before dishing off a centering pass to Keller out in front. From the edge of the crease, Keller shovled home a shot past Woll for his eighth of the year.

“Greener made a great play down low and found me out front,” said Clayton Keller after the game. “I have to give a lot of credit to him, it was definitely cool to score there.”

Coach Quinn also added, “I don’t think what gets enough attention is what a great playmaker he [Greenway] is. He’s a guy who makes other players around him better. That was a heck of a play.”

BU celebrates after JFK's goal in the second period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
BU was able to kill off two more penalties and took the one goal lead into the third period.

Boston College dominated the third period. Jake Oettinger stopped all 12 shots he saw, but that's not even the whole story. BC out attempted BU 30-11 in the final period and for good stretches of the play, the ice was completely tilted to the BU defensive zone. It took a strong shift from the fourth line to finally break up the BC attack and BU clung to a one goal lead as the clock finally bled out.

“It was a really good win against a really good team,” said Quinn. “I thought we had a real good first period, the second period I thought was even. I didn’t love our third. They started taking it to us and I thought we were a bit tentative. We sat back and that wasn’t our plan. We gave them too much time and space. When you do that against a really good team, you’re going to spend a lot of time in your own end.”

Oettinger finished with 32 saves, while Woll turned aside 31.

BU and BC will have the weekend off before picking up again Monday night at Conte over in Chestnut Hill.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

BC Week

It is that time of year once again… It’s BC week. Yes, there is a weird scheduling quirkwith the games being a Friday/Monday split. Yes it’s over winter break, at least for BU. And yes, there is a Patriots playoff game on Saturday night, but hey at least the league had the presence of mind to not schedule a game that conflicts with the Pats.
From The Vault
Former BU captain Wade Megan works a power play against
the Eagles in a 4-2 BU win on November 30th, 2012
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

Overall it’s still dumb scheduling by the league to have their marquee matchup take place over winter break, but whatever. We’ll deal with it. Apparently it’s changing next year.

Finally the two teams will meet again for the first time since the epic Beanpot final that saw BC win 1-0 in overtime last February. A lot has changed for both teams since then. For one, BC lost seven players to the NHL in the offseason. Most thought this would be crippling for the Eagles, but the perennial Hockey East power is currently in a comfortable four-point lead over Lowell for first in the league with 19 points.

While Boston College may be racking up the league points, the currently sit 12th in the PairWise with a 14-7-2 record. BU is in a tie for fourth with Duluth. BC has struggled against better competition. On the year, the Eagles are just 2-5-0 against ranked teams.

The wins… At Denver in the Icebreaker consolation game 3-1 (very good win), and at home against Providence in the last weekend of October. At the time, Denver was ranked third (and are now number one), and PC was 14 and has since fallen out of the rankings.

The Eagles lost at Harvard 5-2 in the middle of November. Harvard was ranked 11th at the time. Two weeks later, BC was doubled up by Minnesota 4-2 and the Gophers were also ranked 11th. Moving to a showdown at Madison Square Garden against number ninth ranked North Dakota: loss 4-3. Then we get to a matchup with 14th ranked Notre Dame on December 10th, a 4-3 loss before rounding out with a 3-1 loss to Quinnipiac in the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburg on December 29th.

For comparison, BU is 5-4-0 against teams ranked in the top 20.

All of this isn’t to say BC isn’t a good team. They are. Jerry York gets his team to play well in these games. The players know how to play in big games. Look no further than Colin White, Casey Fitzgerald, and Joe Woll, who all played an intricate part on the USA WJC team that won gold. This weekend will be a battle, as it always is against BC.

Scouting the Eagles

It is a bit surprising to see Matthew Gaudreau atop the BC scoring sheet. The senior forward has already surpassed his single season career high of 21 points in just over half the games played. In his first two seasons at BC, Gaudreau notched just seven points, before recording 21 last year. So far this season, he has 22 on six goals and sixteen assists. Chris Brown is second on the team with eighteen points, by way of six goals and twelve assist. Colin White, who has played five less game than Gaudreau and Brown is third with seventeen points. White is far and away the team's leading goal scorer with 10. White did miss BC’s Frozen Fenway game against Providence last weekend due to a sickness. Other Players to watch include senior Ryan Fitzgerald, who has a knack for killing BU, David Cotton and Michael Kim.

In goal, Joseph Woll has been excellent. He holds an 11-6-1 record in eighteen appearances with a 2.43 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. Woll plays with a aggressive style and is very quick post to post. So far, I have been far more impressed with Woll as a freshman than Thatcher Demko in his first year.

BU Notes.

Tommy Kelley was suspended one game for a play in the UMass Frozen Fenway game. He will be out Friday night. I would except Oskar Andrén to get the nod in his place.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

BU Melts UMass at Frozen Fenway

As the sun slowly began to set and reflect off the Prudential Center onto the ice inside Fenway Park, BU had built a comfortable 3-0 lead off two goals from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and another by Charlie McAvoy. Then, UMass scored the game’s next two goals and all of a sudden it was a one goal game with little over half a period to play in a game BU looked to be cruising in. 

Ryan Cloonan and Jonny Lazarus go hard afer a puck in the
UMass zone in the first period.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
That’s when Chad Krys scored his most important goal to date in a Terrier uniform. From the middle of the slot, Krys beat UMass goalie Ryan Wischow low on a turnaround backhand shot. It was just his second goal of the year. Jordan Greenway and Bobo Carpenter added assists on the play, and it restored BU’s multi-goal lead.

48 seconds later, Gabriel Chabot potted his second of the year off a rebound from a Nick Roberto shot to seal the deal.

“They [UMass] battled,” said coach Quinn. “We go up 3-0 and they battled back to make it 3-2 and our goalie had to make some big saves. It’s a good win for us, a valuable two league points after a hectic week for all of us.”

The game started off slow. There was serious feeling out period and some of that was due to the ice and the atmosphere. Because it was so cold out, the ice was choppy. The puck was bouncing and there were several delays to repair the ice in the opening frame.

Quinn added, “the conditions weren’t bad. You’re playing an outdoor game and the ice can get a little choppy as you’d expect, but a special night when you get a chance to play at Fenway Park. You’re really not sure what you’re gonna be able to do and not do in those conditions. I think both teams figured out it was going to be a game of simplicity. I thought when we kept it simple we had a chance for success.”

BU finally broke the ice late in the first on a power rush by Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson up the near side boards. The Swedish center who had a hat trick against Union on Thursday continued his torrid pace to net his 4th goal of 2017 and first of two on the afternoon. After blowing by a UMass defender at the top of the circle, JFK cut hard to the net and tucked home a stuff attempt on Wischow.
BU celebrates after JFK's second goal of the afternoon.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Then in the second, Kieffer Bellows made a highlight reel centering pass off his backhand out of the corner to JFK in front. From there, Karlsson caught the puck on his forehand and unloaded a spin-around backhander all in one motion past Wischow down low.

JFK now has five goals in his last two games. After the game, he said “A couple of kids were asking for my stick there, but I think I’m gonna keep it. It’s been working.”

Less than three minutes later, Charlie McAvoy blasted home a power play goal from the bottom of the left circle to make it 3-0 BU. It came off a rebound from a Clayton Keller shot in the slot. Patrick Harper also picked up an assist on the play.

UMass solved Jake Oettinger with less than five minutes to play in the second on a very unconventional goal. Griff Jeszka banked a shot off Oettinger’s backside from what looked to be below the goal line.

The Minutemen then got within one on a shorthanded goal from Ray Pigozzi. Steven Iacobellis broke in and was stopped by Oettinger, but Pigozzi was there to slam home his fourth goal of the year off the rebound.

Iacobellis rounded out the scoring with a tip-in goal with the goalie pulled with less than a minute to play.

BU will get back to a more conventional week and will face Boston College in a weekend series starting on Friday night at Agganis and concluding on Monday (MLK Day) at Conte.

Friday, January 6, 2017

"And The Building is Quiet Again"

It was the call by Glenn Davis (I think that’s who covered for Gary Thorn) after John Carlson won the Gold Medal in the 2010 World Junior Final Saskatoon. That was the game that got me hooked on the WJC. It was also the phrase running through my head overtime the US scored last night. I don’t think I have missed watching/listening a US game since then and it was during that game that I said to myself “I have to one day go to a USA-Canada final.” It was one of those events you put on the proverbial “hockey bucket list.” Well, last night I not only got to cross it off one list, I was able to add it to another.
Team USA celebrates after winning gold in at the WJC in
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
I have been lucky enough to attend some of the most compelling hockey games of the last decade and a half, and that game last night absolutely is now on that list. From the Bruins game 7’s against Tampa (’11) and Toronto (’13), to BU’s unforgettable comeback in the 2009 National Title game, I think last night’s USA-Canada final slides nicely in the top five best/most memorable games I’ve attended.

Standing in the last row of the Bell Center in a USA jersey and being one of four other Americans in the section, was terrifying (almost as frighting as that time I was in the BC student section at Conte), but yet still really fun. What was better is every time the US would score and I would jump up and scream, I would get the dirtiest looks. Ah… sad Canadian hockey fans are my favorite.

Wednesday’s game against Russia will undoubtedly get overshadowed with what happened in the gold medal game, but that was another incredibly memorable hockey game.

Overall, what a pair of games. What an unbelievable performance by the US. What a way to win a Gold Medal… What a freaking experience. It’s certainly one I will not forget.

Jordan Greenway
Throughout the entire tournament, Greenway looked more dominant than ever. He not only was an absolute force behind the net when using his size and strength, but his passing was superb. The feed to Charlie McAvoy to set up the first US goal last night was textbook, but wasn’t even his best. That happened in the second period on Wednesday against Russia when he threaded a seed over to Wisconsin’s Luke Kunin who tipped home the then go-ahead goal for the US.

Even outside the score sheet and flashy highlights, Greenway looked like a different player. He seemed to play with a ton of confidence and that along with his freight train-like approach bodes well for a strong second half.

Players coming back from the WJC have always seemed to have some extra jump. In 2008, Colin Wilson had 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) before heading to Ottawa for that year’s tournament. When he came back, he was a different player. Something had clicked. The freshman Wilson finished the ’08 campaign with 35 points and helped dig BU out of the bottom of the league standings to a respectable second place finish.

Kieffer Bellows
We could be looking at something like that with Bellows. The freshman from Edina, Minnesota scored no goals in the first six games of the tournament but erupted for two huge goals in the final. Granted, Harvard’s Adam Fox hit him in the ass with a shot and it deflected in, but it was a big time goal. For a kid who was benched during a game and was a healthy scratch for another prior to WJC camp, those two goals last night have to give Bellows a world of confidence coming back to BU.

Charlie McAvoy
I’ve been talking about confidence a lot in this post, but no one had more of it than McAvoy, at least in the goal medal game. Seriously, the guy was all over the place. He got the US on the board with what one twitter account called an “electricity missile” and then set up Bellows for the third US goal, one that looked a lot like the Nick Bonino goal to tie the national title game in ’09. People in my section who realized he was a Bruins draft pick started giving him the “Chara boo” every time he touched the puck. Yeah, he was pretty dominant. In total, including the overtime session, he had 35:33 of ice time. Only Caleb Jones had more for the US. Canada’s Thomas Chabot played a ridiculous 43:53 to lead all players in time on ice.

TSN's Bob McKenzie said McAvoy's performance was "one for the ages" and it "blew me away with how well he played in this tournament."

All in all, the US scored 27 goals and BU players had 29 points… not bad.