Saturday, May 19, 2018

Quinn To The Rangers

Dave Quinn draws out a play with
BU forward Hank Crone in a
late-season game against Vermont
last February. It was Quinn's
100th win as BU's Head Coach. In
total, Quinn went 105-68-21 in
five seasons.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
According to various reports, the New York Rangers have poached BU bench boss David Quinn to fill their vacant head coaching position.

Quinn, first interviewed earlier in the spring and after taking the USA World Junior position, seemed to have put the Rangers on the back burner. In the coming weeks, NYR made a strong push for Quinn and kept sweetening the pot and would not back down. He was their man and they were not going to be denied.

The swirling chatter that  Quinn would leave for the Rangers started about a month ago. Despite a few Tweets here and there, it didn’t seem as if there was more than a small spark of a chance he would leave.

Yesterday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie all but dumped gasoline on that spark in a pair of tweets, saying:


ESPN’s John Buccigross stated in a Tweet earlier today that he believes Quinn will get a contract in the area of five years, $12 million. That works out to $2.4 million a year. At BU, Quinn probably makes half of that a year, at best.

Just to speculate on a replacement, I would have to say assistant coach Albi O'Connell is the front-runner. Along with him, former Terrier and current Boston Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco will be another top candidate. In addition, look for Jay Pandolfo to be in the running as well.

For all the success Quinn had at BU, he could never win. I don’t mean that he couldn't win games. He certainly could. He took the program to two Hockey East titles in four years and four straight NCAA tournament appearances, something that hasn’t happened since the late 90s. He was a period away from winning the national championship in 2015 before for well, you know what happened.

But he still couldn’t win with some. The amount of people who dumped all over Quinn while he was at BU is astounding. No matter what he did, it wasn’t good enough.

They said he was a good recruiter. He is. He’s fantastic. But that’s about the only credit he was given. They would say, “Oh, the only reason BU is good is because of the players they have.”

Yes, Quinn took a Jack Eichel led team within a goal of the national title in 2015. But don’t credit Quinn for that. No. It was all, 100% Eichel and most of that team were still Parker’s recruits… Right.

Then my favorite criticism of Quinn: His players don’t respond to his system. Ha… OK.

It seems when BU didn’t win (let’s use 2017 as an example), the “blame” was put all on Quinn’s shoulders. “Oh, they have all these NHL draft picks, they can’t even win the Beanpot anymore. The team just doesn’t respond to his system.”

Right…

Quinn had to start from scratch each year he was at BU. The 2017 team had a ton of talent. Yes, you’re right it did. The multiple draft picks that have flourished in the NHL so far (I’m looking at you Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller) dotted the roster. The team was a goal away from the Frozen Four and beat North Dakota in North Dakota in tournament play. That was a HUGE win for the program, if you’re asking me.

What gets lost in people’s minds when they see all these draft picks is that NHL teams pick these players in hopes they develop into better players in a few years and become NHL ready. For Quinn, no one head coach has been better at this than him over the past five years.

Sure, there are some examples of "bad coaching." Maybe the team shouldn't have played so defensively in the third period of the 2015 national title game and the Matt O'Connor goal never happens. But looking at last year and seeing what Quinn was able to do down the stretch with his line up was all the validation and proof you need to prove that he was a great coach.

Just because BU hasn’t hung a banner since 2009, doesn’t mean they haven’t “won.” It also doesn’t mean that “Quinn can’t coach” because they haven’t “won,” despite having the best recruiting in the nation.

Jack Parker was at BU for 40 years and “only won” three times. I never heard anyone say Parker couldn’t coach.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bernie Corbett Feature

After coming to BU and joining the program as a student equipment manager for the JV team in 1978, Bernie moved up to the varsity in his sophomore year. This allowed him to work closely with longtime BU head coach Jack Parker and become exposed to the press box. This is also where he first got a taste of radio, a position he has held for 33 years and counting. Over that span, he has seen and described everything that is BU hockey. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cohen on The Fast Track in Broadcast Career

Colby Cohen was named an All 
Amarican in 2011 after scoring 14
 goals from the blue line that season.
(Photo by Matt Dresens/2010)
Nine years ago Wednesday, Terrier defensemen Colby Cohen scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the 2009 national title game to cap off one of the most historic comebacks in college hockey history. Wednesday night also marked Cohen’s first NHL playoff game, not as a player but as a broadcaster.

Cohen first crackled the airwaves before his playing career was even over. After three years at BU, Cohen signed with the Colorado Avalanche, who drafted the Villanova, Pennsylvania native 45th overall in 2007. Cohen played three games for the Avalanche in 2010, before being traded to Boston.

He never quite made it back to the NHL, despite playing 147 games for the Providence Bruins and being a “black ace” for the 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup run. Cohen finished his playing career overseas in Finland and Slovakia, before finishing up in Britain with the Nottingham Panthers in 2015.

During his final season, while recovering from groin surgery, Cohen got his first crack at broadcasting. Like most broadcasting careers, some things just happen by chance.

“Jamie Erdahl was a friend of mine and someone at NESN asked her to ask me if I wanted to come and do a show,” described Cohen. One thing led to another and Cohen was on air for a NESN studio show for Friday night college hockey. He later would work the intermission reports for NESN in the Beanpot and Hockey East tournaments.

For a guy who was not a broadcast major in college, Cohen is very much on the fast track to a long career in the field. Normally a well known and reputable station like NESN is not where people break into the field.

“I really enjoyed my time at NESN because they gave me an opportunity and they had producers that believed in me and saw something in me,” said Cohen. “They gave me my first ever chance and the fact that the first network I ever went on was New England Sports Net, which is a pretty well-respected network, really helped me when I did stop playing and I started doing this more for real.”

Cohen may have traded in his skates and stick for a microphone, but ended up right back in the rinks. After a few appearances on NESN, Cohen jumped in on the broadcast for the 2016 NCAA regionals in Cincinnati with Allen Bestwick.

Much like the game-winning goal in 2009, getting on the call for those games in Cincinnati took a bit of fortune. ESPN had a few BU alums working as producers and found out Cohen had done a bit of TV work and obviously, knew he played the game. Thanks to a last minute drop out, Cohen got the call.


“I just kinda lucked into it. That was the first serious game I had and that parlayed into doing some games with CBS and American Sports Network which then parlayed into another regional. I kinda just got lucky a couple times.”

In a similar path outlined by the NCAA tournament, Cohen moved on from the regionals to the Frozen Four. Last year in Chicago, Cohen was a radio broadcaster for Westwood One. Seven years after playing for a national title, Cohen was describing one on the air.

Of course, radio is not TV. It requires a different skill set in comparison to a TV broadcast, but thanks to the people at Westwood One, Cohen found the transition pretty seamless.

“Their producers care so much about the product that they work with you. I’ve learned more working for Westwood One and I’ve gotten better at what I do working for Westwood One than another network just because my producers give me such specific feedback on my shows.”

The quick learning Cohen got the chance of a lifetime this past winter to work the Olympics in PyeongChang. While he may have wished he was on the ice with his former Terrier teammates Matt Gilroy and John McCarthy, Cohen still found the experience amazing.

“It was an experience I really wanted to take part in as a player and definitely it was something that made me miss playing. But it was a phenomenal experience getting to call Team USA and the Women’s gold medal game. It's definitely something that I will carry with me and remember as a broadcaster.”

The Olympics were also a huge learning tool for Cohen. The quickly rising talent got a front row seat to see not only great hockey, but world-class broadcasters. Ray Ferraro, Darren Pang and Kenny Albert are just a few who were on the calls in PyeongChang.

Like a good player who studies film and watches to see how other players might perform a certain skill, Cohen has taken that approach in the broadcast booth as well.

“You really have to find your own style. You can’t really worry about getting caught up in trying to be someone else. There are four or five guys who I think are just phenomenal at what they do and I try to watch them and take little things from them. I try and see what they do and I try to see how to make it work for me without changing who I am.”

Wednesday night, Cohen called his first NHL playoff game, a 1-0 win for Vegas over Los Angeles. He will be on again in the coming days, working for Westwood One.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

End of the Line - Updated

BU finally went to the well one too many times before it dried up Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, as Michigan put a swift end to BU’s impressive late-season run with a 6-3 victory over the Terriers to advance to the Frozen Four.

In the case of every season-ending loss, emotions were on display at the postgame press conference. Here are a few clips:


Throughout the postseason run, the resilient Terriers never stopped battling. BU overcame 1-0 and 3-1 deficits, but this time was never able to get the lead. In the second period, with Michigan leading 3-1 on goals from Quinn Hughes, Toney Calderone and Brendon Warren, BU’s Patrick Curry put home a wraparound goal to cut the Wolverine lead in half, midway through the second frame. 

Drew Melanson then tied the game 3:30 into the third period. Jordan Greenway, who notched the first Terrier goal, caused a turnover right in front of Michigan goalie Hayden Lavigne (24 saves). From the edge of the crease, Melanson corralled the puck and slipped it in behind Lavigne for his sixth goal of the year. 

Drew Melanson scores his final goal as a Terrier, after coming
to BU for one season as a graduate transfer from RPI.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Michigan had an answer less than three minutes later. Jake Slaker skated in one-on-four across the BU blue line before unloading a shot at the top of the circle that deflected off BU defenseman Cam Crotty and fluttered past Terrier netminder Jake Oettinger (16 saves). 

“We seemed a little bit nervous,” said coach Quinn. “I thought as the game went on, we got a little bit better. We kinda found our rhythm. We did a lot of good things and then we made it 3-3 and you could feel the energy on the bench and then just, unfortunately, one goes off a shin-pad and in the net.”    

BU had a few chances to tie up the game, but Nicholas Boka picked a good time to net his first goal of the year, scoring with less than 3:42 left to ice the Terriers. Nick Pastujov added an empty net goal minutes later to round out the scoring. 

Michigan is back in the Frozen Four for the first time since 2011 when they lost to Minnesota-Duluth in overtime of the National Championship game in St. Paul. Michigan will face Notre Dame in the national semifinals and Duluth matches up with Ohio State. 

For BU, a season that started with unreasonably high expectations considering the talent that departed early (Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller) ended exactly where last year’s team finished. Like Quinn said, to go from where this team was on January 6th (8-11-1), to win Hockey East and an NCAA tournament game is pretty remarkable. 

Let’s also not forget, Patrick Harper, the only skater on the roster to average more than a point a game, didn’t play a single game after January 6th due to a season-ending illness. In his absence, Jordan Greenway and Bobo Carpenter took over the scoring lead, but it also allowed some of the younger guys to develop.

Logan Cockerill exploded onto the scene second semester, scoring critical goals, including one in the Beanpot semis against Harvard and the game winner in game two of the Hockey East Quarterfinals vs UConn. In that stretch, the freshman recorded a 10 game point streak from January 26th to March 10th. 

David Farrance, while he fit in nicely at forward for a bit, was shifted back to defense the weekend of the Hockey East championships at Boston Garden. He immediately looked more confident and his stats mirrored that. Farrance scored, at the time, the game-tying goal against Boston College in the semis and the game-winner against Cornell last weekend at the NCAA’s. He was also named to the "All-Regional Team." 

David Farrance celebrates after scoring the go-ahead goal against Cornell on Saturday afternoon 
(Photos by Matt Dresens)

The big names recruits - Brady Tkachuk and Shane Bowers - showed why they were so highly touted. Bowers was an instrumental piece on the second line with Bobo Carpenter and Logan Cockerill. When Greenway returned from Olympic competition, Tkachuk and senior Drew Melanson formed a surprisingly dominate top line for the Terriers that scored near every ‘big time’ goal down the stretch. 

Unfortunately, only one of those three will even potentially be back in the lineup next Fall. Obviously, Melanson being a senior means he’s graduating. In the case of Greenway’s, the junior from Canton, New York finally inked a deal with the Minnesota Wild and could be in the lineup tomorrow against Nashville. A lot still up in the air with Tkachuk, as well. He will undoubtedly be a top-10 pick come the NHL Draft in June. 

There is certainly a lot to like about where the program is right now. If Greenway is the only early departure, the team is still in fantastic shape going into next year. NTDP players Jake Wise and Joel Farabee headline yet another top-notch recruiting class for Quinn and staff. 

Yes, it's disappointing the way it ended, but there is a lot to look forward to for BU hockey. 

BU, Skate Michigan For Spot in St. Paul

Originally published on WTBU Sports

For the first time since 1997, BU has a date with the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament; and this time the winner will advance to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. The two teams will square off in the Northeast Regional Final in their ninth-ever matchup in the postseason – the most against any opponent for the Terriers. BU is 5-4 against the Wolverines all-time in the playoffs as the 1991 meeting between the two teams was a best-of-three series (BU won 2-0).
From The Vault
Former Terrier Matt Lane scores against Michigan in a
November 21, 2015, loss to the Wolverines at Agganis.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Fourth-seeded BU knocked off top seed Cornell, 3-1, in the early game, while Michigan dropped Northeastern, 3-2. Cooper Marody scored his second of the night for U of M with 4:30 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie that proved to be the eventual game-winner for the Wolverines.

Speaking of Marody, he tops the Michigan scoring charts with 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points. Tony Calderone has paced Michigan in goals scored with 23. Other players to watch include Brendon Warren, Quinn Hughs and Dexter Dancs.

Michigan ended the season on a hot streak, winning seven straight before falling to Ohio State in the Big 10 Semifinals. The Wolverines seemed to fly a bit under the radar this year, despite closing at eighth in the PairWise and landing a two seed in the Northeast Region.

Both BU and Michigan split a pair of games last season in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines winning game one, 4-0, and the Terriers rebounding with a 4-2 victory the second night.

Puck drop is scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Oettinger, Freshman Best Big Red

The beat goes on!

Behind three goals from the freshman class, BU knocked off number three seed Cornell 3-1 in the opening game of the NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, MA. BU is back in the “Great Eight” for the second consecutive year and awaits the winner of Michigan-Northeastern

Men's Hockey vs Cornell (NCAA 1st Round) 3/24/18
Photos by Matt Dresens

Cornell’s Trevor Yates opened the scoring 7:27 into the second frame, but Shane Bowers had the answer just 36 seconds later. David Farrance then clanged a one-timer off the post and in from a Brady Tkachuk pass from behind the goal line to give BU the lead 4:39 into the third.

Logan Cockerill added an empty-net goal in the final minute to secure the win.

Jake Oettinger was fantastic this afternoon, stopping 30 Cornell shots.

Friday, March 23, 2018

BU, Cornell Set For Tournament Tangle

First Published on WTBU Sports

So, by now you have probably heard No. 13 BU won the Hockey East Championship last weekend. You probably also have caught wind that the Terriers are playing in a rematch of Red Hot Hockey against No.4 Cornell in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon in Worcester, Mass.


Cornell, unlike BU, lost in the semifinals of the ECAC tournament last weekend to Princeton, 4-1, at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Big Red are 25-5-2 on the year and landed the third overall seed in their second straight NCAA tournament appearance. A year ago, Cornell was blanked 5-0 by UMass-Lowell in Manchester, N.H. in the first round.

BU (21-13-4), on the other hand, is making their fourth consecutive trip to the national tournament. This is the longest streak in program history since the 1990’s when the Terriers ran off eight successive appearances from 1990 to 1998. This is the first time BU has been selected to play in an eastern regional when they are neither a one seed or a tournament host since the NCAA adopted the 16-team format in 2003.

“Its nice because the last few years we have been out west,” said coach Dave Quinn. “It’s going to be nice to have some fan support. Hopefully, we get a big crowd. Our crowd over the weekend was outstanding. I think it had a little bit with the way we played. Our guys feed off that energy.”

Along with fan support, one of the main factors enabling BU to go on their immersive playoff run has been the play of their top line. Drew Melanson, Brady Tkachuk and Jordan Greenway have been a dominating force since Greenway returned from Olympic competition in late February.

Since Greenway arrived back on campus, Melanson has scored four goals, including three in Hockey East Tournament play alone. Not to mention, he scored the game-winner on Saturday against Providence on a play where both Greenway and Tkachuk won battles below the goal line in order to find the RPI transfer alone out front.

“I think we all compliment each other pretty well,” added Melanson. “Those two guys can be real beasts down low. They both think the game really well, and it just gives myself more opportunity to play offense.”

Scouting The Big Red
The Madison Square Garden meeting back in last November yielded a 4-3 Cornell victory, but that wasn’t without some serious pressure from the Terriers in the later stages of play. BU trailed 3-0 entering the third period and got it to 4-3 before the final buzzer killed the BU comeback.

BU has matured a lot since the first encounter in the Big Apple. Coach Quinn was quick to point that out Thursday afternoon after practice.

“Its funny, we have been watching the game and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, ‘oh, we don’t do that anymore.’ There’s just a lot more continuity. I think it's going to be a completely different hockey game than the one people saw in November.”

Cornell is an extremely balanced team, with not one dominating figure on the stat sheet. In fact, four players have over 20 points and a staggering 15 skaters have hit the double watermark. That said, the hallmark of this Cornell team is defense.

The Big Red ranked tops in the nation in team defense, allowing just 1.53 goals per game. They play a complementary brand of hockey to that of Providence; for comparison, PC ranked ninth in the nation, allowing 2.18 goals per game.

“They do play similar styles. It’s gonna be that strong, tough, down-low grind that we faced against Providence,” Quinn voiced.

Emerging from the pack offensively is junior Anthony Angello, who has netted an even 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points on the year. Right behind him is Trever Yates. Yates, a senior from Beaconsfield, Quebec has 25 points on a dozen goals and 13 assists. Other players to watch include Alex Rauter, Jeff Malott, Mitch Vanderlaan and Brenden Locke.

Between the pipes, Matthew Galajda has been nothing but incredible. The freshman from Aurora, Ontario holds a .940 save percentage and a 1.49 goals-against average, to go along with his 21-4-2 record. Galajda was recently named a finalist for the Mike Richter Award for the nation’s top goaltender. The other finalists are Denver’s Tanner Jaillet, Cale Morris from Notre Dame, Colton Point out of Colgate and Northeastern’s Cayden Primeau.

“You gotta make him move and you gotta take his eyes away,” Quinn explained on how to beat the stout Cornell netminder. “No matter what goalie you are playing, you have to get there [in front of the net] and you got to make it hard for him. One of the things we talked about is, you got to go be the goalie. Who’s going to go stand on top of him? If we do that, we got a chance to score.”

History
BU and Cornell have played twice before in the NCAA tournament and both games were on the grand stage. In 1967, a goalie named Ken Dryden backstopped the Big Red to a 4-1 win and their first national title in program history. BU got their revenge five years later, winning the National Championship against Cornell in 1972 at Boston Garden by a score of 4-0.

Overall, Cornell leads the all-time series 26-19-3.

Puck drop is slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Worcester.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hockey East Championship Photos

Drew Melanson's third period strike proved to be the game-winner, as BU prevailed 2-0 in the 2018 Hockey East Championship game over Providence and will qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Men's Hockey vs Providence, Hockey East Championship  (3/17/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Finals With The Friars

First published on WTBU Sports

Following Patrick Curry and Brandon Duhaime’s overtime goals last night in semifinal play, Boston University and Providence College have a date in the Hockey East Championship game tonight at TD Garden.

Bobo Carpenter attempts to get around PC's Vincent Desharnais
in BU's 2-0 win against the Friars back in November.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU’s Curry scored late in overtime on a punch home shot from Shane Bowers to push the Terriers past Boston College 4-3 in the early game. Hours later, Duhaime netted his seventh goal of the season to put the Friars in the final for the first time since 2001.

The Terriers and Friars are 1-1-1 against each other this year. PC took the first meeting in late October 3-0 at home. BU won 2-0 behind a pair of goals from Chad Krys the following weekend and the two teams skated to a 2-2 draw in mid-January at Agganis.

“We won on our ice, they won on their ice,” said Providence head coach Nate Leaman. “We tied the third time we played on their ice. I think both teams played an overtime game [tonight] so I think it’s going to be a really good game. Us and them in this building tend to be good games.”

Yes… the last time BU and PC squared off on Garden use was the 2015 National Title Game. We’ll spare you the details, but Providence won 4-3.

2015 was also the last time BU advanced to the championship game, a 5-3 win over Lowell. As stated before, Providence’s last appearance in the championship game was 2001, when they lost to BC 5-3.

Scouting the Friars
The defensive mined Friars rank second in the conference in goals allowed at 2.08 per game. PC’s penalty kill is also second in the conference, working at an 87.1 percent clip on the year. This was critical in their win last night against Northeastern, whose power play has been absolutely lethal this season. The Friars blanked the Huskies on the man advantage last night, as NU went 0-3 on the power play.

“I give our assistant coaches Krys Mayotte and Scott Borek a lot of credit because we found a way to kill those three penalties,” added Leaman. “Hayden Hawkey made a lot of great saves and we were able to get through that stretch.”

Somewhat quietly, Erik Foley has amassed 35 points on 16 goals and 19 assists in 35 games played. Brian Pinho and Josh Wilkins have also hit the 30 point mark. Pinho, a Washington draft pick, has a dozen goals and 19 assists, while Wilkins has recorded an even 15 goals and 15 assists. Other players to watch include Hockey East first teamer Jacob Bryson, Scott Conway, and Vimal Sukumaran.

In goal, Hayden Hawkey owns a .915 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average. Last night, the junior from Parker, Colorado turned aside 38 Husky shots for his 23rd win of the season.

In terms of NCAA tournament qualification, BU all but has to win tonight. College Hockey News’ Pairwise Probability Matrix gives BU a zero percent chance of qualifying at large. If the Terriers win, they can climb as high as the 13th seed. For that to happen, Princeton has to beat Clarkson in the ECAC championship game. That would more than likely slate BU up against Ohio State in the NCAA first round.

This is what college hockey is all about, and this is one of the most dramatic nights of the year. Get your seat belts fastened tight and hold on. Tonight’s going to be a wild ride.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Curry Kills BC In OT

It was another classic to add to the annals of the BU-BC rivalry. 15:40 into overtime, Patrick Curry banged home a rebound goal to send the Terriers past the Eagles 4-3 and into the championship game, tomorrow night.

Men's Hockey vs BC, HESF (3/16/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens

BU overcame a 2-0 hole with goals from Ty Amonte and David Farrance 1:37 apart in the middle of the second frame. The Terriers then looked to have gone ahead midway through the third on Jordan Greenway tally, but it was called off for a questionable goalie interference call.

Chris Brown scored late in the third period to put the Eagles up 3-2, but Drew Melanson answered less than a minute later to knot the proceedings again.

In the third period and overtime, Jake Oettinger was simply fantastic, stopping 26 of his total 36 on the night.

BU awaits the winner of Northeastern and Providence in the Hockey East championship. Its BU first appearance in the final since 2015, when they beat Lowell.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

BC Preview - Hockey East Semifinals

First published on WTBU Sports

There’s not much left to say with this. It’s No. 18 Boston University and No. 14 Boston College in the Hockey East semifinals for the second consecutive year. Both teams return to TD Garden after they swept their respective quarterfinal series to advance to play for a shot at the Hockey East Championship game.

From The Vault
BC's Christopher Brown attempts to bat a puck on net in last
year's 3-2 BC win in the Hockey East Semifinals.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“It’s gonna be exciting,” said Coach Quinn after he was informed his Terriers were playing BC in Saturday night’s postgame press conference. “We had a great game with them last year, unfortunately, we came up on the wrong end of the stick. It’s a new year, two new teams. Anytime BU and BC play it’s exciting, but when it’s in the semifinals of the Hockey East playoffs, it gets more exciting.”

Despite getting heavily outplayed at times, the top-seeded Eagles (20-13-3, 18-6-0 Hockey East) dispatched Merrimack in two games. Friday night saw BC get outshot 37-13, but Connor Moore notched a power-play goal late in the first period that proved to be the eventual game-winner.

Game two offered a little more offense, with BC skating away with a 4-3 overtime decision thanks to a Christopher Grando shorthanded goal 4:20 into the extra session.

BU (19-3-4, 12-8-4 Hockey East) also used a pair of one-goal wins to slid past the Connecticut Huskies in the four vs. five series at Agganis Arena. The Terriers used a pair of third-period comebacks to draw even with UConn in game one, before Bobo Carpenter notched the game-winner on a wraparound goal just over five minutes into overtime.

In Saturday’s squabble, Jake Oettinger turned aside 36 shots, including 15 in the third period, to preserve a Logan Cockerill go-ahead tally that came late in the second frame.

For both teams, this game is do or die. BU and BC are both on the outside looking in when it comes to the national tournament. The Eagles are slightly ahead of 18th place BU in the PairWise, sitting at 15th. The cut line is now 14 after Minnesota State lost to Michigan Tech in the WCHA semifinals. Mankato is already a lock to make the tournament, as they are 6th in the PWR, but now the winner of Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech will get an automatic bid.

Both BU and BC virtually have to win Hockey East to get in, meaning this is a true elimination game for both teams. This is a scenario that hasn’t happened in the BU-BC rivalry since the 2006 NCAA East Regional final. All in all, it has only happened four times in the rivalry’s history, 1976, ’77, ’78, 2006. In those four contests, the Terriers are 3-1.

Scouting the Eagles
BC are winners in seven of their last eight, including six consecutive dating back to February 15 at UMass. The Eagles went an impressive 18-6-0 in Hockey East this year, to claim at least a share of the league title for the second straight season. The thing keeping BC out of the national tournament at the moment is their out-of-conference woes. BC is a staggering 0-8-3 in non-conference play, and they still have not won an out of league game since October 2016.

Offensively, freshman Logan Hutsko has carried the torch for BC. In 26 games played, the Tampa, Fla. native and Hockey East Rookie of the Year has amassed 31 points on 12 goals and 19 assists. Not far behind is sophomore David Coton, who has recorded nine goals and 18 assists for 27 points. Graham McPhee and Julius Mattila have both also accumulated a dozen goals thus far. Other players to watch include Casey Fitzgerald, Michael Kim and JD Dudek.

Between the pipes, Joe Woll was the sole reason BC survived the Merrimack series. The sophomore netminder stopped 67 of 70 Warrior shots on the weekend. Over the course of the season, Woll is the owner of a .915 save percentage and a 2.45 goals-against average.

History
BU and BC have squared off five prior times in the Hockey East Semifinals. BU came away victorious in three of those meetings, starting with a dramatic 2003 double overtime game. BC led 5-4 late in the third, before Justin Maiser scored, sending the game to overtime. There, Maiser completed a hat trick, scoring roughly five minutes into the second overtime to send BU to the finals, where they lost to UNH, 1-0, again in double OT.

The next meeting was in 2007. BC cruised to a 6-2 win on goals from six different skaters. In 2009, BC needed a win to prolong their season, but BU had other plans. Trailing 1-0 midway through the third, BU erupted for three goals in 43 seconds to eventually push past the Eagles 3-2. This was the last time either BU or BC ended one another’s season.

The 2013 matchup featured the Terriers needing a win to stave off elimination from the national tournament. Despite trailing 2-0 after the first, BU stormed back, as Evan Rodrigues and Danny O’Regan both scored twice. Garrett Noonan and Matt Lane also added goals in a 6-3 win to put the Terriers in the final. Their season came to end with a 1-0 lost to Lowell.

Then there was last year. Even though BC had a share of the league title, the Eagles still had to win Hockey East to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Ryan Fitzgerald netted two goals and Julius Mattila added another, and the Eagles held a 3-0 lead late in the third. BU scored two extra-attacker goals to make things quite interesting down the stretch, but the Eagles hung on and advanced to the championship game, where they fell to Lowell.

Friday night’s contest will begin at 5 p.m. at TD Garden.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Garden Bound

Behind goals from Brady Tkachuk and Logan Cockerill, BU finished off UConn 2-1 in game two of the Hockey East quarterfinals at Agganis to complete the two-game sweep of the Huskies. Jake Oettinger stopped 36 UConn shots on the evening. BU will play Boston College in the early game of the semifinals next weekend at TD Garden.

Men's Hockey vs UConn, HEQF G2 (3/10/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Weekend With UConn - HEQF

After an idle weekend for both teams, BU and UConn will finally go at it in the Hockey East Quarterfinals starting Friday night at Agganis Arena, with the Terriers slotted as the four seed and UConn the five.

BU, more than likely, has to win the Hockey East Championship to make the NCAA tournament. Despite going 9-2-2 second semester, BU is on the outside looking in in terms of the PairWise rankings. Currently, the Terriers are 19th in the PWR and have a less than ten percent chance at getting an at-large bid.

"It's been an interesting season for sure," said coach Quinn on Tuesday's Hockey East conference call. "Obviously, after we lost to Maine in the first game after break we were 8-11-1 and we were really scratching our head as to where we were at. We felt like we had played some pretty good hockey, yet we are finding ways to lose. There was a difference between playing pretty well and playing winning hockey. Since then, we have turned it around."

The Terriers and Huskies split the season series dead even at 1-1-1. The first meeting came back in a two-game, home and home series in October. Despite two shorthanded goals from Bobo Carpenter, the teams still skated to a 2-2 draw. The following night, Carpenter netted a hat-trick in Hartford and BU rolled 6-3 at the XL Center. Finally, just last month, UConn overcame both a 3-1 and a 4-2 BU leads in the third period, to win 5-4 in overtime on a Max Letunov backhand goal from the slot.

"The task at hand is to play a team that we have had three good games with," mentioned Quinn. They have an older, veteran team and are very well coached. Its certainly going to be a challenge for us."
The Huskies went on a roll to end the season, winning seven in a row from January 20th to February 16th vs BU. In the words of coach Quinn, "They were probably the hottest team in our league at the end of the year." That came after a start where UConn lost five in a row to start the second semester.

Scouting The Huskies
Former BU commit Max Letunov leads the Husky scoring attack with 27 points by way of 11 goals and 16 assists. Senior Spencer Nass is second in total points with 23 and leads the team in goals scored with 12. Alexander Payusov also has netted a dozen goals on the year and has five points in three games against BU alone. Other players to watch include Benjamin Freeman, Jesse Schwartz and Karl El-Mir.

In goal, Tanner Creel is 7-2-2 after taking over in relief of the injured Adam Huska. In total on the year, Creel has a .891 save percentage and 3.20 goals against average in 13 appearances. Huska is now back from his injury, but UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh has elected to ride the hot hand in Creel.

Elsewhere around Hockey East, league regular season champion Boston College hosts 11th seeded Merrimack. The Mack stunned Lowell in two overtime wins to sweep the Riverhawks out of the tournament. Lowell had been in the championship game each of the last five years.

Maine made quick work of UNH, sweeping the Wildcats and will not face Providence. UMass used a thrilling overtime win on Thursday and a blowout victory Sunday to end Vermont's season. UMass will now travel to Northeastern to face the Huskies

Friday, February 23, 2018

Oettinger Stops All 33, BU Gets a Bye

Behind a 33 save shutout by Jake Oettinger, BU blanked Vermont 2-0 in front of 3,654 at Agganis and in the process, locked up a first-round bye in the Hockey East tournament.

Men's Hockey vs Vermont (2/23/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens

Maine lost 6-3 to Boston College at the Heights tonight and that, paired with the BU win, means the Terriers clinch fourth place and a first-round bye to the quarterfinals. BU can host either UConn or Maine.

Drew Melanson redirected a Jordan Greenway pass into the net on the power play 5:37 into the game to open the scoring. Late in the second, David Farrance potted his first collegiate goal to double the Terrier lead.

BU was perfect on the PK tonight, killing all four UVM man advantages.

The two teams will go back at it tomorrow night on senior night. Oettinger will be back in net per coach Quinn. Logan Cockerill missed tonight’s contest with the flu and Patrick Harper will still be out, but Quinn promised more news on that front tomorrow night.

One Last Weekend

First published on WTBU Sports

The regular season comes to a close this weekend at Agganis Arena with Boston University looking to lock down home ice in the Hockey East Quarterfinals in a two-game set against the Vermont Catamounts.
From the Vault
Former Terrier Nick Roberto scores against the Catamounts in
the third period of a 4-0 win on December 10th 2016. BU
took just three shots in the third period night and all
three found the back of the net.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
The Terriers bounced back nicely last Saturday night in North Andover with a 3-1 win against Merrimack after a devastating 5-4 overtime loss to Connecticut the night before. The story of the UConn game was BU’s penalty kill, as the Huskies scored twice on the man-advantage in the third period to overcome Terrier leads of 3-1 and 4-2.

Saturday at Merrimack was a different story. BU blanked the Warriors on the power play and that included a five minute major to Brandon Hickey.

“The thing I liked about the Merrimack kills was the time of it and the way we killed it,” BU Head Coach David Quinn said. “Not only were we successful killing it, I thought we gained momentum from it and I think we might have demoralized them a bit.”

Quinn said he expects Jordan Greenway to be back in the lineup Friday night but said Patrick Harper is still out for this weekend.

Scouting the Catamounts 
Much like BU, Vermont went on a serious hot streak through late January and into February, going 5-0-2 from January 20th to February 16th. In that time span, the Catamounts dug themselves out of the bottom of the league standings and are now in a position to host a first-round series in the Hockey East playoffs. Vermont currently sits in 8th place.

Last weekend, UVM was quickly cooled off at the hands of Northeastern. The Huskies swept the weekend series in Burlington, winning 4-3 in overtime Friday night before rolling to a 4-1 victory the following night.

“They are obviously playing their best hockey of the year,” Quinn said. “They were on that seven-game unbeaten streak before Northeastern and we’ve seen that movie before. This team is fighting for home ice. This team is fighting for playoff seeing just like we are. They have given everyone tough games.”

Sophomore Ross Colton has carried the torch offensively for Vermont. In 31 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect has notched 15 goals and added six assists for 21 points. Freshman Alex Esposito is not far behind in the points race, amassing 19 by way of nine goals and 10 assists. Other players to watch include Matt O’Donnell and two former BU commits in Liam Coughlin and Jarrid Privitera.

In the crease, Stefanos Lekkas has had a strong sophomore campaign. In 30 appearances, he has registered a 2.88 goals against average a .912 save percentage.

BU Hockey East Seeding Scenarios
UConn’s loss to Massachusetts on Thursday night clinched the Terriers a first-round bye in the Hockey East tournament. BU can either be the fourth seed or the fifth seed and depending on this weekend’s results could host UConn, Maine or UMass-Lowell or travel to Maine for the quarterfinal round.

How BU gets the four seed:
– BU gets at least three points vs Vermont
– A BU win or two ties, coupled with one Maine loss to Boston College
– BC sweeps Maine, or Maine only gets one point

How BU gets the five seed:
– Maine earns two more points vs. BC than BU does vs. Vermont (for example, Maine sweeps BC and BU gets two points or less, or Maine gets three points while BU gets one), as Maine owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 2-1 record during the regular season.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Farrance Feeling More Comfortable at Forward

With several players missing time for various reasons this semester, Head Coach David Quinn has made numerous changes, tweaks and switches to his lineup card. The most obvious is plugging freshman defenseman David Farrance in at forward on the third line. 

David Farrance hounds the puck against Merrimack's Ryan Cook
last Saturday at Lawler Rink in North Andover.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Since Patrick Harper has been out sick for the majority of the semester and Jordan Greenway's temporary departure for the Olympics, the move has been a regular occurrence since BU’s 4-3 win at Merrimack on January 19th. Since that day, Farrance has started in five games, four of which have been at left wing. 

“It's been an adjustment,” mentioned Farrance. “It's still hockey. It's still the same game, you just have the puck on your stick a little bit less and you gotta forecheck and maybe hit a little bit more than on defense. It's been a bit of an adjustment, but its still hockey.”  

“We’re deep on the back end,” added Quinn. With the situation we are in with Greenway and Harper, I just want to dress our 18 best players and he’s one of them. He’s a  hockey player and he’s one of the guys who can go up front and do well. He’s creating offense, working hard and being physical."

Friday night, everything came full circle for Farrance back at Merrimack. He led a rush up ice along the far side wall and used his body to shield the puck like a veteran forward. From just below the dot, Farrance threaded a pass between two defenders and found the tape of Gabe Chabot at the edge of the crease for a redirection goal.

“It was a heck of a play he made and to me, that’s why he’s up front,”  added Quinn. 

In total, Farrance has two points, both assists in his four games up front, but they have come in his last two games. 

Farrance said the last time he played forward
was his freshman year of high school at
Victor High just outside of Rochester, NY.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“I don’t mind it, I guess I prefer defense a little bit more,” said Farrance. “That’s what I’m more comfortable with and I feel more effective at defense, but I certainly don’t mind playing forward.”  

Last summer, he was drafted 92nd overall by Nashville in the NHL entry draft as a defenseman. As for the Predators, Farrance mentioned they were not too concerned with the move. 

“They don’t have too big of a problem with it. They think that it will help develop offensive skills and seeing the ice at a different viewpoint. I think they know I’ll be back on defense eventually,” said Farrance. 

While the move doesn’t seem to be permanent, Farrance would prefer to move back to the blue line. For now though, he seems to be staying in place at least until Greenway returns from the Olympics.  

As Quinn mentioned, there is an abundance of talent on the blue line. Skating Farrance as a forward has opened the door for Brian Diffley, who only dressed in 12 games last season. Already, Diffley has passed that number this year, appearing in 14. He has also notched two goals in his last five games, including a two on one strike at UConn last Friday. 

“Diff’s problem is that he doesn’t think he’s as good as I think he is,” said Quinn. “He fights self-confidence. When he plays with confidence, he’s a very good player at this level. He’s playing with more confidence and his decision making is better. He’s playing with conviction and when he does that, he’s a really good player.” 

For Quinn, shifting defenseman to forward is not a new idea. In 2015, Ahti Oksanen made the switch with resounding success. The former Finnish defenseman was slotted in on the top line with Danny O’Regan and Jack Eichel. Oksanan finished the year with 25 goals, just one behind the Hobey Baker winning Eichel. Just last season, stay at home defenseman Doyle Somerby even got a look on left wing. 

Prior to Quinn taking over the head coaching position, Jack Parker slid the ever-offensive David Warsofsky in at forward for a handful of games. In addition, switches have gone the other way. Current Olympian Matt Gilroy walked on to BU as a forward in 2006. In 2009, he won the Hobey as a defenseman. 

There is certainly a long line of success stories and Farrance seems to be on the right path. Whether he stays up front or not, he has certainly been serviceable as a forward thus far.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Women's Hockey Photo Album

Today was senior day at Walter Brown Arena for the BU women's hockey team. BU topped UNH 2-0 on the afternoon behind goals from Kristina Schuler and Victoria Bach. Senior netminder Erin O'Neil turned aside all 33 shots she faced for her first win of the season.

Here's a look at this afternoon's photos:

Women's Hockey vs New Hampshire (2/18/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Back On Track

After a divesting 5-4 overtime loss at UConn last night, BU used three goals from three different skaters to get back on the win train at Merrimack in front of 2,549 at Lawer Rink in North Andover.

Men's Hockey at Merrimack (2/17/18)
Photos by Matt Dresens

Following an eventless first period that saw just 14 total shots, Dante Fabbro pumped home his fourth goal of the year at Lawler Rink to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead with 5:38 left in the second.

Less than three minutes later, Gabe Chabot potted his first of the season off a spectacular centering feed from David Farrance out of the near corner.

MC’s Simon Loof cut the BU lead in half just 2:22 into the third. It was his first collegiate goal.

Logan Cockerill continued his hot streak, netting the putaway goal midway through the third. Drew Melanson won a footrace into the far corner to negate an icing then found Brandon Hickey in the high slot. From there, Hickey dished to Cockerill, who fired a shot high over MC goalie Craig Pentane’s blocker for his sixth goal of the season.

Back in the first, BU showed a lot of poise killing off a Brandon Hickey five minute major for boarding. BU actually outshot MC 2-1 in the five-minute stretch.

BU is back in action to warp up the regular season with a pair of games against Vermont at Agganis.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Familiar Foes

*Originally posted on WTBU Sports*

With just four games left in the regular season, this weekend BU will be on the road for a pair of games against Hockey East schools. First up, a trip back down to Hartford to face the University of Connecticut Huskies, before a Saturday night tilt at Merrimack College.
BU's Drew Melanson cuts across the blue line against UConn
in their October 21st meeting at the XL Center.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
BU has fared well against both opponents thus far. Back in November, the Terriers took three of four points in a weekend series with UConn. Patrick Curry and Bobo Carpenter combined for seven goals in two games, as the two team teams tied in game one and BU rolled to a 6-3 win the following night.

As for Merrimack, BU swept the Warriors in a home and home series back in January. Dante Fabbro notched a hat trick at Lawler Rink the first night, propelling the Terriers to a 4-3 victory. The next night, BU won 3-1 on home ice.

“There’s a familiarity,” said BU Head Coach David Quinn. “In preparation, you are almost reiterating the things you did in first two games that allowed us to have success.”

Despite the loss Monday night in the Beanpot final, a disappointing tie against UMass last Friday, and the temporary departure of Jordan Greenway, the team is still in good spirits.

“[The] guys feel optimistic,” said Quinn. “There’s a lot of good to take out of those two games. I think there was some uncertainty on how we were going to be without Greenway and [Patrick] Harper and I think we have proven we can play well without them. Now we just have to win without them.”  

Speaking of Harper, he is still out with an illness that has sidelined him since before the UNH game on January 12th. Quinn again said there will more information to come next week on his status.

Scouting the Huskies
This semester has been a tale of two streaks for UConn. They are currently riding a six-game winning streak entering the weekend. Prior to the hot spell, UConn had lost five consecutive games dating back to December 30th. Overall, the Huskies are 14-16-2 and 10-11-1 in Hockey East on the year.

Last weekend they managed to do what BU could not against Northeastern: slow down the NU power play. UConn shutout their fellow Husky foe on the man advantage, forcing NU to go 0-4. UConn won the game 4-2 at home.

Offensively, UConn is lead by former BU commit Max Letunov. The Moscow, Russia native has posted 24 points on 10 goals and 14 assists in 32 games. Despite missing almost all of November and only appearing in 23 games, Alexander Payusov leads the team in goals scored with 11. He has also added seven assists to put him at 19 points on the year, good for third on the roster. Sandwiched between Letunov and Payusov in the scoring race is Spencer Nass. Nass has 19 points by way of nine goals and 10 assists. Other players to watch include Benjamin Freeman, Karl El-Mir, and Kasperi Ojantakanen.

Since January 18th when Adam Huska went down with a wrist injury, senior Tanner Creel has stepped into the cage and performed admirably. Creel is 6-2-0 in 11 appearances and is the owner of a .896 save percentage to go along with a 3.14 goals against average.

Scouting the Warriors
Moving on to Merrimack. BU’s 4-3 win at Lawler rink was their first win in North Andover since January of 2013, a 4-1 decision that saw four different Terriers find the back of the net.

Merrimack comes into the weekend winner of just two of their last nine games dating back to January 6th. That includes being swept at the hands of both BU and Vermont in back-to-back weekends. The Warriors last played on Tuesday, February 6th, losing 5-2 at UMass. MC currently sits three points behind New Hampshire for last place in Hockey East.

Leading the charge in the scoring department is Brett Seney. The senior from London, Ontario potted a pair of goals against the Terriers in their first meeting of the year. In total, Seney has 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points. Ludvig Larsson has also recorded 11 goals thus far and added eight assists for 19 points. Other players to watch: Jace Hennig, Jared Kolquist and Derek Petti.

In goal, Craig Pantano has seen the majority of the action, going 7-10-2 in 20 appearances. In that time, Pantano has racked up a .914 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Gaudette's Hat-trick Powers NU to First Beanpot Title Since 1988

Propelled by three power-play goals, including two from tournament MVP Adam Gaudette, who notched a hat-trick on the evening, Northeastern claimed the Beanpot title for the first time in 30 years with a 5-2 win over BU at TD Garden Monday night.
Northeastern spills over their bench to celebrate after the final
buzzer. FULL ALBUM
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Gaudette, a Braintree, Mass native scored two monumental goals at critical times for the Huskies. First, with the game tied 1-1 late in the opening period, he ripped home his 22nd goal of the year from the left-wing circle. Dylan Sikura set the play up with a shot from the far side that caromed off of BU goalie Jake Oettinger right to Gaudette's stick. From there, Gaudette made no mistake.

That put the Huskies up 2-1 after one. The most devastating goal came with just 4.5 seconds remaining in the second stanza. While on the power play, Gaudette finished off a slick passing sequence that started with Jeremy Davies, who worked it down to Sikura in the circle. Sikura wasted little time rifling a pass through the slot, backdoor to Gaudette. He banked it off Oettinger's right skate and in from below the goal line to give NU a commanding 4-1 lead heading to the final stanza.

"The backbreaker was the fourth goal," said BU coach David Quinn. "It’s towards the end of the period. I don't know if we thought the period was going to end and that really sucked the life out of us, really."

"We've had that power play for three years now and it's just clicked," mentioned Gaudette. "We are so confident and so comfortable out there we just know where each other's going to be. We are in the right spots and we are rewarded for that. It was just all five guys out there working as a unit."

Coming into this game, the whole contest was dependent on special teams. BU's penalty kill, that is now 54th in the nation, had to find some way to slow down the potent NU power play. They flat out did not do that. NU went 3 for 3 on the man advantage, while BU went 0 for 2 on their pair of power-play opportunities.

"It’s disappointing from our end," said Quinn. "Two offensive zone penalties, which we just can't have against that team. You can't take penalties like that. You can take a penalty to prevent a goal, that's one thing, but you can't take penalties of that nature and expect to give yourself a great chance."  

BU opened the scoring back in the first period and got on the board first on Logan Cockerill’s fifth goal of the year from Hank Crone and Chad Krys midway through the frame.

NU would score the game’s next four goals. First, Nolan Stevens struck on the power play before Gaudette scored his first of the night to give the Huskies  2-1 lead after one.

The Terriers controlled a lot of the play in the second frame, outshooting NU 14-6, but the Huskies scored the only two goals of the stanza. First, Trevor Owens beat Oettinger high blocker side on a shot that clamored off the crossbar and in. Then, Gaudette scored with 4.5 seconds left in the period.

Shane Bowers scored for BU with less than three minutes to play in the third with Oettinger pulled for the extra attacker. It momentarily cut the deficit to 4-2 before Gaudette potted an empty-netter to register a hat trick and round out the scoring.

For Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan and the rest of the NU hockey community, this win was a long time coming.

"When you haven't won a tournament in 30 years and they keep asking you ‘yo, it's your turn’ and ‘how about the Beanpot?’" mentioned Madigan. "It starts playing on you mentally. These young men just stayed focused on the task at hand and blocked out the noise as much as you can and were just so driven to make sure that this came back to our university."

The NU win ends the longest drought in Beanpot history and now BU has the longest active stretch without a tournament victory. The Terriers last title was in 2015 and since then Boston College, Harvard and now Northeastern have all won the tournament in successive years.

This makes the first time since 1981-1984 that has happened. Also, Harvard beat Boston College 4-3 in overtime of the consolation game. This is the first time since 1974 and 1975 BC has finished last in consecutive Beanpots. BC has still yet to win a non conference game since November of 2016.

Up next for BU, the Terriers with travel to UConn on Friday night, before heading to Merrimack on Saturday.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Beanpot Championship -- Northeastern

By now you know the story. Tomorrow night, BU and Northeastern go head to head in the Beanpot championship game in their third meeting of the season.

Back in November, the Huskies routed BU in a two-game home and home series. First, NU dumped BU 4-1 at Agganis, before torching the Terriers 6-1 at Matthews area the following night.

Patrick Curry celebrates after scoring against NU in
November of 2016.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“I think we have grown up a lot,” said Quinn on how the two teams have changed since their last meeting. “I think our freshman have played a lot more hockey and we are in a different mindset. I think our goalie is playing his best hockey of the season, our special teams are better. There’s a lot of things we are doing differently and thank God because if we weren’t, we would be in a lot of trouble.”  

All in all, NU is 16-8-5 on the year, but the Huskies are 2-3-2 in their last seven. That does include their 3-0 win against Boston College to advance to the Beanpot final for the first time since 2015 when they lost to BU 4-3 in overtime.

At one point this year, NU was statistically the best team in Hockey East. They allowed the least amount of goals as a team and scored the most. That’s not to say they have fallen apart. The offense that was once working at an absurd four-something goals per game clip is now at 2.95 (in conference). BU is actually the best scoring team offense now at 3.10 goals per game.

NU’s defense has been strong all year and since Cayden Primeau has taken over the net, the Huskies have really solidified their netminding situation. NU is only allowing 2.25 goals per game in Hockey East play.

Both teams failed to get a win in the always dangerous weekend game between the semis and championship game of the Beanpot. BU was up 3-1 on UMass in the third period but saw UMass score twice in the final frame to salvage a tie. NU, on the other hand, fell 4-2 at home against UConn.

A major focus for BU will be staying out of the box. NU has the sixth best power play in the country at a 25% conversion rate. The BU penalty kill ranks 44th nationally, working at 78.99%.

“Obviously they have one of the top power plays in the country,” said Quinn. "We are always trying to stay out of the box.”

Scouting the Huskies:
The potent Husky offense is lead by the top scorer in the nation in Adam Gaudette. In 29 games played, Gaudette has amassed 21 goals and 23 assists for 44 points. His linemate Dylan Sikura isn’t far behind. Sikura, who at one point seemed like a lock to make the Canadian Olympic roster, is still with the Huskies, despite notching 14 goals and 25 assists for 39 points. Nolan Stevens rounds out the ever explosive top line for NU, posting 19 goals and 12 assists. Other players to watch include Matt Filipe, Jeremy Davis, and Ryan Shea.

“They are special players,” said Quinn. “They have a little bit of everything on that line. They all do a little bit something different, but they are all special. Sikura has the great vision, Gaudette has the great speed and skill, Stevens has great skill and size. They all have skill, but they all bring a different element to the table. That’s what makes them so special.”

Between the pipes, Cayden Primeau has taken over the Northeastern net, recording excellent numbers thus far. He 12-6-5 on the year and holds a .925 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average.

Friday, February 9, 2018

BU, UMass Efforts Go For Knot

After momentarily falling behind 1-0 on a goal by UMass’ Griff Jeszka 7:45 into the first, BU scored three straight goals before UMass struck twice in the third to level the game and end matters in a draw in front of 4,094 at Agganis Arena

Mitchell Chaffee Scores to tie the game late in the third
period for UMass. Full Album
(Photos by Matt Dresens)
Sandwiched between the two Bowers goals, Bobo Carpenter scored on a breakaway with just 4.5 seconds left in the first period.

Jack Suter and Mitchell Chaffee scored third period goals to dig UMass out of a two-goal hole. First, Suter scored on a tip-in 2:17 into the frame. Then, Chaffee tied things up with just 7:22 left on a rebound.

Jake Oettinger finished with 20 saves. UMass’ Matt Murray turned aside 38 BU shots.

Despite the tie, BU's unbeaten streak is now up to nine games entering Monday’s Beanpot Final with Northeastern.

UMass Round Two

Before Monday night’s Beanpot championship game with Northeastern, BU still has work to do tonight, as two important league points are on the line with UMass coming to town.

Last Friday, BU one-upped the Minutemen in Amherst 3-2 behind goals from Brandon Hickey, Jordan Greenway, and Shane Bowers. Jake Oettinger made 20 saves in his 13th win of the season.

From The Vault
Shane Bowers scores the eventual game-winning goal last
Friday night in Amherst on a two on one.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
“We knew that had a lineup full of speed,” mentioned coach Quinn. “That game could have gone either way. I thought we got better and better as the night wore on, which our best period was the third period and you knew it was going to be a one-goal game with the goalie pulled, like most Hockey East games are and we expect the same thing Friday.”

A few things have changed since these team played just a week ago. For one, Jordan Greenway has departed for Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2018 Winter Olympics. Patrick Harper is still listed as “day to day,” but seems unlikely to play tonight.

“It's tough to make up for a 6-5, 230-pound first-line center,” said coach Quinn. “We have to make sure everyone picks up the slack and that’s what’s happened over the last month with Harper. Everyone has assumed a little more responsibility and that’s what's going to have to happen the rest of the way. We feel like we’ve got the guys to do it.”

Senior Captain Brandon Hickey echoed some of the same comments, saying, “Everyone is waiting for the opportunity to show the team what they can do. It’s a ‘next man up’ mentality where, he’s gone, but we have a bunch of other great players that can play together and pick up the slack for what we are missing with him.”

Outside of Harper, Quinn mentioned that the remaining injury report should be clean. Chad Krys has missed two games since the Arizona State weekend and Bobo Carpenter was injured late Monday night in the Beanpot but did finish the game. Both Krys and Carpenter reportedly practiced yesterday.

Scouting the Minutemen
Since playing BU, UMass is 1-1-0 with a loss at New Hampshire on February 3rd and a win against Merrimack last weekend.

Five freshmen continue to pace the Minutemen offensive attack, with Oliver Chau, Mitchell Chaffee, and John Leonard all above 20 points on the year. Chau leads the team with 21 points by way of eight goals and 13 assists, while Chaffee has a team-high 11 goals on the year.

Defenseman Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro, two of UMass three draft picks are among the best defenseman in the league. Maker was a member of Team Canada at World Juniors this year, and Ferraro was among the finals cuts for the Canadians.

“They have two of the better D in the league,” said Quinn. “They have another good D back there as well. We are going to have to be ready to go. Our guys are smart enough to know we can’t look past them.”

In goal, BU saw Matt Murray last Friday night. Murray on the year is 5-10-1 and holds a .903 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average. His netminding partner Ryan Wischow has a slightly better record at 7-6-0, but a slightly worse save percentage at .895 and a 3.04 goals against.

Trap game?
Not exactly. Since 2000, in years that BU has advanced to the championship game, they are 10-4-0 in the game between Beanpot matches, but BU did lose 3-2 to Lowell in this spot last year. This does not count the five games that were played between Beanpot games in 2015 while Boston was getting slammed with snow, delaying the Beanpot final until February 23rd.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Amonte's Double OT Goal Pushes BU Past Harvard and into Beanpot Final

*First published on WTBU*

BOSTON GARDEN - This game was not for the faint of heart and quite frankly, if you didn’t enjoy this game, you just don’t like sports. 1:55 into the second overtime period, Ty Amonte ended this marathon game between Harvard and BU off a bad angle wrist shot that beat Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen high over his shoulder to propel the Terriers into their fourth straight Beanpot final.
BU Celebrates after Ty Amonte's double overtime goal.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
For Amonte, it was just his fourth goal of the season, but it all started with a heads-up play. From just inside the Harvard blue line, Amonte picked up a loose puck and rather than just dump it back down in the corner, he chose to take it out of the zone and regroup with speed through the neutral zone.

“I got the puck, and I was going to make a backhand saucer pass to Dante [Fabbro], but I knew coach would have cut my head off,” depicted Amonte. “So, I just turned it up ice and we have been talking a lot beating guys down to the hash marks and taking the puck wide, so I just did that. I just wanted to get the puck on net because I know we have been trying to do that and it went in. It’s a good feeling.”

In the first overtime, both teams had multiple chances to end things. For BU, a Dante Fabbro point shot was tipped on its way through and Madsen was somehow able to keep the puck from going in after it had already popped up in the air and was behind him.

Harvard, on the other hand, had a power play chance just prior to the Fabbro bid, as Amonte was called for holding. Thanks to Jake Oettinger, who was even stickless at one point during the kill, the Terriers survived. Both teams skated back an forth trading chances and there was a stretch that lasted a good seven minutes without a whistle.

After BU took a 1-0 lead way back in the first period on a Logan Cockerill power play goal from Drew Melanson and Brandon Hickey, Harvard dominated the second frame. The Crimson outshot BU 20-4 in the middle stanza but only could find twine once. That was off the stick of Ty Pelton-Byce out in front on a pass from Ryan Donato.

“The second period was about as bad a period as we have played all year,” stated coach Quinn. “We talked in between the second and third periods and we felt very fortunate that it was a 1-1 hockey game. We had to make a decision. Do you want to play at 4:00 next Monday? or do you want to play at 8:00?”

Brandon Hickey sure looked like he would rather be back for the nightcap, as he struck just 32 seconds into period number three. Jordan Greenway hit Hickey out of the corner with a pass to the left point. From there, Hickey took two strides and shoveled a backhander on Madsen that was kicked out. Luckily for Hickey, the rebound came right back to him and from the edge of the crease, the pitching defenseman made no mistake on this backhand bid.

The lead was short-lived, though. Just 1:32 later, Jack Badini roofed a rebound off a Nathan Krusko shot as the PA was still announcing the Hickey goal.

Despite the quick Harvard response, BU controlled the play for the most part in the third and outshot the Crimson 12-4.

“I thought in the third period we started playing the brand of hockey we have been over the last month,” said Quinn.

“We were doing the right things in the third period and in overtime and it led to a nice goal,” added captain Brandon Hickey. “I’m really excited to be headed back to the finals and Northeastern is a good crosstown rival so it's going be a lot of fun to go out there in that atmosphere.”

Jake Oettinger was simply fantastic. He finished the game with a season-high 47 saves, inclined 17 in the third period and overtime.

“Obviously our goalie stood tall when he had to, said Quinn. “He was huge in the second period, made some big saves on the penalty kill in overtime.”

Way back in what seems like another semester now, Northeastern dropped Boston College 3-0 in the early game. That means it will be the Huskies and Terriers in a rematch of the 2015 final next Monday. The NU shutout marks the first time Northeastern has blanked BC in the series since 1988, the year they last won the Beanpot.

With the win, BU extends their win streak that dates back to January 19th to six games and their unbeaten streak to eight games. Before the Beanpot Championship game, BU will have to finish off their extended home and home series with UMass on Friday night at Agganis.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Beanpot Round One -- Harvard

Well, that happened quickly. It seems like just the other day we were doing season preview articles and here we are at the Beanpot. Tonight, BU will look to get revenge against Harvard for last year’s 6-3 loss in the final that crowned the Crimson Beanpot champions for the first time since 1993.

From The Vault
Bobo Carpenter tips a shot over Harvard's Merrick Madsen in
last year's Beanpot Championship game.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
There was high expectation, much like the Terriers coming into this season for Harvard. A year ago, they came up one goal short to Minnesota-Duluth in the National Semifinal and were a ranked fourth in the preseason USCHO poll. Now, Harvard is 10-8-4 and sit in 23rd in the Pairwise.

BU, on the other hand, has dug themselves out of the low 30s in the PWR and enter the Beanpot at 20th. BU is currently riding a seven-game point streak.

Over the weekend, both teams won their lone respective contests. Harvard made quick work of Dartmouth, dropping the Big Green 4-1 in Hanover, while BU one-upped UMass 3-2 in Amherst.

BU Notes
As of Friday night, coach Quinn was still listing Patrick Harper and Chad Krys as “day to day,” but did mention they both have a chance to play tonight.

Jordon Greenway will be in the lineup tonight. He leaves later this week to join the rest of Team USA in South Korea for the Olympics.

Scouting the Crimson 
To no surprise at all, Ryan Donato has a comfortable lead in the Harvard scoring race. In 22 games played, the Bruins draft pick and soon to be Olympian has amassed 21 goals and nine assists for 30 points. Ten points behind him is fellow junior Lewis Zerter-Gossage, who has notched seven goals and a team-high 13 assists. Other players to watch include Jack Badini, Reilly Walsh, and Adam Fox.

In goal, Merrick Madsen holds a 7-6-3 record in 17 appearances. In that time, the Acton, New Jersey native holds a .921 save percentage and a 2.20 goals against average.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Amherst Bound

*Originally posted on WTBU Sports*

Looking to continue its current six-game unbeaten streak, BU travels to Amherst Friday night to take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen in a one-game set at the Mullins Center.
From The Vault
Bobo Carpenter scores in a 2016 contest against UMass,
a 7-2 BU win.
(PHoto by Matt Dresens)
“I think we’ve got better goaltending, our D-core has played better and our forwards have played better,” mentioned BU Head Coach David Quinn as to why his team has been playing better as of late. “We weren’t that far away when we were 8-11-1. We played some good hockey, we just didn’t play enough winning hockey. I think there’s a little bit more of a feel to our team and we have improved just enough in certain areas to win these tight games.”

Last weekend, the Terriers powered past Arizona State in the program’s first ever trip to the desert, winning Friday night 8-0 and squeezing out a 4-3 decision on Saturday. The two wins came at a cost though. Chad Krys suffered an upper-body injury Saturday night and Patrick Harper still has yet to play since coming down with the flu prior to the UNH game back on January 12th.

Quinn noted that Krys is definitely out for the weekend while Harper will be a game-time decision.

As for UMass, the Minutemen are 2-7-1 since the semester break and dropped three games last week. First, on Tuesday, Boston College edged UMass 2-1 before Maine swept a weekend series with a pair of 3-2 wins.

A quick glance at the league standings shows BU is currently slotted in fourth place, tied with Lowell at 20 points. Boston College continues to pace the field, holding a two-point lead on second place Northeastern with 26 total points. The top five teams have all played the same amount of games.

BU is unbeaten (9-0-1) in their last ten games against UMass. That includes the 2016 Hockey East First Round series sweep by the Terriers and a pair of games last season, one of which was at Fenway Park. The last time BU lost to UMass was all the way back in February of 2013, a 5-1 UMass victory at Mullins Center.

Scouting the Minutemen
The young UMass attack is highlighted by freshman, five of whom have carried the offense thus far. First up, Oliver Chau is the overall leading scorer, posting 20 points by way of eight goals and 12 assists. Mitchell Chaffee is just two points behind and leads UMass in goals scored with 10. John Leonard and Mario Ferraro both have notched 17 points.

Then there is Cale Makar. The dynamic Canadian defenseman, who played a pivotal role in Team Canada’s success at the World Juniors this past December and January, was the fourth overall pick in the NHL draft last summer by Colorado but has missed the past three games with an injury. His status for tonight is unknown.

Between the pipes, Matt Murray and Ryan Wischow have both seen equal time. Murray in 4-9-1 with a .898 save percentage and a 3.09 goals against. Wischow, on the other hand, has a winning record at 7-5-0 and holds an identical .898 save percentage to go along with a slightly better 3.03 GAA.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fabbro Hat-Trick Goal The Difference At Merrimack

First published on WTBU

NORTH ANDOVER - With just under five minutes to play, Dante Fabbro picked the perfect time to register the first hat-trick by a BU defenseman since January 2016, scoring the eventual game-winning goal to push BU past Merrimack 4-3 at Lawler Rink.

Chad Kys and Dante Fabbro celebrate after Fabbro's first
period power play goal. - Full photo album -
(Photos by Matt Dresens)
Fabbro pumped home his third goal of the night from the top of the right circle with 4:27 left, beating Merrimack goalie Craig Pantano, who made 25 saves on the night. The last BU hat-trick by a defenseman came in a 7-2 drubbing of UMass at Agganis by Matt Grzelcyk. Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to November 2003, when both Ryan Whitney and Kevin Schaeffer scored three times each from the blue line in a 7-2 win against Yale.

“The third one was a little more difficult,” mentioned Fabbro. “The guy kinda had the shooting lane blocked and I just tried to get it towards the net. It was honestly pretty lucky. Lucky that I shot it on the ice and it went five-hole.”

For BU, this was not a dominating win. It was a millstone grinder that saw a two-goal lead at the end of the first period dry up early in the third frame before the late Fabbro heroics.

All in all, coach Quinn was happy with his team’s performance, saying “Its a big two points on the road in a place we haven’t won in a long time. We didn’t do it the easy way, that’s for sure.”

Merrimack opened the scoring 4:39 into the game, as Brett Seney recorded his first of two on the night, beating Jake Oettinger on a sharp angle to the glove side.

After what Quinn described as a sluggish start, BU woke up big time late in the period, scoring three goals in 70 seconds. First, Fabbro put home goal number one from the far side off a slick feed from Jordan Greenway down low to tie the game on the power play. 47 seconds later, Shane Bowers poked home a rebound to give BU a 2-1 lead. Then, 23 seconds after that, Fabbro was at it again, ripping home a shot from up top off a centering carom.

“The first one was a power-play goal,” recalled Fabbro. “Greener gave me a pretty sweet pass backdoor and the second one was a lot like the third. It just trickled out and I was able to get a couple shots on net. Luckily they went in.”

The three-goal outburst was BU's fastest three goals since the 2009 Hockey East Semifinal, when Zach Cohen, Brian Strait, and Colin Willson accomplished the feat in just 43 seconds.

Despite having Merrimack’s Marc Biega register the only goal of the second period, Quinn saw the frame as a much stronger period for the Terriers. “I liked how we battled back after the first period. Even though we were winning 3-1, I thought we played a lot better in the second. We sustained a lot of pressure and had some chances that just bounced out on us. I don’t know how we missed them.”

4:48 into the third, the game was tied. Brett Seney deposited his second of the game on the man advantage, leveling things at 3-3. Following the goal, both teams traded chances. Cole McBride was denied on a partial breakaway by Oettinger, and Bobo Carpenter just missed a rebound bid.

All of that set the stage for Fabbro’s game-winning, hat-trick goal. On the ensuing shift, Oettinger made a crucial glove save to stymie a Merrimack counter and preserve the win. In total, Oettinger turned aside 28 shots.

BU now has registered at least a point in each of their last three games, their longest such streak of the year. The two teams will go at it again tomorrow night on Comm Ave starting at 7 pm.