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.”

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.

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