Friday, February 5, 2016

BU Doubles Up UMass

From the drop of the puck, BU controlled this game with the exception of a small window in the third period.

With BU leading 5-1 in the third, UMass notched two goals in less than a minute to make an otherwise wildly non competitive game a bit more interesting. Dominic Trento scored a power play goal 6:09 into the period and Joe Widmar potted his first goal of the year at 7:03 to make it 5-3.

Well before UMass made a run at a comeback, BU amassed a sizable lead in the first period.

The Terriers scored on their first shot on goal when Jordan Greenway backhanded in a shot from the point by Brandon Hickey. The shot hit off the end-boards and found Greenway's stick and had nothing to shoot at but an empty net. The goal came just 57 seconds into the game.

Less than two minutes later, BU struck again on a wraparound Chase Phelps goal. Two minutes later, Phelps assisted Mike Moran's second goal of the year to make it 3-0.

Minuteman goalie Henry Dill was yanked after the Phelps goal. He allowed two goals on three shots. Nic Renyard came in and played the remainder of the game, making 27 saves.

UMass got on the board at 7:04 by Ray Pigozzi on the power play. Oskar Andrén scored his first collegiate goal in the final minute of the period to round out an eventful first frame in Amherst.

Danny O'Regan scored the lone goal of the second on the power play off a Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson pass.

Finally, Jordan Greenway put away any hope of a UMass comeback with his second goal of the game with 7:50 left to make it 6-3.

Sean Maguire made 24 saves.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

UMass Round Two

Tomorrow night,  BU heads to Amherst for a one game trip with the Minutemen. I alluded to this earlier in the week, but the game between Beanpot games has been a historically strong game for the Terriers. Dating back to 2000, BU is 9-3-0 in games between the semis and the final of the Beanpot. 
From The Vault
Jordan Greenway leads a rush up ice vs UMass back on
January 9th.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BU and UMass squared off a little less than a month ago at Agganis and BU took them to the woodshed, winning 7-2. In fact, BU has steamrolled the Minutemen the last three times the two teams have met. BU has outscored UMass 24-8 in those three games. 

UMass has really had a tough go of it recently. Since losing to BU on January 9th, they have yet to win a game and have struggled to find offense. In their last six game, UMass was out scored 33-11. The low point of the season (and some have even called it the low point of the program's history) came on January 22nd at home to Boston College. They were shutout 8-0 and BC's Jerry York won his 1000th game in the process. Last weekend, the Minutemen were swept at home by the last place Maine. 

The Black Bears had the worst statistical offense in the conference, but still managed to score 10 goals in two games. 

UMass sits in last place in Hockey East with just 8 points.  

Scouting the Minutemen
Shane Walsh and Ray Pigozzi both come into Friday's game with 23 points. Walsh leads the team in goals scored with 15 and has added 8 assists. Piggozzi has amassed 7 goals and 16 assists. Other players to watch include: Dennis Kravchenko, Steven Iacobellis and Austin Plevy. 

In goal, BU saw Alex Wakaluk and posted a touchdown on him. Overall, he has a .855 save percentage on the year and a 4.29 goals against average. Nic Renyard has seen the majority of the time in net. In 20 games, the freshman has posted an .897 SVP  and a 3.70 GAA. 

BU Notes
- According to the Boston Hockey Blog, Coach Quinn said Nik Olsson is out for the remainder of the year with an upper body injury. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Weekend Lookback: Moving On

Player of the Week
Danny O'Regan
1 goal, 1 assist. This one wasn't
stats based, but eyeball test. He
was the best player on the ice
for either team last night.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Last night, for whatever reason, felt like the ultimate grinder of a win. That might be because it was the first real "playoff" type game of the year. Also, BU has come from behind so many times, it was almost weird having the lead for so long in that type of game. 

Coach Quinn also shared this view. "It got a little hairy there when it was 2-1. I thought we had plenty of chances to make it 3-1. As that game keeps going on, it only takes one goal to change momentum. I thought we responded well after they made it 2-1, I know we spent a lot of time in their own end… Just a good team effort."

It was really a team effort. In fact, the whole weekend was a team effort. BU picked up seven goals from six different players, with Robbie Baillargeon being the only player with two goals. Both Sean Maguire and Conor LaCouvee registered wins. Even though LaCouvee only played 5:49 of the Merrimack game, he still stepped in and did his job, getting the win. 

Cleaning Things Up
The thing that made last night's 3-1 win over NU such a grind was BU's defensive zone play. There were several instances where plays could have been made to get pucks out, but instead were kept in at the NU line. The lone Husky goal was a perfect example of this. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson won the face off to Matt Grzelzyk and then forced it up the boards, to the line but not out. NU quickly set up a point shot and John Stevens banged home a rebound. 

There were other times the Terriers would turn pucks back down on themselves when they had a clear lane to at least get the puck out. Thankfully, Sean Maguire played yet another strong game to help bail out his teammates. 

You could say I'm being a bit nitpicky here, but to anyone who watched that game, they know how close it was. With BU not able to solve Ryan Ruck after the first period the door was still quite a bit open for NU to pop in a goal or two. 

Buckling Down
That all being said, it was impressive what BU did defensively after the NU goal. With around two minutes left, BU proceeded to hold the puck down in the NU zone for a solid minute with a strong shift from the Matt Lane line. Okskar Andrén beat out a very close icing call with just over a minute left. It was a huge play in the game because Northeastern didn't get to set up a play off an attacking zone face off and the clock kept running. 

Trap Game? Not Really
One would think that the game between the Beanpot would be a game that is easily over looked and could lead to a slip up. Well, it hasn't really been the case for BU. Since 2000, in years that BU has advanced to the championship game, they are 9-3-0 in the game between Beanpot games. This is not counting the five games that were played between Beanpot games last year while we were getting slammed with snow. Friday night, BU plays at UMass. 

At The Polls 
This weeks poll came out prior to the Beanpot, and BU stayed in the number nine slot. Quinnipiac was again first, North Dakota second and St. Cloud third. BC moved up one peg from fifth to fourth, while Michigan slid into the top five from sixth.

BU moved up from 11th in the PWR to 8th following the NU game. 

Around Hockey East
Tuesday: UConn fell 7-4 at home to Sacred Heart.

Friday: Providence topped New Hampshire 3-1 at Schneider… Maine found some much needed offense and took down UMass 5-2 at the Mullins Center… Boston College blanked Notre Dame 4-0 in South Bend… Lowell skated past Arizona Sate 4-1 at home… BU shutout Merrimack 4-0 at Agganis.

Saturday: New Hampshire managed a slip with Providence with a 3-1 on the road… Maine complete the road sweep of UMass with a 5-4 win… Lowell steamrolled ASU 8-1.

Sunday: Merrimack absolutely destroyed Arizona State 10-0. They were up 9-0 after two periods.


Monday (Beanpot): BC came from behind to beat Harvard 3-2… BU advanced to the Final with a 3-1 win over Northeastern. 

Bracket Projections Week 2

Current PWR

1. Quinnipiac
2. St. Cloud State
3. North Dakota
4. Michigan
5. Boston College
6. Providence
7. Harvard
8. Boston University 
9. Nebraska Omaha 
10. Notre Dame
11. Lowell
12. Denver
13. Yale
14. RPI
15t. Dartmouth 
15t. Cornell
17. Mankato (WCHA)
21. Robert Morris (AHA) 

Every league in the NCAA must have one team in the field and I am assuming the highest rated team in the PairWise has won their respected conference tournament. So, Robert Morris and Mankato get in, Cornell and Dartmouth are out. 

Field of 16

1. Quinnipiac
2. St. Cloud State
3. North Dakota
4. Michigan
5. Boston College
6. Providence
7. Harvard
8. Boston University 
9. Nebraska Omaha 
10. Notre Dame
11. Lowell
12. Denver
13. Yale
14. RPI
15. Mankato (WCHA)
16. Robert Morris (AHA) 

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

Worcester
1. Quinnipiac vs 16. Robert Morris 
8. Boston University vs 9. Nebraska Omaha

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud State vs 15. Mankato  
7. Harvard vs 10. Notre Dame

Cincinnati
3. North Dakota vs 14. RPI
6. Providence vs 11. Lowell

Albany
4. Michigan vs 13. Yale 
5. Boston College vs 12. Denver 

So there is one inter-conference matchup, Providence-Lowell. Lowell should get moved because they are the lower seed. First, we should try and keep them as a three seed. Moving them to Albany is a no because they would face BC. Lowell to St. Paul would work, but that would send Notre Dame to Cincinnati and then we are right back to where we started. Moving the River Hawks to Worcester would also not work because they would play BU. That all being said, the only thing we can really do is to ship them to Albany and essentially make them a four seed. With that, Lowell faces Michigan and Yale is sent to Cincinnati to play Providence. 

How about attendance… I think its pretty good this week.    

Final Bracket 

Worcester
1. Quinnipiac vs 16. Robert Morris 
8. Boston University vs 9. Nebraska Omaha

St. Paul
2. St. Cloud State vs 15. Mankato  
7. Harvard vs 10. Notre Dame

Cincinnati
3. North Dakota vs 14. RPI
6. Providence vs 13. Yale

Albany
4. Michigan vs 11. Lowell 
5. Boston College vs 12. Denver  

New this week: RPI, Mankato
Out from last week: Bowling Green, Cornell

Two First Period Goals Push Terriers To Beanpot Final

Someone with no rooting interest who just buys Beanpot tickets every year may have called tonight's 3-1 win over Northeastern boring or dull. That was not the case for anyone in a BU sweater in the stands. It was a stressful grind from the start.

With a two goal lead late in the third, BU was back on their heals and sitting on the lead. At the 9:02 marker of the third, Danny O'Regan almost broke through and got the definitive third goal. But, upon further review, the puck never crossed the line. It was sweat it out time from then on in.

Northeastern aggressively pulled goalie Ryan Ruck with almost 3:30 left. The move paid off. John Stevens swatted home his eighth goal of the year from just outside the crease to make it a one goal game with 3:12 left. The goal finally solved Sean Maguire, who was stellar all night. He made 24 saves, including 11 in the third period.

Way back in the first period, BU opened the scoring at the 13:14 marker. A shot came in from the outside by Ryan Cloonan and was tipped past Ruck by Bobo Carpenter. On it's way toward goal and after the tip, Robbie Baillargeon batted it in out of mid-air. It was tough to tell if the Carpenter tip would have sent the puck wide or not but, nevertheless Baillargeon put away any doubt. It was his third career Beanpot goal and second against NU.

Not long after, BU struck again, this time off the stick of Charlie McAvoy. Oskar Andérn hit Danny O'regan with a hot pass coming through the neutral zone. Just inside the blue line on the far side, O'Regan dropped the puck off for McAvoy and two Huskies followed him. This allowed McAvoy to gather the puck, take a few steps and set up a screen shot off a curl and drag move. The shot pierced through the screen and caught the top right corner over Ruck's shoulder. He never saw it. It was McAvoy's first goal since opening night at Union.

BU would not score another goal until the last minute of the game. It wasn't for not trying, though.

Ruck played out of his mind to keep the Huskies in it. He stopped Matt Lane on a onetime rocket in the second frame on the power play. Earlier in the second, he denied Matt Grzelcyk in tight with a strong right leg save, again on the power play.

Late in the third, Ryan Cloonan drilled a wrister off the elbow of the goal. That and the O'Regan almost-goal would have sealed it long before Doyle Somerby nailed a 190ft empty net goal with 40.3 seconds left.

After NU made it 2-1, Oskar Andrén beat out a very close icing call. It was a great hustle play that set up a solid minute of attacking zone time for the Terriers. This really helped kill clock for BU.

The Terriers will face Boston College in the Final next Monday. BC dropped Harvard 3-2 in the earlier game. First up, though is UMass on Friday night in Amherst.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

BU-NU Square Off In Championship Game Rematch

It's that time of year again and it can only mean one thing: Beanpot. Tomorrow night, BU and Northeastern will square off in a rematch of last year's championship game. If anyone forgot, BU walked off in the opening minute of overtime on a power play goal from Matt Grzelcyk. It was BU's 30th Beanpot crown and left NU still searching for their first title since 1988.
From The Vault
BU celebrates after winning last year's Beanpot. Photo quality is
terrible because I took it on my phone.
(Photo by Matt Dresens) 
Coming into Monday night's game, NU is following a similar path as to when the two teams met in last year's championship game. The Huskies are on a six game win streak and have only lost one game since November 27th. Last year, NU won seven consecutive games before falling to Maine the Saturday before the Beanpot Final.

Much like a year ago, NU limped out of the gate. They lost 11 of their first 14 games, but come into Monday's tilt with a 9-12-4 record. Since playing in the Belpot (Friendship Four in Belfast) in late November, NU is 8-1-1 and have outscored their opponents 44-21. In the streak, NU has knocked off St. Lawrence, New Hampshire, and Merrimack twice, tied Quinnipiac and Boston College and beat Michigan State and Colgate once. Their only loss was to Boston College and they were up 2-0 and 3-1 in that game, but lost 4-3 at home.

Earlier this year, BU caught NU in the middle of their dismal 13 game winless steak. BU won a back and forth, seesaw type of game at Agganis on November 6th, 5-4. The following night, the Terriers rolled to a convincing 4-1 at Matthews.

Scouting the Huskies
Zach Aston-Reese currently is the offensive leader for the Huskies. In 25 games played, Aston-Reese has 7 goals and 16 assists for 23 points. Nolan Stevens has the most goals on the Huskie roster with 10. Other players to watch include Dylan Sikura, John Stevens, Matt Benning and Adam Gaudette, who scored in both games vs BU earlier this season.

Then there is Kevin Roy. Yes, that Kevin Roy who always seems to score against BU in the Beanpot. Well, he only has seven points on the year and surprisingly has not scored a goal yet. He was out with an injury from November 13th to January 22nd and has posted two assists in two games back. In total, the Lac-Beauport, Quebec native has only played in 13 games.

In goal, freshman Ryan Ruck has seen action in 21 games and has a 7-9-3 record with a .906 save percentage and a 2.47 goals against average. BU posted eight goals on him in two games on 62 shots. That's an .886 sv%.

Out Of Conference Common Opponents 
Bentley
Bentley 3, at NU 2 (October 16)
NU 1, at Bentley 4 (October 17)

BU 3, Bentley 0 (November 24)   

Quinnipiac
BU 4, at Quinnipiac 1 (December 12)

Quinnipiac 3, at NU 3 (January 2)

BU Notes
- BU will be the home team in both games no matter if they play in the Consolation game or the Final a week from Monday. They won the coin flip at the Beanpot Lunch earlier this week. 

- Maguire in net.

- Still no word on Nik Olsson's availability.

- I would suspect that Ryan Cloonan will be back on the top line with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Danny O'Regan. Oskar Andrén will likely be back on the third line.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Terriers Take Out Warriors

Tonight's 4-0 shutout of Merrimack followed a bit of an odd story line. BU goalie Sean Maguire may have not allowed any goals, but he also did not record a shutout or even a win for that matter.

Matt Lane celebrates after scoring BU's third goal of the night
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

It could not have been a worse start for BU in the first period. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson was whistled for a roughing call just 22 second into the game. On the ensuing Merrimack power play, Maguire's skate blade detached from his skate and he was hopelessly trying to tend goal and push off with no blade in his left skate. Finally, for what must have felt like a decade for Maguire, BU got whistle and Maguire skated to the bench with some help. Somehow, Merrimack didn't score here.

While Maguire was having his blade reaffixed to his skate, Connor LaCouvee came in and played 5:49 of game time. In that 5:49, he made one save and Robbie Baillargeon scored what was the eventual game winning goal. So even though Maguire played 52:54 of this game, he is not credited with the win because BU scored the go-ahead goal in his absence. In fact, Maguire doesn't even get a statistical shutout.

On the Baillargeon goal, Robbie was set up with two crisp passes. First, Brian Diffley to Matt Lane and then Lane to Baillargeon in the middle of the near circle. Robbie wristed home his fifth goal of the year to MC goalie Collin Delia's blocker side.

That was BU's only goal in a dominate first period.

The second period had a sort of a ho-hum sort of feel to it. There were several calls on both sides that were very suspect and rather ticky-takcy. It made for a period that had very little flow and not much excitement.

Danny O'Regan changed all of that with 4:08 left in the period with a shorthanded marker. He disrupted a pass in the neutral zone, then was stripped of the puck near the attacking blue line. He then got it back and split the D. Then lost it again, only to have the MC defender give it right back to him. O'Regan was then in the clear and did a nice job protecting the puck with his body to make sure he wouldn't lose it again. From the slot, he roofed a quick wrister up over Delia's left shoulder to extend the lead.

Midway through the third, Matt Lane further distanced the Terriers. At the dot on the far circle, Lane fired off a shot that hit Delia up high and popped up toward the roof. It came down behind him and bounced around in the crease. Meanwhile, after Lane took the initial shot he was forced behind the net, but stuck with the play. From behind the goaline, he batted home 14th goal of the year.

Ahti Oksanen rounded out the Terrier offense with an empty net goal off a pass from Matt Grzelcyk. The goal was his 50th career goal as a Terrier and 14th of the year.

Maguire, even though he didn't officially get his shutout, finished with 27 saves and stopped everything that came his way.

Before the game, BU's longtime PA man Jim Prior was horned for his time at the scorers table.

Next up, Northeastern on Monday night in the opening round of the Beanpot.