It probably wasn’t how head coach David Quinn drew it up, but he’ll gladly take three out of four points from this past weekend’s series with the University of New Hampshire.
After slumping hard, the No. 4 Boston University men’s hockey team clawed its way back to the status quo, outscoring UNH 12-8 across two contests. It got underway with a 4-4 tie at Agganis Arena on Friday night, then wrapped up with an 8-4 win for the Terriers over the Wildcats up in Durham, New Hampshire on Saturday evening.
- Friday’s recap.
- Friday’s sider about some unexpected lines.
- Saturday’s recap.
- Saturday’s side about a comprehensive team effort.
- The Cloonan line – The third line of Kieffer Bellows, Chase Phelps and Ryan Cloonan looked strong all weekend. It finished with six points on Friday night and displayed some true chemistry. All three players have dipped at various points in 2016-17, so it’s nice to see them hitting their stride.
“I love it. All three of us bring different aspects from our game. Cloonan is such a fast, great skater, makes great plays. Then Chase Phelps is a strong body who gets to the corners. You saw his release out there – it’s nice and quick, gets it on net. I just try to do my best to do whatever I can to help the team out. If that’s chipping it in, hitting a body, I think our whole line has great chemistry going right now.” – Bellows
- Shuffled lines – Speaking of lines, who on Earth expected Doyle Somerby to play as a fourth line winger? That’s how crazy the new lines were, but some of the combinations bore fruit. The top line of Jordan Greenway, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Clayton Keller can score at any moment. Meanwhile, the group of Nick Roberto, Patrick Harper and Bobo Carpenter isn’t too shabby, either. For JFK, the changes were necessary after a 6-3 loss in the Beanpot final to Harvard on Monday.
“Sometimes you need to do something after a game like the against Harvard. I think it was reactionary.” – Forsbacka Karlsson
- Team Defense – The defense needs to tighten up big time, though. UNH’s top line of Tyler Kelleher, Jason Salvaggio and Michael McNicholas was potent all weekend, and BU had no answer for them. When stronger teams come around, the Terriers can ill afford to let star players shine like Kelleher and Co. did.
“Kelleher is a really good player. Every time he’s out there, he’s extremely dangerous and makes a lot of plays happen. Those other guys seem to find him all over the ice. If they can find open space they’ll be dangerous, and you have to be aware of that.” – Harper
- Patrick Harper – Harper had himself quite the weekend, too. He had three points on Saturday night, and quietly now has 31 points on the year. For one, Quinn called hailed his performance.
“He had a great weekend. He didn’t feel great about himself after the World Juniors. You win a gold medal, he didn’t play a lot, so I think people usually come back from that and take off. Our guys haven’t. A lot of our guys have struggled or haven’t played to the best of their ability. This weekend I think a lot of those guys found their stride. He certainly was one of them. I thought this was as good as he’s played all year.” – Quinn
- Third Period – This is still a third period team. After struggling in both first frames against UNH, BU bounced back in a major way come the third period. Across the weekend, the Terriers outscored the Wildcats, 6-0, in the stanza when it matters the most.
Tweets of the Weekend
It's official… @TerrierHockey has clinched a first-round bye in the Hockey East playoffs. We'll host a quarterfinal series beginning 3/10.
— Brian Kelley (@BKelleyBU) February 19, 2017
Kieffer Bellows: "We have our swagger back."
— Boston Hockey Blog (@BOShockeyblog) February 19, 2017
I think @busasquatch just tied it up for BU
— BayState RoadSports (@bsrs_blog) February 18, 2017
Twenty wins looks good on you @TerrierHockey ❤️⚪️❤️⚪️
— The BU Dog Pound (@BUDogPound) February 19, 2017