By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff
The Boston University men’s hockey team left Agganis Arena Saturday night encouraged by a strong showing in a 3-3 tie with the University of New Hampshire. Sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky even said he thought the tie could be a “jumpstart” for the rest of the squad’s season.
When the team left The Greek after practice Monday, the mood had sobered significantly, to say the least.
With a 7 p.m. showdown at Harvard University on the slate for Tuesday night, BU “half-assed” it’s way through practice, according to BU coach Jack Parker.
When the hour and a half session ended, Parker gathered the squad at center ice and voiced his displeasure with a 60-second rant that, among other things, reminded the squad that it was 3-7-1 11 games into it’s national title defense.
“I thought we played OK on Saturday for sure –– it was how we practiced today,” Parker said after practice. “This team needs to either change its attitude or it might as well pack up, hand them the two points.”
With a highly anticipated game against No. 7/8 Cornell University at Madison Square Garden coming up on Saturday, Tuesday’s matchup with Harvard (1-4-2) is a potential trap game for the Terriers.
Is it safe to say BU’s looking past an unimposing Crimson squad?
“Obviously, after this practice,” Parker said. “All I know is the mentality today was awful.
“I think it’ll be interesting to see who shows up [Tuesday]. Who doesn’t will not show up on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.”
Among those who will show up on Tuesday will be sophomore Chris Connolly, who missed both games this weekend against UNH after suffering a shoulder injury in practice last week.
Connolly participated fully in practice Monday, and was not wearing one of BU’s light-blue, non-contact jerseys. The winger will likely play on junior Nick Bonino’s top line as sophomore David Warsofsky returns to his customary defensive position after a two-game stint at Bonino’s wing.
Additionally, sophomore goaltender Grant Rollheiser has shown on ill effects after making his second start of the season Saturday. Rollheiser, who missed the first eight games of the season with a high-ankle sprain, made his first start on Nov. 14 against Merrimack College. Rollheiser tweaked the ankle injury against the Warriors, and was a gameday decision for Saturday’s contest against UNH.
The positive news means Parker can now proceed with the goaltender rotation he had planned on using before the season, splitting time between Rollheiser and classmate Kieran Millan.
Millan (2-7-0, 3.2529 goals-against average, .873 save percentage) will be in the crease for BU Tuesday at Harvard, while Rollheiser (1-0-1, 3.3622 GAA, .881 save percentage) will get the call Saturday in New York, according to Parker.
Harvard is led by a trio of top scorers, as junior Alex Biega (4 goals, 4 assists), sophomore Alex Killorn (3g, 5a) and freshman Louis Leblanc (3g, 5a) lead the squad with eight points each through seven games.
Leblanc, a first-round selection of the Montreal Canadiens in this past summer’s National Hockey League Entry Draft, tallied 59 points (28g, 31a) in 60 regular season games with the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League last year highlighting talents at both end of the ice with a league best plus-33 rating.