By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
BURLINGTON, Vt. –– With teams four through nine in the Hockey East standings separated by a mere two points with now just a weekend and a half left in the season, everyone in that logjam is desperate for points.
BU coach Jack Parker said he knew the No. 18 University of Vermont would be desperate because it was in ninth coming into this weekend, but that he expected his team to be just as desperate because it could still end up ninth.
“I was incorrect,” Parker said of his expectations for his team. “The focus, the speed, the attention to detail, the physical play from the team in black [Vermont] as opposed to the team in white [BU] was like night and day.
“We weren’t ready to play. … In general, they outplayed us for every puck. They played a much better game in every zone. They wanted this game a hell of a lot more than we wanted it.
“We both needed it badly. They got it, because they wanted it. We might’ve needed it, but we didn’t want it that bad. I was very disappointed in my team. … I don’t think I could come up with one guy on my team tonight that played well.”
The Catamounts’ dominance was most evident in the second period, during which they outshot the Terriers by an eye-popping 21-2 margin. Already leading 3-1 after the first, junior forward Brett Leonard made it 4-1 Vermont two minutes into the middle frame when he wrapped around to the right side of the net and somehow snuck the puck through sophomore goalie Kieran Millan’s (29 saves) pads.
BU cut the lead to the 4-2 two and a half minutes later on one of its few highlights of the period (and the game for that matter). Sophomore forward Chris Connolly stole a pass behind the Catamount net and dished to fellow sophomore Vinny Saponari in the corner. Saponari then threaded a pass to sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky at center point, and he walked in a few steps before rifling a shot into the top right corner.
But Vermont regained the three-goal lead with a little more than four minutes left in the period. Senior forward Brian Roloff walked out front from the right side of the net and had his first shot saved before banging home his own rebound.
Parker pulled Millan, who was making his first career start at Gutterson Fieldhouse, in favor of classmate Grant Rollheiser to start the third. Parker said the move was more to try and wake his team up than to punish Millan.
“I thought it was pathetic how we played in front of him,” Parker said. “They were on the doorstep by themselves. Kieran made some great saves. I think he’d like to have the wraparound back, but other than that, he didn’t get much support from his teammates.”
Parker said that Millan would be back in net Sunday. Rollheiser allowed one goal on three shots before Parker pulled him for an extra attacker with more than four minutes remaining in the game.
Parker’s “on the doorstep by themselves” description was applicable to all three of the Catamounts’ first-period goals. After freshman forward Chris McCarthy rang a shot off the crossbar, junior linemate Josh Burrows was alone in the slot to bury the second chance.
Then, after freshman defenseman Anders Franzon had a shot blocked by Connolly, the puck found its way to a wide-open Brayden Irwin in the right circle. With no one around, the senior forward waltzed into the slot and beat Millan with a backhander. Finally, freshman forward Tobias Nilsson-Roos beat two Terrier defenders to a rebound and whacked it into the right side of the net.
After his team’s unexpected flatness Friday night, Parker wouldn’t even try and predict how his players will respond Sunday.
“I have no idea,” he said. “I don’t know how my team will react, whether it’s the next day or the day after. I know one thing – that was an embarrassing performance by us tonight.”
By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff
Rest, relaxation and a bit of chicken noodle soup are what most of the No. 20 Boston University men’s hockey team could use this weekend.
Instead, the team can look forward to a three-and-a-half hour bus ride, a weekend in blustery Burlington, Vt. (highs are projected in the 30s with rain/snow all weekend) and a key two-game set with the No. 18 University of Vermont.
The Terriers (14-13-3, 11-10-2 Hockey East) will make the trek to take on the Catamounts (13-11-6, 7-10-6) with a handful of players battling the same illness that held freshman forward Wade Megan out of the lineup for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Providence College.
Working on the preview for this weekends’ action, and had a few quotes from BU coach Jack Parker about the Olympics and international hockey. Some pretty interesting stuff if you’re into the subject, and since I don’t have a notebook or anything planned for the near future, I’ll just leave the quotes here for your reading pleasure.
By the way, Parker (like the rest of the world, really) still thinks the Canadians are the favorites to win Gold this year (note: he said this Wednesday before the boys north of the the border stomped the Russians). He added that, based on the rosters, the US has the fourth or fifth best team in Vancouver right now.
On former players in the Olympics:
“I feel part of their career because I coached them here. I don’t feel part of the Olympic success, but I’m ecstatic about the Olympic success. I was in my house at Gloucester when they were playing the Canadians, and when that empty netter went in, I was jumping up and down and screaming and then I realized, ‘There’s nobody here. What the hell am I doing?’
“I was really happy with how Chris Drury played. A big goal, a big blocked shot, killed every penalty, working as hard as he always does.”
“But they haven’t won anything yet. It’s a long way to get to that gold-medal game.”
Comparing Drury, Tkachuck, Amonte, etc., to the 1980 group:
“It’s a completely different thing. Those guys were NHL players for a long time and then they’re playing in the Olympics against NHL players. Before that, the team was all college players. Clark Donatelli was a captain once [in 1992] and played in two Olympics [’88 and ’92]. Scotty Young played on three Olympiads [’88, ’92, ’02]. They were all –– well Scotty played on one when it was a pro thing, too –– they all played when they were amateurs. My son-in-law, Scott Lachance, played in ’92. McEachern, Amonte –– well Amonte never played as an amateur, he only played as an NHL guy because he chose to go to the Rangers.”
“We’ve had David Sacco so I mean, we’ve had a lot of guys go as amateurs, too, so this is different. I think it’ll be interesting to see if they keep it up –– if they keep the pros in it.”
“I’ve coached the Juniors team and I’ve coached the National Team in a World Championship, but I’ve never coached an Olympic team, and now the pros are coaching the pros, and that’s the way it should be. I’m sure if they go back to amateurs again, they’ll take some amateur coaches or college coaches, but it won’t be me.”
Our press conference ended there with the US scoring at the end of the second period against the Swiss, only to have the goal disallowed –– we were chatting in front of the team’s 10×8 foot (ish) video screen, which was playing the game.
By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
1) No. 7 Boston College (18-10-2, 13-8-2)
The Eagles might be four points out of first, but they’re clearly the best team in Hockey East. They’re second in offense (3.70 goals per game), tied for first in defense (2.53 goals-against average) and second in special teams (+12 net). BC is 6-2-0 in its last eight games and has utterly demolished some of those opponents, picking up wins of 5-2 over Providence, 6-0 over Harvard, 7-1 over UMass-Amherst and 7-1 over Northeastern during that stretch.
2) No. 11 University of New Hampshire (15-10-5, 14-5-4)
After an incredible 10-1-2 run from mid-November to mid-January, the Wildcats have cooled off a bit, going just 3-3-1 since. Still, they have a four-point cushion in the standings and would be one of just two Hockey East teams (along with BC) in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today. With six goals in his last three games, senior forward Bobby Butler (sixth in the country with 44 points) is making a strong push in the Hobey Baker race.
3) No. 16 University of Maine (15-12-3, 12-9-2)
Speaking of Hobey candidates, sophomore forward Gustav Nyquist is tied for first nationally in both points (49) and assists (34). A week after his line was held in check by BU, it combined for 16 points and a plus-15 rating in Friday’s 8-4 win over UMass-Lowell, led by sophomore Brian Flynn’s five goals. The Black Bears have the best offense (3.77 GPG) and best special teams (+17 net) in the conference, but the worst defense (3.37 GAA).
4) No. 20 Boston University (14-13-3, 11-10-2)
The Terriers’ 10-4-0 record in 2010 is the best of any Hockey East team. Sophomore goalie Kieran Millan has led the resurgence, posting a 2.75 GAA and .909 save percentage since the break, a drastic improvement over his first-half numbers of 3.42 and .862. BU’s offense has also turned it up a notch, scoring 3.93 goals per contest in the second half after averaging just 2.75 before the break. That offense will be without sophomore Corey Trivino (fractured fibula) for the rest of the season, though.
5) Northeastern University (16-13-1, 11-11-1)
Prior to Sunday’s 7-1 beatdown at the hands of BC, the Huskies had won five in a row and seven of eight. Freshman goalie Chris Rawlings was the biggest cog in the gear during that span, allowing two goals or fewer in seven of those eight games. He’s emerged as one of the best goalies in Hockey despite getting lit up Sunday, placing third in the league in both GAA (2.70) and save percentage (.917). NU’s offense is ninth, though, with just 2.70 GPG.
6) University of Massachusetts-Lowell (16-14-2, 10-11-2)
Given the River Hawks’ preseason expectations (second in the preseason Hockey East coaches poll) and veteran leadership (11 seniors), it felt all along like they would eventually figure things out and put an end to the slide that began in late November. Instead, the slope just keeps getting steeper, as UML has lost five of its last seven. One of the few bright spots left is senior goalie Carter Hutton, who is first in the league in both GAA (2.24) and save percentage (.923).
7) Merrimack College (13-15-1, 10-11-1)
The Warriors are the hottest team in the conference right now, as they’ve gone 4-0-1 in their last five and haven’t allowed more than two goals in any of those contests. They’ve also gone 2-0-1 in their last three road games after starting the season an abominable 0-13-0 away from Lawler Arena. Merrimack’s power play ranks second in the country (behind only Maine) at 25.4 percent. Freshman forward Stephane Da Costa (38 points) should be the national rookie of the year.
8) No. 18 University of Vermont (13-11-6, 7-10-6)
A couple weeks ago, the Catamounts were in the top 10 in the PairWise Rankings, but an 0-2-3 run now leaves them on the outside looking in, and not just on the national stage. UVM is currently one point behind Merrimack for the eighth and final playoff spot in Hockey East. To make things even more complicated, the program recently dismissed senior forward Justin Milo, the team’s second-leading scorer at the time. UVM has the league’s worst special teams (-7 net).
9) University of Massachusetts-Amherst (16-15-0, 11-13-0)
In the spirit of the Olympics, the Minutemen are making like a skeleton rider and racing headlong toward the bottom of the mountain. They’ve lost five in a row and seven of their last eight, and have been outscored 31-7 in those seven defeats. UMass was first at the end of November and fourth less than a month ago, but is now in real danger of missing the playoffs altogether. It’s one point ahead of Merrimack and two ahead of UVM, but both have at least a game in hand.
10) Providence College (10-18-2, 5-16-2)
The Friars are already eliminated from playoff contention, and there’s really no way to argue for them being any higher on this list. Their offense (2.17 GPG) is more than half a goal a game worse than anyone else in the league. Their special teams (-6 net) are worsted only by UVM. This is going to sound like a broken record, but the only positive for PC is sophomore goalie Alex Beaudry, who’s fifth in GAA (2.76) and second in save percentage (.918).
By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
The No. 19 Boston University men’s hockey team knew that Providence College liked to pack its defenders below the faceoff dots in its own end. And the Terriers knew the play that would crack that shell –– a pass from the goal line back to the point for a quick one-timer before the defense could get in the shooting lane.
They worked on it all week and used it a number of times this weekend. They were creating good chances off the play, but they weren’t scoring. At least not until it mattered most.
Tied 1-1 with six minutes remaining in Saturday night’s game, freshman forward Alex Chiasson collected the puck along the right goal line and delivered a pass to freshman defenseman Max Nicastro (2 assists) at the right point.
“We were playing real well down low and cycling it, and luckily we found the D and they were firing a lot of shots from up top,” Cohen said. “We were getting people to the net.”
The 2-1 win moved BU (14-13-3, 11-10-2 Hockey East) into sole possession of the fourth and final home-ice spot with four games to go and eliminated Providence (10-18-2, 5-16-2) from playoff contention.
“I told them I was really proud of how poised they kept and how they didn’t get rattled, because the pressure was all on us,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We had to win this game tonight to stay in the hunt for home ice and feel good about ourselves.”
Despite outshooting the Friars 27-17 through two periods, the Terriers entered the final 20 minutes trailing 1-0. BU kept the pressure on, though, and tied the game 6:58 into the third on sophomore forward Andrew Glass’ first goal of the season.
Senior forward Luke Popko tried threading a pass to Nicastro as he cut to the net from his point position, but the puck bounced off his skate blade. Luckily for the Terriers, Glass corralled the loose puck and snuck a quick turnaround shot through Beaudry’s five-hole.
“I think we had a bunch of good shifts back-to-back in the second period for a while and then the start of the third,” Parker said when asked what turned the momentum in his team’s favor. “But the goal really changed it. Then we got really jacked up. Then it was like the ice was tilted.”
Prior to BU registering 11 of the second period’s final 13 shots, though, momentum was planted firmly in Providence’s corner.
After being outshot 15-6 in the first, the Friars took a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds into the second when senior defenseman Mark Fayne held a puck in the zone at the right point and threw a shot on net that found its way through a screen and past sophomore goalie Kieran Millan (28 saves). Providence went on to tally nine of the period’s first 10 shots.
“We were playing pretty hard and getting a lot of shots, but when we came up empty in the first, I thought, ‘Boy, this could be a tough night,’” Parker said. “And then when they scored right off the bat in the second, I was concerned that psychologically it would be a real downer for us. But we kept plugging.”
Game notes: Zach Cohen’s goal was his 12th of the season. He’s one behind junior defenseman Colby Cohen for the team lead. … Saturday was the first game Glass has played since Jan. 15. The goal was his first since Jan. 16 of last season. … After allowing the Friars to go 3-for-11 on the power play with 17 shots in Friday’s 5-4 loss, the Terriers limited Providence to two power plays, one shot and no goals Saturday. … BU went 0-for-6 on the power play but recorded 12 shots. … Junior forward Nick Bonino’s 10-game point streak, sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky’s seven-game streak and Colby Cohen’s six-game streak all came to an end Saturday.
By Cary Betagole/DFP Staff
Ten games spent watching from the sidelines in street-clothes can wear on a hockey player, and for a highly touted recruit like sophomore forward Andrew Glass, it can be downright unbearable.
“It was frustrating for a while, but you just have to keep working hard and hope that eventually it’ll pay off,” Glass said of his 10-game streak of healthy scratches.
But Glass’s return to the Boston University men’s hockey team’s third line paid off in dramatic fashion Saturday night, as he broke up Providence goalie Alex Beaudry’s shutout in the third period with a goal to tie the game at 1-1.
The Wrentham native hadn’t seen the ice since the Terriers’ 3-1 loss to Providence College on Jan. 15, but was able to knock the rust off with ease and change the complexion of Saturday’s defensive struggle against the Friars.
With 13:02 to go in the third period, senior forward Luke Popko threw a pass into the slot intended for freshman defenseman Max Nicastro. But the puck bounced off his skate and to Glass on the right circle, who beat Beaudry five-hole.
The goal was his first of the season and just the third of his career.
“We recruited him to come here and be a hockey player for us, and he hasn’t had a chance to get in the lineup for a while,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “He was playing well the whole game. It was a surprise that any of us got a goal, not that Glass got it.”
Parker had no choice other than to give the Washington Capitals prospect his first start in over one month. With sophomore forward Corey Trivino out for the season with a fractured right fibula and freshman forward Wade Megan out due to illness, Parker was forced to dip into his bench and mix a little new blood into the lineup.
Sophomore forward Kevin Gilroy made his first start since that same Jan. 15 Providence the night before, manning the center position on BU’s fourth line in place of senior forward Luke Popko, who moved up to the third line.
Fittingly, it was senior forward Zach Cohen, a man who knows a thing or two about biding his time, who scored the game-winner at the 14:07 mark of the third period.
The 6-foot-3 senior forward, who according to Parker was nearly asked to leave the team before last season, had encouraging words for Glass during his series of healthy scratches.
“It’s funny, I actually talked to Zach this week about it because he was in a similar situation before,” Glass said. “He just basically said, ‘Keep your head up and keep working hard. Eventually it’s gonna pay off and you’re gonna get your chance, and just take advantage of it.’ Coach told me I was in the lineup, so I said, ‘Just play confident and loose and see what happens.’”
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens next weekend, but I can tell you that Glass will stay in the lineup after his effort tonight,” Parker said.
All photos by Sarah Gordon/DFP Staff
All photos by U-Jin Lee/DFP Staff