From the FreeP: Terriers move up in polls

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

As it turns out, one-goal wins can still count for something more than just another tick in the wins column.

Following a weekend in which it swept a pair of back-to-back conference games, the previously eighth-ranked Boston University men’s hockey team jumped three spots to fifth in the nation in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and two spots to sixth in the poll released Wednesday.

The Terriers (4-0-1, 2-0-1 Hockey East) actually received a couple of first-place votes – two in the USCHO poll and one in USA Today’s – as well.

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From the FreeP: Ruikka has coming-out party as he notches a series of firsts in Saturday’s win

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

At the beginning of the college hockey season, there are often many players, mostly freshmen, who register their first collegiate career points.

But when Boston University sophomore defenseman Ryan Ruikka scored his first career goal and then added his first career assist in Saturday night’s 2-1 win over Providence College, it was a bigger celebration than normal for those particular milestones.

Ruikka is in his third year at BU and because of a couple of devastating injuries, this is the first season in which he has been able to play.

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From the FreeP: Providence fried

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

One phrase comes to mind to describe the No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team’s performance Saturday night – bend but don’t break. Providence College doubled up the Terriers in shots, 40-20, and won 34 of 54 faceoffs, but BU escaped with a 2-1 win to remain undefeated.

Over the final two periods, the Friars (1-4-0, 1-2-0 Hockey East) outshot the Terriers (4-0-1, 2-0-1 HE), 33-12. They tallied an astounding 87 shots attempted – compared to just 38 for BU – and registered 14 shots on seven power-play attempts.

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Terriers Report Card (Oct. 23 2-1 win over Providence)

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

Offense- C
BU’s second line provided the bulk of the offense as sophomore Alex Chiasson (one goal, one assist), junior Corey Trivino (one assist) and freshman Matt Nieto (one assist) combined for four points. The three were also the only Terrier forwards to register a positive plus-minus rating as they each finished with a plus-1. Sophomore defenseman had his own coming-out party as he registered the first goal, assist and multi-point game of his collegiate career. However, the positives end there. BU put only 20 shots on target against a Providence defense that has twice as many underclassmen (three freshmen, one sophomore) as upperclassmen (one senior, one junior). The Terriers’ two goals tie the team’s record for least in a game this season.

Defense- B-
BU coach Jack Parker said in his postgame press conference that he thought the Terriers played pretty well, until he looked up at the scoreboard and saw that his team had been outshot 40-20 by the Friars. This was just the second time this season that the Terriers had been outshot – Notre Dame outshot BU 34-24 in the Ice Breaker final – but this was the first time they had been outshot by such a vast margin. The redeeming thing about the number of shots is that many of them weren’t of the greatest quality. Twenty-nine of the Friars’ 87 attempted shots came within the vicinity of the blue line, and the Terriers held Providence to just six Grade-A over the first two periods before the Friars broke out for nine Grade-A’s in the third.

Goaltending- A+
Without a doubt, this was the easiest grade to administer. Junior netminder Kieran Millan made 39 saves on the night, just three short of his career high. If not for a single puck that trickled through his legs with just eight seconds to go, Millan would have had his just his second shutout in the past two seasons after posting two in his award-winning freshman campaign. The junior was certainly aided by a defense that didn’t screen him as much as they did in Friday’s 4-3 win over the University of Massachusetts. But he proved strong down low on the posts and on one-on-one situations as well.

Special Teams- B
In one of the biggest stats coming out of Saturday’s win, the Terriers have killed 23 of their last 24 penalties, including all seven of their penalties against Providence. That looks great on the web page, but there is one stat that it doesn’t account for. BU actually allowed 14 shots while on the penalty kill, something Parker expressed his discontent for after the game. Without Millan saving all 14, it would have been very easy for this grade to drop sharply. At the other end of the ice, the BU power play struggled to get anything going in just three opportunities as the Terriers put just three shots on net with the man advantage.

X-Factor-Kieran Millan
Millan was the best player on the ice by far Saturday night, and he very well may have had his best game since donning the scarlet and white in 2008. In a game when the offense, defense and special teams weren’t at their finest, the man between the pipes certainly was, perhaps erasing the doubts from many Terrier fans who felt uneasy about the Edmonton, Alberta native following his sketchy start to last season. Millan’s improved play may be the biggest reason why BU finds itself 4-0-1 and atop the Hockey East standings after its first five contests of the 2010-11 season.

Third and fourth line changes pay off in BU victory

By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff

Following last Saturday’s disappointing 2-2 tie with the University of Massachusetts at home, Boston University men’s hockey coach Jack Parker decided it was time for a change heading into Friday’s rematch with the Minutemen. But this change did not start at the top of the forwards depth chart – the top two lines had in fact accounted for both goals and all four assists in the tie – but instead was a wholesale alteration of the team’s bottom two lines.

Parker moved sophomore Ryan Santana from his position as the center of the fourth line to the right wing of the third line. He then replaced Santana on the bottom line with sophomore Ross Gaudet, who moved back to his normall position after playing at left wing the game prior. Sophomore Andrew Glass and freshman Sahir Gill – left-handed shots both – moved back to their natural positions on the fourth and third lines respectively. Finally, sophomore Justin Courtnall was removed entirely from the lines sheet as junior Kevin Gilroy took his spot and moved over to the fourth-line right wing spot.

The only Terrier from the latter two lines to maintain his position was sophomore Wade Megan, who stayed in as the third-line center.

“Last week because of the way I had the lines set up, I had Santana playing center, I had Glass playing off-wing, which he hasn’t played here before,” Parker said. “Santana’s played more wing than he has center for us, and I had Gaudet playing wing when he’s usually been playing center. So I decided to rearrange it all.”

The moves – if you can keep track of every last one – paid off as the Terriers defeated the Minutemen, 4-3, on the road in the teams’ second meeting in six days.

The fourth line – the more cohesive of the bottom two lines Friday – was the first to display that its coach had made the correct pregame decision.

After a Charlie Coyle tip-in knotted the game at one apiece in the second period, the trio of Glass, Gaudet and Gilroy – which by all intents and purposes may be known as the G Unit – made its presence known halfway through the frame. Gilroy began the play by applying aggressive pressure in the right corner of the UMass zone and, after collecting the puck there, kicked it underneath to Gaudet. Glass, who had been behind Gilroy on the right boards, saw an opening in the slot and cut to the open space, banging his stick to demand a pass along the way. Gaudet found the impatient forward, who one-timed the pass high into the top right corner past UMass goalie Jeff Teglia to give BU its first lead of the game at 2-1 halfway through the second frame.

“[BU’s] goals were goal-scorer’s goals,” said UMass coach Don “Toot” Cahoon. “Their second goal was a shelf. . .He just wrung him up.”

The fourth line ended the game with a point each after the goal and was a combined plus-4 between the three players. However despite the goal, Parker seemed pleased more with the line’s defensive abilities following the win.

“I just felt that with the change of putting Gaudet back at center at that line, I had more confidence in them defensively,” Parker said. “They could play against any line because he’s a real solid defensive forward and a real good center iceman as far as taking faceoffs.”

The third line got a goal of its own with just 1:37 left in the third. In the middle of a change, freshman first-liner Charlie Coyle put on a lot of pressure on the forecheck in the UMass zone, causing a flustered Minuteman defenseman to turn the puck over in the neutral zone. Gill swooped in off the bench to make the steal and went in uninhibited on Teglia. The freshman went to a highlight-worthy forehand-backhand deke that had Teglia sliding on his side in the crease, allowing Gill to easily slide the puck to the netting.

Although he did not score like his linemate, Megan also led the team with eight shots, double the amount of the closest player for either side.

However, it was still the fourth line that left the bigger of the impact of the two, and the biggest beneficiary of that might have been Gilroy, who may have found himself a permanent spot back in the BU lineup.

“I thought Kevin Gilroy really practiced hard last week, all week long,” Parker said. “He deserved to get back in the lineup. He was getting back in the lineup, whether I switched the lines or not.”

Terriers manage a 4-3 win on the road against UMass

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

After a “bizarre” tie against the University of Massachusetts last Saturday, the No. 8 Boston University men’s ice hockey team rebounded on the road Friday night and beat the Minutemen 4-3. The Terriers (3-0-1) are off to their best start to a season since 2001-02.

Freshman forward Charlie Coyle, junior forward Andrew Glass, senior captain Joe Pereira and freshman forward Sahir Gill scored for the Terriers. Junior goaltender Kieran Millan stopped 23 of 26 shots.

The win was a come-from-behind effort from BU. The Minutemen jumped ahead in the first period when Pereira took a roughing penalty to put UMass on the power play. The Minutemen converted only 32 seconds later. UMass forward Darren Rowe caught a pass in the lower right faceoff circle and roofed a wrist shot past Millan for the score.

While the Terriers went into the locker room down 1-0, BU coach Jack Parker still said he felt they played a strong period.

“I went into the dressing room and said, ‘Guys, that was a better period than you played all last weekend against them,’” Parker said. “We were down 1-0, we were up 2-0 against them in the first period [last weekend]. That was a very, very solid period.”

BU distanced itself from the Minutemen in the second period. Coyle tied the game on a power play a little more than four minutes into the frame. Coyle tipped a pass from junior captain Chris Connolly past UMass freshman goaltender Jeff Teglia.

Glass chipped in with the go-ahead goal a little past the halfway mark of the period. Redshirt sophomore forward Ross Gaudet got the puck to Glass on a give-and-go, and Glass buried it top-shelf before flying through the air Bobby Orr-style to give the Terriers the lead.

Pereira put the exclamation mark on the period. After serving his second penalty of the night, Pereira snuck onto the ice without getting noticed by a Minuteman. Connolly passed to Pereira, who broke into the zone on his own and shoved one through Teglia’s five-hole to put the Terriers up 3-1.

“Pereira put a pretty strong move on Teglia,” UMass head coach Toot Cahoon said. “He went backhand back to his forehand, but went very aggressive and just jammed it home five-hole. It was a good goal.”

The goal was a redemption shot for Pereira, who had cost the team a goal in the first on a penalty and was serving the penalty immediately prior to his goal for charging the goaltender.

“It was a tough call, but it actually worked out,” Pereira said. “I told the referee he did a good job for me. Connolly made a nice block and happened to spring me.”

But while BU controlled the second period, UMass made a game out of it in the third. The Minutemen came back from a 2-0 deficit the week before to force a tie game, and down by two goals entering the third this weekend, the Minutemen came out firing.

They scored 1:48 into the period when Darren Rowe gathered a puck at the blue line and fired it on net looking for a tip or a rebound. The puck, however, blistered its way through traffic and found the back of the net all on its own, tightening the game to a 3-2 BU lead.

The Minutemen appeared to tie the game with 13:26 to go when Michael Pereira snapped a shot past Millan, but a late whistle for offsides on UMass negated the tally.

“I was crossing my fingers,” Joe Pereira said of his younger brother’s no-goal. “I didn’t want it to [be a goal]. That’s all I would have heard the whole time, that he tied the game up.”

BU netted an insurance goal at 18:23 of the third when Gill stole a puck, entered the zone and toyed forehand-to-backhand to draw Teglia to the left side of the goal, then flipped it into the empty right side, putting the Terriers up 4-2.

They needed that insurance. With only 19 seconds left in the game, UMass’ Michael Marcou beat Millan with a slapper from high in the slot, tightening the score to 4-3.
But it was too little, too late. The Terriers drained the clock to come away from the Mullins Center with their third win of the season. After what Parker called an “unthorough” game against the Minutemen last week, this win was especially pleasing for him.

“You give us that effort and that brains for the rest of the season, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games,” Parker said.