From the FreeP: Notebook: Future bright for Red Hot Hockey

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Saturday’s showdown at Madison Square Garden – a 2-1 overtime win for the No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team over No. 17 Cornell University – was a resounding success, but not just on the ice.

For the third time in as many attempts, Red Hot Hockey sold out the historic, 18,200-seat arena. The first two editions – a 6-3 BU win in 2007 and a 3-3 tie in 2009 – were also played in front of sold-out crowds.

There are no solidified plans to continue the tradition, but given the huge commercial success of the event, BU coach Jack Parker had a good idea of what he thought the future held.

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From the FreeP: Game-day decision Gaudet comes through with game-winner

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

NEW YORK – This week, as his team prepared to play the third edition of Red Hot Hockey in The City That Never Sleeps, BU coach Jack Parker might have lost a little sleep over a seemingly minor decision: the fourth line right wing.

It was a choice between junior Ross Gaudet and freshman Evan Rodrigues. A choice between an experienced vet fighting for his spot in the lineup week-to-week and an impressive rookie with three-plus long years ahead of him. A choice between a player without a point this season and one with four assists in his last five games.

Parker ended up going with the former in the game-day decision, and it paid off. Gaudet scored the game-winning overtime goal Saturday night in the No. 15 Boston University men’s hockey team’s 2-1 win over No. 17 Cornell University at Madison Square Garden.

But, as Parker later explained, no decision in a game on a stage as big as Saturday’s is a minor one. He struggled with the final lineup right up until hours before the game when, around 1:45 p.m., Parker informed Gaudet that he would play.

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From the FreeP: Rhett Hot Hockey: Terriers best Big Red, 2-1, in OT at MSG

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

NEW YORK – Madison Square Garden is the perfect stage for exciting hockey games, and the tilt between the No. 15 Boston University men’s hockey team and No. 17 Cornell University did not disappoint.

The Terriers (7-4-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East) emerged as the 2-1 victors by virtue of senior forward Ross Gaudet’s first goal of the season, which came 2:48 into overtime.

The goal was a bit of a fluky score for the Terriers. BU was pressuring in overtime when junior defenseman Max Nicastro launched a slapper from the right point at the net. The shot bounced off Gaudet’s stick and through his legs before caroming past Cornell (6-3-0) goaltender Andy Iles for the game-winner.

”This is the most exciting goal I’ve ever scored,” Gaudet said. “It was a great game to be a part of too, so it’s probably one of the best moments of my athletic career.”

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BU wins overtime thriller at Madison Square Garden.

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Press

Madison Square Garden is the perfect stage for exciting hockey games, and the tilt between the No. 15 Boston University men’s hockey team and the No. 17 Cornell University men’s hockey team did not disappoint. For the second consecutive time, Cornell and BU took Red Hot Hockey into overtime, but the Terriers came out the 2-1 victors by virtue of junior defenseman Max Nicastro’s slapper that bounced off senior forward Ross Gaudet and into the net with 2:12 left in the overtime period.

Cornell goaltender Andy Iles entered the game on the heels of three consecutive shutouts, but BU ended that run 202 minutes and 28 seconds into the streak with Iles handcuffed on a 5-on-3 kill for Cornell.

Sophomore defenseman Adam Clendening was stationed on the right point and passed to junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson on the left point. The two then switched spots, causing the Cornell defense to scramble to change its coverage. Chiasson put a slapper on net that bounced out to a waiting Clendening, who buried it from the left point for his first goal of the season 11:07 into the first period.

Cornell began pressuring the Terriers in the second period. Midway through the period, Cornell brought the crowd to its feet when it dominated play in its offensive zone for at least a minute while the Terriers struggled to keep up and failed to gain any control over play. The Big Red whiffed on several chances, helping BU maintain its 1-0 lead at the end of the period.

Cornell finally found its way onto the scoreboard 11:06 into the third period, when Cornell’s Sean Whitney beat Nieto up high in the zone and got a shot on Millan, drawing him out of the net. Locke Jillson found the rebound and shot it at the net, where it bounced off sophomore forward Charlie Coyle’s skate and into the net, tying the game at 1-1.

With four minutes remaining in the third, Cornell appeared to score when a puck bounced off the far boards and then hit Millan’s back and bounced into the net, but the whistle blew before the puck went into the net. A lengthy review confirmed the “no goal” call.

Stage set for third edition of Red Hot Hockey

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, the third edition of Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden is finally here. The No. 15 Boston University men’s hockey team seems to have found a rhythm recently after winning three straight games, and the Terriers will have a chance to prove themselves on a big stage Saturday against a tough opponent in the No. 17 Cornell University hockey team.

Like BU (6-4-1, 5-3-1 HE), the Big Red (6-2-0, 5-1-0 ECAC) started the season in inconsistent fashion, losing to Mercyhurst and Brown while beating Yale and Harvard to go 2-2 through their first four games. Since then, however, Cornell has been in the drivers’ seat, running off four straight wins and riding a three-game shutout streak.

“I think it’s a better team than we’ve seen in the last two years against Cornell,” Parker said. “I think they play like [the University of] Vermont and [the University of New Hampshire] just played. They play hard, hard forecheck. They come at you real hard at times. They also can all of the sudden just drop back and play a 1-2-2 at center ice while you’re still waiting behind your goalie. So they give you different looks that way.

“Playing Vermont and UNH these past two games as far as style is concerned, obviously Cornell is a better team than those two teams right now probably but as far as style is concerned, that was good for us because we’ll see similar stuff from them.”

The Terriers will see a different face in the Cornell net than Ben Scrivens, who held the Terriers to a 3-3 tie last time the teams faced off at the Garden. The Big Red will rely on sophomore Andy Iles, a 5-foot-9 Ithaca native who has earned a .918 save percentage and a 2.01 goals against average so far this season.

BU will counter Iles with senior goaltender Kieran Millan, who did not play in Red Hot Hockey two years ago. Millan has had an inconsistent season, but looked better in his last two games out, a 4-1 win over the University of New Hampshire and a 5-0 blanking of then-No. 2 Boston College.

“It’s not a matter of Kieran being Kieran,” Parker said of his goaltender’s inconsistent play this season. “It’s ‘Can he be it every night?’ And that’s the consistency factor we’re looking for. He looks like he’s in pretty good shape right now, his frame of mind and the way he’s handling pucks, positioning himself on shots.”

Beyond Millan’s frame of mind, BU will have a chance to show it can enter a one-game weekend in the correct frame of mind as well. The Terriers are 0-for-2 this season in one-game weekends, as they lost to Holy Cross 5-4 at the end of October and then suffered their worst defeat so far with a 7-1 beating at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the first weekend of November.

But both of those games came before BU finally won consecutive outings, and the loss to Lowell seemed to especially be a turning point for the Terriers. Add in the excitement of Red Hot Hockey gets into that equation, and both Parker and junior forward Ben Rosen said they think the Terriers will have their heads in a better place for Saturday’s game.

“[We have to] just keep rolling off of what we’ve been doing, keep playing how we’ve been playing,” Rosen said. “I guess those games, those one-weekend games, were earlier in the season. We hadn’t really had our heads right and I guess now we’re on a roll right here and we’re going to try to keep it going.”

Rosen, a Syosset, NY native, grew up rooting for the New York Rangers, who call Madison Square Garden home. Rosen was a healthy scratch for his freshman year’s Red Hot Hockey, and he said he is extra excited to finally take the ice where his childhood hockey heroes played.

“I grew up going to games at Madison Square Garden and love the Rangers obviously, so getting on that ice and playing there where all those guys played is going to be unbelievable, especially in front of my family and my friends,” Rosen said. The junior estimated that he will have at least 14 guests at the game, including his grandparents, who have never seen him play live.

Rosen is one of three Rangers fans on the team. Freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, a New Jersey native, and junior defenseman Sean Escobedo, a Bayside, NY native, count themselves among Blueshirts followers. Sophomore defenseman Patrick MacGregor, a western Connecticut native who follows the Yankees, grew up rooting for the Bruins rather than the Rangers.

But regardless of which NHL team each player follows, the Terriers and their coach agreed that the third edition of Red Hot Hockey should be, at the very least, a great night for college hockey.

“I think the idea of playing Cornell anywhere is always big time for us and big time for them because both perceive ourselves as being teams that are vying for national honors every year and league honors,” Parker said. “So that’s all great that we’re playing Cornell. Playing in Madison Garden is fabulous. The most famous arena in the world, so to speak. Playing them in Madison Square Garden in front of our third-straight, sold-out building I think is a real feather in BU and Cornell’s cap but I think it’s also a feather in college hockey’s cap.”

Notes: The Terriers will not have a pre-game skate on Saturday since the Rangers are playing the Flyers on Garden ice in the afternoon and it was too much of a hassle for BU to find and travel to a different rink during the necessary time slot. Parker said the team will hold an alternative version of exercise instead … BU spent Thanksgiving in the Boston area, meaning out-of-towners had to find some place to go. Most of the freshmen and sophomores had Thanksgiving dinner at sophomore forward Garrett Nooonan’s house in Norfolk, while the juniors and seniors went to junior forward Ross Gaudet’s home in Burlington. That means the Noonans and Gaudets each had to feed about 12 hungry hockey players on Thursday … The Terriers who do not live in on-campus apartments had to stay in Boston hotel rooms over Thanksgiving break.

BU lands second goaltender for Class of 2012

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

In an important step toward replacing senior goaltenders Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser next season, Boston University reportedly landed its second goaltending recruit for the freshmen class of 2012 when it received a commitment from Canadian goalie Sean Maguire, according to USHR.com. Maguire is expected to battle Youngstown Phantom goalie Matt O’Connor, who also committed to BU for 2012, for the starting job with the Terriers next season.

Maguire, a 6-foot-2, 181 pound goalie, recently wowed at the World Junior A Challenge, where he won a gold medal with the Canada West U20 team. Maguire posted a 1.49 goals against average in the tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.

Maguire is in his second season playing for the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League and is coming off a rookie campaign in which he shared in the Wally Forslund Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the goalie tandem with the lowest GAA in the BCHL, with teammate Michael Garteig. In nine games with the Kings so far this season, Maguire earned a 2.28 GAA with a .910 save percentage.

From the Freep: Megan’s improvement evident over weekend

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Wade Megan, a junior forward for the No. 16 Boston University men’s hockey team, walked into a post-game press conference following Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the University of New Hampshire clad in a pair of red workout shorts and a gray BU T-shirt.

He sipped from his water bottle as a reporter threw questions his way, smiling and laughing as he explained he had no idea how he scored his second-period goal.

“I’m not sure to be honest with you,” Megan said when asked if the puck snuck in between UNH (5-5-2, 4-4-1 Hockey East) goaltender Matt Di Girolamo’s arm and body. “I just kind of threw it on net and it trickled through. I’ll take it.”

Megan’s laid-back attitude was typical of his nature – last year, the New York native casually spearheaded a cancer fundraising initiative by the team (6-4-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East) after spotting a flyer for the fundraiser lying around his room – but while his demeanor is typically calm and steady, his production on the ice this season has increased sharply.

Read more at dailyfreepress.com.

From the Freep: Collect four: Men’s hockey sweeps

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Saturday night at Agganis Arena, the No. 16 Boston University men’s hockey team took a different road but ended up at the same destination as it took on University of New Hampshire for the second time this season.

The Terriers (6-4-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East) topped the Wildcats (5-5-2, 4-4-1 Hockey East) by a score of 4-1, a far cry from BU’s dominant season-opening 5-0 win back on Oct. 8.

But a win is a win, and, thanks to a trio of third-period BU goals, it’s the third straight for the suddenly streaking Terriers.

“We were pretty thorough tonight, and I liked how hard we played from beginning to end,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “The score was not indicative of the game. It was really a close game . . . [UNH] kept coming at us and we made some pretty good defensive plays, and we had some pretty good puck luck at times too.”

Read more at dailyfreepress.com.

BU wins third straight, tops UNH 4-1

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Saturday night at Agganis Arena, it was “different road, same destination” story for the No. 16 Boston University men’s hockey team against University of New Hampshire.

The Terriers (6-4-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East) topped the Wildcats (5-5-2, 4-4-1 Hockey East) by a score of 4-1, a far cry from BU’s dominant season-opening 5-0 win back on Oct. 8.

But a win is a win, and, thanks to a trio of third-period goals, it’s the third straight for the suddenly streaking Terriers.

Much of the first period was a defensive stalemate, with the Terriers and Wildcats both failing to capitalize on their one power-play opportunity. BU led in shots on goal, 9-4, but didn’t have anything to show for it.

That changed less than half way through the second period, as junior forward Wade Megan put BU up, 1-0, at 8:25 with his sixth goal of the season. Almost even with the red line to the left of the net, Megan tossed a shot on goal from a difficult angle that took an odd bounce off of UNH goaltender Matt Di Girolamo and into the goal. Freshman forward Evan Rodrigues was credited with an assist.

UNH knotted things up at 5:05 in the third thanks to defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. The blue liner took a shot from near the right circle that snuck by BU goaltender Kieran Millan’s stick side, tying the game at one apiece.

Defensemen Max Nicastro didn’t waste much time waiting to get BU the lead back, though, as he blasted a shot from the blue line at 7:29 for the first goal of his junior campaign.

Seconds later, senior forward Corey Trivino struck again, as he has so often this season, with a goal of his own at 8:05 to give the Terriers a 3-1 lead. He went in on a 2-on-1 with senior captain Chris Connolly, who collected his ninth assist of the year on the play, and Trivino tapped his fellow forward’s pass past Di Girolamo’s left side.

That 36-second period proved to be a huge momentum shift for BU, which had been struggling for much of the third before retaking the lead.

Sophomore forward Matt Nieto extended the lead to 4-1 at 18:53 on an empty-netter, a play where he was just trying to clear the puck.

BU’s defense continued to impress as it held on for the win.