BU dominates Wildcats in Hockey East quarterfinal

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

Thanks to offensive surges in the first and third periods, the No. 9 Boston University women’s hockey team dominated the University of New Hampshire Sunday afternoon during the Hockey East quarterfinals at Walter Brown Arena with a 9-1 win.

During the course of the game, BU (21-13-1, 14-7 Hockey East) set a program record for most postseason goals and most short-handed goals in the Hockey East Tournament.

Senior captain Jenn Wakefield also scored a hat trick in the process of scoring her 200th point. She is the second Hockey East player to accrue that many points and is only the second person to score a hat trick during tournament play.

“Obviously, the stars lined up a little bit for us,” said BU coach Brian Durocher.

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Terriers defeat Vermont in Overtime

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

BURLINGTON, Vt. — The No. 5/6 Boston University men’s hockey team was less than two minutes away from a loss to the University of Vermont that could have hurt its chance at home ice in the Hockey East playoffs, its seeding for the NCAA tournament and its overall morale heading into the last weekend of the regular season.

Instead, junior forward Wade Megan scored a 6-on-5 goal to send the game to overtime and freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera scored the game-winner in his first weekend back from injury in BU’s 3-2 win.

The win clinched home ice for BU (20-11-1, 16-8-1 Hockey East) in the Hockey East tournament and sent the team home from Vermont (6-25-1, 3-21-1 Hockey East) with a sweep after a 5-0 win on Friday.

After winning handily on Friday, the Terriers were caught back on their heels a few times in the first period by a more aggressive Vermont team than they’d seen the night before. Catamount winger Connor Brickley struck first, picking off an attempted BU breakout pass from the corner and firing a quick shot on senior goalie Kieran Millan that found the five-hole.

“Maybe it’s human nature – maybe you think it’s going to be easy because the night before you won, but it’s almost always the same,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “The team that gets whacked comes back and plays harder the next night, and the team that wins thinks, ‘We don’t have to play quite as hard.’”

BU had a few up-ice rushes broken up by Vermont defenders in the next several minutes before red shirt freshman forward Yasin Cissé was called for a hit from behind.

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Privitera returns to pristine form

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A week ago, Boston University men’s hockey freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera was not sure if he would be playing in the weekend series against the University of Vermont thanks to a wrist injury. But after a chaotic week on BU’s campus in which former defenseman Max Nicastro was booted off the team, the Terriers had little choice but to place Privitera back in the lineup.

Playing through his wrist injury, Privitera proved he was more than someone to fill Nicastro’s spot upon his return to the lineup, as he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give BU the 3-2 win in Vermont Saturday night.

“He’s playing great. We need him to play great. He needs to be that kind of player for us,” said junior forward Wade Megan. “He played physical, played great defensively. Made some good plays and he got rewarded there with the overtime goal.”

The goal was Privitera’s second point of the weekend, following an assist on junior defenseman Sean Escobedo’s power-play goal during Friday night’s 5-0 win. Both the assist as well as the game-winning goal came off a hard, low shot from the point in which Privitera used screens to make it difficult for the goalie to track the puck.

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BU tops Vermont in overtime, 3-2

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
Facing a 2-1 deficit with less than two minutes to play, the Boston University men’s hockey team rallied to tie the game and beat the University of Vermont in overtime, 3-2, on a goal by freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera. The win clinched home ice in the Hockey East playoffs for the Terriers.
Vermont winger Connor Brickley struck first in the game, picking off a pass from the corner and firing a quick shot on goalie Kieran Millan that found a hole. BU had a few up-ice rushes broken up by Vermont defenders in the next several minutes before redshirt freshman forward Yasin Cissé was called for a hit from behind.
As Cissé’s penalty was about to expire, UVM forward Sebastian Stalberg took a backdoor pass from his linemate Nick Bruneteau and wristed it past Millan for the Catamounts’ second goal on eight shots.
After picking up two assists on Friday, sophomore forward Sahir Gill found his way back into the goals column with a dramatic play halfway through the second. Junior defenseman Sean Escobedo, jumping into the rush with the forwards, centered a pass to Gill that he knocked past UVM goalie Rob Madore while diving on his stomach.
BU thought they had tied it up a few minutes later, when sophomore forward Matt Nieto rang a shot off the left post and one of the Terriers pushed the rebound across the line. Upon review, though, the puck was ruled to have been kicked in and the goal was disallowed.
The decision on the goal seemed to energize the Terriers, as they picked up their pace in the last few minutes of the second but couldn’t add to Gill’s tally. In the third, they forced Madore to make a number of quality stops, but the goaltender was up to the task on his Senior Night, gloving a number of shots through difficult screens and stopping a one-timer that looked like a sure goal from Clendening at close range.
With 1:41 left in the third, Parker pulled Millan, and it didn’t take long for that move to pay off. Sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan and junior forward Alex Chiasson each got a shot off on Madore as BU’s forward collapsed on Madore, and when a third or fourth chance bounced to junior forward Wade Megan in the slot, there was nothing Madore could do to stop his wrist shot. Megan’s 17th goal of the year tied the game 2-2 and sent it to a five-minute overtime.
Privitera sent a slap shot from the point past Madore with 1:58 remaining in overtime to win it for BU.

Unlikely scorers lead Terriers over Catamounts

BURLINGTON, Vt. – This week was a difficult one off the ice for the No. 5/6 Boston University men’s hockey team, but the Terriers put together a strong effort against the University of Vermont on the ice on Friday. Here’s a look at what went well and what didn’t go so well for BU.
What went well
Secondary scoring
Aside from junior forward Wade Megan, none of the players who scored on Friday entered the game with more than three goals this season. Junior defenseman Sean Escobedo scored his first and second, freshman forward Cason Hohmann had his second and senior forward Justin Courtnall picked up his fourth.
“The first two lines have been carrying us offensively for a long time here, and of late, Santana’s line has chipped in with goals, Gaudet and Cissé have played well, and then to have Hohmann and Justin Courtnall each get a goal for us was big too,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “We’d like to have some more diversified scoring, that’s for sure.”
Hohmann beat Vermont goalie Rob Madore with a low wrist shot through a screen in the second period, and Courtnall momentarily broke out of his role as a physical, defensive forward with a quick set of dekes to fool Madore early in the third.

But it was Escobedo whose offensive performance was the most out of character, considering that he had one goal in the rest of his BU career before Friday. He joked about trying to catch up with sophomore blueliner Garrett Noonan, who has 11 goals on the year.
“I wanted to make sure that going into the last week I would have a chance,” Escobedo said when asked if he was trying to catch Noonan. “I think that if I get an eight-goal performance tomorrow night, I can make it a pretty good competition and take it home.”
Moving on from a tough week
Since Max Nicastro’s arrest on Sunday, the Terriers’ focus has been on a number of matters outside of hockey. But they put those concerns aside when they took the ice on Friday, staying focused against the only Hockey East team already eliminated from playoff contention and earning a decisive win.
One of the main hockey-related questions around the team before the game was whether BU would be prepared mentally, and they put that concern to rest with a solid first period followed by increasingly strong showings in the second and third.
Privitera’s return
Freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera played his first game since suffering a broken wrist on Jan. 28 against the University of Maine. He was a plus-3 with one assist, on Escobedo’s second goal, and didn’t appear to be in pain while handling the puck.
Privitera also set up the play that led to Courtnall’s goal, laying a hit on a Vermont forward to knock him off the puck in the Terriers’ defensive zone and sending BU up-ice on the rush.
“I thought he played extremely well,” Parker said. “I thought he was smart with the puck and I thought he didn’t miss a beat. He looked like he was in pretty good shape and he didn’t miss a shift.”
What didn’t go well
First line didn’t convert
Although they had a number of quality scoring chances, especially in the first period, BU’s top line of Chiasson, Connolly and Nieto didn’t find the back of the net. This is the first game all season the Terriers have won without one of those players recording a point.
Of course, that’s more of a step forward for the Terriers than a negative. Parker has said several times in the last few weeks that the team is relying too heavily on the first line for offense, and being able to win on the strength of goals from third-line players and defensemen is crucial.  
Power play went 1-for-9
The Terriers played a relatively disciplined game by their standards, only going to the box five times, but they went just 1-for-9 on the power play, and their only tally came after Vermont forward Anders Franzon took a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting Rodrigues from behind.
“They did a good job killing penalties,” Parker said. “Their goaltender played well at times, especially on the power plays.”
Although one of those power plays was a 5-on-3 that lasted almost two minutes and another was Franzon’s five-minute major, BU only took 10 shots on those nine power plays. Five of the man-advantages came in the third period, after the Terriers already had a comfortable lead and no pressing need to pepper Madore with shots, but even early on, they didn’t threaten offensively on the power play as much as they did at even strength.

Terriers put turbulent week behind them in Friday night win

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

BURLINGTON, Vt. — When former Boston University men’s hockey forward Corey Trivino was arrested on sexual assault charges in December, the rest of the BU hockey team had plenty of time to digest the situation before having to play another hockey game. The team was entering winter break at the time and had three weeks off from both school and hockey to compose themselves before having to focus on a game.

But when former BU defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested Sunday morning for sexual assault, the team had just five days, all spent on a campus filled with news trucks and the glare of public ire, to get ready for an important two-game weekend series against the University of Vermont which could help determine BU’s playoff seeding.

When the Terriers played their first game after Trivino’s arrest, they came out flat and unsure of themselves. On Thursday, coach Jack Parker admitted he did not know how his team would fare in its first game back since the most recent arrest.

“I think the only times I’ve seen my guys smile is in practice and when they’re out on the ice being hockey players,” Parker said. “They were dying to play a game. I said to my assistants before the game, it seems like it’s been a month since we played a hockey game, and obviously it has only been a week.”

Ultimately, the team responded well Friday night, as the Terriers trumped the University of Vermont in 5-0 fashion.

BU did not seem quite itself for the entire game. The Terriers and Catamounts played a scoreless first period in which BU seemed more tentative than usual.

There were a few plays in which BU backed away from taking a shot or making a play. Early in the first period, senior captain Chris Connolly carried the puck into the zone, had a shot and opted to pass to junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson, who cycled with the puck and never shot it.

Toward the end of the period, junior forward Ross Gaudet won a race to get to the puck behind the UVM net, but then neglected to do anything with it and had the puck ripped off his stick.

A goal in the second period, however, seemed to kick-start BU into action, and with every passing moment, the Terriers began to look more like themselves. Junior defenseman Sean Escobedo scored his first goal of the season and the first goal of the game at 2:21 in the third period on a low shot that prompted a lengthy review before the officials finally deemed it a good goal. The Terriers added two more tallies in the second period and two goals within 29 seconds of each other in the third to coast to the 5-0 win.

The team was full of smiles after the win, especially when it came to thanking the half-full section of BU fans who made the trip to Burlington, Vt. to support the team. Each player lifted his stick as he came off the ice in the direction of the BU fans, who were plenty loud by the end of the game.

Although the players clearly appreciated the support from their fans, they also acknowledged that one of the perks to playing Vermont this weekend was the ability to get out of town for a few days.

“It was nice just to get away from Boston I think,” Escobedo said. “Just to forget everything that was going on around us was beautiful. I think it was extremely important.

After the game, Parker noted the importance of the win both as a reassurance to himself and as a way to get the team back together.

“I was concerned [before the game],” Parker said. “I didn’t want them feeling sorry for themselves. Getting back together as a team, getting back competing against another really good team and a big rival of ours was really good for us.”

Rollheiser earns shutout, BU defeats UVM 5-0

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

BURLINGTON, Vt. — After a tumultuous week for the program, the No. 5/6 Boston University men’s hockey team got a much-needed win at the University of Vermont Friday night, when the Terriers (19-11-1, 15-8-1 Hockey East) topped the Catamounts (6-24-1, 3-20-1 Hockey East), 5-0.

Senior goaltender Grant Rollheiser made only his third start of the season Friday, but he recorded 18 saves on the night to shut out the last-place Catamounts .

“The guys really played hard in front of a great teammate in Rollheiser who’s a really good goalie but he’s always played, always had problems with Kieran playing so well in front of him,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I was so happy for Rollheiser tonight and I was really happy for the team who played as hard as they did in front of him to make sure we got a shutout.”

The Terriers were held scoreless by Vermont goaltender Rob Madore through the first period, as he made 10 saves to Rollheiser’s five. However, BU’s offense finally broke through Madore in the second period with three goals on 11 shots.

Junior defenseman Sean Escobedo tallied his first goal of the year at 2:21 in the second on a low shot from the right of Madore that slid underneath the Pittsburgh native. The puck looked as if it may have remained on the goal line, but after an extensive review the shot was determined a goal.

“I don’t think I’ve seen as long a time to go over it,” Parker said. “I looked at [Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon] and said, ‘Hey, you want to just flip a coin here and get going?’ But we were fortunate that we got the goal.”

Freshman center Cason Hohmann also became an unlikely goal scorer, netting his second goal of the season on a low shot from the slot just after the midway point in the second period. The assist on the goal went to senior defenseman Ryan Ruikka, while junior forward Justin Courtnall made the screen to open the shooting lane for the freshman.

After Vermont defenseman Anders Franzon received a five-minute major penalty for hitting from behind on freshman Evan Rodrigues, BU capitalized with another goal from Escobedo. Just under two minutes after Hohmann’s tally, freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera sent in a low shot that was tipped by sophomore forward Sahir Gill off Madore’s pads and Escobedo was able to find the loose puck in a mess of players for his second goal of the game and the season.

The third period didn’t get much better for the Catamounts, as BU immediately expanded its lead. Junior forward Wade Megan fired a wrist shot past Madore 1:13 into the third for his team-leading 16th goal of the season. The play involved some strange bounces to set him up for the goal, as he capitalized on a loose puck in the slot. Junior center Ben Rosen and Gill were credited with assists on the goal.

Just 29 seconds after the Megan goal, freshman forward Evan Rodrigues found Courtnall streaking through a Vermont defensive breakdown, where he used a backhand-forehand shimmy to undress Madore and tuck the puck into the back of the net.

The goal was Courtnall’s fourth of the season, in a year in which he has spent much of it playing on the Terriers’ bottom two lines. While he hasn’t had the scoring touch or the power-play minutes the top forwards earn, the assistant captain has found other ways to contribute.

“You can’t speak enough about [Courtnall], in the corners and all the little battles he wins that doesn’t get the press or anything like that,” Escobedo said. “He comes ready to play every night and for him to get a goal like that – it was a pretty goal too – it’s really nice to see.”

Privitera found his spot back on the blue line after recovering from a broken wrist, and his recovery came at a perfect time with the loss of former defenseman Max Nicastro. Privitera proved his return is crucial to BU’s late-season success by notching significant minutes on the power play and playing solid two-way defense five-on-five.

“I thought [Privitera] played extremely well,” Parker said. “I thought he was smart with the puck and I thought he didn’t miss a beat, he looked like he was in pretty good shape and he didn’t miss a shift.”

The game got rough at points, as each team tallied plenty of penalty minutes. UVM totaled 31 penalty minutes in the game, while BU earned 12 minutes in the penalty box.

While there was not much about the Terriers’ game to pick on, BU went only 1-for-9 on the power play. However, the Terriers kept good puck possession, and recorded 10 shots in their nine chances.

The team’s win was important for their mindset after the turbulent week, but the win held postseason positioning importance as well. Because No. 7 University of Massachusetts-Lowell lost to No. 12/13 Merrimack College on Friday, BU moved into second place in Hockey East, only two points behind first-place Boston College.

“I think this win is extremely important, not just because of the week we had but if you look in the standings so many teams on top are so close – a point away or two points away,” Escobedo said. “To get the two points is huge for us.”

Parker reacts to Nicastro arrest

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

For the second time in less than three months, Boston University’s reputation was tarnished by the actions of a player on the men’s hockey team. Early Sunday morning, defenseman Max Nicastro was arrested and charged with two counts of rape stemming from an alleged on-campus incident.

The accusations against Nicastro come after forward Corey Trivino was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a BU resident assistant on Dec. 11.

Both Trivino and Nicastro have been kicked off the hockey team and are not enrolled at BU while their cases continue through the court process.

The similar charges against two members of the same team has created many questions about the environment surrounding the hockey team and whether the team could have done more to prevent either incident from occurring. On Thursday, BU President Robert Brown announced he was forming a task force to study the culture and climate of the hockey team in response to Trivino and Nicastro’s alleged actions.

BU coach Jack Parker, who was unavailable to speak to The Daily Free Press until Thursday, addressed some of the questions surrounding his team in an interview early Thursday afternoon.

Parker said he thinks there are many differences between the accusations against Trivino and Nicastro, but acknowledged both shared similar roots.

“It points to a problem of control or drinking, and one of the things we talk about all the time at the beginning of the year is we lay down ground rules that we talk about in actions and consequences,” Parker said. “Specific consequences regarding specific actions having to do with drugs, alcohol, and the way you treat people around here and sexual behavior. We will talk some more about that, obviously.

“When we don’t get what we want as far as we don’t have people staying up to the standard we like, we deal with it.”

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