Injuries to Wade Megan, Ben Rosen may leave Terriers shorthanded

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

DENVER — There was a lot of room to move around on the Boston University men’s hockey team’s bench late in the third period of BU’s 6–0 loss Saturday night at the University of Denver. With a man in the penalty box and a whole lot more sent back to the locker room thanks to penalties and injuries, BU did not have a lot of options in terms of personnel.

The Terriers (10–6, 8–4 Hockey East) began sending their players back to the locker room starting in the first period when senior forward Ben Rosen was elbowed in the head by Denver (10–6–3, 7–4–3 WCHA) defenseman Scott Mayfield. Rosen glided to the bench in apparent pain while Mayfield was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Rosen, who was sick last night according to BU coach Jack Parker, did not return to the game. Parker said the fourth-line center is under evaluation for a concussion.

“He may or may not have a concussion so we’ll have to check him out tomorrow,” Parker said. “So it was definitely a precaution, but also might’ve been something to do with what happened with the food poisoning.”

Rosen was one of two seniors to go to the locker room with an injury in the contest, as senior captain Wade Megan left the ice holding his shoulder in the final three minutes after being tripped up on a rush. Megan did not have ice on his shoulder after the game and “should be fine” according to senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka.

With former Terrier Yasin Cissé gone for the QMJHL, and Justin Courtnall leaving the team shortly before the season’s start, the team has a limited number of forward options to turn to should Rosen or Megan miss any games.

The only other two options left at the forward position are senior Jake Moscatel and junior Matt Ronan, who have combined for one game played. That game was last year against Merrimack College on Feb. 3, when Ronan earned a spot in the lineup.

Moscatel, who played for BU’s club team in the fall of 2011, joined the Terriers that December as a walk-on. He is yet to see any playing time for the Terriers, but Ruikka said he thinks Parker would not hesitate to insert either him or Ronan into the lineup should Megan or Rosen be forced to miss any games.

“I think coach would give them a shot,” Ruikka said. “They have been working hard in practice and looking pretty good out there. If someone can’t play, they are the next ones in.”

Another option would be for the team to dress seven defensemen and only 11 forwards, but that is not an option for the next game thanks to sophomore Alexx Privitera’s game disqualification penalty he earned Saturday night.

Privitera, who had already been penalized on the night, jumped into a scrum in front of freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor in the second period and earned a matching roughing penalty with Denver forward Ty Loney. However, on his way up from the scrum, Privitera kicked Loney earned a suspension for BU’s next game.

Freshman blueliner Matt Grzelcyk has returned from Ufa, Russia after being the final player cut from the U.S. National Junior squad and should be ready for Friday’s game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. BU has also had a competition for the final defenseman spot going on all season between Ruikka and junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor, so finding a sixth defenseman to play is not a problem.

However, not having the seventh defenseman available could leave BU down to their last few options before playing a full game with fewer than 18 skaters.

“Yeah we are short kind of in numbers,” Ruikka said. “But we have got a lot of really good players. So if we just stick together and keep playing, we can play a few men down if we need to. We have got enough good players to get the job done I think.”

Terriers lead conference in penalties after Saturday free-for-all

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

DENVER — The Boston University men’s hockey team entered Saturday’s game ranked fourth in Hockey East in penalty minutes per game. By the time their 6-0 loss to the University of Denver ended, they’d roughed, kicked and tripped their way to the league lead.

Despite a relatively disciplined start to the year, the Terriers averaged 17 penalty minutes per game in their three December contests, creeping up from the bottom half of Hockey East into the top five.

Then, against Denver, BU racked up 56 penalty minutes to the Pioneers’ 35 in what became an unruly mess by the final buzzer. They now average 15.9 minutes in the box per game, sixth most in the nation.

“We took some stupid penalties, and we’re going to pay for it,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “When I watch film, people will sit out the next game for sure, anyway.”

Ten of the penalty minutes on Saturday came on a disqualification penalty to sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera, who kicked a Denver player in a scrum after the whistle. Privitera alone accounted for 19 minutes in the box before he was ejected late in the second period. Ten more came from a late game misconduct to junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor.

The Terriers’ defensemen recorded 40 of those 56 minutes in total. They might easily have had more, but junior defenseman Garrett Noonan – recently named an assistant captain – got away scot-free after he hit Denver freshman Quentin Shore from behind and continued to shove him into the boards away from the play late in the third period.

MacGregor took the punishment for that play instead when he jumped in next to Noonan, punching Shore and drawing three penalties: roughing, cross-checking, and a game misconduct. Freshman forward Matt Lane served the ensuing seven-minute penalty in his place.

Parker said he had no idea how Noonan got away with the play, and that frustration, with the game 5-0 at that point, was likely part of the reason he went after Shore.

“Guys were getting frustrated, definitely, because pucks weren’t bouncing our way, but we’ve just got to battle through,” said senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka, one of only two Terrier blueliners who didn’t take a penalty on Saturday. “You can’t lose games like that.”

Privitera entered the game with a team-leading 32 penalty minutes on the year. He’s now up to 51. While his improved defensive play has been key to BU’s success this season, his lack of discipline has hurt the team repeatedly. On Saturday, his first penalty, for roughing, came 14 seconds after BU went on a five-minute power play. Denver scored twice on the ensuing 4-on-4 to take a 3-0 lead.

With freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk already missing because he couldn’t fly back from the World Junior Championships in Russia in time, the Terriers could ill afford to lose another defenseman. But when Privitera was ejected, they had no choice but to rotate five blueliners for the remaining 22 minutes of the game.

“I think we missed [Grzelcyk] a lot, with all the penalties and everything,” Ruikka said. “I was gasping for air, especially up here in the Mile High City.”

Of the other four least disciplined Hockey East teams – the University of Maine, Providence College, Northeastern University and the University of Vermont – only Providence has a winning record (7-6-3).

Meanwhile, BU’s main rivals for the top spot in Hockey East, Boston College and New Hampshire, are the two least penalized teams in the conference. They rank 45th and 46th in the nation, respectively, in minutes spent in the box per game.

BU’s penalty kill has also fallen off recently, succeeding just 81.2 percent of the time. Regularly losing players like Privitera, who’s become a significant part of the PK, only makes it harder on the players left shorthanded on the ice.

“We just need to keep those guys calmed down, because they’re good players for us,” Ruikka said. “They contribute for us on the power play and they create plays. We need them on the ice. We can’t have them in the locker room not playing for us.”

UPDATED: Denver rocks BU, 6-0, in U.S. Hall of Fame Game

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

DENVER — The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team might have a lot of fond memories from its five-day trip to Colorado, but its matchup Saturday night against No. 14/15 University of Denver won’t be one of them.

The Terriers (10-6, 8-4 Hockey East) got blown out by the host Pioneers, 6-0, in a game marred by blown BU scoring chances, injuries and a number of bad penalties. Sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera took four penalties — including a game-changing roughing in the first period and a game disqualification in the second — at Magness Arena in the annual U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.

It’s the first time BU has been shut out since Nov. 6, 2009, a 1-0 loss to Northeastern University.

“We were in a daze out there,” said BU head coach Jack Parker. “It was like we had no intensity at all in our own zone, no alertness, no focus.”

The Terriers got off to a rough start, and despite finishing the first period with a few strong shifts were down 3-0 at the end of the frame.

Denver (10-6-3) assistant captain Shawn Ostrow got the scoring started when he redirected assistant captain Nick Shore’s shot from the blue line. The power-play goal at 4:59 gave the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead.

BU looked primed to turn things around about halfway through the period when defenseman Scott Mayfield was charged with a game misconduct and a five-minute major after elbowing senior forward Ben Rosen in the head.

Rosen did not return to the game, and Parker said he “may or may not” have a concussion. Rosen will be evaluated further in the coming days.

Just 14 seconds into what should have been an extended Terrier power play, however, Privitera got called for roughing behind BU’s net. That paved the way for a pair of 4-on-4 Pioneer goals nine seconds apart to extend the lead to 3-0.

After Ostrow’s shot, sophomore Zac Larraza found the rebound and beat freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor glove side. With Privitera still in the box and BU flat on its feet, DU freshman Quentin Shore found another rebound moments later to make it 3-0

“It’s 4-on-4. It should not be a problem, but we made it a problem,” Parker said. “So you can’t blame Privitera for those two goals, you can blame him [for taking] a stupid penalty anytime you’re a man up.”

The Pioneers made it 4-0 at 14:12 in the second when Nick Shore, a Los Angeles Kings draft pick, finished a series of nifty Denver passes by getting off a shot as he fell to the ice.

Then it got ugly for BU.

Privitera took three more penalties at the 17:33 mark in the second: a two-minute minor, a five-minute major and a game disqualification after getting into a scrum and then kicking Denver’s Ty Loney.

The game disqualification comes with an automatic one-game suspension, meaning Privitera will miss BU’s game vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday. Parker indicated Privitera may miss more time after the coach gets to take a look at game film and determine how severe the penalties actually were.

With the Terriers down a forward and a defenseman for the final 22 minutes, Denver made it 5-0 at 7:10 in the third. Assistant captain Chris Knowlton picked up a loose puck a long the boards and shot from the left faceoff dot for his 11th goal of the season.

A scrum late in the third period resulted in junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor getting tossed for a game misconduct. He and junior assistant captain Garrett Noonan teamed up on Nick Shore behind the BU net, which promptly led to all of the players on the ice getting tied up.

Noonan, who was playing in his first game since being named an assistant captain, initiated the fracas when he repeatedly pushed Nick Shore to the ice while Shore was chasing a loose puck.

“We took a lot of stupid penalties and that really — we beat ourselves there,” said senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka. “Guys were getting frustrated definitely because pucks weren’t bouncing our way, but we’ve just got to battle through.”

Senior captain Wade Megan left the game in apparent pain with 3:21 to play. He grabbed his shoulder after getting tripped and falling to the ice. After the game, though, Megan was not icing the shoulder and Ruikka said the captain was fine.

The Pioneers capped off their big game with a goal from Nolan Zajac — their third of the game on the man-advantage — in the final minute to account for the 6-0 final.

The all-around lackluster Terrier performance was the third year in a row BU came out slow after the multiple week, end-of-the-semester break, losing to Notre Dame last New Year’s Eve and Brown the season before.

“Guys might get a little complacent over Christmas break,” Ruikka said. “Not be working out and skating as much as you should be. We had a really good first half I thought. Guys might have taken a little bit advantage of that. We need to get back to work and get back on the winning streak.”

Live blog: No. 6 BU visits No. 14/15 Denver to wrap up 2012

Time/location: 9 p.m., Magness Arena (Denver)

BU lines:
Wade Megan – Cason Hohmann – Sahir Gill
Matt Nieto – Danny O’Regan – Evan Rodrigues
Mike Moran – Wes Myron – Sam Kurker
Matt Lane – Ben Rosen – Ryan Santana
Sean Escobedo – Alexx Privitera
Garrett Noonan – Patrick MacGregor
Ahti Oksanen – Ryan Ruikka
Matt O’Connor
Sean Maguire
Denver lines: 
Ty Loney – Nick Shore – Chris Knowlton
Zac Larraza – Shawn Ostrow – Daniel Doremus
Larkin Jacobson – Quentin Shore – Matt Tabrum
Gabe Levin – xxx – Grant Arnold

Paul Phillips – Scott Mayfield
Dakota Mermis – Joey Laleggia
Nolan Zajac – David Makowski
Josiah Didier

Juho Olkinuora
Sam Brittain
Adam Murray

Live blog:

Grzelcyk final player cut from U.S. World Junior squad

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Boston University men’s hockey freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was in Ufa, Russia Thursday with the U.S. National Junior Team, hoping for his shot to play for a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championships.

However, after Team USA’s 8–0 win over Team Germany Thursday, the squad decided to name Windsor Spitfires blueliner Patrick Sieloff the team’s seventh defenseman Friday morning and send Grzelcyk home as the final player cut from the team.

In reaction to being cut from the team, Grzelcyk tweeted, “Lots of emotions today, but I have to be thankful for the opportunity. Good luck to Team USA the boys deserve it!”

The decision took an unusually long time, as Team USA had already played a game in the tournament without making its final decision for the 23rd player on its roster. The drawn-out process bothered BU coach Jack Parker, who now does not have Grzelcyk available to play in Saturday’s game between the No. 6 Terriers and the No. 14 University of Denver.

“I think it is really taking advantage of the kid and the schools those guys play for,” Parker said in a phone interview Thursday. “If they had cut him before they left Helsinki, he would have been home in time to play for us.”

Parker highlighted the extensive travel Grzelcyk had to do as one of the reasons for his disappointment in the decision-making process. Ufa is a two-hour flight away from Moscow, Russia, and a flight from Moscow to New York takes over 10 hours. There are no direct flights from Moscow to Boston or Denver.

“It is awful hard to get home, especially if he has to travel by himself,” Parker said. “That will be brutal. I think they have done him and us a disservice.

“They should have made that decision before they left Helsinki.”

No. 6 Terriers to end 2012 with contest at No. 14 Denver

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Sports

The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team is spending a few days in Denver, Colo. during its winter break from school, but it is not for a team skiing trip. BU has travelled west and will take on No. 14 Denver University Saturday in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.

The Terriers (10–5, 8–4 Hockey East), will look to continue their good form and close out 2012 with a win, as they entered the break having won four of their last five games. The only loss came against No. 1 Boston College on Dec. 1.

BU coach Jack Parker got the team to Denver on Wednesday to give it some extra time to practice at Magness Arena and to get back on the same page after spending some time away from each other.

“It is a smaller rink and it’s like [the University of] North Dakota’s, and we are just trying to get their legs in and feel of the puck back,” Parker said. “We are doing a lot of skill drills, stuff like that.”

BU ran those practices without freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who was in Ufa, Russia with the U.S. National Junior Team. Grzelcyk was made the final cut from Team USA early Friday Morning and will not make it back to Denver in time to play for the Terriers Saturday.

“It was great to have him in the lineup. He is one of our most important players,” Parker said Thursday.

Parker said he was confident in his group of defensemen, though, as junior Patrick MacGregor will make it back into the lineup. He and senior captain Ryan Ruikka have been competing for the final defenseman spot, so Grzelcyk’s absence opens up an opportunity for both of them to play.

Denver (9–6–3, 7–4–3 WCHA) is looking to get back on track after going winless in its last eight games. The Pioneers tied the University of Wisconsin, No. 7 North Dakota, and Bemidji State University during that span.

Before that eight-game winless stretch, Denver had won nine of its first 10 games, only losing to No. 16 Saint Cloud State University. Despite the Pioneers’ recent struggles, Parker said he expects them to be a tough opponent on Saturday.

“I expect them to be a real good team,” Parker said. “In general, they are a scoring team. They will be a top-10 team in the nation for sure. They might even be a top-five in the final RPI stuff.”

Denver has started all three goalies on its roster at various points this season, but Saturday’s starter will likely be either junior Sam Brittain and sophomore Juho Olkinuora. Brittain has a 2.78 goals-against average this season with a .908 save percentage in eight starts, while Olkinuora has a 1.92 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in seven starts.

Freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor will make his 11th start of the season Saturday in Denver. The 6-foot-5 netminder has a 2.22 goals-against average and .931 save percentage so far this year.

Parker said the decision to start O’Connor was simplified this week as the Toronto, Ontario native got one more day of practice than Maguire. Maguire, who is also feeling under the weather according to Parker, and freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen arrived a day later than the rest of the team due to flight scheduling.

“We knew because of the way we booked our flights he was going to have a hard time. He was in an island off of Vancouver and he had a hard time getting off the island in time to get to Vancouver to get to Denver … He and Oksanen both missed practice last night coming from Finland, obviously.”

If Denver does finish among the top 10 teams in the nation as Parker expects, a win over the Pioneers could be crucial for the Terriers’ final RPI ranking.

BU already has at least one win over BC, the University of New Hampshire and North Dakota, who are each currently in the top 10 in RPI ranking, but a win over Denver could go a long way at the end of the season.

“They play in a real tough league,” Parker said. “They have won a lot of games, so if we can get a ‘W’ against them, it will be like getting a ‘W’ against North Dakota. It will be like getting a ‘W’ against BC when they were No. 1 nationally. It will be a significant win as far as the NCAA tournament is concerned.”

Marc Hetnik Jr. decommits from BU, to attend UMass starting Fall 2013

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
Marc Hetnik Jr., the son of former Terrier Marc Hetnik, committed this week to the University of Massachusetts for the fall of 2013, news that came as a surprise to some because Hetnik Jr. had committed to Boston University in April 2011.
According to Bill Hanson, Hetnik Jr.’s former coach at Catholic Memorial School, the change was the result of BU’s lack of an available scholarship.
The elder Hetnik worked at BU at the time of his son’s commitment, meaning the family would have paid just 10 percent of BU’s tuition rate thanks to the school’s tuition remission benefits.
However, Hetnik lost his job at BU in May, according to Hanson. BU head coach Jack Parker and associate head coach Mike Bavis were “straightforward in that they didn’t have a scholarship for [Hetnik Jr.],” Hanson said.
UMass, which Hanson said has scouted Hetnik Jr. heavily during his time with the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League, offered him a full scholarship.
“I think it’ll be a really good fit for him,” said Hanson, who was also Hetnik Jr.’s high school guidance counselor.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound defenseman has collected five points (one goal, four assists) in 29 games for Vernon this season. He put up a line of 3-14-17 during the 2011-12 season.
Hetnik Jr.’s father played at BU under Parker for four seasons between 1975 and 1979, and played in all but one game during the Terriers’ 1977-78 national championship season.

UPDATED: Garrett Noonan named assistant captain at midway point in season

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey junior defenseman Garrett Noonan has been named assistant captain of the team, joining senior forward Wade Megan and senior defenseman Ryan Ruikka as the team’s captains.

Noonan said he found out about his new position following the game against the University of New Hampshire on Dec. 6, but that BU coach Jack Parker did not tell the team until after the 1-0 win over the University of Maine on Dec. 8.

“[Being named assistant captain] felt pretty good,” Noonan said. “I’m pretty excited. It’s really a big honor and for coach to give me that opportunity, I have got to thank him and the staff and all of my teammates. I don’t think I would be anywhere without them.”

The Norfolk native has been a member of the team’s leadership council this season, which also consists of Megan, Ruikka, senior forward Ryan Santana, junior forward Sahir Gill and junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor.

“He’s been great as a member of our team’s leadership council and his leadership role in the dressing room continues to grow,” said BU coach Jack Parker in a team release. “It’s not only deserving, but appropriate, that we put an ‘A’ on his shirt.”

Noonan, who is the only junior among the team captains, has three goals and seven assists this season and scored the team’s only goal in its most recent win over the Black Bears.

Noonan will get his first chance to wear that ‘A’ at No. 10/11 University of Denver on Dec. 29 in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.

“I think we have the chance to do something pretty special here,” Noonan said. “We have a chance to get on a little bit of a roll here and it starts with Denver and we will be ready to play, I know that.”

From the FreeP: Sean Maguire earns another shutout at Agganis

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

With the University of Maine on the power play at the end of the second period Saturday night, Black Bear forward Kyle Beattie managed to get a last-second shot on net from just outside the crease.

Boston University (10–5, 8–4 Hockey East) freshman goaltender Sean Maguire closed his pads as the buzzer went off, and turned his head to look in the goal. No puck.

Then he opened his pads. Puck.

It was Maguire’s 21st save on a night he recorded a perfect 28 en route to No. 7 BU’s 1–0 win over visiting Maine, his second straight shut out. The first came in the only other home game of his young college career, a 4–0 victory over St. Lawrence University on Nov. 24.

“I was really happy for Sean Maguire,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “Back-to-back shutouts in front of the home crowd and he was really poised in net.”