Cason Hohmann undergoes shoulder surgery, should be ready for 2014-15 season

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Boston University junior forward Cason Hohmann underwent shoulder surgery on Wednesday, March 19 and will be sidelined for the next three to four months, per BU coach David Quinn. Hohmann should be ready by the start of next season.

The surgery was the result of a shoulder injury suffered in a game against the University of North Dakota on Nov. 22, 2013. The center missed five games before returning to action on Jan. 4 against Harvard University.

Hohmann was fifth on the team this season with 19 points, and will be the top returning career point scorer with 61 through his first 104 games.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, it said that Hohmann’s surgery was on Feb. 19. This was incorrect, as it should have read March 19. It has been corrected and we apologize for the error.

Terriers end rebuilding year, look forward to what has been built

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

BU celebrates after one of its goals during Saturday’s
game against the University of Notre Dame.
Photo by Michelle Jay.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The meaning of the phrase “rebuilding year” can change depending on one’s outlook.

For the negative Boston University men’s hockey fan, a rebuilding year is one that featured a lot of losses. The Terriers came in fourth place in the Beanpot, went on an 18-game stretch in which it only won a single game and, thanks to Saturday night’s 3-2 loss at No. 11/12 University of Notre Dame, did not make it out of the first round of the Hockey East tournament.

There is a positive way to look at a rebuilding year for BU fans, however. The Terriers (10-21-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) are only graduating two players who received significant playing time this season in defensemen Garrett Noonan and Patrick MacGregor, and have a whole bunch of underclassmen who used the season to get experience playing against some of the top competition college hockey has to offer.

“I think one of the bright spots about having a tough year is that our young players had to play a ton,” said BU associate head coach Steve Greeley. “And because of that they’re going to be better sophomores and they’re going to help this team going forward.

“Guys were put in situations – important situations in the last minute of the game or on the power play or penalty kill had a little extra time. They’ll all benefit from that, as will the team.”

One of those players was freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon. The center led the Terriers in points this season with 27 – including a power-play goal in the third period of Saturday night’s loss to the Fighting Irish (21-12-2, 9-9-2 Hockey East).

To Greeley, Baillargeon was one of the freshmen who benefitted most from the extra usage this season.

“When he came here he was an offensive kid and all of a sudden against [the University of Vermont] in a win he is playing 30 minutes in a game and he is taking important faceoffs,” Greeley said. “He is killing penalties for probably the first time in his life.

“All of these guys are getting put in situations that they haven’t played in before and Robbie Baillargeon – I think he grew a ton as a player and I think he is going to be a great Hockey East player next year.”

It’s not just the growth of the freshmen that will give BU a boost next season, but the addition of a large and strong recruiting class. The expected nine-man crew is highlighted by phenom Jack Eichel, who sources indicate will be coming to BU next year, contrary to rumors of him going to play Major Juniors in Canada.

Perhaps the most important thing about the class is that it will provide depth. BU played several games without a healthy scratch this season, which led to the nine freshmen getting more significant ice time than they would have gotten, ideally.

“I think you want competition in your lineup so you’re always trying to make sure you’re playing and you’re always trying to stay in the lineup,” Greeley said. “This will put kids in a situation where you’re just getting pushed and you’re trying to get your ice time.”

As BU head coach David Quinn pointed out, the Terriers had a rebuilding year in 1988-89 when it went 14-21-1. The following season, BU was 25-17-2 and back in the Frozen Four.

While that does not necessarily mean the Terriers will be back to glory and raising trophies next season, it does serve as a reminder that season-to-season turnarounds happen in college hockey. With the big recruiting class coming in and the large group of returning players, anything is possible with a little patience.

“Nobody wants to be 10-21,” Quinn said. “I certainly didn’t come here to coach 10-21 hockey teams, but everybody kind of knew the situation we were in this year and I think everybody has a good idea what we’re going to do moving forward.”

Moving forward, the young core of the team is getting older. BU’s top-three scorers will all be returning, and that doesn’t even include the team’s two returning juniors, forwards Evan Rodrigues and Cason Hohmann. With sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk back from his shoulder injury, there is a lot of skill returning for BU.

While that group of returnees does not include Noonan, Quinn’s first captain expects big things coming up for BU hockey.

“They’re going to be a wagon of a team next year,” Noonan said. “They will be loaded in years coming. Sometimes it takes a year like this to get back to the way they want to be.”

Garrett Noonan ‘crushed,’ reflective following end of Terrier career

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Garrett Noonan stood by the door to the Boston University bench, waiting as his teammates filed by one-by-one down the tunnel and into the offseason. It was a slow walk off the ice after a 3-2 loss to the University of Notre Dame with the Terriers in no particular hurry to get to the locker room. Only goodbyes and hindsight awaited.

Garrett Noonan skates down the ice after the Terriers fell
to the University of Notre Dame Saturday evening.
Photo by Michelle Jay.

Some gave Noonan a fist bump, others a hug, most a few simple words of thanks. Associate head coach Steve Greeley offered a pat on the back. All of it served the same purpose: delaying, however slightly, Noonan’s exit from the ice, his last as a Terrier.

Saturday’s loss to the No. 11/12 Fighting Irish in the first round of the Hockey East tournament brought an end to not only a disappointing season for the BU men’s hockey team, but also Noonan’s collegiate career.

“It just really hit me in the locker room that I will never put a BU jersey on again,” said a sullen Noonan in the bowels of Compton Family Ice Arena. “It’s not a good feeling. It’s probably one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had. I’m crushed. This place gave me so much and I wish I could have gave back more.”

He almost did. Noonan, the captain, assisted freshman center Robbie Baillargeon’s power-play goal at 14:22 in the third to bring BU within one. Despite a desperate spurt of energy from the Terriers — including Noonan, who played most of the remaining 5:36 — the effort ultimately fell short.

Noonan’s assist came minutes after he was hit hard into the boards and went down in the corner. He remained motionless on his stomach for several minutes before getting back to his feet and taking the next shift, a two-man advantage for BU. That sequence was, along with the post-game parade, one of the few occasions Noonan stayed in one place for an extended period of time all night.

BU coach David Quinn half-joked that Noonan, who was shaken up but felt fine after the hit, stayed down to catch his breathe. Playing about 30 minutes per night wears on a guy, after all.

“It’s almost inhumane what we’ve asked him to do,” Quinn said.

Noonan’s senior year was by any measure a difficult one for the Terriers. Last spring, Noonan decided to come back for one more season in the scarlet and white with two main objectives: win trophies and study under the tutelage of Quinn to become a better defenseman.

BU missed on the first one, finishing at 10-21-4 and in ninth place in the conference, its worst since Hockey East’s inception three decades ago.

But that second goal? Ask any of the parties involved and they will give rave reviews.

Noonan’s game has evolved dramatically from his 16-goal, 11-assist campaign in 2011-12, back when he was a sophomore regularly sneaking up the wing and banging home back-door goals. This season’s circumstances forced him into a different role — one with much more defensive responsibility for a young Terrier team that lacked depth as much as it did experience.

Noonan tallied four goals and 15 assists to go with his immeasurable defensive impact.

“His play without the puck has really improved. His backward skating has improved,” Quinn said. “His stick has been great, and defensively he’s been good on the d-side of people.”

Noonan agreed that he achieved what he had wanted to accomplish with Quinn on an individual level.

“I thought that he helped me grow as a person and a leader and really matured me off the ice,” Noonan said. “He just made me a better player and person.”

It might not be too long until Noonan takes to the ice again, but next time it will be as a professional. Noonan will likely sign with the Nashville Predators — who selected him in the fourth round (112th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — sooner rather than later.

When the ink dries on that contract, Noonan will keep with him plenty of lessons from his time on Commonwealth Avenue — time that has meant a lot to the Norfolk native.

“So much,” Noonan said. “Everything — so much history at this program. I consider it the best program in college hockey. It’s a privilege and I’m so honored to say that I had the opportunity to play here. This place means the world to me.”

UPDATED: BU’s season comes to end in South Bend

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Garrett Noonan lay on the ice nearly motionless. After taking a hit from University of Notre Dame defenseman Stephen Johns, the senior captain of the Boston University men’s hockey team needed a minute to gather himself and catch a breath. The Terriers (10-21-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) were down 3-1 with fewer than seven minutes left in the game.

Boston University defenseman Garrett Noonan and
Notre Dame forward T.J. Tynan battle for the puck.
Photo by Michelle Jay.
Noonan, despite being rattled from the previous play, returned to the ice, epitomizing the resilience of the entire team. In the end, though, ninth-seeded BU’s effort fell just short as the eighth-seeded Fighting Irish (21-12-2, 9-9-2) defeated the Terriers 3-2 at Compton Family Ice Arena in the opening round of the Hockey East tournament Saturday evening.

“None of us accepted it — accepted losing,” Noonan said. “It seems like whenever we were down we got back up. It’s an honor to say I got to play with those guys.”

For the first half of the game, the Fighting Irish started exactly where they left off two weeks ago, scoring two goals and shutting down BU’s offense.

Notre Dame initially got on the board after center T.J. Tynan pickpocketed sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen in BU’s zone. Tynan, who brought the puck over to the left circle, then sent a pass to his linemate, Bryan Rust, on the right side of the goal. After deking around sprawled-out BU goaltender Matt O’Connor, Rust flipped his shot into the left side of the net.

After the goal, the Terriers had two power-play opportunities — including one that carried over into the opening seconds of the middle frame — but the team failed to even record a shot with the man-advantage.

“You can feel it deflate the bench,” said BU coach David Quinn. “I think that’s happened to us over the last month because our power play has not been good. Not only has it not produced from a numbers standpoint, we haven’t looked good on it.

“You can just feel it on the bench, it kind of demoralized us.”

Having failed to convert on the power play, the Terriers needed to fend off the Fighting Irish after BU registered two penalties over the course of a three-minute span. Seconds after the team killed off the second penalty, though, Notre Dame increased its initial lead after left wing and captain Jeff Costello sent a shot from the right circle that went through O’Connor’s five-hole.

The score mirrored the previous meetings between the teams where the Fighting Irish defeated BU 2-0 in back-to-back games. The similarities ended with fewer than four minutes left in the frame, though, when junior wing Evan Rodrigues found the back of the net, snapping the team’s scoreless streak against Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays that had lasted roughly 155 minutes.

After putting multiple shots on Summerhays near the crease, Rodrigues finally broke through when he picked up his own rebound and notched it into the left side of the goal, making it a 2-1 game.

While that goal gave the team confidence, according to Quinn, it did not last for long as Notre Dame once again took a two-goal lead over the Terriers in the opening minutes of the third period.

As the game neared its end, though, the Fighting Irish gave BU an opportunity. With wing Mike Voran already in the penalty box for tripping, Johns hit Noonan, giving BU a 5-on-3 advantage for 51 seconds.

Although Noonan originally came off the ice with the help of a trainer, the defenseman stayed on the bench and eventually made his way back on the ice during the ensuing power play. With the Voran penalty having come off the clock just 11 seconds earlier, Noonan sent a pass over to freshman center Robbie Baillargeon, who bounced his shot off the back of the net, making it a one-goal game once again.

Despite pulling O’Connor for the final 1:19 of the game and a breakaway chance by freshman wing Nick Roberto, though, the Terriers could not complete the comeback.

As the final buzzer sounded, Noonan and several other Terriers glided down toward their goal hunched over with their season — and for some of them, their BU careers — having just come to an end.

“I think we’re all crushed,” Noonan said.

Live Blog: Terriers face Notre Dame in first round of Hockey East Tournament

Time/location: 7 p.m., Compton Family Ice Arena

BU lines:
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Danny O’Regan
Matt Lane – Cason Hohmann – Kevin Duane
Brendan Collier – Mike Moran – Nick Roberto
Tommy Kelley – Dillon Lawrence – Jake Moscatel

Garrett Noonan – Matt Ronan
Ahti Oksanen – Patrick MacGregor
Doyle Somerby – Dalton MacAfee

Matt O’Connor
Anthony Moccia

Notre Dame lines:
Sam Herr – T.J. Tynan – Bryan Rust
Jeff Costello – Steven Fogarty – Peter Schneider
Mario Lucia – Vince Hinostroza – Austin Wuthrich
Ali Thomas – Thomas DiPauli – Mike Voran

Kevin Lind – Stephen Johns
Shayne Taker – Andy Ryan
Eric Johnson – Jared Beers

Steven Summerhays
Joe Rogers
Chad Katunar

Referees: Mark Wilkins, Jeff Bunyon
Assistant Referees: Marc Sullivan, Jeremy Lewis

Live blog:


From the FreeP: Men’s hockey prepares for win-or-go-home tilt with Notre Dame

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

For just the second time this season, the Boston University men’s hockey team will enter a weekend with a chance to win three consecutive games. When the Terriers take to the ice Saturday though, they will have more pressure on them than just starting a streak as they take on the University of Notre Dame in a single-elimination game at Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind.

The Terriers (10-20-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) start the first round of the Hockey East playoffs after a weekend of firsts – the first time they swept a team this season and the first time they won a game on the road. The team accomplished those feats in the home-and-home series with Northeastern University despite benching several players over the course of the two games because of a violation of a team policy.

“I think we started to play some winning hockey,” said BU coach David Quinn. “There is a difference between playing well and playing winning hockey, and I think we did the things you need to do to win more often on Friday night and Saturday night than we have in the past.

“We were controlling play. We were in their end a lot. We had the value of zone time and patience and things we are going to have to do this weekend.”

For more, read dailyfreepress.com

From the FreeP: Noonan steps up in final year

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

If there is one player who has been asked to do it all this season for the Boston University men’s hockey team, it is senior defenseman and captain Garrett Noonan. In every situation, whether it is a power play, penalty kill or key moment at the end of the game, Noonan has been called upon to do the job.

With sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk injured and a thin group of defensemen left over, Noonan has logged significant minutes this season. He is a minus-12 on the season, but 11 of those goals have come in situations when BU (10-20-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) has pulled the goalie.

“He has been relied on a lot,” said BU coach David Quinn before his team’s weekend sweep over Northeastern University. “I think the thing that’s happened is he has really improved his play without the puck.”

For more, read dailyfreepress.com 

From the FreeP: Matt Lane excels in 2nd game of weekend sweep

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

Friday night was special for the Boston University men’s hockey team. It celebrated its seniors, it honored former coach Jack Parker and it won its first game in nearly a month. Sophomore wing Matt Lane sat on the bench as a spectator for all of it.

While he was dressed for the game, a disciplinary action stopped him and three other Terriers (10-20-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) from seeing ice time.

Twenty-four hours later, the sophomore threw his hand up into the air after he scored his second goal of the game en route to the Terriers completing a weekend sweep of Northeastern University.

“The best way to motivate him is to sit him,” said BU coach David Quinn. There is no other way to do it. I benched him toward the end of a game about three or four weeks ago, and he came back and had his best night shortly thereafter. Obviously he sat [Friday] and he comes back and he plays the way he did tonight.”

Read more at dailyfreepress.com

Help send the Boston Hockey Blog to South Bend

To our readers,

We cannot tell you how much we appreciate all of your support over the past three years. You have read innumerable articles and followed dozens of live blogs, and for that we are incredibly grateful. As many of you will remember, in the past we have asked for your help to travel to both St. Paul and Minneapolis to cover the men’s and women’s hockey teams in the NCAA tournament. Both times we received an unanticipated amount of donations that allowed us to cover high-profile games and continue to provide you with constant coverage.

Once again, we are asking for help. The men’s hockey team will take on the University of Notre Dame Saturday at 7 p.m., and for the second time in two weeks, the game will occur in South Bend, Ind. The Daily Free Press is not affiliated or funded by Boston University, so we pay our own way to every away game. Traveling to Notre Dame twice in such a short period of time is challenging enough, but trying to book flights last minute will make this trip even more expensive.

If you can help us in any way possible, we would greatly appreciate it. For those who are interested in donating, please contribute through the PayPal button located at the top right of the blog.

Again, thank you for all of your support this season, and every season. We have truly enjoyed covering the men’s hockey team for you, and we hope we can continue to do so during the Hockey East tournament.

Sincerely,
Kevin, Meredith and Tim