Pluses and Minuses: Terriers dominate Friars on Halloween night

Senior forward Cason Hohmann recorded two assists Friday night against Providence. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Senior forward Cason Hohmann recorded two assists Friday night against Providence. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — It was a ghastly experience for No. 8/9 Providence College on Halloween night at Schneider Arena, as No. 6 Boston University unleashed its full bag of tricks against the Friars, treating itself to a dominating 4-1 victory in the process.

The Terriers will look to continue their hot start to the season at home against the Friars Saturday night. If BU emerges victorious against Providence for the second night in as many games, it will be the program’s first 5-0 start since the 1991-92 campaign.

Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Terriers on Friday night:

Pluses:

D Steps Up Against The Friars

The Terriers’ defensive unit made their mark against the Friars, holding its opponent to just 18 shots in the game, including a minuscule three pegs in the final period of play.

Even with four power-play opportunities, the Friars could do little to generate offense, accruing just two shots on the man advantage.

“Our D corps is doing really well right now,” said freshman blueliner John MacLeod, who netted his first collegiate goal in the first period. “We’re working a lot on specifics in practice and stuff. We’re a young D corps, obviously. We have a lot of freshmen that are playing a lot of minutes, but we’re doing a great job so far. We just got to keep working hard to be successful.”

Second Line Succeeds 

BU’s second line unit of senior forward Evan Rodrigues, senior forward Cason Hohmann and sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon excelled against the Friars Friday night, combining for six points in the win. Sarah Kirkpatrick has more on the performance of the second line here.

The Usual Suspects

BU received additional scoring from the ever-fruitful OREO line of freshman forward Jack Eichel, junior forward Ahti Oksanen and junior forward Danny O’Regan, who helped generate two goals for the Terriers.

Oksanen made it a 2-1 game at 2:12 in the second – cashing in on a juicy rebound off the pads of Providence goaltender Jon Gillies to give the Terriers their first lead of the night.

Eichel would later cap BU’s scoring efforts at 3:21 in the third, firing a wrister past Gillies on an impromptu breakaway to give the Terriers a three-goal cushion.

“I thought Jack played great,” Quinn said. “I thought he blocked shots – he was physical. He was, offensively, good. I thought he moved the puck better tonight. Sometimes when you got all that skill and you’re used to skating by five guys, I think he was holding on to it a little much early on this year, but I thought his puck movement was good, and that line was good again, it’s a dangerous line and it’s fun to watch him emerge.”

Down Goes Gillies

While his numbers this season may not stand as an accurate reflection on the standard that’s he’s set over the last two-plus seasons at Providence, Gillies is still an intimidating presence between the pipes.

Despite his skill in net, Gillies could do little against BU, as the Terriers peppered the netminder with 41 shots in the contest while generating offense as a result of a strong net-front presence and keen passing.

“It’s a great plan. It’s always a great plan to get 40 [shots],” Quinn said. “He’s a heck of a goalie, you got to get that net-front presence, you got to shoot pucks – two of them were on rebounds. … MacLeod’s shot was from the point but we had traffic. The next two goals were on rebounds and then Jack’s was a partial breakaway, so you got to get pucks on him.

“If you’re going to score four, you better get 40, because without question, he’s going to save a majority of them, but I thought that we did a good job in the offensive zone possessing and using our points.” Quinn said. “I thought we used the back of the net well, so you just got to get pucks on him, because he’s very, very good.”

The 2012 Calgary Flames prospect now possesses an unimpressive 1-4-1 record in his career against the Terriers.

Minuses:

Providence Jumps Out Early

While BU might have dominated the box score at the end of the game, Providence made it interesting early. The Friars were the first to get on the board, as forward Steven McParland fired a shot from the left circle that beat BU netminder Matt O’Connor blocker side to put PC up 1-0 at 7:37 in the first period.

That would be all that Providence would be able to muster against O’Connor and the Terriers, as the Toronto native registered 14 saves in his third win of the season.

A Tough Test At Home

Aside from the Friars’ first-period score, Quinn struggled to come up with many negatives to take away from Friday’s match. However, BU’s bench boss acknowledged that he expects BU’s foe from “The Ocean State” to bring everything it has Saturday night.

“I’ll find something, trust me. That’s my job,” Quinn said when asked to find additional flaws in BU’s performance. “I’m a coach, I can never be happy all of the time. But there’s always things you can work on — always. I know this, I know that we’re going to see a very determined hockey team tomorrow night. They’re well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players.

“I know tomorrow night, and I’m not just saying this is in coach talk, this will be the hardest game of the year tomorrow,” Quinn added. “Without question.”

Live blog: No. 6 BU vs. No. 9 Providence College

Time/Location: 7 p.m./Schneider Arena

Game Preview

BU Lines:

Ahti Oksanen – Jack Eichel – Danny O’Regan
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Cason Hohmann
Nikolas Olsson – Matt Lane – Nick Roberto
Chase Phelps – Mike Moran – J.J. Piccinich

Matt Grzelcyk – John MacLeod
Brandon Fortunato – Brandon Hickey
Doyle Somerby – Brien Diffley

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Providence Lines:

Nick Saracino – Mark Jankowski – Trevor Mingoia
Shane Luke – Ross Mauermann – Brian Pinho
Brandon Tanev – Noel Acciari – Stefan Demopoulos
Steven McParland – Kevin Rooney – Conor MacPhee

Kyle McKenzie – John Gilmour
Tom Parisi – Anthony Florentino
Jake Walman – Mark Adams

Jon Gillies
Nick Ellis
Brendan Leahy

Live Blog:

Live Blog BU vs. Providence (10-31-2014)
 

By the Numbers: BU versus Michigan State, Michigan

A highly anticipated weekend for the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team culminated in two wins against two Big Ten opponents in Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. The Terriers (3-0, 1-0 Hockey East) had to rely on strong third-period play — and some luck — for the first time this season.

In our third addition of By the Numbers, we look at the Corsi and Fenwick advanced stats for BU’s two-game weekend. I also want to take note that in our first two posts, we focused on the team’s stats in all phases of the game (even strength, power play, penalty kill). In this post, and all of those going forward, I would like to look at BU’s performance in just 5-on-5 situations.

So here’s a closer look at BU’s two wins from the weekend:

Corsi/Fenwick vs. Michigan State (Full Game)

Corsi For: 65 (Shots on goal, missed shots, blocked shots)

Corsi Against: 53

Corsi For Percentage: 55.1

Fenwick For: 51 (Shots on goal, missed shots)

Fenwick Against: 34

Fenwick For Percentage: 60

BU Goals For: 1

MSU Goals For: 0

Corsi/Fenwick First Period

Corsi For: 28

Corsi Against: 12

Corsi For Percentage: 70

Fenwick For: 22

Fenwick Against: 11

Fenwick For Percentage: 66.7

BU Goals For/MSU Goals For: 0

Corsi/Fenwick Second Period

Corsi For: 26

Corsi Against: 16

Corsi For Percentage: 61.9

Fenwick For: 20

Fenwick Against: 9

Fenwick For Percentage: 69

BU Goals For: 1

MSU Goals For: 0

Corsi/Fenwick Third Period

Corsi For: 11

Corsi Against: 25

Corsi For Percentage: 30.6

Fenwick For: 9

Fenwick Against: 14

Fenwick For Percentage: 39.1

BU/MSU Goals For: 0

 

Corsi/Fenwick vs. Michigan (Full Game)

Corsi For: 53

Corsi Against: 62

Corsi For Percentage: 46.1

Fenwick For: 41

Fenwick Against: 51

Fenwick For Percentage: 44.6

BU Goals For: 3

Michigan Goals For: 2

Corsi/Fenwick First Period

Corsi For: 17

Corsi Against: 11

Corsi Percentage: 60.1

Fenwick For: 14

Fenwick Against: 10

Fenwick For Percentage: 58.3

BU Goals For: 0

Michigan Goals For: 1

Corsi/Fenwick Second Period

Corsi For: 15

Corsi Against: 23

Corsi For Percentage: 39.5

Fenwick For: 11

Fenwick Against: 18

Fenwick For Percentage: 37.9

BU Goals For: 1

Michigan Goals For: 1

Corsi/Fenwick Third Period

Corsi For: 21

Corsi Against: 28

Corsi For Percentage: 42.9

Fenwick For: 16

Fenwick Against: 23

Fenwick For Percentage: 41.0

BU Goals For: 2

Michigan Goals For: 0

 

Takeaway

Looking at these statistics, BU could’ve easily walked away with a huge win on Friday night against the Spartans. Goaltender Jake Hildebrand was named one of the three stars of the game, and this shows why. BU dominated puck possession for most of the game, but he allowed just one goal. BU coach David Quinn wasn’t pleased with the offensive performance, saying his team missed the net a lot and was too fancy with the puck. Though some of this does hold true, BU should’ve had a better showing on the scoreboard.

Saturday against the Wolverines, though, was a different story. Michigan consistently kept up the pace against BU and gave junior netminder Matt O’Connor a challenge in net. He kept the Terriers in it, allowing two goals, part of the reason he was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. BU’s goals against Michigan all came down low, either on deflections or chances that goaltender Zach Nagelvoort had little chance to save. A win is a win, but according to the numbers, it should’ve been Michigan in the victor’s column.

Odds and Ends: Terriers wrap up successful weekend against Michigan State, Michigan

The Boston University men’s hockey team put together an impressive showing over the weekend, besting both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan at Agganis Arena.

Here are a few links and notes to help get you caught up on this weekend’s action and play from around Hockey East:

– Sarah provided the recap of Terriers’ 3-2 win over Michigan.

– Conor discussed the team’s third-period turnaround in his sidebar.

– Andrew wrote up the pluses and minuses from the game.

– Check out our recap from BU’s 1-0 victory over Michigan State Friday.

– Postgame comments from BU coach David Quinn, junior captain Matt Grzelcyk, junior forward Matt Lane, Michigan coach Red Berenson and Michigan forwards Andrew Copp and Alex Kile.

– Here are some photos from the weekend’s games courtesy of our photographer, Maya Devereaux.

– Boston College defeated the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, 4-1, Saturday night.

– Vermont earned a 2-1 victory over UConn at Gutterson Fieldhouse Saturday night.

– Three goals in the second period helped UNH defeat Colorado College, 6-2, Saturday night.

Tweet of the Day:

Pluses and Minuses: Late surge propels Terriers against Michigan

The Boston University men’s hockey team faced a situation it had not been in all year — a deficit.

Freshman forward Jack Eichel scored the game-tying goal in the third period of BU's win over Michigan.  PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman forward Jack Eichel scored the game-tying goal in the third period of BU’s win over Michigan.
PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Worst of all for the Terriers (3-0, 1-0 Hockey East), they trailed going into the final period against the University of Michigan. With some determination up front and the help of video reviews, BU won 3-2 after a back-and-forth third period.

Here’s a closer look at what went well and what didn’t for the Terriers against the Wolverines (2-3):

Pluses:

A long-awaited third period comeback

The last time the Boston University men’s hockey team won a game in which it trailed heading into a third period, Jack Parker was still coaching. To be exact, the Terriers had not completed the feat since Jan. 4, 2013 in an overtime victory against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

For a team that went winless all last year during those situations, this win felt even more special. Freshman forward Jack Eichel turned a 2-1 deficit into a tie game on a deflection just under three minutes into the frame. Junior center Matt Lane finished off the win on a tip-in of his own at the 16:50 mark.

BU coach David Quinn said having quality play from all four lines has made for improved third periods this season.

“I think our depth up front allows us to kind of keep guys fresh,” Quinn said. “When you kill five penalties and get two power plays that kind of throws things out whack a little bit.

“It’s nice to be winning when you think you’re going to get better and when you think your best hockey is ahead of you.”

One game-changing penalty kill

BU’s special teams unit allowed two goals on three chances through the first two periods of Friday’s contest. When Michigan went to the  power play again with four seconds remaining in the middle frame, an already shaky PK would have to work hard to keep the game within reach.

After the Wolverines rattled off shots toward junior goaltender Matt O’Connor, the defensive corps warded off the infraction.

It was not pretty, but according to junior captain Matt Grzelcyk, it set the tone for the rest of the game.

“It was huge. It was something that we focused on going into the third,” Grzelcyk said. “To get that kill was very big and it carried our momentum going for the rest of the game, so, I think it was good to get the crowd back into it and kind of feed off their energy.”

Not long after the penalty was over, Eichel potted the game-tying goal, putting BU in prime position to earn at least one point. As much as the penalty kill had its problems, this one attempt changed the complexion of the game.

Doyle Somerby steps up

Before Saturday night’s game, freshman defenseman John MacLeod was ruled out with an injury. Somerby, the sophomore New York Islanders draft pick, shined in his absence. This play more than juxtaposes his freshman campaign where he led the team in penalty minutes.

Despite being listed on BU’s third pairing, Somerby played significant time with Grzelcyk on the top unit. The sophomore worked hard along the boards, used his body to knock pucks loose and made key clearances out of BU’s defensive zone.

On top of all of that, he recorded the primary assist on the tying goal after his shot from the right point was redirected.

“He’s more physical,” Quinn said. “I mean he’s not just content with keeping people on the outside. He’s been a lot more aggressive in his 1-on-1s. … With a guy with that reach and that size, if he can continue to be physical around puck, he’s going to be a problem for other teams.”

Minuses:

Penalty kill issues

The Terrier defensive unit combined to kill six Michigan State University penalties on Friday night. The story was not the same for the penalty kill unit against the Wolverines. Both of Michigan’s goals came via extra-man chances.

Whether it was failed clearance opportunities or leaving snipers wide open, the Wolverines took advantage of BU’s mistakes.

“The first goal they score, we don’t ice the puck,” Quinn said. “The second power-play goal they score, a 50-50 puck off the faceoff, and we try to clear it and they keep it in. The second one we just completely blew our responsibility.”

Lack of success in the faceoff dot

One area the Terriers have struggled in through three regular season games is their effort on the draw. In BU’s first game of the weekend, it won just 37 percent of its chances on the draw. Saturday night’s effort did not improve, as the Terriers won 39 of 62 efforts in the dot. Eichel especially had problems corralling faceoffs, losing more than he won in both games. For the Terriers to maintain more possession, draw control success is essential.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time on it,” Quinn said. “We spent a little time on it, we obviously need to spend a lot of time on it because we can’t be getting hammered on faceoffs to the level that we are. It really makes a huge difference in the game.”

Second period woes

Junior forward Ahti Oksanen’s goal 34 seconds into the second frame looked to give the Terriers the jolt they needed. After an initial offensive rush, though, Michigan controlled the flow of the stanza and took 12 shots on goal to BU’s nine. The Wolverines attacked in the offensive zone and the young crop of Terriers had trouble regaining momentum.

What started as a good period nearly ended in disaster.

“It was doom-and-gloom at the end of the second when they made it 2-1 because I thought we played in the early second,” Quinn said. “I though we controlled the play, having some great opportunities. And then they get that power-play goal. And we were on our heels quite a bit.”

 

Live blog: No. 11/12 BU vs. No. 14 Michigan

Time/Location: 7:15 p.m./Agganis Arena

Game Preview

Michigan State Game Recap

BU Lines: 
Ahti Oksanen – Jack Eichel – Danny O’Regan
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Cason Hohmann
Nikolas Olsson – Matt Lane – J.J. Piccinich
A.J. Greer – Nick Roberto – Chase Phelps

Matt Grzelcyk – Brien Diffley
Brandon Fortunato – Brandon Hickey
Doyle Somerby – T.J. Ryan

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Michigan Lines: 
Dexter Dancs – Andrew Copp – JT Compher
Alex Kile – Dylan Larkin – Zach Hyman
Tyler Motte – Cristoval “Boo” Nieves – Tony Calderone
Max Shuart – Travis Lynch – Evan Allen

Zach Werenski – Michael Downing
Nolan De Jong – Kevin Lohan
Sam Piazza – Brennan Serville

Zach Nagelvoort
Steve Racine

Live Blog BU vs. Michigan (10-25-2014)
 

Pluses and Minuses: Oksanen, O’Connor lead the way for Terriers in win over Michigan State

Junior forward Ahti Oksanen scored the only goal of the night Friday. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Junior forward Ahti Oksanen scored the only goal of the night Friday. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

It may not have been the scoring output that fans of the No. 11/12 Boston University men’s hockey team have gotten accustomed to this season, but the Terriers were able to skate off the Agganis Ice Friday night with a victory, shutting out Michigan State University by a score of 1-0.

Here’s some of what right and wrong for the Terriers Friday night:

Pluses:

Ahti and Co. give BU a boost

Once again, BU’s first line left their mark on the box score of Friday’s match, as freshman forward Jack Eichel and junior forwards Ahti Oksanen and Danny O’Regan each registered a team-high five shots on the night.

In the end, the “OREO” line’s Finnish import provided all the scoring the Terriers would need. Oksanen beat MSU netminder Jake Hildebrand glove side with an impressive backhand shot 29 seconds into the second period.

Both Eichel and O’Regan have registered a point in all four of BU’s games (two exhibitions) this season.

O’Connor stands tall in net

Making his first appearance between the pipes since starting BU’s season-opening exhibition against St. Thomas University, junior goaltender Matt O’Connor performed well for the Terriers, recording 29 saves en route to his first career shutout.

While the Toronto native did occasionally struggle with rebound control – a problem that he acknowledged that he has been working on – O’Connor came up big in the third period, as the Spartans amassed 14 shots in the final stanza.

After the game, O’Connor gave most of the credit to his teammates in front of him for the victory.

“I think we had a lot of chances, so I thought it was maybe going to be a bit of a goalie battle and our D and forwards played excellent in our zone and players were blocking shots, so it made it easy for me to get the monkey off my back and get my first shutout,” O’Connor said.

Freshmen continue to make presence felt

While his efforts might have netted him an assist against Michigan State, Eichel wasn’t the only freshman on the Terrier roster to make his presence felt in Friday’s game. Chase Phelps contributed four shots from the fourth line while the team’s young defensive corps of Brandon Fortunato, Brandon Hickey, Brien Diffley and John MacLeod was consistently active in disrupting MSU’s presence in the Terriers’ zone.

The sample size might be small after just two regular-season games, but the efforts of BU’s freshman class have drawn the attention of many of the team’s veteran players.

“We knew we would have Jack, who is an amazing player, bit also, A.J. Greer, Hickey, they’re all wicked good,” Oksanen said. “The amount of talent in our team and especially in our freshmen group, I think it surprised us all.”

Terriers impress on penalty kill

Compiling six penalties is never a positive sign, but the Terriers were able to limit the Spartans’ effectiveness on the man advantage, holding MSU off the board on all six power-play opportunities. It was a much-improved showing from the Terriers’ penalty-kill unit, which surrendered two power-play tallies to the U.S. National Under-18 team on Oct. 18.

Minuses:

BU comes up short on man advantage

It was an up-and-down performance from BU in terms of special teams, as BU came up flat on the man advantage, failing to score on any of its five power-play opportunities.

After the game, Quinn noted that the team’s power-play unit still has much to improve on going forward.

“I don’t like our power play. I don’t like our look,” Quinn said. “A couple of them were broken power plays, 20 seconds and 40. We’re a work-in-progress on the power play. We’re still trying to figure out who should go where, and that’s part of the problem. These guys want to go to a spot and stand there – you gotta play hockey.

“Too many guys go into power-play mode, and you gotta play hockey. I thought we got better as the game went on, I thought our initial rush was better on the PP. Early on we waltzed up the ice and allowed them to influence the initial rush. … We obviously have to get better on the power play.”

MSU gets new life in third period

While the score read 1-0 after two periods, it looked as if Michigan State had thrown in the towel, as the Terriers were outshooting the Spartans by a margin of 31-15 and were consistently generating opportunities in MSU’s zone.

It seemed like more of the same from the Terriers in the third, as the team once again put together a few strings of sustained pressure against Hildebrand. As the clock began to dwindle however, the Spartans seemed to have been given new life – as Michigan State compiled 31 shot attempts over the final 20 minutes of play while consistently winning battles on the boards and up near the crease in terms of positioning.

“They came on pretty strong,” O’Connor said. “Their strategy was really throw it on the net and I think the boys really helped me out and blocked a lot of shots. I think it was a full team effort there to squeeze away that 1-0 win.”

Terriers struggle to generate good looks

When it comes to generating offense, quality takes precedent of quantity – a formula that that the Terriers struggled with all night.

The Terriers registered 40 shots against the Spartans, but most tended to be right towards Hildebrand’s chest for an easy save. After the game, Oksanen noted of the team’s frustrating at not being able to pad to its lead despite getting multiple opportunities to capitalize against the MSU defense.

“Especially in the first period, we had a ton of chances and we just couldn’t score,” Oksanen said. “It was pretty frustrating, but it was good that we didn’t get too frustrated. It didn’t affect our game, we were just able to keep going until the first goal in the second period.”