Pluses and Minuses: Rodrigues ties program record in scorefest with UMass

Whew. That was an exhausting one.


The No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team scored nine goals in a game for the first time since 2007, but its game against the University of Massachusetts on Friday was more of a whirlwind than that total indicates — the game was tied with under 6:30 remaining.

The Terriers ultimately came away with the 9-5 win. There was a lot to swallow with that one, but I’ll try to break down what we did and didn’t like as best I can:


Have yourself a night, Evan
Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues has been on a roll as of late, and we’ve talked a lot about it. Tonight, he found his way onto the score sheet six times with six assists against UMass — and nearly a seventh time, but what would have been a third-period goal for senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann was waved off.

The six assists ties a program record, last accomplished by Ron Anderson in 1972.

“He’s a heck of a hockey player,” said BU coach David Quinn. “He’s a really good hockey player: Tough, skilled, fast, really smart, a kid that really understands what’s going on out there. He’s got a bright future.

“We’re going to lean on him heavily down the stretch.”

The tallies extended Rodrigues’ point streak to nine games. He has a total of 21 points in that span.

The six helpers tonight boosted his season point total to 34, good for second in Hockey East and fifth in the nation. He is also tied with freshman forward Jack Eichel for the team lead in assists (25).

You too, Ahti
Junior forward Ahti Oksanen also had a strong night, recording his the first hat trick of his collegiate career. He is the second Terrier to record three goals in a single game, as junior forward Danny O’Regan notched one against Merrimack College on Dec. 6.

Oksanen has scored 16 goals this season, including six goals in his last four games.

Defensemen scoring
The BU defensive corps has been a steady source of offense for the Terriers this season, and Friday night was no different.

Freshman Brandon Hickey tallied the first and final goals of the game for his first collegiate multi-goal game and to bring his season total to four, the most among all D-men on the BU roster.

“He can really shoot a puck,” Quinn said about Hickey. “I don’t know if there’s a guy in the league who gets more pucks through than him. He keeps it low, he can shoot any type of puck. You don’t have to put it on a platter for him.”

Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk notched the game-winner midway through the third period for his first goal of the season. He had two more assists in the game. Freshman Brandon Fortunato also added a pair of assists.

Power play

The Terriers went 6-of-8 on the power play on Friday — easily their best performance on the man advantage all season. Hickey and Oksanen each had a pair of power-play goals, and Eichel and Grzelcyk tallied the other two.

BU now owns the second-best power-play percentage in the nation, at .269.


Despite scoring six power-play goals, the Terriers allowed three power-play goals to the Minutemen.

Two of these UMass goals came within a minute and a half of each other, after a costly five-minute major call on Rodrigues, who was sent to the box after a boarding call. A goal from forward Shane Walsh tied the game, and another from forward Frank Vatrano gave UMass its first lead of the game at 4-3.

“Obviously penalties were a major problem for us tonight,” Quinn said. “We just can’t take that many penalties and continue to expect to have success, especially against a power play like that.”

UMass forward Troy Power also notched a goal 10 seconds after junior forward Danny O’Regan was sent to the box for slashing in the second period.

“If we’re going to have the success we think we’re capable of having, we just can’t take those types of penalties,” Quinn said.

Quinn didn’t put any of the blame on freshman goaltender Connor LaCouvee, who earned his fifth start of the season on Friday, for the five goals allowed in the game.

“I feel bad for LaCouvee because he looked like he was just a victim,” Quinn said. “He certainly played well. There wasn’t, I think, anything he could’ve done for anything of the five.”

A few mental lapses, instead, gave UMass extra chances. Most notably, a poor turnover from junior forward Mike Moran along the boards led to the Minutemen’s first goal of the game.

Live Blog: No. 2 BU vs. UMass

Time/Location: 7:30 p.m./Agganis Arena
Game Preview

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

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

Connor LaCouvee
Matt O’Connor
Anthony Moccia

UMass Lines:
Riley McDougal – Steven Guzzo – Zack LaRue
Keith Burchett – Patrick Lee – Dominic Trento
Ray Pigozzi – Dennis Kravchenko – Frank Vatrano
Shane Walsh – Steven Iacobellis – Troy Power

Ben Gallacher -Brennan Baxandall
Marc Hetnik – Jake Horton
Oleg Yvenko – Brandon Montour

Henry Dill
Steve Mastalerz
Alex Wakaluk

Tim Benedetto
Jack Millea
Joe Ross
Andrew Spinali

Live Blog BU vs. UMass (1-30-2015)

Rodrigues, strong blueliner play helps BU secure 4-point weekend over Catamounts

BURLINGTON, Vermont — Don’t call it a comeback. The Terriers have been there all season long.


Horrendous LL Cool J references aside, the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team was able to manufacture another impressive late-game turnaround Saturday night, besting No. 12 University of Vermont to earn a series sweep against its Hockey East foe.

Starting at a 1-0 defeat for most of the contest, the Terriers were able to net the equalizer by way of a tally from senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues with a little over two minutes remaining on the clock.

The Gutterson Fieldhouse crowd would ultimately vacate the rink on a sour note, as freshman center redirected a shot from Rodrigues past Catamounts’ netminder Steve Santaguida to hand the Terriers a vital four points for the weekend.

Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for BU on Saturday night up in The Green Mountain State.


“Ice in our veins”

After BU’s 4-2 victory over Vermont Friday night — in which the Terriers held off a late-game UVM comeback to hold on for the two points — BU coach David Quinn admitted that his team “has a little ice in our veins” when it comes to late-game situations.

The Terriers exemplified that trend again Saturday night, albeit in a different fashion.

Instead of shutting down a third-period surge, the Terriers were the ones orchestrating it, as Rodrigues and Eichel’s goals in the third period and overtime, respectively, handed BU its third win a row.

For the ninth time this season, the Terriers faced a deficit in the third period and managed to come away with either a win or a tie.

For Quinn, the key to his team’s success in high-pressure scenarios lies in his players’ mutual respect and trust in one another.

“I think our guys have confidence, respectful confidence,” Quinn said. “And they just trust each other. They look around the locker room and I think they think every guy in there is pretty good. That’s where you get some confidence, not only within yourself but throughout the lineup.”


Just hours before the game, the Terriers blueliner corps was dealt a significant blow, as sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby was suspended for one game by Hockey East after being called for an interference penalty during Friday’s match against UVM.

Despite only dressing five defenseman Saturday night, Quinn praised the play of his defensemen, who excelled at both limiting Vermont’s chances in front of BU netminder Matt O’Connor and moving the puck up the ice.

Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk in particular was impressive, as the Charlestown native was active on the backcheck, breaking up a UVM odd-man rush at one point while later poke checking the puck off the stick of Vermont winger Mario Puskarich on a prime scoring bid in the second period.

“I loved our D corps tonight, I thought they did a great job breaking the puck out,” Quinn said. “I thought the poise with the puck was a lot better than it was last night. I thought we defended well.

You beat a team on Friday, they’re a lot more desperate on Saturday and that’s what we were very happy with, with the first period because I thought weathered the storm a little bit and just really did a lot of good things. Our D corps was huge tonight.”

Red-hot Rodrigues

Once again, Rodrigues made his presence on the box score Saturday night, scoring his ninth goal of the season while later tallying the assist on Eichel’s overtime winner to tie him with linemate Danny O’Regan for second in conference scoring with 28 points in 23 games.

Rodrigues has registered a point in BU’s last eight games, compiling 15 points during that stretch.

For more on Rodrigues’ performance, check out Andrew’s sider.


While Eichel and Rodrigues might have stolen most of the headlines following Saturday’s game, the play of O’Connor helped keep the Terriers within one goal throughout the contest.

After relinquishing a goal to Vermont captain Mike Paliotta with 18 minutes left on the clock in the second period, O’Connor did not let another puck enter BU netting, finishing with 31 saves en route to his 13th win of the season.

O’Connor is second in Hockey East in both goals-against average (1.91) and save percentage (.937).


Penalties prove costly

While even Quinn admitted that the Terriers performed better in their second game of the weekend, the team was sullied by a few costly penalties.

The game was still locked in a 0-0 stalemate when freshman forward Nikolas Olsson was whistled for elbowing, handing Vermont its third power-play opportunity of the contest.

UVM’s extra-man unit would make Olsson and Terriers pay, as Paliotta fired a quick wrister from the top of the point, beating O’Connor glove side to put Vermont on the board at 2:00 in the second period.

Live blog: No. 3 BU vs. No. 12 Vermont

Time/Location:  7 p.m./Gutterson Fieldhouse

Friday Recap vs. Vermont

Game Preview 

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

Extra F: J.J. Piccinich

Matt Grzelcyk-John MacLeod
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Brien Diffley

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Vermont Lines: 
Brady Shaw-Jake Fallon-Mario Puskarich
Brendan Bradley-Colin Markison-Kevin Irwin
Tom Forgione-Jonathan Turk-Mike Stenerson
Dan Senkbeil-Rob Darrar-Travis Blanleil

Alexx Privitera-Mike Paliotta
Trey Phillips-Nick Luukko
Yvan Pattyn-Ori Abramson

Mike Santaguida
Pat Feeley

John Gravallese
Charles Hanafin
Brendan Kelleher
Peter Catalano

Live Blog BU vs. Vermont (1-24-15)

Pluses and Minuses: No. 3 Terriers thwart No. 12 Vermont in first weekend game

BURLINGTON, Vermont — A three-goal advantage almost was the most dangerous lead for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team Friday night.

The Terriers (14-4-4, 9-2-2 Hockey East) opened up a 3-0 lead early in the third period, and staved off a late rush by No. 12 University of Vermont to come away victorious 4-2. The win, coupled with a No. 5 University of Massachusetts Lowell loss to No. 18 Providence College, puts BU into sole possession of first place in Hockey East.

Here’s a breakdown of what went right and wrong for the Terriers:

Evan Rodrigues.


Hohmann’s scoring drought ends

Not since Nov. 22 at the University of Connecticut had Cason Hohmann lit the lamp. Two months, one day and one lengthy video review later, he finally broke the streak.

During the midst of a BU power play at the end of the second period, sophomore center Robbie Baillargeon fed Hohmann near the goal line, who roofed the puck into an almost empty net.

After the refs initially ruled the puck didn’t cross the goal line and the period came to a close, the officials took a long look at the replay and overturned the call.

The wait was worth it.

The power-play streak continues

Speaking of Hohmann’s tally, the goal extended BU’s stretch of games with a power-play goal up to seven. You have to go all the way back to Dec. 6 for a game in which the team did not score a goal on the man advantage.

“We’re just focused on getting people in front of the net, getting shots,” Hohmann said of the power play. “Just crowding people around the net, making smart passes up top. You just can’t be careless on the power play, that’s a big part of it.”

Even when it’s not scoring, the power-play unit, save for a few shifts, has moved the puck well, and gotten good shots to the net. In all, the Terriers finished 1-for-5 on the night, garnering 12 chances on net.

This was against a UVM (15-7-2, 7-5-1 Hockey East) team that came into the game as the best penalty-killing group in Hockey East with a success rate near 93 percent. Not too shabby.

Baillargeon plays mailman 

When Baillargeon scored BU’s first goal of the season against the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he picked up right where he left off during his freshman campaign.

Then the mononucleosis kicked in.

He missed significant time in the first half of the year because of it, and only returned to the lineup after winter break. He had looked good in his games back in the lineup, but nothing as sharp as tonight.

Baillargeon skated well and made two crips passes that turned into primary assists on BU’s first goals of the game. The two helpers earned him well-deserved No. 3 star of the game.

A good-looking (and important) third goal

It was a thing of beauty.

Taking the puck from the defensive zone, senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues skated down the left side of the ice, deked around defenseman Ori Abramson and picked the top corner of the net to finish off a pretty goal 3:02 into the third period.

An impressive end-to-end tally, yes, but it also proved to be pretty important in the long run of the game. Vermont rallied off a goal not even a minute later, and then added another in the closing minutes.

Rodrigues’ goal at first looked like window dressing on a win, but ended up as the game-winner.


Slow response to goaltending switch

When goaltender Brody Hoffman let in his third goal of the night early in the third frame, coach Kevin Sneddon pulled the netminder in favor of Mike Santaguida.

It didn’t take long for the Catamounts to get the message. The Terriers, on the other hand, didn’t look ready for the surge.

Forward Colin Markison snuck one past junior goaltender Matt O’Connor 52 second after the Rodrigues goal to cut the BU lead to two goals. And although it took over 11 minutes for UVM to get that second goal, it wasn’t as if the Catamounts didn’t have their chances.

“I still haven’t seen the first goal, but I thought when we came on the ice, we didn’t puck up the right people and our D was a little flat-footed,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “All of the sudden, they got the first goal and they get a lot of life and a lot of momentum.”

Whether or not replacing the goalie was the reason Vermont played better in that span in the third, there was no arguing the ice tilted some in the Catamounts’ favor.

The ghosts of BU’s past

If you had forgotten about defenseman Alexx Privitera, he made sure you remembered him Friday night.

The former Terrier, playing in his first season with the Catamounts, already had a respectable 15 points in 23 games coming into this one. By the end of the game, he added one more point to his season total, a rebound goal at the 15:17 mark of the first period.

It ended up as just a footnote in this game, but it would’ve been something if Privitera scored a game-winning or tying goal against his old team.

Live blog: No. 3 BU vs. No. 12 Vermont

Time/Location: 7 p.m./Gutterson Fieldhouse

Game Preview

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

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

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Vermont Lines:
Brady Shaw-Jake Fallon-Mario Puskarich
Brendan Bradley-Colin Markison-Kevin Irwin
Jarrid Privitera-Jonathan Turk-Malcolm McKinney
Dan Senkbeil-Travis Blanleil-Anthony Petruzzelli

Alexx Privatera-Mike Paliotta
Trey Phillips-Nick Luukko
Yvan Pattyn-Ori Abramson

Brody Hoffman
Mike Santaguida
Pat Feeley

John Gravallese
Charles Hanafin
Brendan Kelleher
Peter Catalano

Live Blog BU vs. Vermont (1-23-15)

Doyle Somerby, and other notes

Hope everyone’s having a great week! The three of us are getting ready for this weekend’s series against the University of Vermont, and we’ll have live coverage from Burlington for both games.

In the meantime, for a little BU hockey coverage to tide you over, Conor published a feature on BU defenseman Doyle Somerby today. I’m probably biased when it comes to the work of my beatmates, but it’s really well done. Definitely read it if you have a few minutes to spare.

Here’s a little TBT for you, too:

Can you spot the three current BU hockey players in this Middlesex Islanders team photo? #TBT PHOTO COURTESY OF DOYLE SOMERBY

A photo posted by Daily Free Press Sports (@dfpsports) on

We’re headed off to Vermont tomorrow morning. We’ll have a full, open day on Saturday up until gametime, and probably some free time Friday afternoon, so if anyone has any must-sees or must-eats in the Burlington area, be sure to let us know!