Live blog: No. 9 BU vs. UNH

Friday recap
Friday sidebar on depth
Friday pluses and minuses

Series preview


BU lines:

Jordan Greenway-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Ahti Oksanen-Matt Lane-Ryan Cloonan
Mike Moran-Bobo Carpenter-Oskar Andrén
Chase Phelps-Dillon Lawrence-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Doyle Somerby-Shane Switzer
Brandon Fortunato-Brien Diffley

Connor LaCouvee
Sean Maguire
Max Prawdzik

UNH lines:
Dan Correale-Andrew Poturalski-Tyler Kelleher
Maxim Gaudreault-Kyle Smith-Marcus Vela
Shane Eiserman-Michael McNicholas-Jamie Hill
Jason Salvaggio-Ara Nazarian-Chris Miller

Matias Cleland-Cameron Marks
Richard Boyd-Matt Dawson
Harry Quast-John Furgele

Danny Tirone
Jamie Regan

Live Blog BU vs. UNH (02-20-2016)
 

Pluses and Minuses: No. 9 Terriers blow late lead, settle for tie at UNH

DURHAM, New Hampshire — For a few seconds in the third period, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team had what it wanted, and standings-wise, arguably needed.

There was some not-so-pretty play throughout its game at the University of New Hampshire, but BU gained a late lead on senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan‘s goal with 2:32 left in the third period.

In terms of the playoff picture, holding onto the lead would have kept BU within one point of No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell for fourth place in Hockey East.

But just as quickly as BU (17-9-5, 10-5-4 Hockey East) scored, it gave the lead right back.

Thirty-five seconds after O’Regan’s tally, UNH forward Maxim Gaudreault tied the game at 3-3. That’s where things would stay for the final 1:57 of the third and the five minutes of overtime, so the Terriers ended with a draw against the Wildcats (10-15-6, 4-9-6 Hockey East) at the Whittemore Center.

There was some good, some not as good and other stuff in between in this one, so we’ll break it down in this Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses 

O’Regan hat trick, first line clicks 

Different wingers, good defenses, anyway you slice it, BU’s first line during its previous three games struggled to get anything going.

O’Regan, in particular, had gone three consecutive games without a point, matching a career-long scoreless streak that only happened one other time in his career, late in Feb. 2014.

That streak would not last into a fourth game, however, with O’Regan striking for three goals, the second collegiate hat trick of his career.

He came through with the first goal 12 seconds into the second, off a nice cross-ice feed from freshman winger Jordan Greenway. A little over six minutes after, while BU was in the midst of a power play, O’Regan one-timed a shot that trickled off goaltender Danny Tirone’s pads and past the the goal line.

The latter of the three saw O’Regan get to the netfront and wrist the puck high over Tirone.

O’Regan’s line has already changed a number of times this year, and it looked a little bit different with Greenway alongside freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. At least for the night, the changes paid off, as the freshmen added two points apiece.

Greenway, who was on BU’s top line to start the year, has gotten back to where he started, in large part because of his ability to use his physicality to his advantage. Two points through the first 13 games, Greenway now has 21 total — fifth on the team.

“Pretty good, they got three goals so I like that,” said BU head coach David Quinn on the first line’s play. “… I just thought that the way [Greenway] was playing and Danny and JFK I just thought that’d be a real good line.”

Shots on the rise, limited UNH chances 

You could argue that this could be a minus because BU only scored three times. In the same breath, though, it was not as if BU didn’t get the puck to the net or close to it. In total, the Terriers accumulated 70 shot attempts as compared to UNH’s 30.

Especially in the first and third periods, BU’s shot attempts came from in close range in the slot or near the crease area.

“There was a lot I liked about our game tonight but obviously the result isn’t what we wanted,” Quinn said. “Obviously i thought we possessed the puck well, got pucks to the net, just weren’t able to capitalize and our goals we had to earn.”

BU’s defense, despite giving up three goals, for the most part held it together and limited the chances that sophomore goaltender Connor LaCouvee saw. It was momentary lapses that really came back to bite BU, which we’ll get to in a titch…

Minuses 

Two quick responses 

If momentum does indeed exist, it did not last long for BU on Friday night, and that became more pronounced in the final minutes of the third period.

Off a BU turnover, UNH possessed the puck in the Terriers’ zone and also controlled the area in front of the crease. That’s where Gaudreault was when he rebounded in the tying goal, not even 40 seconds after O’Regan gave BU the lead.

Yet that wasn’t the first time the Terriers allowed a goal shortly after scoring one of their own. After BU’s second score, winger Jamie Hill snuck behind BU’s third defensive pair, junior Doyle Somerby and sophomore Brien Diffley, walking in alone from the offensive blue line to the net, where he slipped the puck under LaCouvee.

Quinn expressed his frustration with his team’s missed assignments on UNH’s final goal.

“Yeah, we turned it over, had possession entering their zone, we turned it over then our transition defense,” Quinn said, “we just blew coverage I mean first forward back did his job, the next two forwards got a little too deep and they get the puck to the point and we don’t block the shot and we don’t pick our stick up at the net front I mean just basic hockey and it’s disappointing.”

Failed five-minute major 

Quinn said after the game that he was more pleased with the way his power-play unit played this time out. But there was one disappointing aspect. BU could not break through when given the chance on a five-minute major.

In fairness, the extended man advantage did carry over from the second period to the third, but the Terriers did not get a lot of great looks on net and also were not as quick on the puck as they probably would’ve liked.

The process is getting better for the power play, but Quinn said he would like to see the rubber hit the twine more during such opportunities.

“The five-minute major we didn’t do much with, disappointing it’s kind of disjointed when the period ends and you’ve got 1:40 on one side of it and 3:20 the next,” Quinn said, “so that being said, the power play was better but we’ve just got to do a better job on it.”

Live blog: No. 9 BU at UNH

Series Preview

TV: ASN/NESN

BU lines:
Jordan Greenway-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Ryan Cloonan-Matt Lane-Ahti Oksanen
Mike Moran-Bobo Carpenter-Oskar Andrén
Chase Phelps-Dillon Lawrence-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby-Brien Diffley

Connor LaCouvee
Max Prawdzik

UNH lines:
Dan Correale-Andrew Poturalski-Tyler Kelleher
Maxim Gaudreault-Kyle Smith-Marcus Vela
Shane Eiserman-Michael McNicholas-Jamie Hill
Collin MacDonald-Ara Nazarian-Chris Miller

Matias Cleland-Cameron Marks
Richard Boyd-Matt Dawson
Harry Quast-John Furgele

Danny Tirone
Jamie Regan

Officials:
Terrence Murphy
Kevin Shea
Jeremy Lovett
Andrew Weber

Live Blog BU at UNH (02-19-2016)
 

Boston Hockey Pod: Lowell breakdown, playoff outlook

Hey guys — here’s another edition of the Boston Hockey Pod, recorded a few days after BU’s loss to UMass Lowell. We break down the state of BU’s defense, just what went wrong in that loss and what the team’s playoff picture looks like going forward.

Take a listen and let us know what you think — and if you want to check out previous episodes of the pod, you can do so here.

Pluses and Minuses: No. 7 Terriers routed by No. 11 Lowell, settle for series split

LOWELL — You’ve probably seen the score by now, but on Saturday night, the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team fell to the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell by a score of 6-3 at the Tsongas Center.

It was not pretty. At all.

The Terriers (17-9-4, 10-5-3 Hockey East) made mistake after mistake, and the River Hawks (18-7-5, 11-5-4 Hockey East) made them pay for basically every one of them.

“Certainly disappointed with obviously the outcome and some of the reasons why we’re in the situation we’re in tonight …” said BU head coach David Quinn. “Disappointed in the outcome, disappointed in why we lost the way we did.”

Here’s what particularly caught our eye in the rout:

Minuses

Mistakes

Teams and players are going to make mistakes during games. Obviously. No one plays a perfect game, but generally those mistakes don’t always find their way into the back of the net. On Saturday, Quinn said, that’s what it felt like happened.

The River Hawks struck first on defenseman Dylan Zink’s first of three goals on the night 11:26 into the first period, and the Terriers responded fairly quickly. Freshman center Bobo Carpenter knotted things up 1:36 later.

From there, though, it wasn’t so close.

The second goal?

“We give up a faceoff goal, completely blown coverage, as simple as coverage you can have in hockey,” Quinn said.

And the third?

“A horrible goalie-D exchange,” he said.

Fourth?

“A bad turnover.”

The fifth one?

“We blow coverage on a backcheck,” he said. “Looked like we got rattled after they made it four, we just completely abandoned our responsibilities on their fifth goal.”

And then the sixth was the fruits of a solid netfront, batted-out-of-midair tally from Lowell captain A.J. White.

Though the final result and score are definitely not ideal, Quinn noted they aren’t necessarily symptomatic of the overall defensive play.

“We hadn’t given up a lot of goals lately,” he said. “We’ve been playing some pretty good D zone, we did a good job last night, so I mean if this happens again I’ll be concerned, but we’ve done a pretty good job of moving past performances like this, so we’ll get back to work on Monday and anxious to play again on Friday.”

Andrew has an additional perspective on this in his sidebar.

Power play woes continue

It was another 0-fer night for BU’s power play as the Terriers failed to convert on a trio of opportunities with the man advantage Saturday night. While the team began the year with a relatively prolific power play, things have certainly dropped off in the last handful of games.

Since they went 3-for-6 on the power play during Jan. 15th’s loss to No. 3 Boston College, the Terriers are an anemic 3-for-30 with the man advantage over their last nine games. One of those goals came in the form of Friday’s overtime winner, but not much has been doing for BU.

The Terriers have been slow while operating in the attacking zone with the extra skater and aren’t doing enough to get the penalty killers out of sorts. Excessive stickhandling and messy entries have allowed opposing units to set up and adjust to each move BU makes, preventing the Terriers from getting anywhere close to capitalizing.

Pluses

Keep battling

Quinn said he liked the way his squad continued to battle throughout the game, and an 87-46 shot attempt differential in favor of the Terriers certainly backs that up. However, Quinn made sure to mention that “it’s easy to battle when you’re down by three.”

Typically, teams that are trailing are going to play more aggressively because, well, they’re trying to score goals. On the other hand, a team with a fairly safe lead like Lowell’s four-goal edge, can afford to play more conservatively. The objective would be to maintain the lead, not necessarily to add another goal.

“I thought we played well as the game went on, but tough to gauge because, like I said, when it’s 5-2, they’re playing a little bit different,” Quinn said.

Ahti Oksanen

I’ll admit I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but I wanted to give credit to Ahti Oksanen, who had a pair of primary assists in BU’s loss Saturday. The two helpers served as the senior’s sixth multi-point game in the second half, and he is now tied for 20th in the country in scoring with 33 points.

Since the Terriers have returned from break, Oksanen has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in a dozen games.

Live blog: No. 7 BU at No. 11 UMass Lowell

Friday recap
Friday sidebar on Moran
Friday pluses and minuses

Series preview

BU lines:
Oskar Andrén-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Jordan Greenway-Matt Lane-Ahti Oksanen
Mike Moran-Ryan Cloonan-Bobo Carpenter
Chase Phelps-Robbie Baillargeon-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby-John MacLeod

Sean Maguire
Connor LaCouvee

UMass Lowell lines:

A.J. White-Nick Master-Adam Chapie
Ryan McGrath-Ryan Collins-Connor Wilson
C.J. Smith-Joe Gambardella-John Edwardh
Jake Kamrass-Michael Fallon-Ryan Dmowski

Tommy Panico-Chris Forney
Tyler Mueller-Niklas Folin
Michael Kapla-Dylan Zink

Sean Cleary
Christoffer Hernberg
Kevin Boyle

Officials:
Jeff Bunyon
Geoff Miller
Alex Stagnone
Marc Sullivan

Live Blog BU at UMass Lowell (02-13-2016)
 

Pluses and Minuses: Maguire, Moran, Greenway lead BU in “playoff-feel” win over UMass Lowell

For the second straight game, the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team faced one of the nation’s best defenses, and for the second straight game, BU was trapped in a close game — and the game got sent to overtime.

Against No. 3 Boston College in Monday’s Beanpot final, the Terriers didn’t have such great luck. This time, though, against the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell on Friday at Agganis Arena, freshman forward Jordan Greenway scored just 29 seconds into overtime to give BU a 2-1 win.

As usual, we have a lot of things to pick apart from that game — both positive and negative. Here’s a sampling of both:

Pluses

Moran in the middle
Senior forward Mike Moran had a breakaway goal in the second period to give BU a 1-0 lead at the time — obviously, a crucial moment in a very, very tight game. Judy has more on that goal and his recent play in her sidebar.

Greenway, Maguire, etc.

We tend to give a lot of love to Greenway and senior goaltender Sean Maguire in our pluses and minuses, and won’t go too much in depth this time around, but given how big they were in this game, we couldn’t go without giving them a shoutout.

Greenway had the game-winner on a redirection of senior captain Matt Grzelcyk’s initial shot in overtime, making for his third goal in three games.

Maguire, meanwhile, had 25 saves and earned the win. He lowered his goals-against average on the season to 2.12 and raised his save percentage to .929.

Improved discipline
BU only committed three penalties in the game: two on freshman defenseman Charlie McAvoy, the first of which was a somewhat questionable holding call, and a roughing call on Greenway. The Terriers entered the game averaging 5.1 penalties and 11.2 penalty minutes per game — certainly an improvement against a team where there’s very little margin for error.

Playoff-like atmosphere
It’s no question that these final Hockey East series are crucial for BU, which currently sits in fifth place in Hockey East. The win gave them 23 points in conference play, just one point behind fourth-place Lowell.

The top four teams receive home ice in the conference tournament and a first-round bye. And in the final three weeks of the regular season, BU has games against two of those teams trying to cling on to a first-round bye: Lowell, and the first-place University of Notre Dame.

“Well, it’s playoff hockey from here on in,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “Certainly had a playoff feel to it.”

Minuses

That one Lowell goal
In a game as tight as this one, every goal counts, and despite holding the lead until the later half of the third period, BU surrendered a goal with 7:29 remaining in the game.

On the play, Maguire skated behind his goal and looked to dump off the puck to one of his defensemen, but neither sophomore John MacLeod nor junior Doyle Somerby fetched it. Maguire scrambled back, and stopped the initial shot from Dmowski, but couldn’t stop the rebound shot from Lowell captain A.J. White. MacLeod was the closest defenseman who could have picked up the rebound and cleared it, but he failed to do so.

MacLeod had a relatively strong game defensively otherwise, and had some noticeable chances on offense, but this wasn’t his finest moment, to say the least.

“We haven’t talked about it yet, but we’ll certainly have to clean that up a little bit,” Quinn said.

Failed line experiment
When we talked to Quinn on Thursday, and asked if there would be any line changes, he didn’t give any specifics, but indicated that we could be surprised on Friday. And hoo boy, were we surprised. There was a complete remodel of the third line on the line charts we were given: Moran played left wing with freshman Ryan Cloonan at center, and usual freshman center Bobo Carpenter moving over to right wing. Junior Robbie Baillargeon centered the fourth line between junior Tommy Kelley and sophomore Chase Phelps.

But that didn’t last long. By our unofficial count, the experiment only lasted two or three shifts. Before long, Cloonan was back on the first line — where freshman Oskar Andrén started the past five games — and Moran was back down to the fourth line. Baillargeon moved back to his usual spot on the third-line wing, with Andrén on the other wing and Carpenter centering.

That’s a bit of a mouthful, but tl,dr: As far as we could see, for most of the game, the lines looked like they did a few weeks ago in this game.

“It was a quick experiment, and we didn’t like it,” Quinn said. “So we went back to it, made a few changes, and pretty much stuck with it.

4-on-3
Hard to be too nitpicky on this, but worth noting: BU had a 4-on-3 opportunity for 1:46 in the second period, after Greenway and River Hawks defenseman Tyler Mueller were sent off for matching roughing penalties and Lowell defenseman Dylan Zink was sent off 14 seconds later for a hooking penalty.

That 4-on-3 chance didn’t amount to anything goal-wise, which Quinn addressed in the postgame press conference.

“That’s our fault,” Quinn. “We haven’t practiced that in God knows how long. I don’t even remember the last time we practiced that and that’s certainly on us. That was our fault. That’s a lot of uncertainty and that’s the coach’s fault. We hadn’t practiced it since I think before Christmas.”