What do the numbers say about BU hockey’s 2016-17 season so far?

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Kieffer Bellows has endured an up-and-down start to his BU hockey career. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

With December just around the corner, the Boston University men’s hockey team’s 2016-17 season is roughly one third of the way done. Wow, how time has flown by.

The Terriers stand at 7-4-1, injuries have taken their toll and players have grown into roles, either beyond or under expectations. In the mood of reflection, one way to ascertain how head coach David Quinn’s team is faring so far is by breaking down the numbers.

Statistics, of course, must be taken with a grain of salt. There’s the straightforward ideology that you either can put the puck in the net or not, that you stay out of the box or get a bit too comfortable in there. But there’s also the ideology that stats don’t tell you about the little details, the intangibles and one’s hockey IQ.

Which school of thought has more merit is up to debate, but the fact remains: It’s important to break down who is or isn’t performing.

Without further ado, here’s some surface-level analysis of the Terriers through their first 12 games.

National Ranking

Pegged as Hockey East’s top team in the preseason poll, as buoyed by a hyped-up, nine-member freshman class, the Terriers have consistently been a top-10 team.

As compared to other teams in the conference, namely Boston College and UMass Lowell, BU is keeping pace. The low point came after Denver handed Quinn’s side two consecutive losses, but impressive wins over Quinnipiac, Harvard and Michigan stand out.

So, how has BU fared from a national perspective? Pretty darn well.

Points

To the surprise of nobody, Clayton Keller led the way early on for the Terriers. He had nine points in his first seven games, and then a lower-body injury came around on Nov. 5 and halted his freshman campaign.

That paved the way for the first line of Patrick Harper, Jordan Greenway and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, which has been electric. They’ve combined for 32 of BU’s 107 points, but there’s plenty of other players chipping in, too.

Namely, Charlie McAvoy and Dante Fabbro are pacing the BU D-corps, while second line stalwarts Bobo Carpenter and Kieffer Bellows are also keeping pace.

Goals

The Terriers are averaging 3.2 goals a game, largely the product of being shut out twice and offensive clinics against the likes of Sacred Heart, Colgate and Harvard.

Through those ups and downs, Keller, Harper, Greenway, Bellows and Nick Roberto have paced BU’s forward ensemble. These Terriers can score at will when all cylinders are firing, so there’s little to worry about in this regard.

Still, one could argue that Forsbacka Karlsson, McAvoy, Fabbro and Carpenter should be lighting the lamp more.

Assists

What’s perhaps most remarkable about BU’s 2016-17 team is how many creative forces there are in and around the opponent’s net.

There’s Harper’s deft stickhandling, Greenway’s physically imposing style down in the corners, McAvoy’s x-ray vision from the point and Forsbacka Karlsson’s smooth-as-can-be play in all zones. The buck doesn’t stop there, either, with Carpenter’s hard-nosed style and Keller’s high-end skill.

Still, Bellows and Chad Krys aren’t tossing out helpers perhaps as much as they should be.

Penalty Minutes

As simple as it sounds, the Terriers are a better team when they’re playing 5-on-5 hockey. They’re dominant at times even, and Quinn has repeatedly stressed that he wants his team to take four or less penalties a game.

But that’s hardly been the case throughout the 2016-17 season. They’re taking 15.8 penalty minutes per game, the 19th highest total in the country.

The main culprits for that have been Greenway, Bellows, Brandon Hickey and Doyle Somerby, but the problem has been remedied some as of late. Furthermore, BU has killed 90.7 percent of its opponent’s power plays, good for fifth best in the country.

In other words, it’s a mixed bag.


While there are other statistical areas to sift through, these five areas tell quite a lot about BU’s performance throughout 2016-17.

The guys everyone expected to perform – Harper, Keller, Bellows, Greenway, Forsbacka Karlsson and McAvoy, among others – are proving their worth. But there’s intricacies in each category to comment on, so we invite you BU hockey fans to share your thoughts.

Who should be pulling more weight? Has anyone stood out to you? Are you desiring more from Quinn’s team?

From The FreeP: BU secures win over Harvard

Thanksgiving break just got that much sweeter for the Boston University men’s hockey team.

In what marks the closest geographic rivalry in college hockey, the Terriers swept aside Harvard University, 5-3, on Tuesday night at Agganis Arena. BU snagged goals from Pat Harper, Kieffer Bellows, Nick Roberto, Dante Fabbro and Pat Curry, while Connor LaCouvee recorded his second win of the season.

The teams traded goals throughout the contest, so for a recap of what unfolded, check out Nick’s game story.

One of the subtler takeaways from the Terriers’ clash with the Crimson was the play of Curry and the return of Ryan Cloonan from injury. Jonathan went in depth on both subject matters in his game story.

Highlights

Interviews

Coach Quinn:

Doyle Somerby and Curry:

Tweets of the game

Live blog: BU vs. Harvard

After splitting a weekend series with the University of Connecticut, the Terriers will take on Harvard University before the break. Follow along with our live blog!

Live Blog BU vs. Harvard (11-22-16)
 

BU lines:

Greenway – Forsbacka Karlsson – Harper

Bellows – Curry – Carpenter

Cloonan – Chabot – Roberto

Andren – McDermott – Kelley

 

Krys – McAvoy

Hickey – Fabbro

Somerby – MacLeod

 

LaCouvee

Oettinger

Prawdzik

Three Thoughts: BU’s weekend split with UConn

For a deeper rundown of how BU fared against UConn last weekend, check out our From The FreeP post from this morning.

The short version is the Terriers snagged a 2-1 win away from home, only to lose 4-0 at home the following night. There’s a lot to digest from what unfolded, so we tried to sift through some of the minutiae. Without further ado, check it out:

Three Thoughts

1.) We saw junior defenseman Brien Diffley get the start in Saturday’s loss, filling in for classmate John MacLeod, who apparently is dealing with a nagging injury. MacLeod had been playing well alongside senior captain Doyle Somerby as of late, totaling three assists and a +5 rating in nine games. We’re going to guess that MacLeod will sit out Tuesday’s game versus Harvard if he truly is injured. We’ll try to get more information on his status before the game.

2.) Well, we finally saw freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger have a rough outing at home. Oettinger let up four goals on Saturday after going over 204 minutes without a goal allowed at Agganis to start his career. It was a shame to see his streak come to an end, especially in that fashion, but we have no doubt Oettinger will bounce back on Tuesday or down the road.

3.) Going off of that, it was comforting to see junior netminder Connor LaCouvee play so well in Friday’s win at the XL Center. He made 28 saves on 29 shots, often making acrobatic plays to deny the Huskies. Coach Quinn and junior defenseman Brandon Hickey noted that LaCouvee was extremely focused in practice once he found out he would get the start. Having the capable LaCouvee behind Oettinger will likely prove to be huge as the season wears on.

The Small Five

1.) In Saturday’s defeat, BU’s top line of freshman Patrick Harper and sophomores Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Jordan Greenway attempted 16 of the Terriers’ 37 shots. That’s astounding and lopsided to say the least, but this factoid becomes even more concerning when it’s noted that BU’s six D-men attempted 11 shots. That means BU’s bottom three lines only got 10 shots on goals — that’s just not good enough.

2.) The defensive partnership between sophomore Charlie McAvoy and freshman Chad Krys is so smooth. Both are cool as can be on the puck, and their instincts on the blue line are spectacular. The charge before them now is if they can lock down opponents’ top forwards, much like they did with UConn’s Max Letunov and Tage Thompson.

3.) One of the hardest things to measure is how a team bounces back when adversity rolls around. Specifically, when BU was losing 2-0, then 3-0, then 4-0 against UConn, there just wasn’t that much life in the squad. That’s concerning, especially because Quinn’s teams have historically been fantastic in the third period.

4.) It’s team to seriously consider what toll widespread injuries are taking on BU. Clayton Keller, Ryan Cloonan and Nikolas Olsson are all out, and they’re top-nine forwards. We honestly don’t know when they’ll be back, and it seems as though Quinn isn’t 100 percent sure either. BU needs their grit, scoring touch and hockey sense back — badly.

5.) Tuesday’s game against Harvard is no slouch, and Terrier fans would be foolish to view it as a guaranteed two points. BU snagged a shock 6-5 win last season, but the Crimson defeated BC last weekend. It wasn’t even close, as Harvard won 5-2.

From The FreeP: BU splits with UConn

It was an up-and-down weekend for the Boston University men’s hockey team, as it split its weekend series with the University of Connecticut.

Matters get underway on Friday evening in Hartford, Connecticut, with the Terriers emerging as 2-1 victors. Then traveling back home to Agganis Arena, BU was blanked for the first time since 2013, falling 4-0 to the Huskies.

In case you missed it, here’s our coverage of both weekend games:

  1. Friday’s recap, with a particular focus on Gabe Chabot snagging the game-winning goal.
  2. Friday’s sider that focuses on the breakout performance of Connor LaCouvee in net.
  3. Saturday’s recap, which features some surprisingly upbeat quotes from head coach David Quinn.
  4. Saturday’s reap, which focuses on BU’s injuries stacking up.

Highlights

Press Conferences

Live blog: BU vs. UConn, round two

The Terriers look to extend their home winning streak to ten games tonight against the Huskies. Follow our live blog for up-the-date info!

Live Blog BU vs. UConn, round two
 

BU lines

Greenway – Forsbacka Karlsson – Harper

Bellows – Carpenter – Roberto

Kelley – Curry – Chabot

Phelps – McDermott – Andren

 

Krys – McAvoy

Hickey – Fabbro

Somerby – Diffley

 

Oettinger

LaCouvee

 

UConn lines:

Thompson – Letunov – Richardson

El-Mir – Kalter – Ronan

Naas – Freeman – Ojantakanen

Morgan – Schwartz – Howell

 

Masonius – Drake

Austin – Gendron

Pratt – Newpower

 

Huska

Nichols

Creel

Live Blog: BU visits UConn at the XL Center

In the first match of a weekend series with UConn, the BU men’s hockey team visits the XL Center tonight. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.

We’ll be there from the get go, so follow the live blog for updates as they roll through.

 

Live Blog BU vs. UConn – XL Center
 

From The FreeP: Previewing UConn

After a brief stint of non-conference play, the Boston University men’s hockey team will get right back in the thick of Hockey East action.

A weekend series with the University of Connecticut is the task at hand, with BU visiting the XL Center on Friday night and Agganis Arena playing host on Saturday night.

In his weekly sit-down interview with the media, head coach David Quinn shed light on injury updates, the threat UConn poses and more. For full coverage, check out our preview on The Daily Free Press.

We’ll also have full coverage of the weekend’s games, so check the site regularly for updates and stories.

Three Thoughts: BU splits weekend series with Michigan

The Boston University men’s hockey team served up a mixed bag this past weekend, splitting a Friday-Saturday series with the University of Michigan.

The first clash was about as ugly as it gets, as head coach David Quinn’s side fell, 4-0, to the Wolverines. After a changed lineup and renewed energy, the Terriers bounced back, winning the second encounter, 4-2.

In light of those seesaw-like performances, we offer up some thoughts on BU’s current run of form. Hint: There was some good, some bad and some ugly.

Three Thoughts

  1. Penalties: BU surely wishes it came home with more points from its trip to Michigan, but the brightest takeaway was reduced penalties. After totaling six penalties in Friday’s loss, the Terriers spent only six minutes in the box on Saturday. The young Terriers have had difficulty limiting careless penalties to start the season, but last weekend was a positive sign for Quinn’s squad. Quinn’s goal for his team is no more than four penalties per game, and Saturday’s win was the first time that the Terriers were under the limit. If BU can continue this trend and keep five guys on the ice more consistently, they’ll be just fine. – Nick
  2. Patrick Curry: He didn’t total a point in the two games at Michigan, but Curry is making his presence felt on the third line. With so many forwards struggling with injuries, the freshman has relied on his physicality and smart play to surpass expectations. He scored his first collegiate goal Nov. 4 at Northeastern, and if Curry keeps it up, we’ll likely see his name on the score sheet a lot more. – Nick
  3. Road games: After splitting a pair of games with Michigan last weekend, the Terriers are now 2-3-1 on the road, as opposed to 3-0 at Agganis Arena. This is definitely a bit troubling considering how talented this team is from top to bottom. There’s no doubt that BU won’t get very far come springtime if they can’t figure out how to win away from Comm. Ave. BU next plays on the road this Friday at UConn, and doesn’t travel again until a conference matchup with Providence on Dec. 2. Still, something to keep an eye on. – Nick

The Small Five

  1. Jake Oettinger: The freshman netminder possesses enormous talent, and his 6-foot-4 frame boosts his NHL potential. But fans sometimes forget Oettinger is only 17 years old, an age that’s typical associated with peaks and valleys, with highs and lows. Friday’s game was definitely a low, as Oettinger let in three of the 20 shots he faced, only to rebound on Saturday and make 27 saves. The fact the former U.S. NTDP ‘tender didn’t wilt in the face of adversity is an encouraging sign, and he now boasts a 1.79 goals against average and .932 save percentage. – Jonathan
  2. Jordan Greenway: Last weekend’s series against Northeastern was a tough one for the sophomore forward, who received a 10-minute misconduct in the 4-4 overtime tie and was benched during the first period of the 3-0 win. But his showing on Saturday was immense, as he registered a goal and two assists, all in the third period. Even when BU was blanked in Friday’s 4-0 loss, Greenway was leading the charge, firing three shots on goal.– Jonathan
  3. Injuries: While the Terriers will shy away from excuses, the absence of freshman forward Clayton Keller, sophomore forward Ryan Cloonan and junior forward Nik Olsson was tangible. All three bring a little something extra – Keller the top-end skill, Cloonan the simple things and Olsson a physical presence – that BU would have benefited from. They’re top-nine forwards, too, so anyone discounting their injuries is misguided. – Jonathan
  4. Lineup change: Perhaps the most surprising part of Saturday’s tilt was that junior Brien Diffley and sophomore Shane Switzer didn’t play defense. That’s right, they played as forwards, respectively earning their second and first appearances of the year. This shift likely isn’t a long-term solution, but it’s an interesting development nonetheless. – Jonathan
  5. Skill vs. grit: We had an interesting discussion in Friday’s live blog about how NHL-level skill translates to college hockey. In other words, is silky-smooth hands and a high hockey IQ more valuable than veteran savvy and grit? BU definitely has a surplus of the later with 11 NHL Draft picks, but the former category isn’t nearly as present. Is that a problem? We’re not entirely sure, but it’s surely something Quinn’s staff has discussed at some point. – Jonathan

Live Blog: BU at Michigan, Round Two

After a tough 4-0 loss at the hands of the Wolverines last night, the Terriers will look to bounce back today at Yost Arena. Follow along on our live blog!

Live Blog BU vs. Michigan (11-12-2016)
 

BU lines:

Greenway – Forsbacka Karlsson – Harper

Bellows – Carpenter – Roberto

Kelley – Curry – Switzer

Diffley – Chabot – Andren

 

Krys – McAvoy

Hickey – Fabbro

Somerby – MacLeod

 

Oettinger

LaCouvee