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

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.


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.


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.


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?


  1. Son of Caesar Carlaci

    Great job on this Jonnathan. Yea, we really miss keller as he is by far the best hockey player on BU. I don’t think JFK will ever be a scorer although he is a real good all around player. Should get much better as season goes on. My only concern is in goal where wedo not have a top goalie in my opinion.

  2. Don’t believe goaltending or defense is a problem. Ottenger and LaCouvee are solid in goal and defense has 5 draft picks.Getting shut out twice in one week however is concerning. We need Keller back as he can either create or score like no one else on this roster.

    • Friend_of_BU_Hockey

      The forwards lack top-6 depth up front and are a bit overloaded with 4th line-type forwards. I’m not surprised that Keller’s injury has had this much of an impact on the team’s offense.

      IMO, a major difference between DQ & JP is that DQ is a strong believer in front-loading his forward lines, whereas I believe JP was much more focused on balance/depth across all forward lines. The risk w/ that approach is that if the team doesn’t get consistent secondary scoring, they’re vulnerable if their top forwards are held at bay.

  3. fried of bu hockey

    why isn’t coach quinn not playing shane switzer ?

  4. Stats only tell you so much. Harvard’s PP looked much crisper than BU’s despite going 0 for 3 compared to BU converting twice on 5 PP opportunities. BU’s PP needs much better zone entry and more shots on goal. Surrendering a goal with a 5 on 3 advantage is inexcusable. To make a major run this year, the team needs to play with more consistency and be able to control games, especially against less talented opponents. The coaching staff’s challenge is to progress this talented group to play at a high level every game.

  5. Jeez, Son of Caesar.
    Oettinger is the best incoming goalie that BU has had since Rick DiPietro.
    His current GAA and Save% would rank him #1 all-time at BU if he maintained them for his career.
    He stole two points at Providence. And he may have been even more impressive after the two early goals against PC at Agganis. He didn’t let it bother him and stoned the Friars the rest of the way.
    Can the kid improve? Sure. Will he still give up some goals? Everybody does.
    Goal is not a problem AT ALL for this team!