Three Thoughts: BU’s weekend series with Providence

BU celebrates its second goal in Saturday's 2-2 overtime draw with Providence College. PHOTO BY JOHN KAVOURIS/DAILY FREE PRESS
BU celebrates its second goal in Saturday’s 2-2 overtime draw with Providence College. PHOTO BY JOHN KAVOURIS/DAILY FREE PRESS

The Boston University men’s hockey team snagged three of a possible four points against Providence College this past weekend. Friday night’s clash was a 2-1 win at Schneider Arena, while Saturday’s game unfolded as a 2-2 overtime tie.

From the good, the bad and the ugly, we offer several takes on what unfolded. As a bit of foreshadowing, it wasn’t the prettiest weekend of Terrier hockey, even if the results were largely favorable.

1.) Bellows struggles – As much as we don’t want to admit it, it may be time for Kieffer Bellows to sit a game or so. After getting two penalties in the first period on Saturday, including one in the offensive zone, Bellows now leads all Terriers in total penalties with 16. For comparison, Jordan Greenway is second in penalties with 10. Quinn made the decision to bench Bellows for pretty much the rest of Saturday’s contest, and he can’t be blamed. It’s been a tough stretch for the freshman, as he has just one point in his last seven contests. With BU not as deep as it would like to be, hopefully he can get more comfortable in the college game soon. – Nick

2.) Penalties – If you thought the Terriers’ penalty problem had subsided, last weekend seemed to prove you wrong. After averaging 9.6 penalty minutes in their previous six contests, Quinn’s squad logged 47 minutes in the box in the two games versus the Friars. BU still secured three points despite having to kill the power play so much, but it’s obvious that Quinn will be stressing cutting down penalties in practice this week. – Nick

3.) Who’s out – It will be interesting to see which forward gets bumped out of the lineup once Clayton Keller returns from injury (which could be before the winter break, FYI). Pat Curry has stepped up to replace Keller on the second line, and he’s performed well the last few games. Does he stay somewhere on that second line, especially with Bellows’ recent struggles? And where does Ryan Cloonan fit in when Keller and Tommy Kelley are back on the ice? Who on the fourth line gets the boot? If BU can get all of their playmakers back to full health, keep an eye out for what Quinn does with the bottom three lines. – Nick

The Small Five

a.) Oettinger – For anyone claiming that Jake Oettinger can’t handle the starting spot for these Terriers, it’s time to hold your horses. The kid is just fine. Actually scratch that – he’s more than fine. He made a combined 68 saves across both games with the Friars, including 38 on Friday night. The 17-year-old also now has a 1.92 goals against average and .930 save percentage. – Jonathan

b.) D pairings – Coach Quinn tossed a small curveball this past weekend when he switched up the top two defensive pairings. He partnered Charlie McAvoy with Brandon Hickey, and also put Chad Krys with Dante Fabbro. Normally it’d be McAvoy-Krys and Hickey-Fabbro, so perhaps a small point. Meanwhile, John MacLeod and Doyle Somerby stayed together on the third pairing. – Jonathan

c.) McAvoy – Speaking of McAvoy, we’re starting to see some serious offensive production from this past summer’s first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins. He has one goal and 11 assists, including a helper in each of his last three games. That should come as no surprise, though, as he had three goals and 22 assists in his freshman season. Either way, it’s nice to see McAvoy contributing on the offensive end consistently. – Jonathan

d.) Harper – Is it possible that Patrick Harper is regressing to the mean? He still leads BU with 17 points, but he was kept off the scoreboard in both tilts with the Friars. Many of the team’s top forwards were as well, so it’s hardly a slight. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Harper returns to his scoring ways or balances out some. – Jonathan

e.) Power play – The Terriers’ power play isn’t up to snuff right now, of that there is no doubt. BU has the 43rd-best success rate in the country, as it scores on 14.29 percent of its man advantages. With copious talent – Keller, Harper, Bellows, Fabbro, McAvoy and Greenway, to name a few – something has to click soon, right? On the contrary, BU’s penalty-kill unit is the nation’s third best, as it clocks in at a 91.1 percent success rate. – Jonathan


  1. I predict that Keller’s return will be the cure for Bellows and Harper.

    • Absolutely we will look like we did to start the year and our poor power play will return to top form the difference 1 players makes guys can just go back to their regular lines etc and some bloggers can relax and not panic.. Go bu..

  2. What makes you think DQ will put Bellows with Keller. This weekend at VT or Yale ?

  3. I hope you are right but why would that help Bellows when Keller has not played with him? Do you think the return will be in Vt or Yale? All I know is that we have only scored 18 goals in 8 games without him!

  4. Hi Ozzie. First of all, I have no idea as to whether Keller will be back for UVM or not until the Yale game. Second, I made that statement because I feel that when an offensive juggernaut comes back into the mix (even if Keller does not wind up on the same line as Bellows), it will force the opposing team to work extra hard when Keller is on the ice and give everyone else in the top-9 better scoring opportunities. I think that’s what happened with Eichel. His presence in the lineup raised the offensive production of other forwards who were not even on his line. Maybe I am wrong but that phenomenon might happen with Keller too.

  5. i think if we go back to 4 pm starts, the offense will start clicking.

  6. i think if we go back to 4 pm starts, the offense will pick up

  7. Good points raised and observed by you guys. First I’m so glad there has been no goalie questioning this week. Jake was outstanding. My second point is I don’t think Kiefer should sit longer then he just did. He is a freshman that is learning the college game his confidence will grow as sucsses comes his way which it will. With his quick hard shot he needs to find ways to get in the slot and get open this means moving his feet. He was benched not because of all his previous penalties this year but the type of penalty he took. It was dumb he would probably tell you the same thing if asked. It was a act of frustration and retaliation. As a fan I was upset by his benching but coach Quinn is in a much different spot he needs to lay the law down that if you play undisciplined hockey you don’t play hockey. He is 100%right penalties are costing us. I like our fight I think this team can play a gritty game with a little mean streak and not get penalties like they have been getting recently they just have to learn how to do it. I think it was probably made clear to them after the game or during practice today. As to who sits when Keller comes back I have no idea so many guys have stepped up Curry has been huge. One guy who does not get credit enough in my opinion is Gabe Chabot he does all the little things. Friday him and Nick Olson were all over the puck when put together I would hate to see him out of the lineup

    • Good post Colin and I have been behind Jake since day 1 he’s the real deal some people just don’t get it and bellows I have noticed just coasts to the puck unless it’s a scoring chance for him and the penalties he’s taking a away from the puck and no reason for it and I have been calling for him to sit since 2 weeks ago so finally happened this week let’s not forget last year Jonny mcloud sat a whole bunch of games for the same stuff and it was about time ..Hopefully that woke him up kid has got lots of potential just need to be smarter… I’ll be at uvm hopefully Keller plays he’s skating so let’s see what hapoens.. Go Bu..

  8. what happen to shane switzer this year.played in only won game.coach quinn has a great player here and is overlooked in every game.

    • He is the team’s eighth defenseman, and they only dress six. The math will give you the answer.

  9. Good point Vinnie. I think we should play the Union game at 4 so we can watch the WJC at night.

  10. Vinnie mate …..what a idea 4pm would work great on Jan 5 ….then we could get a double header…