Welcome to 2019, hockey fans! As people often do upon embarking on a new year, I am putting together a collection of New Year’s resolutions, but not for myself. Instead, I will be compiling a list of potential improvements that could bring the BU Men’s Hockey team a successful 2019. These ideas are all my own, so if you have any additional thoughts or responses to my resolutions, please feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section or on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!
Resolution 1: Tighten up on defense
The Terrier defense has been uncharacteristically inconsistent throughout the first half of the season, allowing the fourth most shots on goal of any team in the league thus far (543). Worse, BU has allowed the second most shots on goal per game (33.94), only better than Vermont, who sit at the bottom of the division. To their credit, BU’s blueliners have been heavily involved in the offense this season, but if the Terriers want to make a run for the league title, the defensive side of the game must be improved.
Resolution 2: Take pressure off of Jake Oettinger
This resolution is closely related to the first, but one cannot consider improvements for BU in 2019 without mentioning the goaltender. At third-worst in the Hockey East in the terms of goals against, Jake Oettinger has conceded 40 goals thus far, a total driven by the number of shots he has faced. The Dallas Stars prospect has single-handedly kept BU in games at times, but such performances can take a toll on a keeper over the course of a season. For Oettinger to still be sharp come March, BU must find a way to lessen the workload on their standout keeper.
Resolution 3: Get the most out of attacking talent
BU has great talent at the offensive positions, but cold stretches from certain forwards have prevented the BU attack from finding their rhythm as an entire unit. As we know, hockey can be a game of streaks, and within a matter of games, we could see previously-quiet Terriers emerge as consistent producers and threats to opposing defenses. As points become more and more crucial with the season nearing its close, BU will need these potential contributors to step up, especially if team defense continues to be an issue.
Resolution 4: Spread the wealth on offense
In the first half of the season, BU has relied on the likes of Bobo Carpenter, Dante Fabbro, and Joel Farabee to lead the way on offense. While getting production out of those who are expected to produce is certainly a positive, BU must develop depth in scoring if they aim to become a real offensive danger in Hockey East. The Terriers are already progressing towards acquiring this depth, as four of the team’s top 10 leading scorers are defensemen, but for success in both 2019 and beyond, BU will need to get goals out of players further down the offensive depth chart.
There is a lot of hockey left to be played in BU’s season this year. Will the Terriers make the necessary adjustments to become true contenders for the Hockey East tournament? Only time will tell.