Entering their final regular season game, the Boston University Terriers (14-15-4, 12-9-3 Hockey East) will face the University of Maine Black Bears (14-15-4, 10-9-4 Hockey East) in a Saturday battle at 7:30pm in Orono.
The Terriers tallied yet another big win last week, beating last seeded Merrimack 5-1 at Agganis Arena on Saturday night. Not only is BU looking to continue their five game unbeaten streak, but they are trying to climb as high up in the conference rankings as they can.
“[There is] quite a bit [of pressure] I think,” said junior defenseman Dante Fabbro regarding the Terrier’s upcoming game against Maine. The co-captain had an outstanding performance in the Merrimack game, tallying 5 points.
BU has the opportunity to land in the 3, 4, or 5 seeds heading into the Hockey East tournament depending on this weekend’s conference results. The top four positions host first round playoff matchups, so the fifth-place Terriers are still on the outside looking in at UMass Lowell one point ahead, and Northeastern two points ahead. BU hold the tiebreaker over these two teams, so if BU wins against Maine and Northeastern loses against UNH, BU will overtake Northeastern. In addition, if BU wins or even ties against Maine and UMass Lowell loses against Vermont, the Terriers will jump above UML.
It is no a secret that the game against Maine is not going to be a walk in the park for BU. The two sides already met twice back in November when the teams split a home-and-home series. The first night in Boston, BU won 3-2, while the next night Maine grabbed the win on their home ice with a 3-1 victory.
“I think if we keep building off of things we have worked on in the last half year or so we will do really well. At the same time, we have to execute what coach is saying and bring it everyday,” said Fabbro.
A player to watch on the Black Bears’ bench is freshman defensive standout Simon Butala. Butala has appeared in every game for Maine and has logged 40 blocks for the Bears. Leading Butala and the rest of the Black Bears is senior captain Rob Michel, who has recorded 39 blocks of his own.
Moving up the ice, the Black Bears have an extremely deep junior class at the forward positions. Mitchell Fossier, Chase Pearson, and Tim Doherty are the leaders in points for the Bears. The one player that BU will key in on is Fossier. Fossier’s vision on the ice is undeniable and has an impressive 27 assists for the Bears. If BU is able to subtract him from the play, Maine will have a much tougher time unlocking the Terrier defense.
It is not the best of circumstances for the Terriers to play Maine away from their home ice, but with the confidence booster that they gained after beating Merrimack, the Terriers are flying high into their season finale up north.
Along with their recent results, an improvement in health has given the Terriers reason to be optimistic going forward. BU has finally been gifted with the return of senior captain Bobo Carpenter, who missed more than a month with a lower body injury. Always providing leadership and an offensive spark, the Terriers have already noticed a difference with captain Carpenter back on the ice.
“His competitiveness is infectious.,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell about having Carpenter back in the lineup. “His presence on the bench was felt.”
If the Terriers want any shot at home ice in the playoffs, Saturday’s game is a must-win. Tell us what you predict will happen on Saturday’s match in the comments below! You can follow the game through our live blog as well as on Twitter. You can also listen to the game through GoTerriers.com.