After a strong start in Hockey East play, the Terriers faltered a bit last weekend, coming away from a series with Maine with a loss and a tie. In anticipation of BU-Providence on Friday and Saturday, I put together my current thoughts. All opinions are my own.
Maine seems like the real deal
In a conference that, in the last decade-plus, has been dominated by Massachusetts schools, it’s easy to forget about the Black Bears from the neighbor up north. Well, it might be time to reconsider Maine among the top tier of Hockey East competitors. Last weekend, they looked deep on offense, strong in defense, and rock-solid in goal. If they can keep it up, they may be a real threat.
Early growth from freshmen d-men
With Cam Crotty out of the lineup, I’ve been really impressed by BU’s freshmen defensemen, and I already think they’ve grown into the college game quite well. Against Maine, they played with confidence on the offense end, with Domenick Fensore and Sean Driscoll showing no fear with the puck on their stick. Defensively, Case McCarthy and Alex Vlasic in particular have demonstrated great instincts and positioning. I’ll admit they’ve allowed too many breakaways, but overall I’ve really liked the play of these youngsters.
Bad penalties quietly continued
Maine wasn’t able to fully take advantage of their power play opportunities so this storyline won’t make the headlines, but I wanted to make sure I touched on it here. The Terriers are still taking too many penalties, and, to me, this is magnified by the timing of these infractions. It seemed like BU repetitively took penalties right after finishing their own power play, putting them on their heels instead of gaining momentum from their the man advantage. As I’ve said, the tenacity is good: the penalties are not.
This team has the intangibles
Call this premature, but through seven games, I’m convinced this BU team has that “it” factor: the perseverance, competitiveness, the work ethic – those characteristics that you can’t define numerically. In a series where the puck just wouldn’t go their way, the Terriers stuck with it, battled to the end, and were rewarded with a late goal in both games. In a one-point weekend, this was a major positive to me, and I know I’m not the only person in the BU hockey community who feels this way.
Will Harper and Crotty be able to play?
From what it seems, these assistant captains are still day-to-day in their recovery from injury, You never want to hurry anyone back from injury, but the Terriers will need all hands on deck this weekend against Providence. With that in mind, I’m sure Harper and Crotty are doing everything they can to get back out there, and we’ll see if they’re ready to go come game time.
Who will win the graduate goaltending duel?
It’s always fun when two graduate transfer goaltenders go up against each other, because it gives both keepers the chance to prove that their team made the right choice. Obviously, we’ll never know who was considered by which teams and how close either player was to ending up with any given program. Still, I will enjoy watching Sam Tucker and Michael Lackey face off this weekend.
Can BU climb back up the national ranks?
Providence has been among the hottest teams in the country early on in the 2019-20 season. While this doubleheader will be BU’s biggest test thus far, it also brings major opportunity. With three or four points this weekend against the Friars, BU could really turn heads and reinsert themselves in the national conversation, where they have been somewhat buried as of late.
BU and PC will first meet at Agganis Arena at 7:30pm on Friday before the series shifts to Providence at 7pm on Saturday.