BU took No. 10 Providence to the wire last Friday and Saturday nights but ultimately came away from the series with just a single point. Below are my thoughts after the last week of BU hockey, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Series of the season already?
Last weekend’s series vs. Providence was some of the most entertaining hockey I’ve ever watched: 125 minutes of hard-hitting, back-and-forth action with dazzling offense, acrobatic saves, and everything in between. I know it’s only November, but I find it hard to believe that we’ll see a doubleheader with more excitement and more drama than BU-PC had.
This BU offense could become one of the country’s best
Call me crazy but I don’t think this is an overstatement. On Saturday night, Coach O’Connell talked about the poor decisions BU made with the puck in a game when his team scored FIVE goals! If you’re putting up five and you’re still not happy, the ceiling must be very high for this offense. I thought that, at their peak, all four lines created dangerous scoring chances on seemingly every shift this weekend, and that’s with a roster that’s pretty much down to its last man. Imagine how good they’ll be at full strength!
David Farrance is a man on a mission in 2019-20
Last season, we saw flashes of David Farrance being a spark plug for the offense, or at least a blueliner who wasn’t afraid to carry the puck and let it rip when the opportunity presented itself. Now as a junior, Farrance has been a man possessed offensively, scoring at a higher rate than any other NCAA D1 defenseman. He’s been the best Terrier on the ice this season in my book, logging ridiculous amounts of ice time, producing offensively, and playing strong defense, especially in the absence of Cam Crotty.
Goaltending mistakes frustrating, but fixable
After five games of solid play in the net, Sam Tucker allowed four goals against Providence on Saturday night, was pulled by Coach O’Connell for Vinnie Purpura (who also struggled), and now suddenly the sky is falling in Terrier Nation. Alright, so it wasn’t pretty. But Tucker’s issues can be solved! He’s proven he has the instincts and reflexes to make some spectacular stops, but his problems have come from poor positioning and overaggressiveness. If he can just stay at home and play smart in the crease, he’ll be just fine.
Can the offense keep carrying BU?
Last weekend, the Terriers relied on their offense to keep them in games, whether it meant coming up with a third-period comeback or sticking stride for stride with Providence’s six-goal night. This weekend, BU will be tasked with battling yet another lethal attack with UMass, and that responsibility could fall on the offense once again. It’s not ideal to be so offense-dependent, but it might be the only way BU can hang with the big guys right now.
Is UMass still the real deal?
They’re still the fifth-ranked team in the nation, but I’m not quite convinced that the Minutemen are the same force they were a season ago. UNH, who BU blanked 3-0 a few weeks ago, knocked off UMass last weekend. Paired with a rather uninspiring loss to Northeastern in mid-October, the Minutemen are off to a 2-2 start in Hockey East, placing them eighth. For now, the 2019-20 Minutemen aren’t as scary as they were a year ago.
Can BU get some crucial conference points?
It’s okay to be proud that BU stayed with a top-ten opponent until the final buzzer, but ultimately, last weekend against PC was another two-game set where BU earned just one point. I love moral victories, but the numbers are what matter, and the Terriers are digging a hole pretty quickly. However, the optimist in me says that they looked better last weekend than they did a week before at Maine, so if the progression continues, they should break through for a win against UMass.
The weekend set will kick off at Agganis Arena at 7:30pm on Friday before BU and UMass travel to Amherst’s Mullins Center for game two on Saturday at 8pm.