BU split the final series of the Hockey East regular season, beating Northeastern 3-0 on the road before losing 2-1 to the Huskies on Senior Day at Agganis Arena to book a trip to Lowell for the Hockey East Quarterfinals. Here’s my weekly take on everything BU hockey – all opinions are my own.
Am I wrong to have wanted more?
Okay fine, so maybe billing the end of the Hockey East regular season to be a “sprint to the finish” made my expectations for the final weekend unrealistic. Still, though, I wish we could’ve had a few more fireworks on that last day. Instead, BU ends up going to Lowell again, Northeastern avoids disaster and makes the playoffs, and UNH is the odd one out as they had been for a few weeks. As it turned out, the roller-coaster regular reason really didn’t have the late twists I was hoping for.
The definition of a great road win
If you want to see what a perfectly-executed road victory looks like, go back and watch Friday’s 3-0 win for BU over Northeastern at Matthews Arena. The Terriers held NU to just 16 shots on goal, and when the Huskies came close, Sam Tucker was there to keep them quiet. Offensively, BU was buzzing all night, dominating in zone time and breaking through for insurance late in the second and early in the third.
Good for seedings, bad for momentum
I know that in my Three Takeaways after Saturday’s 2-1 loss, I wrote about how the defeat actually helped BU’s playoff case in terms of matching up with UMass Lowell instead of Maine. That’s true, but at the same time, I’m sure BU’s locker room would have been electric with a sweep of the Huskies. For a team that has struggled for momentum all season, that could have been a great boost for BU.
Looking at the lineup for the postseason
BU played well against Northeastern all weekend, so it’s safe to assume the Terriers will roll out the same lines and pairings to start the playoffs. Here’s my take on that: I’m most confident in BU’s defensive duos, which have remained the most consistent groups on the line chart. Tucker is still BU’s best option in the crease, but his inconsistency makes me hesitant to fully back him. I think the forward group is BU’s biggest question mark as we’re still waiting on the Zegras-Harper line to start clicking with DeBoer or Armstrong alongside, and BU is banking on the all-freshman third line to rise to the occasion and Curry to keep his production going.
Can BU make it two years in a row?
The Terriers visited Lowell for the Hockey East quarterfinals and emerged victorious in three games to knock out the River Hawks and advance to TD Garden. There is no doubt that these squads will remember that hard-fought series from last year and the teams have only become closer since then, tying their two matchups at Tsongas Center earlier this season. We’re in for an exciting series for sure.
Who will be BU’s playoff hero, if anyone?
Every successful playoff team needs someone to step up under the bright lights of the postseason. Last season, Joel Farabee – who went on to become the NCAA Rookie of the Year – put up four goals in quarterfinal series to set the pace for BU, while Patrick Harper came up big with two goals in the win-or-go-home third game. We’ll see if Harper and Co. can find their form at the right time this weekend to propel BU to the Garden.
Will Coronavirus affect Hockey East?
This isn’t a fun topic with the playoffs on the horizon, but it needs to be discussed. At this moment, Hockey East has not taken any action regarding Coronavirus. I say “at this moment” because there is a very real possibility that at any second we could receive notice that the Hockey East playoffs will be delayed, or played behind closed doors, or even canceled as the Ivy League did with its basketball tournaments. Coronavirus has put everything in the balance right now, and no one should be surprised if it has an impact on the Hockey East playoffs.
BU and Lowell will square off at Tsongas Center at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, 6 p.m. on Saturday, and, if necessary, 4 p.m. on Sunday.