The Boston University Men’s Hockey Team is set to play No. 15 Providence College (3-3-2 Hockey East) Friday Jan. 8 in the opening game of the 2020-21 season. After three postponements and two cancellations, the Terriers will hit the ice for the first time since March 7, 2020.
Providence will enter the series having played eight games, good for fifth in a tilted Hockey East poll. The Friars are coming off of a tie and a win against the University of Vermont last weekend, and are looking to take advantage of the Terriers in their season debut.
With the win against the Catamounts, Providence ended a two week scoring drought with goals from three of their top four point leaders: sophomore forward Parker Ford and junior forwards Tyce Thompson and Matt Koopman. Also leading the score chart is senior forward Greg Printz who has been recovering from a slow start, but has made up for it with five points in his last five games (3g, 2a).
Jaxson Stauber, the sophomore from Plymouth, Minnesota, seems to be the number one choice to start in net for the Friars, recording shutouts in two of the last three games. After the Vermont series, Stauber has improved his already impressive totals to a 1.30 GAA and a .946 save percentage.
In terms of special teams, the Friars have seen a lot of growth from freshman blueliner Uula Ruikka. With Ruikka, Providence has improved their power play conversion to about 19%, and maintains their league-leading penalty kill, having survived 25 of their 26 penalties (.962).
The Friars are without freshman and sophomore forwards Brett Berard and Patrick Moynihan, as well as head coach Nate Leaman, all of which are competing with Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, alongside former Terrier Trevor Zegras.
Heading into the conference, the Terriers, who haven’t played a game in nine months, will have to mesh youth with experience, relying on returning players to lead the way. Last year’s 13-man freshman class now has a year of collegiate play under their belts and will be joined by a leadership group headed by Captain Logan Cockerill and Assistant Captains Ty Amonte and David Farrance.
Joining the Terriers for their first season in scarlet and white are defenseman Cade Webber, forwards Nick Zabaneh, Luke Tuch, Dylan Peterson, Jay O’Brien, and Max Kaufman, and goaltenders Drew Commesso and Vinny Duplessis, with six of them making their collegiate debuts.
In their last two meetings, the Terriers gave up one game and tied the other against the Friars.
Puck drop is set for 6pm on Friday with coverage available on SportsLive (link to come) and on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog.