Boston University men’s hockey (6-2-0) will make the trip up to Burlington, Vermont to take on the University of Vermont (1-5-2) Catamounts in an away game series this weekend. The Terriers, who sit 13th in the national polls, are coming off of an impressive weekend split against No 1. Boston College.
Last season’s Terriers, who had a habit of giving up leads and playing up or down to the level of their competitors, were one of four teams in Hockey East to tie last-ranked Vermont in conference play. This weekend may be a test to see how the Terrier’s will handle their non-ranked opponents.
“We can’t look past anyone. We’re not good enough, or no one in our league is good enough, to look past anyone. Vermont is normally, year in and year out, really difficult in their building, and I know they’ve got a new coach and watching him on video, they look good. I think they just haven’t played in a bit, so they’re going to be a really tough matchup,” head coach Albie O’Connell said.
The Terriers and the Catamounts have both struggled with scheduling this season with both teams only playing eight games so far, for the fewest in Hockey East. Despite the low number of games, the Terriers have the second highest winning percentage in the league at 70.8% while the Catamounts are just above 20%. On a similar note, the Catamounts have the lowest scoring production with just 13 goals in eight games (1.62 G/GM) compared to BU’s 31 goals in the same amount of time (3.88 G/GM).
Since graduating Stefanos Lekkas, the Catamounts have been relying on senior Tyer Harmon to step up and take over the crease. In his eight games so far, Harmon has posted a .905 save percentage and a 3.38 goals against average.
When asked about goaltending on the BU end, O’Connell said that he hasn’t “really thought about it yet” and that “both guys played well,” leaving some questions about whether we’ll be seeing Vinny Duplessis, Ashton Abel, or Drew Commesso make the start.
On the Catamount bench, freshman forward Ray Vitolins leads the team with six points (1g, 5a) so far, followed by senior defenseman Christian Evers who has five points from four goals and one assist.
With uncertainty as to who will be back in the lineup and who will remain off the roster for the weekend, the Terriers will continue to rely on an experienced sophomore class, namely sophomore defender Alex Vlasic and forward Markus Boguslavsky, to step up as leaders for the team.
“Yeah I know [Vlasic’s] been tremendous. He really is taking off, even in practice this week. With scoring a goal, all of a sudden you feel like the weight of the world is off you. And then you get some sort of confidence and then you get two to, especially in how we did it, with the game-tier and what was the game winner,” O’Connell said of the defenseman.
Senior transfer Max Kaufman will be meeting his former team at center ice for the first time since March on Friday. While with the Catamounts, Kaufman put up 35 points in three seasons, from 15 goals and 20 assists. Since joining the Terriers, he has tallied four assists and an ‘A’ on his jersey.
“He’s a competitor, so he wants to win. I don’t think there’s anything else added to motivation, but I think if we can get Kaufman on the right side of the win-loss column, that will be exciting for us to give that to him,” O’Connell said.
Puck drop is set for 6pm Friday and Saturday night in the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington. Follow along on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog