Men’s Hockey prepares to take on UMass Lowell

The Boston University men’s hockey team (3-3-0, 2-2-0 Hockey East) has a home-and-home series against UMass Lowell (2-1-1) this weekend. The River Hawks eliminated BU from the Hockey East Tournament quarterfinals last March in a 2-1 win and continued to the championship game from there. 

Lowell has yet to play a Hockey East team this season, starting their 2021-2022 campaign with series against Arizona State and Michigan State. They’ve garnered a win from each weekend, but it’ll be interesting to see how the River Hawks can compete in their own league. 

Freshman forward Matt Crasa has gotten off to a productive start in his rookie year, leading Lowell with five points (3g, 2a) in their first four games. Junior forward Brian Chambers––who scored the game-winning-goal to end the Terrier’s run in the quarterfinals––is also an offensive leader for his squad. He’s got one goal and two assists coming into Friday’s competition. 

“They just play a strong solid game and they’ve got obviously some weapons,” head coach Albie O’Connell said in today’s media availability. “Not a team that’s gonna beat themselves, so we’re gonna have to play some good games to try to beat them.” 

The River Hawks have averaged 3.3 goals-per-game to BU’s 3.2, but have also relied on their strong defensive core throughout the 60 minutes. Sophomore defenseman Brehdan Engum was this week’s Hockey East defender of the week after a big game-tying goal at the end of the third in last Friday’s matchup against Michigan State. 

Senior goaltender Owen Savory and sophomore goaltender Henry Welsch have each been between the pipes for two games, splitting the two series Lowell has had. Savory tops Welsch in the stats department with a 1.92 GAA and .907 save percentage, so we’ll see who gets the nod at Agganis tomorrow. 

There’s a familiar face on the opponent’s roster for Lowell––junior forward Matt Brown spent his freshman and sophomore seasons with the River Hawks before transferring to BU this summer. Brown collected a total of 13 points (8g, 5a) in last year’s shortened season and has been a big part of the Terrier group since getting to Comm Ave. 

Brown got hurt in Friday’s game against Merrimack College, and sat out of Saturday’s 8-6 win. O’Connell said the forward had been skating in practice for the past two days with the team and he hopes Brown will be in the lineup come puck drop. 

The Terriers are coming off of a wonky weekend with the Warriors––the two groups combined for 19 goals in two days and each spent a generous amount of time in the penalty box as well. BU was on the penalty kill seven times in Saturday’s game, and O’Connell said they’ll need to get back to competitive discipline against Lowell. 

BU had six different players get on the score sheet on Saturday, no doubt giving their lineup a boost of confidence in their offensive capabilities. They evidently threw a lot more rubber on net in the second game of the series and will hopefully carry this sentiment with them through the rest of the season.

“Anytime some guys put the puck in the net there’s some confidence. You score eight goals, some guys felt pretty good, they looked pretty good this week,” O’Connell said. “I think the simplicity of shooting the puck at times gets lost with our guys and they made a big step on Saturday night.”

The Terriers have lacked consistency this season, always having one-off games and then response wins. The scarlet and white have a big opportunity here to change the narrative and get something tangible going. They need to start building on good hockey instead of reverting to the individualistic play seen earlier this year. 

BU has the tools and talent to be great, they just need to weave it all together for more than one night. O’Connell knows this and pointed to a few specific positives he’s taken from his squad three weeks in.

“I like the competitive spirit of the group,” he said. “I know we can skate, and when we’re playing a vertical game––a little bit more north-south than east-west––and we put pucks in behind teams, we can use our speed and our pressure.” 

The Terriers will host the River Hawks Friday at Agganis Arena where they’ll honor the life and legacy of Travis Roy before the 7:30p.m. faceoff. BU will then take the short drive to Lowell, MA for a 6:05p.m. start at Tsongas Center. Per usual, follow along on twitter @BOShockeyblog for live in-game updates.

14 thoughts on “Men’s Hockey prepares to take on UMass Lowell”

  1. Belle nice article no surprise here I agree with coach north south game will do terriers well offensively. We need to control puck possession it’s important for us to use our speed. Our defense has been good but down low we have done way to much puck watching against a heavy team like Lowell that can be disastrous hopefully we can clean that up. Lowell is a good team we have been improving and getting healthier I’m pleased with this progress but unfortunately we need to clean up some of our game and mental mistakes if we are going to beat Lowell. I’m confident we can do it. Go bu 🐾

  2. can i change my weekend prediction to 0-2? is it too late? get ready for a major dud of a season, boys and girls and Colin. it pains me to say it; it pains me to see it, but really ? what does it take to see this ship is seriously adrift. let’s hope Drew has the cajones to pull the trigger

  3. Men vs Boys

    UML had better goaltending,defense and offense and yes a better Coach.

    So here is the question

    Are we this bad or have they quit on AOC

  4. We outplayed that team for a good chunk of time. I have figured out what are issues are. I’m sure our coaching staff has done the same. The difference in tonight’s game is mental mistakes. We actually improved on the mistakes down low and puck watching but there second goal was a prime example of puck watching. There third goal was caused by a cross up then the puck through the legs not after our guy stops and makes contact with vinnie. Offensively we are shooting the puck more but I want traffic out front I want guys banging away I want dirty goals. I know everyone will disagree with me but we were the better team most of the night but against good teams you have to make your own breaks and then capitalize Lowell did that we did not. I’m not ready to give up on this team I see the effort I see flashes of dominance I know what they are capable of doing. I think it’s a mistake to call for a change this program is heading in the right direction we are going through a tuff stretch but this team is far from done. I do acknowledge and have since game 2 we need to be better at several things but I think we get there and I think we get there because of our great coaches I’m not counting this team out till the final whistle.

  5. Looks like a one step forward one step back kind of season. At least the Iggles up the street are being dragged down into the crapper as well.

    Nothing much in college hockey surprises me anymore. And every team has its moments — unbeatable Michigan has lost twice already, Colgate blew a 5-goal lead last night, Vermont over BC, Q-Pac ties AIC. It just seems like the lows are lower for the Terriers these days.

  6. I don’t see that as an excuse.

    I bought into this team having experience, depth, maturity and promise to deliver a good season. Not necessarily a Frozen Four season but a good, competitive one.

    Right now the air is coming out of that balloon. And their struggles on home ice prove it.

    Either they’ll come together and figure things out or Albie will be the captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald on the final year of his contract. No easy answers to this situation.

  7. It’s clear to all, but Colin, that what needs to done is to fire AOC. I don’t think they’ll do it mid season. This team needs a major change before it’s too late.

  8. Vinnie,

    You mean the final whistle of what period?

    I don t know about you but I saw zero adjustments during the game

  9. when a team quits on the coach, which i suspect maybe happening here, it spells disaster

    i and do not see the one step forward, maybe the unconnected game but that is it.

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