Men’s Hockey hits the road to take on Northern Michigan

By James Garrison

The Boston University men’s hockey team (3-5-0, 2-4-0 Hockey East) is hitting the road for a two-game series against Northern Michigan Wildcats (2-5-0) this weekend. This will be the second non-conference matchup for the Terriers this season after splitting a two-game series against Sacred Heart on October 15th and 16th. 

Northern Michigan’s two wins on the season both came in their second weekend, with wins against St. Thomas University, the newest NCAA Division-1 team after their promotion from D-3. This will be the first and only Hockey East matchup for Northern Michigan this season. 

Northern Michigan is 7-3-2 all-time against the Terriers, with their most recent matchup resulting in a 4-3 victory for Northern Michigan in October of 2019. Additionally, Northern Michigan will be celebrating the thirty-year anniversary of their sole NCAA Division-1 championship with a mid-game ceremony on Saturday. 

Northern Michigan’s offense has been primarily led by junior forwards AJ Vanderbeck and former Terrier Hank Crone, both recording nine points in seven games. Vanderbeck has recorded five goals and four assists, while Crone has tallied three goals and six assists. 

“They’re an up tempo team,” Head Coach Albie O’Connell said in Wednesday’s media availability. “They’re good off the rush, they attack. You know, they have a four-man attack a lot. They’ve got some speed up front for sure”. 

The Wildcats have the edge in offense, averaging 3.3 goals per game to Boston University’s 2.5, however the Terriers have held opponents to 3.0 goals per game, Northern Michigan’s opponents have averaged 4.1 goals per game. 

Sophomore goaltender Nico DiMatteo has started the majority of games in net so far for the Wildcats season, posting a .866 save percentage and a 4.10 goals-against-average. The Terriers, who struggled offensively last weekend, will look to have an offensive resurgence against a team struggling defensively. The Terriers will still be shorthanded, though, forcing some movement in the lineup.

“It’s part of hockey, right,” O’Connell said when addressing the Terriers’ lineup status. “We’ve had some guys playing center that maybe don’t play center, we have three centermen out, a couple of wings. I think we’ll maybe get a guy or two back but we’ll still be a little bit bugged with injury for a little bit longer.”

The Terriers will be seeing a familiar face this weekend in Hank Crone, the Wildcats junior forward. Crone spent his freshman campaign with the Terriers in 2017-18. Since then Crone returned to junior hockey before spending the next two years at the University of Denver. Crone, one of Northern Michigan’s top scorers, has followed a non-traditional path throughout his collegiate career. 

“It was funny watching him on video,” Coach O’Connell said in reference to Crone. “He actually made a beautiful play on a two-on-one goal.” 

Crone recorded two goals and ten assists in thirty-five games during his freshman year with the Terriers. 

Overall, the Terriers have struggled to find consistency so far this season. With a 3-5-0 record to their name, the Terriers have dropped games to the likes of Sacred Heart and Merrimack, teams that a #10 nationally-ranked team should be handling. Coach O’Connell is looking forward though, not worried about the struggles that Hockey East teams have had in non-conference matchups this season. 

“That’s our main focus, to get them physically and mentally ready to go for Friday/Saturday, it’s early. You know, November just started” said O’Connell. “I think we’ll end up, when it’s all said and done, have a really good league”.

November will be a challenging month for the Terriers in terms of matchups. After this weekend against Northern Michigan, the Terriers will have games against the defending Hockey East and NCAA champions, UMass Amherst Minuteman and Northeastern University in consecutive weekends. After that, Boston University will travel to New York City to take on Cornell University at Madison Square Garden for Red Hot Hockey. 

This weekend will provide an opportunity for the Terriers to get a challenging month off to a good start with two matchups against the Wildcats. Once again, the Terriers will look to improve off of a weekend where points were left on the table. 

The Terriers will be hosted by the Wildcats Friday and Saturday night at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Michigan. The puck will be dropped at 6:30p.m. local time for both matchups. Per usual, follow along on twitter @BOShockeyblog for live in-game updates.

2 thoughts on “Men’s Hockey hits the road to take on Northern Michigan”

  1. Can’t wait to get up to Northern Michigan should be a great weekend. I was at the 91 triple overtime game best college hockey game I ever saw it was a shame someone had to loose but unfortunately it was us. We had some great terriers on that team one of which is now behind our bench . I believe we will do well this weekend. I’m happy for hank he was a nice kid always enjoyed talking baseball and hockey with him booth his dad and grandfather played pro ball. I want him to do well but not too well. If we can get a few goal scorers back the rest of our guys can stop gripping the stick so tightly. Here’s hoping for some W’s this weekend go BU 🐾

    • Hey Colin! I hope your flight arrived safely. I remember that triple OT game vividly. As a young alum, I came up to BU and watched the BU – NMU game in the George Sherman Union ballroom. They had a big screen showing the game. The crowd of students was huge and as vocal as can be. I remember the goal that ended the game and we walked out of the GSU in radio silence.

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