Game Previews

Terriers head to NYC to face the Big Red at Madison Square Garden

The Boston University Men’s Hockey Team (4-8-2, 3-5-2 HE) will travel south to the “most famous arena in the world” in New York, New York to face the Big Red of No. 10 Cornell University (7-1) in the eighth rendition of “Red Hot Hockey” at Madison Square Garden.

The Terriers, who seem to be moving towards a bit more of a hot streak, are coming off four straight games with points against ranked teams in UMass Amherst and Northeastern, losing in a shootout to UMass before taking them down in overtime the following night, and then facing similar results against the Huskies with overtime and shootout losses this past weekend.

Despite the seemingly bad results, the Terriers dramatically outplayed their opponents, but struggled to get pucks past UMass’ Matt Murray and NU’s Devon Levi. Levi was recently named Hockey East Rookie of the week after stopping a combined 71 shots through the weekend, and essentially won both games for his squad.

Heading into the game against the Big Red, BU will need to bring a heightened level of aggression and offensive production to get through Cornell’s netminder. The Big Red have two solid candidates to start in the crease with freshman Joe Howe and senior Nate McDonald putting up impressive numbers with 1.75 and 1.98 goals against averages and save percentages at .922 and .907, respectively. 

In past years, Cornell seemed to be more of a defensive team, but their veteran upperclassmen, who last played in the 2019-2020 season when Cornell sat at the top of the polls, have seemed to step up in the beginning of a wild season for the Big Red. They never fell out of the top three between November 4 2019 through the abrupt end of the season in March of 2020. 

Senior Max Andreev and junior Matt Stienburg lead their group with 12 and 11 points, joined on the top line by freshman Ondrej Psenicka.

As a team, the Big Red are off to a flaming hot start, scoring 32 goals and only giving up 15 in eight games. Compared to BU, the Terriers have scored 33 and given up 43 in 14 games. While the numbers are a little disheartening, it’s worth noting that Cornell had an 11-goal game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on November 13, and whether that’s a testament to an aggressive Cornell team or a fluke from RPI is unknown, the Big Red are on a five game win streak, looking for more.

The numbers and record are painting a different picture of this Terrier team compared to the game they’ve actually been playing. With hard defensive games against ranked teams, BU is itching for a regulation victory with all four of their most recent games requiring more than the typical 60 minutes.

Junior forwards Wilmer Skoog and Robert Mastrosimone still lead the squad with 11 points each, followed by blueliner Domenick Fensore with eight and sophomore Dylan Peterson with nine. In what has been an injury-ridden start, the team is looking to build on the past two weekends with the return of junior Jay O’Brien two weeks ago against UMass and Luke Tuch who inched back in for the Northeastern series. Since his return, O’Brien has two goals and an assist. 

After the Northeastern game, Head Coach Albie O’Connell commented on his defense’s impressive drive to stop pucks and clear the zone. “Best weekend of Cade Webber’s career, [Joseph] Campolieto was dynamite, and I thought all 16 played well,” O’Connell noted.

Also looking ahead to the series against Cornell, O’Connell mentioned that Matt Brown may be available which will hopefully bring some much needed energy and scoring production to the big stage.

Cornell and BU have a long history as rivals, meeting 48 times. The Big Red hold a 25-20-3 record over the Terriers, and defeated BU in 1967 for their first ever national championship. Since the first rendition of Red Hot Hockey, BU has a 5-3 record over Cornell, falling most recently in 2019 in a 2-0 shutout.

“We’ll have some good team time. And then we’ll head down to New York City on Friday and try to beat the Big Red. That sort of venue and that game and that stage, guys will be ready to go for that,” O’Connell said.

The Boston University Alumni Association will also be hosting a pregame party for Terrier fans at Stout NYC starting at 6 pm with tickets sold separately here. The BHB will have coverage on Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog and on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog, with a recap and quotes from Coach O’Connell after the game.


  1. Can’t wait see u there boys let’s get this win… Go BU 🐾..

  2. We never controlled the game for any length of time. That team played well but I was not overly impressed. I think we are a better team. We just did not play well enough to win. We hustled we tried but we did not execute and that was the difference. This one hurts because we have been playing better and we need to get on a roll. 4 deflection goals Comesso was left on a island by himself just very disappointing but guys need to get over it and get ready for UNH they are no pushovers points are big in hockey East . We are at the point of the season where we need to eye home ice and we have some catching up to do. As always go bu 🐾

  3. Ya think we have some catching up to do? Why do you say that ? We are in the drivers seat

    • I like the optimism vinnie. I’m not going to say we are in the drivers seat but we still control our fate in the league and that’s important. All joking aside this years been a struggle but no matter how much everyone bashed this team I’m not going to give up I just won’t. Big weekend next week go bu 🐾

  4. Not too much to say about Red Hot Hockey. Played hard. Effort’s not really an issue. Just can’t seem to get our talent on paper to show itself together on the ice. Our team defense continues to be a deficiency and our defensive veterans like Vlasic are having a really, really rough time of it. We’ll have to go 12-7 over our last 19 just to get to .500 (again).

    It got me thinking about the program in general. As we all know, polls don’t matter. The only thing that matters is the PWR that compares you against all of the other teams in college hockey that season and ultimately sets the NCAA tournament participants (outside of conference tournament winners).

    Ideally, you want your end-of-season PWR to be 14 or better on average. That means you’re regularly in the NCAA tournament and a top tier program over that time.

    For example, since the PWR was implemented in 2002-2003, Jack Parker’s average end of season PWR over his final 11 seasons was 11.9.

    If you cut Quinn and Albie some slack and don’t count their 1st season PWRs (since coaching overhauls often include roster defections, lost recruits, uncertainty, etc.) and you include this year in Albie’s calculation since we’re about 1/2 way through the season then these are their average PWRs:

    Quinn: 8.5
    Albie: 29

    Let’s be honest with ourselves here. 29 is really poor when you consider our talent, draft picks, facilities, etc. Even if you take injuries into account (and all teams deal with injuries), we still have more talent “on paper” than most teams and we’re in a 3.5 year funk.

    So, let’s look at some other teams’ average PWR since Parker retired. Teams that I expect us to be on par with or at least in the neighborhood of:

    Providence: 14.2
    Quinnipiac: 13
    Boston College: 13.5
    North Dakota: 7.5
    Denver: 9.5

    So, let’s look again… While Quinn was in charge (not counting his 1st season): 8.5

    Albie in charge (not counting his 1st season): 29

    In fact, while we’re giving Quinn and Albie a break in their average calculations, North Dakota and Denver had multiple coaching changes in those years and didn’t really miss a beat.

    How about some of the former regulars in the top tier of national relevance? Over the stretch of seasons discussed above:

    New Hampshire: 36.2
    Maine 36.9

    What that tells me is that over the past 3.5 years, we’re a lot closer to UNH and Maine than we are to being a top tier program.

    I don’t have the answers. But it’s clear to me that the program is at an inflection point and big/fast improvement needs to be realized or big/tough decisions need to be made.

    It also doesn’t help that we’re struggling in a season when Hockey East is having one of its worst seasons as a conference in recent memory.

    Sweeping UNH is an absolute must next weekend. Let’s see what we can do.

    There’s still time to have a miraculous turnaround but at the end of the day, you are who you are. And we’ve got to be A LOT better as a program to be where we want and expect to be.


  5. One Cornell fan described BU as “sloppy and disorganized but dangerous” in which a lack of team cohesion cancels out individual talent and leads to a sub-.500 record and an uphill climb towards any type of respectability. Step forward, step back. Step forward, step back.

  6. Colin,

    This team needs a total makeover.

    Why is every player having a worse year this year then last year?

    Mike you are spot on with your assessment

    AOC has turned this team into a bottom feeder.
    Every game tip your hat to the other team says a

    Colin….home ice really what are you thinking 6 7 or 8th to host 9 10 or 11. A big series vs UNH for what 8th spot?

    Time to make change before BU and 40 th in pairwise becomes normal