Two months into the season, Terriers still a work in progress

By James Garrison

With two months in the books for the Terriers, they hardly resemble the number ten nationally ranked team that they were in preseason polls. Despite that, there is still some reason for optimism at the end of November. 

This month saw the Terriers take on the likes of UMass, Northeastern, and Cornell – all ranked teams. In those three weekends, the Terriers have played some of their best hockey and most competitive games, especially after a relatively-flat October. 

They have looked like a much more engaged and hungry team despite only coming up with one win in those three weeks against UMass. The Terriers were also able to come up with some much-needed points in ties against UMass and Northeastern, as well as an overtime loss against Northeastern. 

After playing down to their opponents in the beginning of the year with splits against UConn, Sacred Heart, and Merrimack in addition to getting swept by UMass Lowell and Northern Michigan, it was somewhat unclear as to what this Terrier team really was. 

After these last three weeks, BU has shown that they are capable of playing with the best but are still a step behind as they’ve struggled with actual execution in their games. They have the ability and personnel to be even with those teams when healthy, but they’re still a work in progress. 

It was clear on Saturday that Cornell is not any better than BU on paper, however they were able to slightly beat the Terriers in every aspect of the game, which obviously adds up and makes a large difference. 

If the Terriers are to rise to the level of Cornell and UMass, details like managing the puck in their own zone and blocking shots are what led Cornell to edge BU in every aspect of the game, and ultimately are the details that they need to address. 

“Some puck management issues cost us some goals,” Head Coach Albie O’Connell said post-game on Saturday. “If you watch Cornell block shots compared to the way our guys blocked shots tonight, it was night and day. That’s an area where we really need to improve,” O’Connell added. After the first period, Cornell was able to quiet down the Terriers’ offense largely through shot-blocking and breaking up offensive zone plays. 

O’Connell addressed the necessary areas for improvement, but we know addressing those areas will be crucial for the Terriers if they are to take care of the opponents that they should be able to, while also winning games against top teams, which they are capable of. 

With the end of the semester and winter break coming up, the month of December is much lighter for the Terriers with only five games, and only three of which are Hockey East matchups. This upcoming weekend, the Terriers will take on the UNH Wildcats. 

This matchup is more important than it may seem, as the Terriers need to begin to improve their record and climb the Hockey East standings, and that starts with beating the opponents that they should. The Terriers cannot hope to be a top Hockey East team or find a spot in the national rankings if they only show up in games where there is a tough opponent. 

Their play has been mostly strong the past three weeks, but it will be interesting to see if they revert back to old habits when the opponent declines, or if they have actually found a rhythm as a healthy team and just need to find results.

32 thoughts on “Two months into the season, Terriers still a work in progress”

  1. At this point, to say the terriers played down to their opponents in October is a gross misunderstanding of their talent. the days are gone when sacred heart and Merrimack are beneath us. If we played them now we would be lucky to win. I do not care how Many draft picks we have. There systemic problems with this program and until they are addressed with a coaching change, expect the same Results. No change same results

  2. I’ve been a BU fan since 1963. I’ve seen all the good teams and a few fair teams. In the old days, the Hockey Nation wouldn’t stand of such poor coaching for so much $$ investment.

  3. James I think your article is spot on. You focused on sound judgment on how we have improved and how we have found ways to loose. No one has a crystal ball but I hope bu cleans up there game because I think we agree bu is close to making a breakthrough. I have always said that the separation of D 1 power houses and lower tier D1 teams is not what it was back in the 80’s and 90’s Merrimack and Sacred heart are good teams if you don’t come ready to play you run the risk of loosing. I will say when we played those teams we were banged up and we are a much better team now. It was refreshing reading your article James because you don’t sugar coat anything but you also understand this team has potential and are making the steps to improve. Thanks for writing. Go Bu 🐾

  4. I wanted to take the time to point out and congratulate Drew Comesso and Dylan Peterson on their selection to the world junior preliminary roster. It is a great accomplishment to be considered the best of the best. I’m very happy for Drew because this proves what I have been saying for months now we have a elite college goalie now being recognized as the premier goalie in the country. I was disappointed Ty Gallager was not on this list he certainly played well enough to get a invite. He will be eligible next year and I see that happening. For those that think bu hockey is irrelevant in college hockey this should serve as a reminder by hockey has gone no where it is still here . Our record may not be great the team may be going through some growing pains but we are and will remain a dangerous team no matter who we play. I’m so happy our program is getting this recognition. Go bu go USA 🇺🇸 🐾

  5. we all know there is INDIVIDUAL TALENT on the team but they do NOT play as a team. that is all about coaching

    their selection in no way indicates that this current team is “dangerous.”

    make a prediction, Colin. what do you think the final record of this dangerous team will be? take a guess

  6. Vinnie I don’t bet and I don’t make predictions. I have seen this team against u mass and northeastern they are better then there record if they play like they played against U mass the rest of the way my prediction would be we would win more then we would loose. As coach said the other day teams like Cornell don’t beat themselves by played hard they were the better team no doubt about it the difference bu made some horrendous mistakes Cornell did not. That’s the difference right now separating bu from elite teams. I have my finger on why and I’m not happy about it. There is a system that this team needs to follow to be successful I believe there are too many may sayers out there too many interests outside of this program. We are dealing with kids coaches words should be like they come from god. This blog is full of experts who think they can coach the fans in the stands think they are coaches if this team succeeds it’s because they listened to the coach and not all the pundits in the background. Coach OConnell and his staff know hockey and we are fortunate to have them.

  7. Let’s see if putting our expectations on the table helps us find some common understanding. I’ll start by re-posting a paragraph from my “novel” in the last thread 😉

    “If we can’t do better than scrape back to .500 for the season (god help us if we can’t even do that), should Albie get extended and, if yes, for how many years? And with that extension, what are the targets that need to be met? Record/Beanpots/Hockey East Tournament Wins/NCAA appearances/Frozen Four appearances? I suspect the one thing we can all agree on is .500 hockey with no Beanpots, no Hockey East Titles, and no deep NCAA tournament runs isn’t acceptable for too much longer.”

    Let’s put ourselves in the AD’s shoes. Personally, a .500 record over four seasons doesn’t signal to me that we’re at the level I expect BU Hockey to sit. I expect us to be at the level of Quinnipiac/Denver/North Dakota and at worst Providence/BC over the span of any 5 successive seasons.

    In any 5-year period, I expect us to win at least 2 Beanpots, at least 1 Hockey East tournament, qualify for the NCAAs at least 3 times, and get to the Frozen Four at least once. To me, those are realistic expectations for a program of our stature, facilities, and recruiting power.

    Caroline, James, Belle, Mark, Marc, Ozzie, Vinnie, Colin, Glenn, Paul, Ron, Rui, etc., what are your thoughts? Am I off base?

    It we can find some common ground on realistic expectations for the program then we can at least be working off a common premise and results will dictate if a change is in order.

    Mike

  8. Mike you are on target

    This program was rock solid under DQ

    AOC was handed a winning program and we can see what it has turned into

    These players all have family advisors
    I would guess not many are telling their clients stay at BU it’s doing wonders for your careers

    I only hope someone cares enough to fix the problem

  9. colin, so you are now on record as saying, “my prediction would be we would win more then we would loose” ok, the countdown starts this weekend against UNH. let’s see

    Mike you claim “Personally, a .500 record over four seasons doesn’t signal to me that we’re at the level I expect BU Hockey to sit.” i totally agree with you, and those who say these kids have “too many interests outside of this program” are just making excuses for ineptitude . parker dealt with those distractions pretty well, quinn dealt with them pretty well and other coaches from top notch programs do the same. if you want elite players to come to BU, that is just part of the landscape. coaches have to find a way to deal with that.

    not sure how many trophies will be coming to the lower end of Comm Ave when the team (and i use that word loosely) is woefully under 500. Maybe a Beanpot, where you only have to win 2 games, but highly unlikely this year

    “Coach OConnell and his staff know hockey and we are fortunate to have them.” you don’t have to be an expert to know this statement is fallacious. all you have to do is look at the record: 4-9-2. but maybe some dyslexic fans think the the second number represents wins and the first one losses.

    Does Amonte have a college degree? love to get him or MacEachran to leads us out of this quagmire

    Go BU

    • My prediction vinnie so you don’t mince my words is if we play like we played against U mass and Northeastern then we would win more games then we would loose. This team is better then most people think they just need to play smarter team hockey when I hear chirping on here or in the stands and it disrupts the team like I think it’s doing I get mad.

  10. David Quinn was a great player at bu Captain and coach. I think the world of him. If you go back in the archives of this blog some of the same people wanting change now wanted it then when he was coaching. I reiterate my previous statements that we are fortunate to have the coaching staff we have. I believe bu hockey is heading in the right direction our players now and future players will succeed. I think our biggest problem is we are not playing a sound game . We are trying but as I said a million times if the focus stays on what the coaches are coaching the kids and not on outside influences and hidden agendas we will be fine. It’s amazing to look at the posts from the Quinn era and now they are identical but now he’s looked at as the best coach ever. Don’t get me wrong he was a terrific coach but our guy now is good and his staff are some of the best in the business as well. Be careful for what you wish for.

    • Albie is not a good head coach. Period.
      He is in way over his head.
      Nice guy, excellent recruiter, good assistant. Poor head coach.
      BU is playing nowhere near its potential.
      Undisciplined, take bad penalties, can be bottled up in the defensive zone by lesser teams.
      And the faceoffs! Terrible. Absolutely terrible. Every year under Albie. Can no one teach them how to take faceoffs???
      BU will continue to underachieve until a coaching change is made, assuming they make the right choice for a new coach.
      I’d put Pandolfo in charge for the rest of the season, and see what he has got. And if he doesn’t make a difference, than open the search for a new coach at get the best possible coach in, no matter where he graduated from.

  11. Vinnie I was around during Coach Parker coaching days . I studied him listened to him read about him talked to players about him. I’m sure someone’s ego was put in check during his career. Don’t forget he bounced more then one guy for not following the program good players Walsh Lilly are two that come to mind to me. As great as a coach Parker was and to me the greatest to ever coach he never had to deal with this mutiny from outside his program. When I go to games all I do is cheer for the kids all I want is for them to succeed I never saw so much backstabbing going on away from the bench and I have been around hockey long enough to know that filters back down to the bench . This team is below average when they try to do the things there abilities allowed them to do at lower levels who ever is telling them to try some of these things are making a big mistake and hurting this team. We have great kids on this team but they need to listen to the one guy that matters and that’s coach. If I were a yong man again and I played if a coach told me to jump I would jump as high as I could and ask if I could jump again. I would not ask why or if I could skip . What a coach said was Gospel but that’s difficult in this age and made even more difficult with some of the Bennadict Arnold’s on this blog and in the stands. If you can’t show up to the rink and root for the kids then don’t try and ruin it for them by trying to coach from the stands.

  12. I feel like a broken record but I’ll ask again to Colin and all of the regulars on this blog.

    “Let’s put ourselves in the AD’s shoes. Personally, a .500 record over four seasons doesn’t signal to me that we’re at the level I expect BU Hockey to sit. I expect us to be at the level of Quinnipiac/Denver/North Dakota and at worst Providence/BC over the span of any 5 successive seasons.

    In any 5-year period, I expect us to win at least 2 Beanpots, at least 1 Hockey East tournament, qualify for the NCAAs at least 3 times, and get to the Frozen Four at least once. To me, those are realistic expectations for a program of our stature, facilities, and recruiting power.

    Caroline, James, Belle, Mark, Marc, Ozzie, Vinnie, Colin, Glenn, Paul, Ron, Rui, etc., what are your thoughts?”

    Put on your Athletic Director hat. What does the program need to accomplish over any given 5-year stretch to meet your expectations of this particular job?

    Mike

  13. Colin,
    they are obviously not listening to AOC. they have tuned him OUT. whose fault is that? it does not matter. the fact is there is a major disconnect going. when i go to the games, i never boo the kids. i only express my frustration on this blog. and if players and coaches are reading and taking these criticisms to heart, then that is their problem.

    Mike, my expectations are as follows: be at least a top 16 team and qualify for the NCAA’s every year. win one beanpot every 4 years, beat BC at Agganis , make the frozen four once every 5 years and win one NCAA championship each decade

  14. Well Mike, for every five-year period of BU hockey I’d like to see two Pots, two HE crowns, two Frozen Fours and one NCAA title, followed closely by two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. And maybe once, just once, see Colin use actual paragraphs.

    • 😂 fair enough I start typing and I don’t stop. I can’t help it I’m a die hard fan and when people knock my team I go off.

  15. Mike i couldn’t agree with you more. For years i worried about what the program would become after JP left and my worst fears have now been realized. The days of beanpot championships, hockeyeast cups and frozens fours seem to lie in the past, maybe never to return again. IMO O’Connell is to laid back for this job, he doesn’t have the fire of a Parker or Quinn who kicked butt and let players go if they weren’t all in. If talented players are making terrible mistakes than that is the fault of the coaching. It always is especially at this level/ The fans have every right to boo the product when it performs badly. Hell they are investing their time and money into it and without the support there would be no BU hockey program. Anyways a change is needed before the program slips deeper into the abyss.

  16. @Colin, @Paul, @Rui, @Glenn, @James, @Belle, @Caroline: What expectations do you have for the program in a 5-year period? Winning%, Beanpots, HE Titles, NCAAs, Frozen Fours, etc? It’s good to get perspective from a range of ages and I think the regulars on this blog and the BHB staff cover a wide range of ages and perspectives.

    Mike

  17. Mike

    I expect 20 win seasons and making the NCAA tournament. If you can be at that level of play winning the Pot/He will take care of themselves

    Colin

    Please stop telling everyone we have the best coaching staff in the country. The last time I checked
    The best Coaching staffs are not under 500 and have not lost every Tournament they have been in

  18. Oz
    Colin just does that because that is his identity on this blog. Deep down he knows this situation sucks but pride And ego prevents him from admitting it. He wouldn’t be Colin if he said anything differently

    But he says from here on in we are gonna win
    More than we lose. The Colin Countdown, as I fondly like to call it, starts Friday. Stay tuned

  19. Mike I expect bu to be competitive. Good students that represent the program in the highest regards. I expect the players to pour all effort into hockey and studies and listen and learn from there coaches.

  20. Ozzie take a look at the coaching staff of bu what on there resume suggests they are not good coaches. Most of them played and captained teams at bu and had pro Carreras before entering the coaching ranks. I will continue to say we have good coaches because we do. And I will not put down other terriers some have mentioned because in some cases I know them and I’m sure they would make great coaches as well but loyalty should matter. And just so the record is clear I have not agreed with everything Coach OConnell has done this year or years past. I’m my own judge of how I would do something but I would never challenge him or his decision making on this blog it does no one any good. No coach is going to do everything somebody wants them to do all the time but what a coach says should be followed by his players for some reason this team is not gelling and playing the right way. I can say I hear lots of chirping around the rink and in my opinion I think it might be getting back to some of the players. Remember these players are just kids easily impresonable and if I’m right and I believe I am you have conflicting interests what the coach is saying needs to be done and what the outside voices say to do add the record in there and we are in big trouble I get it but I owe it to the program coaches players to support them root them on pull for them but I would never say the things I hear to these kids it’s doing them a disservice. They are a great group of kids. I think they are very mature outside the rink but I’m believing now maybe not as mature on the ice. Hoping some success this weekend will change that .

  21. why can’t you challenge the coach on this blog? the blog is for fans to share their opinions. it is not like we are yelling at the coaches at the games. this should be a safe space to voice our concerns. of the coaches or players want tp read it, that is their choice. might do some of them some good

    and stop calling them kids. every team in the country is made up of these so called “kids.” it is not like we are a youth team playing against adults, even though we play like we are boys against men.

    and if you think we need older skilled players, then go recruit them

  22. Colin,

    What suggests it is their resumes as coaches is below
    500

    If Wayne Gretzky coached for four years and had a sub 500 record would you call him the best of all time as a coach? Sounds like you would

  23. I thInk it’s clear that we have different definitions of success. Many of us put results first. Others are content with effort and striving to be competitive. That’s ok. All of those elements are important. But it also means it’s pointless to have a discussion/debate about it because it’s like, and please pardon the terrible analogy, debating apple seeds vs. actual apples.

    If we were a D3 program I’d probably be more accepting of a bag of seeds. But as a D1 program, with our history, I expect a bushel of apples most seasons and the current farmer hasn’t shown that he can produce them.

    I mean… the farmer seems like a very nice guy but eventually we all have to eat. And after 3.5 years, I’m starving. Those apples just don’t seem to be growing.

    Mike

  24. Mike,

    That was hilarious! How far has BU fallen when we can all say that tonight’s game( in early December vs UNH) is a must win? At least the sun is still shining on Comm Ave!! TK out!

  25. And believe me… If we miraculously flip the switch today and sweep UNH, beat BC, win the Beanpot, finish with a record well above .500, win the HE playoffs, and maybe even win a game in the NCAAs, I’ll humbly eat a Good Will Hunting style, “How you like them apples?” 🙂 I just haven’t seen any reasons on the ice to think there’s a good chance of that happening at this point.

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