Written by James Garrison
After one of their biggest games of the year last Saturday, the Boston University Men’s Hockey Team (4-9-2, 3-5-2 HE) returns to Agganis Arena Friday night to face the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (7-7-1, 3-5-1 HE) for a weekend series against a hot Wildcats team.
After Red Hot Hockey last Saturday, the Terriers wrapped up three weekends of games against ranked opponents in UMass, Northeastern, and Cornell. The Terriers seemed to improve their play during that stretch, despite going 1-2-2 during that period.
The Terriers will welcome a Wildcats team that has put together an impressive stretch of wins over the last two weekends. UNH is riding a three-game win streak with wins against Holy Cross, Harvard, and UMass.
The Wildcats’ success has been largely due to the play of senior goaltender Mike Robinson, who was awarded back-to-back “Hockey East Goaltender of the Week” awards. In this three-game stretch, Robinson has had a GAA of 1.22, a save percentage of 0.962, and one shutout.
“Goaltending is a critical part, and UNH is obviously getting some good goaltending,” Head Coach Albie O’Connell said in his weekly media availability when asked about the recent success of Robinson. “I think UNH is doing a good job defending,” O’Connell added.
The Wildcats were not the only ones bringing in the awards this week, as junior defenseman Case McCarthy was awarded “Hockey East Defenseman of the Month” for November. In seven games last month, McCarthy tallied four goals and had one assist for five points.
“[McCarthy is] a leader…a competitive guy…really tough kid,” O’Connell commented. “He can play any style of hockey.”
McCarthy’s award was not the only major recognition that current Terriers received this week as sophomore forward Dylan Peterson and goaltender Drew Commesso were named to Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2022 World Junior Championship.
“Oh, I think [Commesso’s] their guy,” O’Connell noted. “I don’t think there’s another guy who can potentially play at his caliber.”
Despite below-average numbers for Commesso (4-7-2, .889 SV%, 3.11 GAA), he has been one of the stronger players for the Terriers so far this year. Commesso is looking to rebound, though, after giving up six goals to Cornell in Red Hot Hockey.
Peterson, the Terriers other representative on the preliminary roster, has put together a strong sophomore campaign thus far. In fourteen games, he has six goals and four assists for a total of ten points. Peterson leads the Terriers in goals and is fourth in points.
As the season continues to progress, the standings begin to matter more and more. The Wildcats currently trail the Terriers in the Hockey East standings by only three points. The Terriers will hope to widen that gap this weekend and try to catch up to UConn, who they are only three points behind.
With the upcoming semester break, December will be a much lighter month for BU, who only have three Hockey East matchups this month. After two league matches against UNH this weekend, the Terriers will face off against their Comm Ave rivals, Boston College, next Friday night.
After that, the Terriers have an exhibition matchup against the U.S. National Development Under-18 team and then return to play with a non-conference matchup against Brown on New Year’s Eve.
This weekend will be an interesting test for the Terriers, who have played well and have been competitive against top, nationally-ranked teams as of late but have played down to “lower” level opponents.
The Wildcats have strung together some impressive wins over the last two weekends but had struggled up until that point this season. If the Terriers can continue their strong play of the past few weekends, they should expect different results.
The game is set for Friday night at Agganis Arena with puck drop at 7:30 p.m. The two teams will then travel north for a Saturday night matchup at the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. Coverage can be found live on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog. Recaps of each game can be found right here at https://hockey.dailyfreepress.com/.