By Mark Fraenkel
After a strong all around performance over the Providence College Friars last Sunday, the Boston University men’s hockey team (13-10-3, 9-6-3 Hockey East) is set to host the University of Maine Black Bears (4-14-4, 2-10-2 HE) tonight.
With the Beanpot looming over a Terriers team missing their star sophomore goaltender Drew Commesso, BU welcomes one of Hockey East’s worst teams to Agganis Arena.
Maine did win their most recent game. In Orono last Friday, the Black Bears defeated Boston College 4-1. Senior defenseman Jakub Sirota, senior forward Adam Dawe, and senior forward Grant Hebert all lit the lamp in the Maine victory. Sophomore goaltender Victor Ostman saved 32 goals and received the win.
That BC win is the lone bright spot in a pretty dreadful season for Maine Head Coach Ben Barr’s team. The Black Bears’s only other Hockey East victory came on Nov. 4 against Merrimack.
Unlike Maine, the Terriers are looking very sharp right now. Despite some challenges against Vermont two weekends ago, BU continued its unbeaten streak last Sunday. With the 5-2 win over Providence, the Terriers have not lost in regulation since their 6-4 loss to Cornell on Nov. 27. Their last regulation loss before that was against Northern Michigan on Nov. 6.
Albie O’Connell’s team has really turned the season around, and both the Hockey East and national standings show that. In the Hockey East standings, BU currently holds the three spot. Leading Providence by two points, the Terriers trail the second place University of Massachusetts by four points.
The first place University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks lead the Terriers by 5 points. Nationally, BU is currently ranked 19th in the USCHO poll. The Terriers are sandwiched between 20th place Clarkson and 18th place Omaha.
With Drew Commesso currently on the United States Olympic team, either junior Ashton Abel or sophomore Vinny Duplessis will start in net for the Terriers. While Duplessis has totaled nearly 173 minutes of playing time so far this season, Abel has yet to appear in a regular season game. The sophomore from Quebec City, Quebec was awarded the win in the New Year’s Eve victory over Brown.
Tonight’s matchup against Maine will start at 7:30pm at Agganis. We’ll have full coverage of the game including live tweeting on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and further updates on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog
After Friday’s game with Maine, BU heads to the TD Garden for the first round of the Beanpot against Harvard. The Terriers will then face off against Providence next Thursday before the second round of the Beanpot. For Maine, they will play Merrimack the following day before heading to Amherst for two games next weekend. BU will head to Maine for the last weekend of the regular season for two games.