Terriers limp into weekend series with UConn

Over the last few weeks, the Boston University men’s hockey team has learned just how far it is from the top of the Hockey East conference.

Terriers fans knew how tough the previous four-game stretch, which included a home-and-home series with UMass Amherst and the Beanpot, would be. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a BU loyalist who thought the team would lose all four tilts.

Mired in a five-game losing slump, BU limps into this weekend’s matchup against UConn in the bottom half of the league. The Terriers are eight points behind the first-place Minutemen and in danger of falling to eighth in the conference with a poor weekend.

After defeating Arizona State on January 25, BU was 10-9-3 and inching closer to the USCHO Top 20 rankings. The Terriers suffered a shutout loss to the Sun Devils the following night and the slide ensued. This skid has included a pair of Beanpot losses, the first time the team has lost in both the tournament semifinal and consolation round since the forgettable 2013-14 season.

BU will bus down to Hartford for Friday night’s contest before hosting the Huskies on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. After this weekend, the Terriers will have just one home game left in the regular season. The silver lining is only one of those meetings is against a team with a winning record, so the squad has a chance to piece its season back together after this head-scratching stretch.

This weekend is a great opportunity for BU to begin its climb back to relevance in the college hockey landscape. The Terriers have had success against this UConn before, beating them 3-2 in the Friendship Four a few months ago. In that game, BU fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 before goals by sophomore forwards Logan Cockerill and Ty Amonte lifted them to a victory.

Junior forward Patrick Curry also scored in that tilt. That game was part of a seven-game losing streak for the Huskies that put them in a deep hole before 2019 even began. UConn recently endured a six-game winless streak from January 5-February 7, but the group has looked better as of late.

The Huskies have won their last two games, including a shocking 3-2 upset win over Northeastern last Thursday. Senior forward Karl El-Amir assisted on each of his unit’s goals in the triumph, adding to his team-high of 25 points. The Montreal native has done it by himself and used his teammates to compile points this year, scoring 12 times and assisting on 13 goals. He did both against the Terriers in Ireland, garnering a goal and an assist with four shots.

BU also has to worry about fellow Montrealer Alexander Payusov. The junior leads the Huskies with 14 goals and has four assists for good measure. Payusov has scored twice in a game on three occasions this year, including a pair of goals in contests against conference foes Maine and New Hampshire.

Game Notes: This weekend’s games will not be televised on local cable but can be streamed online here. You can also listen online to the Terriers radio broadcast. Do you think BU can break its skid this weekend? Let us know in the comment section!

Terriers head to the Zoo for second crack at UMass Amherst

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for the Boston University men’s hockey team.

Somehow, the Terriers biggest challenge is still ahead of the them.

Last Friday night, BU welcomed the No. 2 team in the country, UMass Amherst, to town in front of a packed crowd at Agganis Arena. The Terriers put up a valiant effort, but it was to no avail as the Minutemen dropped seven goals on BU’s head en route to a 5-7 defeat.

On Monday, BU came up short in a barnburner once again, this time under the bright lights of the 67th Beanpot at TD Garden. The Terriers traded goals with Northeastern before the Huskies staged a repeat of last year’s tournament finale and skated off the ice with a victory, this time in overtime by a score of 2-1.

BU has little time to dwell on this early ejection from the Beanpot, however. The going only gets tougher on Friday as they venture out to one of the most raucous atmospheres in college hockey, the Mullins Center in Amherst, for their second crack at the formidable Minutemen.

UMass remains at No. 2 in the USCHO.com Top 20 poll heading into this tilt, not having dropped a slot since last week. This team has been lethal all season, boasting five players with at least 20 points.

The Terriers learned about the firepower of this group in their most recent appearance at Agganis Arena. UMass is led in the scoring department by senior Jacob Pritchard, who made his presence felt 46 seconds into the game on Friday with his 13th goal of the season.

Despite his tally on Friday, Pritchard is not the top goal scorer on the squad. That title belongs to sophomore forward Mitchell Chaffee, who has a team-best 15 goals to go along with 14 assists. The Michigan native added to his dime total last week against the Terriers, helping out on freshman Ty Farmer’s go-ahead goal 8:49 into the third quarter which snapped a 4-4 tie.

Farmer has come on strong for UMass as of late. BU fans heard his name called two times too many on Friday as he scored an unassisted goal to increase the Minutemen lead to 6-4 late in the third period.

He has notched at least one point in five of his last six games and multiple points in two of those games. Although he is just seventh on the team in total points, Farmer has been getting the job done heading into the final few weeks of the season.

The Terriers have been fighting a bug in the first period. In order to upset UMass, they’re going to have to come with some firepower at the outset of the game, something they have been struggling with in the second semester.

BU has not scored first in a game since January 11 against New Hampshire, a span of seven games. They have done an adequate job of battling back from these slow beginnings, but UMass is a nearly impossible team to climb out of a hole against.

Game Notes: We don’t know how BU is going to start out the game, but we do know this: the atmosphere is going to be lit on Friday night. The Mullins Center has announced a sellout for what should be one of the most fun games the Terriers play in this season…This game will be broadcasted regionally on NESNplus…Follow along with live game coverage here!

Terriers begin tough stretch with home series against Arizona State

Having lost just once in the last seven games, the Boston University hockey team has merely started its climb back into the national polls.

Despite not having to leave Massachusetts until February 15, the Terriers (9-9-3, 8-5-2 Hockey East) will be tested sufficiently over the next few weeks. A Beanpot rematch with eighth-ranked Northeastern University is sandwiched by a home-and-home series against second-ranked UMass Amherst in the first eight days of February.

But, BU can’t afford to peek past this weekend. The squad will have its hands full with two home contests against 17th-ranked Arizona State University on Friday and Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

This Sun Devils team is a lot different than the one the Terriers swept with ease a year ago.

Last January, BU clobbered Arizona State by a combined 12-3 in two games in the desert. The Sun Devils won just one of their subsequent six games after enduring the sweep to finish the season with an 8-21-5 record.

This year, Arizona State has turned it around. They boast a stout defense, ranking 16th with 2.65 goals yielded per game. It’s nearly impossible to score against its penalty kill. The Sun Devils penalty killing unit leaves the ice without allowing a goal 85.34 percent of the time, the 10th-best mark in the country.

Considering BU scored three power play goals in a 7-2 home win over Merrimack College on Monday afternoon, this should make for an enticing affair.

“Special teams is a huge factor so it was big to get our power play going,” senior forward Ryan Cloonan said. “Especially conference-wise. Hopefully, we can carry that into the future.”

It’s going to be difficult to transfer Monday’s success into these two tilts against Arizona State. They head to Agganis Arena sporting a 16-9-1 mark and have managed to come to the east coast and defeat some respectable hockey clubs. In November, they shocked Penn State University, currently the 15th-ranked team in the country, with a 4-3 overtime triumph in State College, PA.

Two weeks later, they traveled to Allston and escaped Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center with a 3-2 overtime win over the Crimson in the second game of a two-night series. A few weeks later, they ventured east yet again and swept Princeton University in New Jersey.

Arizona State’s journeys eastward have not been perfect, as they are coming off a pair of losses at 12th-ranked Cornell University two weekends ago. However, this a dangerous unit.

The Sun Devils rank 17th in the country with 3.12 goals per game. The team is also 21st in the nation with 18 power play goals.

Terriers fans will need to watch out for sophomore forward Johnny Walker. Walker’s father, Jeff, was a goaltender for Boston College in the late 1980s and his son will look to continue his legacy and inflict some harm on BU this weekend.

Walker is the primary source of offense for the Sun Devils. He finished 2017-18 second in the country in freshman goal scoring with 17 tallies and he has already eclipsed that mark in his second season in college. Walker leads the country with 19 goals and is the only player on his team with more than 10.

He is also 10th in the country with 27 points and the only Sun Devil with more than 16 points. If you are going to the game, Walker is the guy to keep your eye on.

The Terriers will seek to limit Walker and build on the momentum they garnered in Monday’s bashing of Merrimack.

“It was a good win,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said. “We picked it up and got better and better.”

Terriers rolling into home game against Quinnipiac on Saturday night

This season is looking eerily similar to the 2017-18 campaign for the Boston University men’s hockey team.

Last year, the Terriers were underwhelming before the holiday break after receiving a top ten ranking in the preseason polls. BU then picked up steam at the beginning of the new year with sound performances in games against New Hampshire and Providence before rattling off six straight wins and eventually winning the Hockey East Tournament.

2018-19’s version of the Terriers is following a similar path. BU was subpar in the first half of the season as new head coach Albie O’Connell got accustomed to his fresh role.

On the morning of December 8, BU was just 4-8-2 and fans were wondering if O’Connell’s tenure would begin with a losing season. Since, the Terriers are 4-0-1 and they are heading into the second semester with consecutive wins against the aforementioned Wildcats and Friars.

BU will kick off a five-game homestand this Saturday night against sixth-ranked Quinnipiac. The Bobcats have already matched last year’s win total as they have soared to the top ten of the USCHO.com rankings. However, Quinnipiac has won just once in their last four games despite this stretch including just one ranked opponent.

The Bobcats split their ECAC back-to-back this past weekend, handling Dartmouth 5-1 before losing 2-1 to Harvard. Quinnipiac fell behind the Big Green by a goal at the end of the first period before throttling the visitors over the final two frames.

Five different players scored goals for the victors including senior defenseman Chase Priskie, who leads the team with 13 goals. Sophomore forward Odeen Tufto registered an assist, pushing his team-best point total to 29.

The following night, the Crimson did a good job of holding the Bobcats to just one score despite facing an onslaught of shots. Quinnipiac recorded 47 shots, including five from Tufto and four from Priskie. Somehow, the Bobcats failed to score until the final minute of the game and by that point it was too late.

Terriers junior goalie Jake Oettinger needs to be prepared for a busy night at Agganis Arena on Saturday. The Bobcats take 31.0 shots per game and are outscoring opponents by an average of 1.9 goals per night.

Notes: BU received good news on Monday morning as freshman forward Joel Farabee was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Week. The Flyers prospect scored twice and notched three assists in the first week of 2019…This is the Terriers lone matchup against the Bobcats this season…BU beat Quinnipiac 3-2 on the road in overtime in their only meeting in 2017-18. Junior forward Patrick Harper had two goals and a helper and sophomore forward Shane Bowers netted the game-winner…You can watch or listen to this game via GoTerriers.com. 

Can BU win their third game in a row? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Paul Pearl named associate head coach of men’s hockey

It looks like BU men’s hockey has filled its coaching vacancy.

Paul Pearl has been named the new associate head coach of the Terriers and the rest of last year’s staff will return. Read Liam’s story here.

 

NHL draft preview: What BU men’s hockey fans can expect

Boston University hockey fans have reason to tune into the NHL Draft when it begins on June 22 in Dallas.

After a successful freshman campaign with the Terriers, forward Brady Tkachuk is expected to go as high as third overall and is the second-ranked North American skater in the draft according to NHL.com.

Tkachuk has not ruled out returning to the Agganis Arena ice for another go-round in Hockey East, but being a top-five selection would make it difficult for the physical winger to return to college.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 197-pounder was one of the Terriers’ most active contributors on the offensive end all season. He led the team with 23 assists and 131 shots, the most of any freshman in the country. His +15 plus-minus was the second-best on the squad and his 31 points were the fourth-most.

His performance on the ice was rewarded following the season, as he was named a member of the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. Tkachuk was a prime example of former head coach David Quinn’s recruiting prowess. Quinn had seven players selected in the 2017 NHL Draft after seeing four of his pupils selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

 

Tkachuk serves as one of the final gems of Quinn’s recruiting legacy, one which concluded when he accepted the head coaching job with the New York Rangers last month. Quinn’s new hockey club holds the ninth pick, but Tkachuk will likely be swiped off the board by then.

The two-time Hockey East Top Performer could join former Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien in Montreal. The Canadiens have expressed interest and Tkachuk’s NHL-ready body provides him with the ability to assist a talent-depleted Montreal roster sooner rather than later.

Another potential landing spot for Tkachuk is Arizona. The Coyotes are another team in need of a boost, as they have not made the playoffs since 2012. Multiple Phoenix media outlets have conveyed general manager John Chayka’s interest in selecting Tkachuk, who would be joining former Terrier Clayton Keller on a club which accumulated the fewest points in the Western Conference in 2017-18.

Unlike past seasons, BU will not have a collection of players waiting to hear their name called on draft night. Funny enough, the majority of the Terriers front-line performers have already been selected in previous years.

In 2017, Cam Crotty was picked by the Coyotes, Kasper Kotkansalo was selected by the Detroit Red Wings, David Farrance by the Nashville Predators, Logan Cockerill by the New York Islanders, Shane Bowers by the Ottawa Senators and Jake Oettinger by the Dallas Stars.

A year prior, Chad Krys went to the Chicago Blackhawks while Dante Fabbro and Patrick Harper both landed with the Predators. Take away Tkachuk, and the Terriers still have loads of NHL-level talent projected to be on the 2018-19 roster.

In terms of the players who have not been drafted, there is not too much chatter surrounding Beanpot hero Ty Amonte despite his name being floated around in draft speculation last summer.

Future Terriers:

Joel Farabee:

BU will likely have another first round pick in addition to Tkachuk. Incoming freshman forward Joel Farabee is listed as a likely first-round pick. The Cicero, New York native is ranked number 12 among North American skaters and mock drafts have him within the first 15 picks.

 

Boston Hockey Blog Draft Prediction: Top 10-15 pick.

Jake Wise:

Farabee won’t have to look too far to see another future Terrier being drafted, all he really needs to do is look to his right as his linemate with the USDP Jake Wise. Wise is expected to be the second future Terrier and third Terrier overall being drafted this season.

Boston Hockey Blog Draft Prediction: Late first round

Jack Deboer:

BU has one other incoming freshman who might hear his name called. Ranked number 166 among North American Skaters is Jack DeBoer. Although he is the son of the head coach of the San Jose Sharks, he is not a lock to be drafted. For a point of reference, current Terrier senior forward and captain Bobo Carpenter was ranked 119 among North American skaters for the 2014 draft and went undrafted.

Boston Hockey Blog Draft Prediction: Undrafted

 

Culver Academy’s Dominic Vidoli commits to BU

The Boston University men’s hockey team just added a stellar find to their 2018 recruiting class as Culver Military Academy Prep defenseman Dominic Vidoli announced his commitment to join the Terrier family.

Vidoli is a grinder in a 6’0”, 170-pound frame, a force when it comes to corralling loose pucks and a terror on the boards. The Strongsville, Ohio native is willing to put his body on the line to stop a puck from sailing towards the net and should be someone Terriers head coach David Quinn can rely on to make sound decisions in the defensive zone.

In his first full season with Culver Academy in 2016-17, Vidoli logged four goals and four assists while compiling a +16 plus-minus rating in his time on the ice.

Vidoli improved his puck-handling and passing skills over the summer, and it has showed in the first 26 games of this season. The left-hander has poured in nine goals and 25 assists, becoming a staple of the Culver offensive attack.

With the likes of defenseman Brien Diffley and John MacLeod graduating, expect Vidoli to get a chance at filling in the minutes that these two will void. Should he impress over the summer and gel with his fellow defenseman, Vidoli could become a common member of the defensive third line in 2018-19.

 

 

Men’s hockey heads west for bout against Arizona State

After knocking off Merrimack College in consecutive nights last weekend, the Boston University men’s hockey team heads into the final weekend of January with fresh experiences on the horizon.

For the first time all season, the Terriers (11-11-2, 9-7-2 Hockey East) enter a weekend series having swept their previous opponent. Not only that, but this weekend’s foe is not just any ordinary Hockey East competition, as BU visits the Valley of the Sun to face Arizona State University.

The Terriers touched down in Arizona Wednesday evening, set to face off against the Sun Devils (7-14-5) twice this weekend. Friday night’s contest will be held at Gila River Arena, just across the street from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale where the New England Patriots trumped the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX.

On Saturday, the two teams will head 30 minutes southeast to Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe for the series finale.

Facing Hockey East competition is nothing new for the Sun Devils. In fact, their last two weekends have been spent hosting teams from New England.

Being that the Pac-12 Conference does not have a men’s hockey division, Arizona State is an independent hockey program, allowing them to schedule series against teams from across the country.

In October, the Sun Devils split a two-game series with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They met up with then-No. 11 Providence College last month at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Classic and were trumped 6-0.

Most recently, Arizona State hosted the University of Massachusetts Lowell and another New England troup, Quinnipiac University.

The matchup against the River Hawks (14-11, 9-7 Hockey East) yielded mixed results, similar to how the Terriers fared when they faced Lowell the second weekend of December.

The Sun Devils fell 4-0 in the first meeting before flipping the script and hammering the River Hawks by the same margin the subsequent evening.

Men’s hockey begins second half of season against Maine after busy break

A long layoff became longer when Friday’s game against the United States National Under-18 team was cancelled due to a snow storm. The Terriers will take on the University of Maine for a third time this season, looking to take the season series. Check out Liam’s preview for The Daily Free Press.