Three Takeaways from Friday’s tie with Northern Michigan

The Terriers celebrate Logan Cockerill’s first goal of the season. Photo by Emily Hunter.

The Terriers skated to 4-4 tie against Northern Michigan on Friday night. Heading into the third period with 4-1 lead, BU lost their cushion as NMU was able to pot three in the third to send the game to overtime, which would finish scoreless. Be sure to check out Brady Gardner’s full recap of tonight’s action!

Without further ado, here are my three takeaways from tonight’s disappointing, albeit not the end of the world, results:

1. Defense looks strong in the attacking zone, but needs to tighten up in their own end.

The defensive group was extremely involved in the offensive attack tonight, especially David Farrance, who scored his second of the year and notched an assist. At times both defensemen on the ice seemed to join in on the cycle, specifically with the top forward trio, with the movement creating a dazzling five-man cycle in the offensive zone. Farrance, Case McCarthy, and Dom Fensore were all active on the rush for the Terriers as well.

“It’s a new group with a lot of young guys,” Farrance said after the game. “They’re all great players obviously, a real good skating group. I think we all just connect really well together.”

However, while that was all well and good for the Terriers tonight, there were several lapses in defensive-zone coverage that were costly for the Terriers. Cross-ice feeds to wide-open skaters led to the third and fourth goals for the Wildcats. Albie O’Connell’s group got exposed on several occasions in their own end, and McCarthy and Fensore were each minus-three on the night.

“We had some lapses, and we’re a young team,” O’Connell noted. “So, we’re going to make some mistakes.”

2. Power play and first line on their game.

Patrick Harper, Patrick Curry, and Trevor Zegras were on a tear tonight. Zegras notched two assists, one coming on the power play, while Curry and Harper each tallied a goal. The top line’s performance tonight was highlighted by a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play between Zegras and freshman D-man Alex Vlasic that led to Curry’s tap-in goal.

The power play also had two goals on four chances tonight with crisp movement all around as Harper and Logan Cockerill each got on the board in a high-scoring first period. Jake Wise and Robert Mastrosimone quietly had strong evenings with Mastrosimone picking up an assist on the man advantage in addition to one of Wise’s two assists coming on the power play as well.

“The first line’s a pretty talented group. I thought the line did well tonight,” O’Connell described. “[Harper] worked hard at both ends of the ice, and [Curry] led the team tonight.”

3. BU absolutely should have won this game, which is stating the obvious.

The Terriers have to be pretty frustrated with how the game ended tonight as they let the win slip away. Farrance and the rest of O’Connell’s squad don’t have too much time to dwell on things, though, as they turn around right away with a rematch tomorrow night at Agganis.

“I think we flush this one down the toilet,” Farrance said during his postgame availability. “It’s a bit of a sour feeling, but we just have to focus on winning the game tomorrow.”

“Like I said we’re a young group, so we gotta learn from our mistakes,” Farrance went on. “We can’t let swings like that happen in games. We gotta stay on the right pattern and finish games out a little stronger.”

“I thought we played well enough to win,” O’Connell continued. “We’ve got to close it out.”

Terriers rank 20th in USCHO poll

Senior captain Patrick Curry celebrates the first of his two goals during Saturday’s win at Union. Photo by Emily Hunter, DFP Staff.

The USCHO released its latest Division I college hockey rankings on Monday afternoon. After a big 7-3 win over the Union Dutchmen on Saturday, Albie O’Connell’s Terriers (1-0-0) rank 20th in the nation after they were previously unranked in the preseason polls. BU also received 12 votes, but remain unranked, in USA Today and USA Hockey Magazine’s latest poll.

The Terriers received 95 points in the USCHO’s voting as Minnesota-Duluth maintained their top ranking. Hockey East rival Massachusetts remains fourth in the nation while Providence and Boston College each improve one spot, ranking sixth and tenth, respectively. Cross-town rival Northeastern also ranks fifteenth once again.

As for the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Massachusetts, BC, and Providence each rank fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, while Northeastern fell just outside the top-15. The UMD Bulldogs remain first in the nation, too.

BU returns to the ice next week as they have a two-game set against Northern Michigan to open their home schedule.

Junior forward Ty Amonte to miss 2019-20 season with upper-body injury

Terrier head coach Albie O’Connell revealed during his media availability on Thursday that junior forward Ty Amonte will miss the entire 2019-20 campaign due to an upper-body injury. The team anticipates Amonte will return for the 2020-21 season as a redshirt junior if recovery goes as expected.

The Norwell, Massachusetts, native recorded eight goals and eight assists for 16 points last season to go along with a minus-six rating and 41 penalty minutes in 37 games as a sophomore. During his freshmen year with BU, the 21-year-old registered 6-3-9 totals in 36 games as well as 12 penalty minutes and a minus-four rating.

Zegras, other 2019 draftees headline impressive freshman class for the Terriers

Six incoming Terriers saw their names picked at the 2019 NHL Draft. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

It would be hard to find a Terrier recruit class in recent memory that has garnered more praise and attention than this year’s freshmen. Entering the 2019-20 season, 11 freshmen have joined the squad, six of whom were selected in this year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The Terriers welcome a balanced group of rookies, including six forwards, four defensemen and the versatile John Copeland, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches and can slot in at both forward and defense. With such a rookie presence across the depth chart, these Terrier youngsters will be relied on to be key contributors on both ends.

BU head coach Albie O’Connell said it doesn’t matter that the team is young, as they all can play well.

“It’s just [about] our ability to get them to play the right way,” O’Connell said, “to play as a group and to give us a chance to be there at the end.”

Forward Trevor Zegras, who was BU’s earliest draft pick at ninth overall to the Anaheim Ducks, headlines the incoming crop of attackers.

“The draft was really cool,” Zegras said. “I’ve been looking forward to that my whole life. But you have to put that behind you pretty quickly, because at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter, [whether you’re] one or the seventh round, you kind of all end up in the same pot. So It’s pretty exciting having such a big class — it’s basically half the team.”

The highly-skilled forward has already captured the attention of his teammates with his creative style of play on the ice, especially his projected linemates, senior captain Patrick Curry and junior assistant captain Patrick Harper.

“He’s on our line,” Curry said. “It’s exciting to work with him everyday and see the the mindset he brings.”

Robert Mastrisimone will also play a critical role in the Terrier attack as the Detroit Red Wings’ 54th-overall pick, along with his fellow future Red Wing and third-round pick Ethan Phillips, plus Jamie Armstrong, Markus Bogaslavsky and Sam Stevens, all who bring impressive resumes to Commonwealth Avenue.

Based on what he has seen so far, assistant captain and junior forward Logan Cockerill said he has been impressed by the new additions up front.

“We have a lot of very skilled incoming freshmen —  Trevor Zegras, Ethan Phillips, [Robert] Mastrosimone, basically everybody,” Cockerill said. “It seems like they’re really competitive kids and they want to win, which is what we’re looking for out of our younger guys.”

The defensive recruits will be highlighted by Alex Vlasic, who went 43rd overall to his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. Vlasic is the biggest Terrier on the 2019-20 roster and O’Connell said he already likes what he sees from the 18-year-old.

“Vlasic gives us a different look at [six-feet-six-inches],” O’Connell said. “He can be 10 feet away from a guy and have a stick on [him].”

Domenick Fensore and Case McCarthy will also patrol the BU blueline as second and third round selections respectively. Sean Driscoll rounds out the new guys on the back end as one of three freshmen blueliners who are listed at more than 6-feet-tall and over 180 pounds.

“He’s like a football player on skates,” O’Connell said.

As the leader of the defensive ranks, junior assistant captain Cam Crotty said he is excited about the early returns from this group.

“Our [defense] is looking really good so far,” Crotty said. “This year we’re looking really deep.”

The expectations are certainly high for the class of 2023, and as a former highly-touted recruit himself, Harper understands the position these young men are in.

“I think all those guys have come in for a reason, they’ve been recruited for a reason, and they’re all playing towards their strengths,” Harper said. “We’re just trying to build that pro mindset within our locker room that it’s time to take care of business.”

Curry said it was important to make sure the players understand the importance of staying in the moment and building a winning culture.

“That will last for the rest of their time here,” Curry said.

Like Curry and Harper, Cockerill said he knows that the team’s success will depend on the freshmen adjusting to Division I hockey, keeping in mind that practices and scrimmages are not the same as in-game action.

“We’ve only been able to scrimmage each other a couple times,” Cockerill said. “Hopefully they can get adjusted to college hockey as quickly as possible.”

As they look to adapt to D1 hockey, the Terrier rookies do have the benefit of the connections they developed before coming to Boston. The majority of BU’s freshmen hail from either the United States National Development Team Program or the United States Hockey League.

“Throughout the years, I’ve played with or against most of the other guys in the class,” Zegras said. “A lot of guys are coming from the USHL, so [we’re] used to seeing [each other] on a regular basis.”

In fact, Zegras’ bond with one freshman in particular goes back to their childhoods.

“Dom [Fensore] and I actually grew up playing together, so I’ve known him since we were pretty young,” the Bedford, New York native said.

With 11 first-years on the team for the first time in fifteen seasons, O’Connell said he anticipates some inevitable growing pains that would be expected to accompany such a young group and knows what it will take to counteract them.

“We’re going to make mistakes, but we just want to make sure we give our guys confidence,” the second-year bench boss said. “The key for us as coaches is to keep their confidence up because if guys waiver with confidence, obviously their game suffers.”

With the regular season just days away, the freshmen are as ready to go as anyone. These young Terriers are hungry for the chance to make a strong first impression in the scarlet and white when they travel to Union for their collegiate debut.

“I think it’s been a while since a lot of us have played our last game,” Zegras said. “We’ve been practicing for a while, so we’re excited to get out there as a group and just get it going.

Patrick Curry rising to the role of captain

Patrick Curry lines up for a faceoff at Agganis Arena last season. Photo by Emily Hunter, DFP Staff.

Patrick Curry is living out every college hockey player’s dream. After starting out as a bottom-six role player as a freshman, Curry has risen through the ranks to become one of the Terriers’ most important players on the first forward line.

Following what was a challenging 2018-19 season for the team, BU head coach Albie O’Connell and his staff named then-rising senior Curry as the lone captain for the 2019-20 campaign.

“It’s just starting to sink in,” Curry said of the opportunity to wear the ‘C’ on his scarlet and white sweater. “Stepping on campus, I didn’t think this day would really come. It’s really exciting for me, personally.”

Last season, the 23-year-old had his best collegiate season yet, statistically speaking, as he recorded 13 goals and 13 assists in 38 games to go along with a plus-two rating. From fighting to maintain his spot in the lineup to inheriting the captaincy, the winger has improved each year in terms of goals and shooting percentage.

“I know that I’ve grown a lot since freshman year,” the Schaumburg, Illinois native said.

As captain, Curry said he hopes to use this knowledge and experience to integrate the team and help the 2019 recruits settle in.

“[So far it’s been about] just getting to know one other, making sure the freshmen are feeling comfortable with the team and how we go about doing things here BU and really trying to ingrain a solid culture for the coming season,” Curry said.

Curry said he also understands the strong foundation laid before him by previous Terrier captains.

“I learned a lot from Doyle Somerby, Brandon Hickey and Dante Fabbro,” Curry said. “They really helped me figure out what I needed to do to become more of a leader on a day to day basis.”

Continuing, he said, “I think understanding how many great players came before us and have been in these leadership positions, you have the ability to set the tone and really make sure the guys respect you and get ready for the upcoming season.”

The hard-nosed, left-shot forward has shown he can set an example each day for the Terriers both on and off the ice. His work-ethic and leadership qualities have not gone unnoticed, O’Connell said.

“[Curry] has set the tone for the team. I think he will be a really good captain,” O’Connell said. “He’s done a really good job of setting the standard of what we need to do day in, day out.”

Curry usually maintains a calm, quiet demeanor, mostly allowing his work on the ice do the fair share of the talking. That said, O’Connell said he knows when and where to pipe up.

“He’s a really good leader by example, but he can be vocal too,” O’Connell said.

Last season’s trophy-less finish may have been a disappointment by BU hockey standards, but the bar has not been lowered. Curry said he recognizes the high level of performance expected of himself and the team and is prepared to lead the charge.

“[I’m doing] everything in my power to make sure we’re successful this year,” Curry said, “and making sure that guys understand that even if some guys don’t have a letter, they can still be a leader on this team.”

Terriers Land Fifth on Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Head coach Albie O’Connell’s Boston University Terriers were picked to finish fifth in Hockey East for the 2019-20 campaign, according to the Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released Thursday morning. The Terriers received 72 points in the voting and did not receive any first place votes.

Commonwealth Avenue rival Boston College ranked first in the poll, receiving 97 points and eight first place votes, while Massachusetts finished second having earned 85 points and two first place votes. Cross-town foe Northeastern was picked to finish fourth in the conference with 73 points and one first place vote. 

The Terriers kick off the 2019-20 season on Saturday, October 5th, as they will travel to Union for a 4:00 PM matinee matchup before returning to Agganis Arena for a two-game home opener set versus Northern Michigan on Friday, October 18th, and Saturday the 19th. 

BU Add Grad Transfer Goalie, Sam Tucker

Head coach Albie O’Connell and the Terriers announced this week that the team has added graduate transfer Sam Tucker. Tucker played four seasons for Yale (ECAC) before committing to BU. 

Over the course of his four years at Yale, Tucker played in 54 games for the Bulldogs, registering 20 wins and three shutouts between the pipes. The 23-year-old finished his Yale career with a 2.88 goals against average (GAA) and .903 save percentage; both stand as sixth-best in program history.

In 19 games as a senior last season, the Wilton, Connecticut native recorded a career-best .917 save percentage, the ninth-best single-season save percentage in program history, as well as a 2.53 GAA, the 12th-best single-season GAA in program history. Tucker’s senior season was highlighted by a 43-save performance versus No. 15 Harvard as well as shutouts against RPI and Union.

As a junior in 2017-18, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound netminder recorded a .893 save percentage as well as a 3.08 GAA in 20 games after carding a .899 save percentage and 3.05 GAA in 15 games as a sophomore in 2016-17.

Tucker dressed in 17 games as a freshman in 2015-16, but did not see game action that season. Before Yale, he played four seasons with the prep school Choate Rosemary Hall where he had a career .930 save percentage; his .952 save percentage during his senior year led prep school goaltenders.

A four-time ECAC All-Academic Team honoree, Tucker graduated Yale with a bachelor’s degree in political science and government. After the Terriers saw both Jake Oettinger and Max Prawdzik depart at the conclusion of last season, fans can expect Tucker to add experience to a BU goaltending group that has just two total starts (both from Vinnie Purpura last season), and compete for the starting job in the crease.

Terriers Add Grad Transfer Forward, Alex Brink

The Terriers and head coach Albie O’Connell announced on Wednesday that the team has added graduate transfer Alex Brink. Brink played four seasons for Brown University in the ECAC before committing to play at BU this season. The 25-year-old skated in 95 total games for the Bears, registering 28 total points (12G, 16A) over that span. 

In 31 games as a senior last season, Brink notched six goals and eight assists for 14 points to go along with 68 penalty minutes; his plus-seven rating was good enough for second on the team. The forward was named MVP of the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh with four points in two games, highlighted by a three-point performance (2G, 1A) against Union in the championship game, earning him ECAC Player of the Week honors for the week of January 7th, 2019.

The year prior as a junior, the 6-foot, 200-pound skater tallied one goal and four assists in 31 games as well as 50 penalty minutes. After notching nine points (5G, 4A) in 30 games as a freshman, Brink only skated in three games as a sophomore after an injury cost him the rest of his season.

Before attending Brown, the Hamilton, New York native played two seasons of junior hockey for the Boston Jr. Bruins of the USPHL Premier League, totaling 40 goals, 64 assists, and 104 points in 95 total games played. Brink graduated Brown with a bachelor’s degree in business, entrepreneurship, and organizations, and was a three-time ECAC All-Academic Team honoree with the Bears.

Fans may recall last season’s graduate transfer Max Willman also having joined BU from the Brown University hockey program. A high-energy forward himself, Brink looks to fill a similar role as Willman, adding depth to the Terriers’ forward corps with the ability to chip in with offensive production.