Thoughts from the Beanpot luncheon

The 65th annual Beanpot Tournament is less than a week away. Tickets are selling, fans are rejoicing and the teams are preparing. The Boston Hockey Blog got thoughts from head coach David Quinn and senior players about the Feb. 6 faceoff between No. 3 Boston University and No. 6 Boston College.


Senior forward Nick Roberto said his biggest fear going into the tournament is beating BC a third time, as the Terriers already defeated them twice this season.

NR: “Beating them a third time is going to be extremely hard. Hopefully we’re focused for that game, and come out and work hard just like we did the first two games.”

“Oettinger for sure,” Roberto immediately answered when asked what he considered his teams secret weapon. “Ah no, secret weapon … I think our compete level is probably our secret weapon. When we out compete teams, we’re very good. When we play down to teams or let teams hang in with us it’s a close game.”


Senior Captain Doyle Somerby wants his team to have fun with it, but knows how difficult the game will be on Monday.

DS: “I don’t think you realize how special [the Beanpot] is until you actually take the ice for it. Local guys understand it because they grew up coming to it but when you’re not from around here it definitely takes the first 10 minutes or so of the game to grasp the full concept of it. It’s really unique and special because no one else has this.”

What do you tell your team to get them in the right mindset for such a big game?

DS: “Honestly, just have fun with it as much as you can. If you grip the stick too tight, you’re too nervous and thinking too much about it, it’s going to be a long night. Especially playing BC. We already have that rivalry. People comprehend that and understand how special that is to play against them. They just need to enjoy it as much as they can on Monday night.”

This could be one of the last big games of your college hockey career. What’s going through your head as your senior season winds down?

DS: “Just trying to enjoy it as much as I can. Being a local kid – I’m about 35 minutes away – so this is something I grew up coming too every single year since I was 4 or 5. With this one you just need to enjoy it. This might be the last time I ever play BC, so on top of the big games you got your last rivalry game. I’m just trying to have fun with it, hoping to come out on top and play for the championship the next Monday.”

How hard will it be to beat BC a third time this season?

DS:  “It’s really hard. When you play a rival like that it doesn’t matter what the stat sheet says. It doesn’t matter what your record is. Especially in the Beanpot. It’s going to be a one-goal game no matter what. It’s going to be a lot of fun to play them but it’s also going to be pretty interesting. It’s going to be a tight game.”


Head coach David Quinn agrees it’s going to be a close game.

DQ: “Obviously anytime BU and BC get together, in any situation it’s an exciting game. It draws a little extra attention from both fan bases, and usually the college hockey world pays a little extra attention to it. But when you put that game in the Beanpot it’s even more special. Usually you get great competitive games. Someone has a goalie pulled at the end of the game. Both teams have talent. Both teams compete hard. Both teams are at the top of the league and in the national rankings. It’s going to make for an exciting Beanpot, as it usually does.”

How hard will it be to beat BC a third time this season?

DQ: “It’s always hard to beat BC. I don’t care whether you’ve beaten twice or not. I’ve got an awful lot of respect for them. It’s been such a great rivalry for so long. We still understand what’s ahead of us. We’re not thinking about the two games that happened three weeks ago. We’re going to focus on Monday night.”


Quinn, Somerby and Roberto all agree that although the Terriers are the youngest team in college hockey, they won’t appear to be on the ice.

NR: “Maybe for the first five minutes the crowd will get into it, the atmosphere will be good. We’ve played in some hostile environments out in Denver, Michigan and at BC, so [the freshman] will be all set. And a lot of them played in the World Juniors as well. Especially USA-Canada. That was a loud game for them.”

DS: “I think Christmas break definitely helped [the freshman], playing in the World Juniors. Playing in Canada against Canada is a pretty chaotic place to play. They definitely learned a lot from there. We learned a couple lessons last week. Definitely I’ll just tell them to enjoy as much as they can because you don’t get this experience too often.”

DQ: “We’ve been fortunate this year, whether it be at Denver or Michigan or up in Vermont or up in Maine, we’ve played in some very very big atmospheres. The guys who played at the World Juniors certainly played for 20,000 people up in Canada so we can draw from experiences. I don’t think nerves will be an issue for us.”

Pluses and Minuses: BC prevails over BU in overtime, claims Beanpot championship

Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

None from the current crop of players on the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team was on the 2012 BU team that lost to Boston College in the Beanpot championship in overtime.

This year’s seniors were still a few months removed from Commonwealth Avenue when BC forward Bill Arnold scored the game-winning goal at TD Garden.

But four years later, this year’s team is pretty engrained in the Beanpot tradition, and now well acquainted with a similar heartbreak.

A scoreless, physical game throughout Monday night, No. 3 BC finally broke through 1:57 into overtime when Alex Tuch wristed home the first and only goal, defeating BU 1-0 in the Beanpot title game.

BC (20-4-4, 11-1-4 Hockey East) has now won the Beanpot five times in the last six years.

“Certainly an exciting game for everybody in the stands, and the last two periods it was a competitive hockey game,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play, and up-and-down action, both teams had great chances in the second and the third, they certainly had a majority of the chances in the first and we felt very fortunate to get out 0-0 after one.”

It was scoreless for almost 62 minutes, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to talk about. We’ll break this one down in this Beanpot championship Pluses and Minuses.

Minuses

Untimely screen

Senior netminder Sean Maguire was on his game throughout the title game and really the entire Beanpot Tournament. BC had a good deal of chances throughout the first three periods of the game, but Maguire stood on his head just about every time.

One of the few times Maguire didn’t see the puck, though, things went wrong for BU (16-8-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East). After both teams tried to get their legs back at the beginning of overtime, the Eagles got the first real opportunity about two minutes in and made it count.

As Tuch skated into the high slot area, BU’s defense tried to contain him before he could shoot, but the bodies standing in front of Maguire caused an unintentional screen, setting up an unpleasant result.

“I think if I saw all of it I would’ve stopped it,” Maguire said after the game. “But he [Tuch] made a great shot, and the shot crossed body post in. That’s a pro-level shot.”

Slog of a start

Against a rival like BC, and in a game of importance such as this one, it’s generally pertinent to get things started in the first period on the right foot. The Terriers, however, did not have one of their better opening periods on Monday night.

One thing that stands out right away on the shot chart is the fact that BC not only attempted 32 shots in the opening stanza, but a majority of them came in the slot and home plate area. Life was not easy for Maguire, to say the least.

BU was mostly kept to the outside of the faceoff circles and did not really kick things into gear until the second period.

Sloppy play, Greenway to the box

For anyone who’s watched a BU-BC, you know it can get chippy and downright nasty during and after the play. This one was no different, especially on the BU end of things.

Freshman forward Jordan Greenway seemed to be in the middle of it all on Monday, drawing the ire from a lot of the BC contingent in the arena.

Greenway was involved in a play in the third period in which BC goalie Thatcher Demko was knocked down for a few minutes, and he also drew three penalties during one scrum in the second period, including a 10-minute misconduct. BU killed off all of the penalty time, but was without Greenway’s presence until early in the third period.

“Well certainly missed him, but I thought we continued to play a pretty good second period,” Quinn said. “…But any time you’re missing a guy who’s 6 foot 5, 230 pounds against that team with the big, strong D corps that they have for an extended period of time, it’s not going to help you, that’s for sure, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game.”

Power outage

BU’s offense could not muster a goal in what turned to be Demko’s ninth shutout of the season (a new single-season BC record), but the real issue tonight was the lighting at TD Garden.

With 8:53 to play in the first period, the main lights above the ice slowly dimmed and then turned out. The teams skated around the ice to stay loose, but were eventually sent back to their respective dressing rooms. The situation was finally resolved after nearly 30 minutes, but it took longer than a normal intermission to get the lights up and running.

BC head coach Jerry York said after the game said both teams were offered the chance to play a 29-minute second period instead of finishing the first, but York said he and Quinn declined the opportunity.

Pluses 

Maguire nearly perfect

We’ve mentioned it in this article a few times already, but Maguire was good in this one — really good.

He kept BU in the game with 23-first period saves and finished with 41 stops on 42 chances. Maguire, for the tournament, saved 65 shots on 67 opportunities for a .970 save percentage. He wouldn’t carry the Beanpot trophy, but he did earn Beanpot MVP and the Eberly Award for the highest save percentage in the tournament.

The only two goaltenders to have a higher single-tournament save percentage than Maguire were former BU netminders John Curry (.985) and Rick DiPietro (.981).

Sarah will have more on Maguire’s stellar performance in her sidebar.

Mid-game adjustments

The first period was not one BU will be writing home about anytime soon. The rest of the game, especially from a defensive standpoint, the Terriers did a much better job in their own end.

BU pushed the Eagles to the perimeter and limited the number of “Grade-A” opportunities they could get on net. By game’s end, the total shot attempts were closer than the first period may have indicated, with BC holding a slight 68-62 edge.

“…I thought in the second and third period we did a much better job of being decisive and just making a decision and doing it with conviction,” Quinn said, “and that made everybody else’s job easier and that’s why you saw the dramatic drop in shots and scoring chances and made it a hockey game.”

Live blog: BU vs. BC (Beanpot final)

Game preview
Pregame podcast

BU lines:
Oskar Andrén-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Jordan Greenway-Matt Lane-Ahti Oksanen
Ryan Cloonan-Bobo Carpenter-Robbie Baillargeon
Chase Phelps-Mike Moran-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby-Brien Diffley

Sean Maguire
Connor LaCouvee

BC lines:
Miles Wood-Austin Cangelosi-Adam Gilmour
Matthew Gaudreau-Colin White-Ryan Fitzgerald
Teddy Doherty-Zach Sanford-Alex Tuch
Travis Jeke-Christopher Brown-Chris Calnan

Ian McCoshen-Casey Fitzgerald
Michael Kim-Steve Santini
Josh Couturier-Scott Savage

Thatcher Demko
Ian Milosz

Officials:
Cameron Voss
Ryan Hersey
Marc Sullivan
Pat Turcotte

Live Blog BU vs. BC (Beanpot final, 02-08-2016)
 

Live blog: No. 9 BU vs. Northeastern (Beanpot Semifinal)

Game preview
Story on seniors
Pregame podcast
Podcast: Trivia with Freshmen

BU lines:
Oskar Andrén-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Jordan Greenway-Matt Lane-Ahti Oksanen
Ryan Cloonan-Bobo Carpenter-Robbie Baillargeon
Chase Phelps-Mike Moran-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby-Brien Diffley

Sean Maguire
Connor LaCouvee

Northeastern lines:
Nolan Stevens-John Stevens-Zach Aston-Reese
Mike McMurtry-Adam Gaudette-Dylan Sikura
Kevin Roy-Brendan Collier-Sam Kurker
Mike Jamieson-Lincoln Griffin

Jarrett Fennell-Matt Benning
Colton Saucerman-Eric Williams
Trevor Owens-Garret Cockerill
Dustin Darou

Ryan Ruck
Derick Roy
Jake Theut

Officials:
Jack Millea
Kevin Shea
Joe Ross
Alex Stagnone

Live Blog Beanpot Semifinals (02-01-2016)
 

Pluses and Minuses: BU ends Beanpot losing streak, advances to tournament final

It might’ve felt like an eternity. In fact, it was 1,093 days.

Nikolas Olsson.  PHOTO BY EVAN JONES/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Nikolas Olsson.
PHOTO BY EVAN JONES/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

But at long last, the losing streak is over.

The No. 2/3 Boston University men’s hockey team overcame a two-goal deficit and record-breaking goaltending performance to dispatch No. 4/6 Harvard University, 4-3, in double overtime in the Beanpot semifinal at TD Garden.

Sixty-seven shots later, the Terriers (17-4-4, 11-2-2 Hockey East) won it on a goal from junior forward Danny O’Regan 2:18 into the second overtime period. Down by two in the middle of the second, freshman forward Nikolas Olsson and junior winger Ahti Oksanen tied the game up, which set up a dramatic third and overtime periods.

BU dominated for large portions of the game, but it wasn’t perfect. As always, things went right and wrong for the Terriers. Here’s the Beanpot semifinal edition of Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses

The final play

It seemed at just about every turn, Harvard (12-6-2) netminder Stephen Michalek bailed out his defense. With 63 saves, a new Beanpot record, he at times looked impenetrable. One Crimson turnover changed everything.

As Harvard attempted to clear its own defensive zone, senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues got in the way of the exit pass. O’Regan saw this, and immediately charged toward the crease. Rodrigues made a crisp centering pass to the Needham native, who finished off the play with a wrister into an almost-open net.

Michalek had no chance to make that 64th save.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play with Evan [Rodrigues] for awhile now,” O’Regan said. “He’s a great player, so I just kind of put my head down and went to the net and knew he would find me — he did just that.”

Cason Hohmann’s resurgence

BU’s other senior assistant captain went all the way from Nov. 22 to Jan 23 without scoring a goal. At certain points over the last month-and-half, BU coach David Quinn even moved the center to the third line at points.

Over the last few games, including Tuesday night’s, Hohmann looks to be back in form. He opened up the scoring at the 16:50 mark of the first, as he found himself perfectly positioned in the crease to finish off a good passing play from Rodrigues.

Arguably even bigger was assist he made to Oksanen that tied the game in the waning seconds of the second period.

Second-period comeback

Believe it or not, but the Terriers were actually getting outshot and outplayed by the Crimson at the end of the first and beginning of the second. Harvard capitalized on sloppy in-zone defense and went up 3-1 in the first 10 minutes of the second frame, but more on that in the minus section.

After awhile, though, BU found its groove and fought back.

What initially looked to be a failed BU opportunity actually led to the first goal of the comeback. Olsson sprang Nick Roberto on a long lead pass through the neutral zone, all but giving Roberto a 1-on-1 showdown with Michalek. But on the ensuing breakway, Roberto shot well high of goal.

Undeterred, the third line kept the puck in the zone and created another opportunity. This time, the unit cashed in.

Roberto worked his way open in the slot and fired off a shot that created a big rebound. Olsson, as he’s done so many times this season, crashed the front of the net and picked up the loose change for his fifth goal.

Four minutes later, Oksanen connected on his 17th of the year off a nice feed from Hohmann. And like that, the tide of the game turned.

“I thought there was a point early in the second where it looked like a pond hockey game — we were giving up way too many odd-man rushes,” Quinn said. “And then I thought there was a point where we kind of settled down and started playing more responsible.”

Scoring chances … many scoring chances 

After a little bit of a lull at the end of the first period and start of the second period, the Terriers kicked it into high gear and amped up the pressure on Michalek. In the third period and first overtime, the Terriers generated 72 total shots, 32 of which hit net.

By the time O’Regan scored, the Terriers had attempted 123 shots — more than double Harvard’s shot attempts. It took some stellar goaltending, a few key blocks and some puck luck for Harvard to force the game as far as it did.

Minuses 

Bad defensive lapse and a sloppy start of the second

The Terriers already let the Crimson back into the game after they let Harvard rush the net at the end of the second period. Another misplay in the defensive zone at the start of the second period was, as Quinn put it, “deflating.”

The aforementioned second goal came off a bad exchange behind junior netminder Matt O’Connor. Freshman defenseman John MacLeod fed junior captain Matt Grzelcyk behind the net, who in turn gave the puck right to Harvard. The turnover all but set up forward Alexander Kerfoot’s goal 22 seconds into the frame.

It didn’t end up costing the Terriers in the long run, but it, and some other bad defensive plays later, put the team in bad position to start the second frame.

Record-breaking goaltender

Not exactly a clear-cut minus for BU, but Michalek’s performance for Harvard is worth at least a mention. Admittedly battling cramps, the backstop made a combined 32 saves in the third period and first overtime. A few times he was bailed out on some blocks, though for the most part, Michalek was impressive during his career-best day.

Odds and Ends: Beanpot Edition

Happy Beanpot, everyone! To get you primed for tonight (and distracted from the disastrous weather/MBTA situation), we have some notes and links.

-Here’s our page where we’ll have all Beanpot stories. We’ll still have the liveblog and all that later tonight.

-And here’s a preview from the Crimson.

-A Beanpot preview from our pal Jeff Cox over at SB Nation.

-As a refresher of the UMass game, here’s Andrew’s recap, Conor’s sidebar on timeout adjustments and my pluses and minuses.

-Additionally, here are some awesome photos that Maya got from the game.

-In BU women’s hockey news, they’ll be taking on Harvard in the first round of the Women’s Beanpot tonight. Here’s the FreeP’s preview of that.