Ben Rosen signs tryout contract with Bridgeport Sound Tigers

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

Less than two months ago, Ben Rosen was facing Joey Diamond as an opponent when the Boston University men’s hockey team played the University of Maine. Now, as Rosen tries out for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, he’s rooming with Diamond, who signed with the Tigers this month and led Hockey East in penalty minutes this year.

Rosen has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Tigers, the New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate, and practiced with them for the first time today at 10 a.m. He and Diamond, both Long Island natives, knew each other from playing against each other before college.

“We kind of were rivals back then, and as we got older, we started to become more and more friendly, and actually, we’ve been friends ever since,” Rosen said on the phone from outside the hotel room the two are sharing. “So we would play Maine, and I would hate him when we would play them, but … he’s a great kid whenever you’re not playing against him, that’s for sure.”

Rosen said he’s received other offers from ECHL teams but wanted to give the Tigers, the only AHL team to make him an offer so far, a shot.

“My agent just said this was the quickest and the best offer we had, so I just took it right away,” Rosen said. “It was only a day or two after the season had ended.”

If the Tigers sign Rosen to a contract, he would be in the farm system of the NHL team closest to his home in Syosset, N.Y. Rosen also attended the Islanders’ draft camp in July 2011, so he has some familiarity with the organization.

“Even where the AHL team is, here in Bridgeport, I’m only an hour or so from my home on Long Island, so it’s definitely a huge factor,” Rosen said. “It’s close to Boston, it’s close to home in New York, and it’s a great opportunity.”

Terrier seniors skate off Garden ice for final time without a trophy

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

There are a lot of ways to classify the members of the Boston University men’s hockey Class of 2013: best friends, leaders and even professional prospects, for some of them.

But there is one thing the seniors are not: champions.
With a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in Saturday’s Hockey East title game at TD Garden, BU (21-16-2) wrapped up its fourth consecutive season without a major tournament championship.
For captain Wade Megan, Sean Escobedo, Ben Rosen and Ryan Santana — the final four of what was originally a group of seven in the fall of 2009 — it was the end of their careers donning scarlet and white, four years without a single Beanpot, Hockey East regular season crown, Hockey East tournament title or national championship.
I didn’t think I’d be leaving BU without any trophies,” Megan said. “But the group of guys we had and the senior class this year was pretty amazing.”
The official senior class also includes fifth-year assistant captain Ryan Ruikka, who came to BU in 2008, and Jake Moscatel, who joined the team at the halfway point last season and will likely be back next year. But for the quartet that started together and ended together, Saturday’s loss, which also ended Jack Parker’s BU hockey career, served as the final dip after four years of peaks and valleys.

There was the low of the 2009-10 team that barely finished over .500 a year after winning the national championship, and the low of failing to get out of the Hockey East quarterfinals as sophomores the next year.
The Terriers looked like one of the best teams in the country at times when this group was juniors. Then they lost a pair of teammates to legal issues and had another quit on them — all in the middle of the season. The team pulled together and even managed an NCAA tournament bid.
Two members of the Class of 2013 ended their tenure at the school early for more joyous reasons — Alex Chiasson signed with the Dallas Stars in April 2012, then Justin Courtnall signed with the Providence Bruins in August — before another valley. A task force, commissioned following the arrests of a pair of players, slapped the well-documented “culture of sexual entitlement” label on the program last fall.
For a time, seniors’ final campaign seemed destined to be its best yet.
With a large freshman class, a miserable slump that consumed most of the second half and having two more teammates quit mid-season, the Terriers managed to finish in the top half of the conference standings.
The Terriers powered through Merrimack College in the quarterfinals, and even came from behind to beat rival Boston College in the semifinals.
But Saturday night, with a trophy on the line, BU couldn’t come through.
“It’s something you think about. It gets brought up a lot,” Rosen said of the championship drought. “But obviously we’ve been through a lot and we’re still here, and to make it to the Garden … it’s just a testament to how strong we’ve been as a senior class and as a team in general.”
The scene on the Garden ice after the game was a familiar one — a celebration and pure bliss on one end, disappointment and hunched-over bodies at the other.
“The last two years have been pretty tough, losing classmates and things like that,” Escobedo said. “But I think it has just made us closer as a unit. Even this year a couple guys have left early, but it has just made us a tighter unit and I think Coach is a big part of that.”
Parker, though, gave his squad a lot of credit. He told the team in the dressing room he was “proud to be their coach this year.”
“And I mentioned that I was happy that Wade Megan was my last captain, because he was a hell of a captain,” Parker said. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of those types of guys over my career here, over 40 years here. He was a terrific captain for us.”
“This wasn’t a hugging fest or a goodbye fest. We’ll see each other,” Parker continued. “It was more like any other time you lose your last game of the season. Kids are crying in the dressing room. They wanted to win it for the seniors, they wanted to go a little longer, they wanted to get a trophy.”
But as Megan put it, “It wasn’t meant to be.”
The seniors’ lasting legacy is yet to be determined. Will they be remembered as a troubled class, marred by people’s memories of the task force? One that failed to win anything on the ice? Or simply as Parker’s last?
Only time will tell for sure, but Megan has one idea.
With glassy eyes and a stare off into the distance, Megan found something else for the seniors to hang their collective hat on: laying a foundation for the future.
“What we did leave for this organization is we hopefully showed the freshmen and the younger guys what it means to wear the uniform and what it means to be a BU hockey player,” he said. “That’s very important to us. I think we did a good job of that.”

Three up, three down: Kurker, third line come through as BU advances to Hockey East semifinals

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

The No. 18 Boston University men’s hockey team finished up its Hockey East quarterfinals series with Merrimack College early on Saturday, winning the second game of the series 5-3 at Agganis Arena. Here is a look at what went right and what went wrong in Game 2.

Three Up

Sam Kurker and the third line
It was a big night for the third line of senior Ben Rosen and freshmen Matt Lane and Sam Kurker. For a unit that has struggled to score all season, only combining for nine goals all season before Saturday, it scored the game-tying and game-winning goals to help the Terriers advance to the Hockey East semifinals.

Kurker, who was moved to the power play for the first time this weekend, finally broke scoring drought which dated back to Dec. 6, 2012. In his 22 games since then, Kurker only totaled two assists. However, the Reading native credited his new role on the power play as a source of confidence.

“I love [playing on the power play],” Kurker said. “I’m a big guy out front just trying to battle out front and open up space for the skill guys around the top. Tonight it really worked out well.”

Sean Maguire
Freshman goaltender Sean Maguire may have lost his shutout streak at 151 minutes and 22 seconds, but he still had another strong night in net for BU. The Powell River, British Columbia native stopped 39 shots in his fourth consecutive win, including 18 in the second period.

In his six games since taking over the full-time starting goalie job on at the beginning of March, Maguire has a 1.68 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage. Senior captain Wade Megan noted that Maguire’s play as of late has helped the team play more confidently in front of him.

“When he is able to make saves and make them look easy it kind of puts a little calming effect through our team,” Megan said. “We just want to get in front of pucks and do what we can to keep the puck away from the net. But we know that if we make a mistake then he will be there to back us up.”

It was not an easy win by any means for BU Saturday night, but the Terriers are moving on to the semifinals thanks to their ability to respond to Merrimack’s goals. For every goal Merrimack scored, BU scored the next one until it pulled away with two goals in the third period.

Perhaps the most important goal of the game was Kurker’s goal in the final eight seconds of the second period. Merrimack forward John Gustafsson had just scored a goal to give his team the lead with a little more than a minute remaining in the frame. However, Kurker responded with a late power-play goal to give BU the momentum entering the game’s final period — momentum that turned into two more goals to seal the BU victory.

Three Down

Goals late in periods
It did not come back to hurt the Terriers in the end, but BU allowed a goal in the final two minutes of the first two periods Saturday night. The first goal — a breakaway goal by Merrimack forward Shawn Bates, was right at the final minute mark of the third period.

Goals late in periods tend to be the moments that shift the momentum of a game from one side to another. However, thanks to BU’s resiliency Saturday night, it was able to come back and pull ahead in the third period for the win.

Penalty Kill
BU entered Saturday’s game having killed off its last 20 penalties. However, after BU extended that streak to 21, Merrimack had little trouble scoring with a man advantage, scoring twice in its final two chances.

BU allowed a breakaway for Bates’ goal in the first before leaving Merrimack’s top scorer Mike Collins alone at the top of the circle for the Warriors’ second goal. It was the first time BU allowed more than one power-play goal in a game since Feb. 15 at the University of Maine.

The penalty kill definitely has to tighten up for its next game, as it will be facing off against Boston College’s power play, which is the best in Hockey East with a 22.4 conversion percentage. That is more than three percent better than UNH, which has the second-best power play in the league with an 18.9 percent conversion percentage.

Lots of shots
In what has become a bit of a trend, Maguire had to make a lot of saves Saturday night. The freshman had to make 39 saves in the win as BU allowed more than 40 shots.

Maguire has now made 30 or more saves in six of his last seven starts, showing that BU is letting a lot of shots through. Maguire is playing well enough to make enough saves to win, but he is forced to play well every night to keep the Terriers’ season alive.

From the FreeP: Terriers drop in rankings after rough weekend

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

After its two losses last weekend, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell from No. 9 to No. 11 in this week’s poll and from No. 10 to No. 11 in the USA Today poll. The Terriers (12–9–0, 9–6–0 Hockey East) are also now tied with next week’s opponent, Providence College, for third place in Hockey East after sitting alone in third for most of the season so far.

The Terriers’ bad weekend was a good weekend for the surging University of Massachusetts-Lowell, which moved from No. 18 to No. 15 and No. 15 to No. 12 in the two polls, respectively, with its 4–3 win over BU.

Providence is not ranked in either poll, although it received 24 votes in the poll.

Always a plus to have Hohmann on the ice
Sophomore forward Cason Hohmann leads the Terriers in plus-minus with a plus-17 rating. That puts him fourth in Hockey East and six points higher than the second-highest Terrier rating, which is the plus-11 of his linemate, senior Wade Megan.

Hohmann certainly is not an improbable candidate to lead that category, since he also leads BU in points (22) and assists (16). He is also tied for third in goals, with six, and has spent the year centering Megan, who leads the team and is tied for second in Hockey East with 12 goals.

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Injuries to Wade Megan, Ben Rosen may leave Terriers shorthanded

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

DENVER — There was a lot of room to move around on the Boston University men’s hockey team’s bench late in the third period of BU’s 6–0 loss Saturday night at the University of Denver. With a man in the penalty box and a whole lot more sent back to the locker room thanks to penalties and injuries, BU did not have a lot of options in terms of personnel.

The Terriers (10–6, 8–4 Hockey East) began sending their players back to the locker room starting in the first period when senior forward Ben Rosen was elbowed in the head by Denver (10–6–3, 7–4–3 WCHA) defenseman Scott Mayfield. Rosen glided to the bench in apparent pain while Mayfield was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Rosen, who was sick last night according to BU coach Jack Parker, did not return to the game. Parker said the fourth-line center is under evaluation for a concussion.

“He may or may not have a concussion so we’ll have to check him out tomorrow,” Parker said. “So it was definitely a precaution, but also might’ve been something to do with what happened with the food poisoning.”

Rosen was one of two seniors to go to the locker room with an injury in the contest, as senior captain Wade Megan left the ice holding his shoulder in the final three minutes after being tripped up on a rush. Megan did not have ice on his shoulder after the game and “should be fine” according to senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka.

With former Terrier Yasin Cissé gone for the QMJHL, and Justin Courtnall leaving the team shortly before the season’s start, the team has a limited number of forward options to turn to should Rosen or Megan miss any games.

The only other two options left at the forward position are senior Jake Moscatel and junior Matt Ronan, who have combined for one game played. That game was last year against Merrimack College on Feb. 3, when Ronan earned a spot in the lineup.

Moscatel, who played for BU’s club team in the fall of 2011, joined the Terriers that December as a walk-on. He is yet to see any playing time for the Terriers, but Ruikka said he thinks Parker would not hesitate to insert either him or Ronan into the lineup should Megan or Rosen be forced to miss any games.

“I think coach would give them a shot,” Ruikka said. “They have been working hard in practice and looking pretty good out there. If someone can’t play, they are the next ones in.”

Another option would be for the team to dress seven defensemen and only 11 forwards, but that is not an option for the next game thanks to sophomore Alexx Privitera’s game disqualification penalty he earned Saturday night.

Privitera, who had already been penalized on the night, jumped into a scrum in front of freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor in the second period and earned a matching roughing penalty with Denver forward Ty Loney. However, on his way up from the scrum, Privitera kicked Loney earned a suspension for BU’s next game.

Freshman blueliner Matt Grzelcyk has returned from Ufa, Russia after being the final player cut from the U.S. National Junior squad and should be ready for Friday’s game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. BU has also had a competition for the final defenseman spot going on all season between Ruikka and junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor, so finding a sixth defenseman to play is not a problem.

However, not having the seventh defenseman available could leave BU down to their last few options before playing a full game with fewer than 18 skaters.

“Yeah we are short kind of in numbers,” Ruikka said. “But we have got a lot of really good players. So if we just stick together and keep playing, we can play a few men down if we need to. We have got enough good players to get the job done I think.”

From the FreeP: Third, fourth lines push Terriers past SLU

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

The St. Lawrence University men’s hockey team has relied on star players, namely forwards Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey, to create most of its offense during the 2012–13 season. When the Saints marched into Agganis Arena Saturday night, it was only fitting that it was No. 10 Boston University’s depth forwards that propelled the Terriers to a 4–0 victory.

BU’s (7–4–0, 5–3–0 Hockey East) third and fourth lines matched up against Flanagan and Carey frequently because of the way St. Lawrence (6–4–2) sent out its four lines. SLU coach Greg Carvel played his top three lines in order and mixed in his fourth line every other time through the cycle, creating some tough matchups for BU.

“Our third and fourth lines were out there against their top two lines a lot, and they played extremely well defensively,” said BU coach Jack Parker.

Flanagan and Carey were limited to a combined four shots on goal and a minus-4 rating in the contest, in part thanks to the efforts of the bottom two lines. Senior forward Ben Rosen said the team’s communication and awareness was key to holding the dynamic duo without a point.

“Coach [Parker] looks to our line always as a big defensive line with [senior forward Ryan] Santana and I,” Rosen said. “We know as a fourth line that we have to be responsible and play defensive and we have to shut down their line.

“We were doing it and doing it, and I think Coach kept responding to that so it worked out well for us.”

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