Live blog: Third time’s a charm? BU plays BC in Beanpot semis

Time/location (TV): 8:30 p.m., TD Garden (NESN)

BU lines:
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Danny O’Regan
Matt Lane – Cason Hohmann – Nick Roberto
Tommy Kelley – Mike Moran – Kevin Duane
Brendan Collier – Dillon Lawrence – Matt Ronan

Garrett Noonan – T.J. Ryan
Doyle Somerby – Dalton MacAfee
Ahti Oksanen – Patrick MacGregor

Matt O’Connor
Sean Maguire
Anthony Moccia

BC lines: 
 Quinn Smith – Michael Sit – Brendan Silk
Johnny Gaudreau – Bill Arnold – Kevin Hayes
Ryan Fitzgerald – Patrick Brown – Austin Cangelosi
Destry Straight – Adam Gilmour – Chris Calnan

Isaac MacLeod – Steve Santini
Teddy Doherty – Michael Matheson
Scott Savage – Danny Linell

Thatcher Demko
Brian Billett
Brad Barone

Referees: Scott Hanson, Tim Low
Assistant Referees: Chris Aughe, Marc Sullivan
Live blog:

From the FreeP: BU readies for Beanpot opener

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

If the Boston University men’s hockey team is going to make it to the Beanpot Tournament final, it is going to need to do something it has not done in two tries this season — beat No. 2 Boston College.

The Eagles (19-4-3, 12-1-1 Hockey East) have outscored the Terriers (8-14-3, 3-8-2 Hockey East) 11-5 this season, and have won each of the last four Beanpots — beating the Terriers in overtime two of the last three tournaments. Even with the tournament favorite in front of them, though, BU coach David Quinn said he has confidence that his team can make it through his team’s rival.

“It can absolutely happen,” Quinn said. “It was a hockey game last time we played them, relative to the first time we played them where I thought we were in fear. We played afraid. I don’t think we are going to play afraid tomorrow night.”

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Pluses and Minuses: Penalty kill the difference in tilt with BC

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

CHESTNUT HILL — And then there was a spark.

It didn’t yield a win, and the Boston University men’s hockey team is now winless in its last seven games, but Friday’s 6-4 loss to No. 3/4 Boston College showed a level of play the Terriers have not displayed thus far in 2014.

Minuses

Paltry penalty kill
Going into last Saturday’s tilt with the University of Maine at Frozen Fenway, the Terriers had an 85 percent success rate on its penalty kill. Since then, though, something has gone awry as BU has given up five power-play goals in eight chances in the past two games.

Senior captain Garrett Noonan was the only Terrier to take a seat in the penalty box Friday evening – first for interference in the opening frame, then for holding in the second. Each time, Boston College, who has the eighth ranked power-play unit in the conference, monopolized on its advantage.

Before Friday’s game, BU coach David Quinn implied that the Terriers might be doing too much on the penalty kill. After the game, he added that not having sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and junior wing Evan Rodrigues also has an impact.

“It has killed us the last two games and it has been pretty good over the course of the season,” Quinn said of his team’s penalty kill. “Probably some of that has to do with some of the guys we have out. They’re key penalty killers. We have got to clean that up a little bit.”

Defense
Just like the penalty kill is suffering from the team’s injuries, so is the Terriers’ overall defense. Don’t let sophomore Sean Maguire’s increasing goals-against average confuse you, the netminder had one of the better games in goal than either he or classmate Matt O’Connor has had in the second half of the season.

Maguire bailed out the Terriers’ defense multiple times during the game, including a spree during the second where he stopped three consecutive shots, including a breakaway chance, before a BU turnover led to a goal by BC wing Quinn Smith.

“The job he did when I put him in against Maine gave us a chance,” Quinn said. “And he certainly gave us a chance tonight.”
Pluses

Physical first period
Quinn said after BU’s loss at Fenway that he hoped the team’s strong play in the final frame of the game would carry over to BC, and it did. While the Eagles showed more skill during the first period, BU showed a physicality that has been missing so far in the second half.

“It’s certainly something we talk an awful lot about as does every coach in the country and that’s something that’s a will, that’s a want,” Quinn said. “I thought we were more committed to play in the body, which we have a tendency to get there and put the head down and look for the puck and not gear all of our energy to playing through people.”

Along with that aggressive play came an early lead as freshman center Robbie Baillargeon took a shot from the left circle that ricocheted off the top shelf and out of the net.

Ryan pots first goal
About three minutes into the final frame, freshman wing T.J. Ryan netted the first goal of his collegiate career when he flipped the puck over BC netminder Brian Billett to make it a 3-2 game.

That goal had a little more meaning for Ryan, though, who, as Quinn pointed out, has a family history that involves both BU and BC. While Ryan’s grandfather is a big supporter and an alum of BC, his father, Tom, was the co-captain of the Terriers along with Quinn during the 1987-88 season and does the color commentary for the Terriers’ radio broadcasts.

“I would imagine if he had to pick a game where he was going to score a goal, I’d be it would be Conte Forum,” Quinn said.

“Anytime you get your first goal it’s a big deal, but when you get it in a BC-BU game in Conte Forum, I’m sure it has a little more meaning to it.”

Third-period comebacks continue to fall just short for Terriers

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

CHESTNUT HILL — The Boston University men’s hockey team was finally on the attack. It had scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the period to pull within one of No. 3/4 Boston College, and it was threatening to tie the game with the extra attacker on and less than a minute to go.

But just as it looked like the comeback would be complete, BC forward Johnny Gaudreau killed the comeback with one quick flick of the wrist.

“Some kind of chip shot turnaround backhand from the red line rolls into the net dead-center,” said BC coach Jerry York. “Like I said to him, if there were 10 pucks, looking at it, he would probably make four of them.”

The unlikely empty-netter proved to be the dagger to BU’s comeback in the 6-4 loss, which was the just the latest of comeback attempts to fall short for the Terriers. If there is any positive to be taken from the latest contest in this seven-game winless streak for BU, it is that it has continued to use strong third-period efforts to pull within a goal in the final minutes of its losses.

“Obviously you hate losing, but I thought we took a big step in the right direction tonight,” said BU coach David Quinn. “It actually started in the third period against [the University of] Maine. So hopefully we will get rewarded with a win and hopefully we can start creating a little bit of a snowball effect from a winning aspect kind of like how this losing aspect has kind of picked up the snowball effect.”

The third period against Maine that Quinn referenced was one in which the team was down 5-0 with only 12 minutes remaining in the game at Frozen Fenway. Three goals in less than seven minutes later, and suddenly the Maine lead was all the way down to two.

Just like against BC, however, the comeback was put to rest with a long empty-net goal — this time from defenseman Ben Hutton. The goal was from an even greater distance than Gaudreau’s empty-netter, as the puck was shot from right next to his own goal line. Maine sophomore Devin Shore added another empty-netter to make the final score look even more like a blowout a little more than a minute later.

Empty-net goals have been a problem for the Terriers as of late, as they have allowed five in their last five games. The empty-net goals do not happen if BU has a lead, but BU has not led in the third period since its last win on Nov. 30 against Cornell University.

To Quinn, the key to finishing the team’s comeback efforts is to stop falling behind by so much in the first place.

“If it’s 3-2 through the course of the third period, and you pull your goalie, I think there’s a little bit more of an opportunity,” Quinn said. “You see that in basketball a lot. A team’s got a 25-point lead, all of a sudden they whittle it down to seven or six, and then it’s just not — you don’t have enough gas in the tank.

“I think that might be happening to us a little bit, but not only did we make it 5-4, we had some chances to make it 5-5 without the goalie pulled.”

Perhaps BU will avoid falling behind early Saturday night against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. For now though, these comebacks are showing that despite their losing streak and serious injury trouble, the Terriers left standing are not going down without a fight.

“We’ve got good character guys in the room,” Quinn said. “We have good leadership. We don’t stop. We get down 5-2 to that team and you can pack it in easily, and we made a game of it.”

UPDATED: Bruised BU beaten by Boston College as winless streak continues

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

CHESTNUT HILL — David Quinn had discussed dressing fewer than the standard 18 skaters before. It was a little over a month ago, right after the Boston University men’s hockey team lost to Bentley University, and it was in reference to when he was part of a University of Nebraska-Omaha coaching staff that had done just that to penalize poor play.

Friday night at Conte Forum, Quinn did just as he threatened — but not by choice. Several injuries — and one quitter — forced Quinn’s hand as the Terriers dressed all 17 available skaters in a 6-4 loss to No. 3/4 Boston College, stretching BU’s winless streak to seven games and seven weeks.

Despite the score, it could have been worse for the Terriers (7-12-2, 2-6-1 Hockey East) considering they were rolling five defensemen and their injured fourth-line center, freshman Dillon Lawrence, was not ready to play as of Thursday afternoon, according to Quinn. BU’s particularly physical play against the more talented Eagles (15-4-3, 9-1-1 Hockey East), as well as some opportunistic scoring, made the game a competitive one longer than some others in 2014.

“We probably took a big step in the right direction tonight,” Quinn said. “We competed more than we have been through this stretch where we’ve been struggling.”

The victors outshot BU by a 44-27 margin — including 19-9 in the second period — and scored on both of their power-play opportunities. BC also won 45 faceoffs, losing just 28.

Sophomore Sean Maguire made 38 saves, one shy of his season high. He was particularly impressive early in the second when Eagles peppered him with 10 shots in the first six minutes, temporarily keeping the game tied.

“He certainly gave us a chance tonight,” Quinn said.

BU got on the board at 10:47 in the first when freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon, skating in the left circle, snipped the top-right corner over BC netminder Brian Billett’s glove.

The Terriers appeared poised to go into the first intermission with that 1-0 lead until Eagle freshman Adam Gilmour knotted the score during a power play in the last minute. Skating across the crease, Gilmour backhanded it by Maguire.

“BU really took it to us the first period,” said BC coach Jerry York, who recorded his 950th win. “We were upset with that first period.”

BC scored twice in the second and took the 3-1 lead into the final period. Junior Quinn Smith finished a big rebound at 4:35, then his classmate, Johnny Gaudreau, one-timed a shot from the slot at 11:05.

Gaudreau’s tally, his 20th of the year, ended a sequence of crisp Eagle passes during another power play.

Freshman wing T.J. Ryan cut the deficit to one 2:50 into the third — he deflected a Kevin Duane centering pass for his first career goal — but the Eagles opened it back up with goals from freshmen Chris Calnan and Gilmour three minutes apart.

Sophomore center Mike Moran finished his own rebound to make it 5-3, and junior wing Cason Hohmann once more made it a one-goal game with a power-play tally at the 16:32 mark.

Again, however, the Terriers’ third-period comeback bid fell short, just as it did against Harvard and Maine in recent weeks.

“We got down 5-2, which we are used to,” Quinn said. “And we are used to responding the way we did.

“And forget it, we have got the goalie pulled.”

Gaudreau added an empty-netter in the final minute.

“He’s as good a player as there is in the country,” Quinn said. “[Gaudreau] kind of flips it backhanded from the blue line and it goes right in the middle of the net. Most players I’d guess they were lucky, but not him. I think he planned that.”

Live blog: BU visits BC looking for first win since November

Time/location (TV): 7 p.m., Conte Forum (NESN)

BU lines:
Nick Roberto – Danny O’Regan – Cason Hohmann
Brandon Collier – Robbie Baillargeon – Matt Lane
Tommy Kelley – Mike Moran – T.J. Ryan
Matt Ronan – Dillon Lawrence – Kevin Duane
Garrett Noonan – Ahti Oksanen
Doyle Somerby – Patrick MacGregor
                          – Dalton MacAfee
Sean Maguire
Matt O’Connor
Anthony Moccia
BC lines:
Quinn Smith – Michael Sit – Danny Linell
Johnny Gaudreau – Bill Arnold – Kevin Hayes
Ryan Fitzgerald – Patrick Brown – Austin Cangelosi
Chris Calnan – Adam Gilmour – Brendan Silk
Isaac MacLeod – Steven Santini
Scott Savage – Michael Matheson
Ian McCoshen – Teddy Doherty
Brian Billett
Thatcher Demko
Brad Barone
Referees: Jeff Bunyon, John Gravallese
Assistant Referees: Chris Aughe, Bob Bernard
Live blog:

From the FreeP: Terriers enter matchup at BC with injury-depleted lineup

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn kept knocking on wood Thursday afternoon. He did this whenever he talked about the health of his players, saying he “can’t afford not to do that,” after his team’s recent luck.

Senior winger Jake Moscatel and junior winger Evan Rodriguez have not played since Jan. 4 at Harvard University, sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has been out with a shoulder injury suffered in practice Jan. 9 and freshman forward Dillon Lawrence injured his foot during BU’s (7-11-2, 2-5-1 Hockey East) Frozen Fenway contest against the University of Maine on Jan. 11.

With the departure of forward Sam Kurker for the Indiana Ice of the USHL, BU is down to 16 healthy skaters as it heads to Conte Forum for its rivalry matchup with No. 3/4 Boston College Friday night.

“I still think you’ve got enough bodies,” Quinn said. “On paper, it looks like, ‘Oh my god.’ Plenty of teams play 11 forwards and five D during the course of the game even when they’ve got 12 forwards dressed and six defensemen dressed.”

The biggest blow of the bunch is the Grzelcyk injury, which will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season, according to Quinn. Grzelcyk leads the team with 61 shots this season, and Quinn had praised him as the team’s best player this season.

Grzelcyk’s injury coming in the midst of the team’s four-game losing streak is becoming a lot to handle for the Terriers.

When it rains, it pours, huh,” Quinn said.

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Johnny Gaudreau’s dominance serves as reminder of BU’s offensive woes

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Sports

When Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau carried the puck through the slot and around the left side of the net, all of the eyes in the rink shifted to the right side where the diminutive forward was expected to emerge. Gaudreau, who only stands at 5-foot-8, disappeared behind the net for a second, and in the blink of an eye the red goal light flashed with Eagles forward Bill Arnold raising his hands in the air.

Gaudreau had done the unexpected — something he is remarkably good at doing — and curled a pass to the side of the net he was coming from. With every player on the ice looking for him to attempt a wraparound, he flipped the puck onto Arnold’s tape, where he had all the time in the world to snap the puck into a gaping net.

“I think he is the only player I’ve ever played with that would know to not shoot that kind of on a mini breakaway there and take it behind the net, curl and throw it back out and it was a wide open net,” Arnold said. “It is the easiest goal you are ever going to score. It was just a tremendous play by him.”

The assist was just one of three points that Gaudreau had in No. 8 BC’s 5-1 beatdown of the No. 17 Boston University men’s hockey team at Agganis Arena Friday night, and it was the type of play that only an elite player makes.

NHL fans know players like Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins can weave through defenses and pull off dekes that leave defenders cross-eyed. Gaudreau, who was a Hobey Baker finalist last season, is that type of elite playmaker at this level.

“He’s just a great college player,” said BU coach David Quinn. “He’s very, very dangerous every time he has the puck. And if you don’t get to him quickly, and if you don’t play through him, you’re going to suffer. We certainly suffered tonight because of that.”

With the goal and two assists he notched Friday night, the Carneys Point, N.J., native jumped ahead of Providence College’s Ross Mauermann and Northeastern University’s Kevin Roy and Mike Szmatula (13 points apiece) with 14 points on the season. He is also tied for the Hockey East lead in goals with seven on the season.

For BU though, watching Gaudreau dance around the offensive zone was something it has not seen much of this season. The Terriers have struggled to put pucks in opposing nets this season, in part due to the fact that they do not appear to have that type of impact forward on their roster at the moment.

BU’s offense this season has come from its defensemen, as sophomore Ahti Oksanen (nine points) and senior Garrett Noonan (eight points) lead the team in scoring. Junior center Cason Hohmann and freshman winger Robbie Baillargeon are tied for the team lead in scoring among forwards with seven points apiece. If one were to combine their point totals, they would be tied for as many points as Gaudreau has scored through the first eight games of the season, and they would have three fewer goals.

There are just not that many scoring threats at the forward position for the Terriers. The team is eighth in Hockey East with 2.44 goals per game, which is in part due to their lack of scoring depth. The Terriers have only gotten three even strength goals from players who were playing on the bottom two lines all season. Without the offensive depth, the burden falls upon the top six forwards to score goals. However, even that is not happening with regularity, as sophomores Danny O’Regan and Matt Lane lead the team with only three goals on the year.

BU has looked like it is missing a player like Gaudreau or Roy who can take over a game offensively and spark what has proven to be a rather limited offense. The Terriers have scored one goal in four of their last five games. Not including their 7-3 blowout over the University of Wisconsin, BU is averaging less than two goals per game.

Friday night, when BU watched Gaudreau take charge and carry the Eagles to an easy victory, Quinn watched a player in maroon and gold do what he has been looking for his forwards to do — play with confidence and be ready to make a play.

“If you’re going to create offense, you’ve got to move the puck quickly, you’ve got to be ready when the puck comes to you,” Quinn said. “You can’t let it surprise you. You’ve got to be ready to shoot it, and we’re not there yet.”