Evan Rodrigues day-to-day, hand not broken

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Jack Parker spoke with an air of concern after the No. 10/11 Boston University men’s hockey team’s 3-2 win over Providence College Friday night. Sure, his team had won after falling behind 2-0, but it lost sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues to an apparent left hand injury after he got hit hard into the boards.

All is well, though, as Rodrigues’ hand is not fractured, according to team sports information director Brian Kelley on Twitter. Rodrigues is day-to-day and will miss Saturday’s game at Agganis Arena vs. the Friars.

With Rodrigues in one piece the Terriers look to have dodged a bullet. The Etobicoke, Ontario, native has been on fire of late, netting eight of his 18 points this season in the last four games, including BU’s first two goals Friday night.

The hot streak comes after Rodrigues went five games over the course of more than a month without a point.

“He arguably might be the best forward on our team right now, and sure is one of the hottest players in the league right now,” Parker said Friday night. “That’ll be tough to replace.”

Fortunately for him, the team won’t have to for too long.

Senior forward Ryan Santana is expected to replace Rodrigues as second-line right wing Saturday night.

Rodrigues’ absence also opens up a lineup spot for freshman forward Wes Myron, who “is chomping at the bit to get back in,” according to Parker, after being a healthy scratch the last two games.

Rodrigues shines, then leaves with possible broken hand

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — After more than 45 minutes of Friday’s game, the scoreboard could have read: Providence College 2, Evan Rodrigues 2.

The sophomore wing hadn’t done it all on his own, of course. Passes from his linemates, freshman Danny O’Regan and junior Matt Nieto, helped set him up to fire home his first goal.

On his second goal, though, he jammed home a rebound from close range, then went sliding across the ice on his stomach to celebrate tying the game 2-2.

“He’s just coming into his own,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “He’s one of the best players in the league, and he’s got a lot of confidence. He’s got a great line. Nieto’s playing great. O’Regan’s a great center-iceman.”
With the second goal, Rodrigues moved into a tie with O’Regan for the second-most goals on the team (eight) and third-most points (18). But that’s where his stat line will stay, at least for the next few games, after a hit from behind that sent him off the ice with what appeared to be a broken hand early in the third period. 

Rodrigues was battling Providence forward Noel Acciari for the puck in the corner behind Providence’s net. He appeared to lose an edge as Acciari shoved him from behind, and the combination of those factors sent him crashing face-first into the boards.

He crumpled to the ice immediately and lay there, holding his wrist, for a minute before he skated off, doubled over. He didn’t return, and BU coach Jack Parker said he would receive X-rays on his hand that night to evaluate the team’s suspicion that it was broken.

The sight of the Terriers’ only scorer gliding slowly off the ice could either have deflated BU or inspired them. They chose the latter. Moments after Rodrigues left the ice, junior wing Sahir Gill was upended behind the Providence net. When he got up, he picked up the puck at the side of the crease, carried it through defenders behind the net and slid a wraparound goal past Friar goalie Jon Gillies to give BU the lead.

Once they had the lead, even though Providence outshot them 13-7 in the third, the Terriers’ intensity didn’t flag. Forwards – notably Gill and senior forward Wade Megan – kept the puck moving forward out of BU’s zone.

When Providence beat freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and came down on a 2-on-1 on sophomore Alexx Privitera, Privitera almost wrestled the puck away from the Friar forward and into the corner until the rest of the Terriers could get back. BU’s pace had been picking up throughout the second, but once Rodrigues left the ice, they were relentless.

Gill said he thought losing Rodrigues had a visible impact on BU’s play for the rest of the third period.

“Guys’ shots are getting harder on the forecheck, and I thought we did a lot of the little things right,” he said.

Friday was Rodrigues’ second two-goal game out of his last three. Against Northeastern University on Jan. 18, he had two goals and two assists, and he had one goal the next night against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

“He arguably might be the best forward on our team right now, and sure is one of the hottest players in the league right now,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “That’ll be tough to replace.”

With Rodrigues out at the very least for the near future, more offensive responsibility falls on the shoulders of Nieto and Gill. Both have played better after slow starts to the season. Gill has at least one point in five of his last six games, and Nieto has crept back up to tie for third on the team with six goals.

Gill was also one of the most visible players on the ice on Friday – first with his goal, then with two breakaway attempts in the next several minutes. He didn’t score on either, but he showed the speed and determination he’ll need to replace Rodrigues’ finishing touch.

“Even if he’s in the lineup or if not, we’re two guys that need to step up,” Gill said of himself and Nieto. “Just speaking for myself, it’s got to be better. Close isn’t good enough this time of year.”

Three up, three down: Sean Maguire stops 32 in win at Providence

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The No. 10/11 Boston University men’s hockey team fell behind early to Providence College, but used two goals from sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues and a late tally from junior forward Sahir Gill to clinch a 3–2 victory at Schneider Arena Friday night.

Here is a look at what went right and what went wrong for the Terriers.

Three up

Maguire bounces back
Freshman goaltender Sean Maguire struggled in his last outing, allowing six goals in a 6–5 loss to Northeastern University. However, the Powell River, British Columbia, native recovered nicely in the win, making 32 saves in the effort.

“Bouncing back is probably one of the hardest things to do,” Maguire said. “The boys really worked well in front of me today and they helped me do that.”

Some of his best efforts came at the end of the third period, including save in which he made a full split to kick aside a shot from forward Paul de Jersey on a rebound.

With the exception of the loss to Northeastern, Maguire has not allowed more than two goals in a game since his second career start at the University of North Dakota. Following the win Friday, Maguire leads the team with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

Sahir Gill steps up late
The moment sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues went down with an apparent hand injury, junior forward Sahir Gill took his game to a new level. The following shift after absorbing a big hit behind Providence goalie Jon Gillies, Gill took the puck by a defenseman in the slot, around the net and tucked the puck inside the post for the game-winning goal.

The 5-foot-10 forward was not done though, as he made some nice plays on the penalty kill to help preserve the lead. He even skated in on breakaways twice, but Gillies shut him down both times with nice stops.

With the goal on the night, Gill improved his total to five on the season. Gill, who scored 12 goals last season, will need to continue stepping up as the season continues, especially if Rodrigues misses significant time with the injury.

Taking fewer penalties
The Terriers took a couple of almost costly penalties down the stretch, but held themselves to only three penalties in a very close game. The lack of time on the penalty kill was key to BU coming back throughout the game, as it only took one penalty throughout the first two periods.

This was a change from its 4–3 loss to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, when BU took seven penalties and spent a large portion of the game in the penalty box. BU had taken four or more penalties in three of its last four losses, so staying out of the penalty box was an important factor in coming out on top.

“It’s beneficial anytime, you don’t wear out your guys,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “But it was big tonight the way we penalized ourselves the last two games, and I thought we were better disciplined job staying out of the box but still playing real hard.”

Three Down
Losing Rodrigues
The Terriers may have won the game but an injury to Rodrigues will leave a sour taste in the mouth of BU fans. Providence forward Noel Acciari hit Rodrigues from behind behind Gillies and appeared to injure Rodrigues’ wrist on the play.

Rodrigues was in the middle of a two-goal performance in which he had not only scored goals, but made a few nifty passes to create scoring chances for his linemates. The sophomore from Etobicoke, Ontario had scored five goals and three assists in his last four games, and had been a sparkplug on what has been BU’s best line of late.

It remains to be seen how long Rodrigues will be out, but his absence will certainly leave a large hole in the Terriers’ offense.

Another Slow Start
With another slow start in tonight’s game, BU struggling out of the gate is becoming a trend. The Terriers allowed two goals and struggled to get the puck out of its own end for most of the first period before taking a little bit of momentum at the end of the frame.

The first goal was the result of a lost coverage after an offensive-zone turnover by freshman forward Sam Kurker. That was followed by another missed coverage after a defensive zone faceoff that allowed forward Brandon Tanev to backhand one around Maguire.

“There’s two goals that were absolutely nothing to do with Sean Maguire,” Parker said. “But give our team credit. We came back and played hard and the last five minutes of the period we came out pretty good.”

Power play woes
The Terriers had a chance to really take momentum of the game in the second period when Providence took three penalties. However, the BU power play struggled to create any chances and failed to score on Gillies.

BU’s power play has picked up its performance as of late, scoring four times in its last two games. However, the unit did not gel as well tonight, and consistently had shots from the point blocked and sent back out to center ice.

UPDATED: No. 10/11 Terriers come from behind, top Providence 3-2

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A win is a win, especially the way the No. 10/11 Boston University men’s hockey team has played of late, but this one hurts a little more than victories usually do.

The Terriers (13-9, 10-6 Hockey East) overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat Providence College, 3-2, at Schneider Arena Friday night. Junior forward Sahir Gill scored the game-winning goal in the third period moments after sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues, who scored BU’s first two goals, left the game holding his left hand after being hit hard into the boards.

“Against a team that’s really hard to play against because they paly so hard, I felt we real competed from the goaltender on out,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “The whole core of defensemen and the forward lines really, really came to play tonight. And as the game progressed I thought we played better and better.”

Providence forward Noel Acciari checked Rodrigues into the glass behind the Friar (10-10-3, 8-6-3 Hockey East) goal. Rodrigues lost his stick and a glove on the play and sat on the ice for a couple minutes before skating away with a trainer.

He did not return to the game. Parker said Rodrigues would get x-rays Friday night and that the hand may be broken. Senior forward Ryan Santana replaced him as second-line right wing for the rest of the game, and Parker indicated it would stay that way Saturday when BU hosts Providence.

“You never like to see that. He’s a good player for our team and when someone goes down like that, you know it gets everyone a little more competitive, a little more fire in their step,” Gill said. “I think it showed.”

Without BU’s most impressive player on the night, that extra fire may have shown the most in Gill. He avoided a stickless PC defender and finished with a wraparound goal to put BU up 3-2 at 7:14 in the third.

Play got even more chippy after the tally and resulted in a skirmish near BU’s net at the final buzzer after the Terrier defensive corps bore down and held on for the win.

BU’s win — just its third of the month — didn’t come without its difficulties, though.

The first period was an ugly one for the Terriers, who fell behind 2-0 at 16:48.

First Providence’s leading scorer, sophomore Ross Mauermann, put the Friars up 1-0 at 7:52 by deflecting a long pass seconds after a turnover from freshman forward Sam Kurker in the neutral zone.

PC freshman Brandon Tanev doubled the lead 10 minutes later before Rodrigues got one back for BU in the final minute of the frame.

Junior forward Matt Nieto collected his seventh point in five games on the play by setting up Rodrigues’ low wrist shot with a drop pass.

“The way the game went, you go down 2-0 and things are starting to get a little familiar,’ Gill said. “You might get a little nervous, ‘here we go again.’ Getting that one, especially late in the first period, it’s big. That gives us momentum going into the second period.”

Momentum in hand, BU came out faster and stronger to start the second.

Rodrigues tied it up 5:52 in the second, this time thanks to assists from freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and freshman forward Danny O’Regan. After Grzelcyk’s initial shot, Rodrigues banged home the rebound from between the crease and the right circle before getting knocked backward.

The Terriers played stronger overall in the second, partly due to three Friar penalties. In the final two minutes of the frame senior captain Wade Megan and Grzelcyk came flying down the left wing on separate occasions, only to have their respective shots be saved or go off the pipe.

After Gill’s eventual game-winner the Friars continued to test freshman goaltender Sean Maguire, peppering him with a number of shots in the final minutes. He made 13 saves in the third — including a toe save on rebound by freshman Paul de Jersey — and 32 overall, an important return to form after giving up six goals his last time out

“Sean gave us just what we need: a real backstop, a real ‘Go ahead boys, I’ll take care of some stuff for you,’” Parker said. “And he did it to the nines.”

Parker was also impressed with his defensemen overall, mentioning sophomore Alexx Privitera, senior Sean Escobedo and Grzelcyk by name.

The team will look for more improvement Saturday at Agganis Arena when BU hosts the Friars, two of four teams separated by just two points in the top half of the Hockey East standings.

“Close isn’t good enough this time of year,” Gill said. “It’s not trying to find yourself as a team or as a player. You either show up or you don’t, and you’re either in the playoffs or you’re not.

“So I think it was a good win for us, at least a good game to stop the bleeding a little, and just have focus and we’ve got another game against them tomorrow night. That’s where our focus is now.”

Three up, three down: Northeastern’s forecheck dooms Terriers in 6-5 loss

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
The No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team’s third-period comeback wasn’t enough against the visiting Northeastern Huskies Friday night, and the Terriers turned in another overall poor performance in the 6-5 loss.
There were some bright spots, though, things BU (12-8, 9-5 Hockey East) will look to carry into tomorrow’s matchup with the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, also at Agganis Arena.
Here’s a quick look at what went right and what went wrong for BU.
Three up
The beginning of the third
Entering the third period down by three, the Terriers came out with three goals in less than seven minutes. Sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues got the first two, then freshman forward Danny O’Regan tied it up by poking a rebound by Northeastern goalie Chris Rawlings.
The Terriers came out of the locker room with a fire lit under them, played much more physically in the first half of the final frame and landed a few big but clean hits.
After O’Regan’s tally, though, Northeastern coach Jim Madigan took a timeout to settle his crew down.
It worked. The Huskies (7-10-2, 4-8-2 Hockey East) held BU scoreless the rest of the way and paved the way for some late dramatics of their own.
As Parker put it, “that game was a 60-minute game, not a six-minute game.”
The second line
Parker has insisted of late that he has not a first and second line but two first lines, and Friday vs. Northeastern his team gave him just that. Left wing Matt Nieto (1g, 1a), center O’Regan (1g, 2a) and right wing Rodrigues (2g, 2a) powered BU’s offense, and not only during the comeback
Although Nieto accrued the fewest points of the three, his first-period goal got the scoring started for BU.
He’s now collected six points (3g, 3a) in his last three games, and scored 12 points (5g, 7a) in 10 career games vs. Northeastern.
Power play                                                  
The Terriers went 3-for-6 and garnered 11 shots with the man-advantage Friday night, including a pair of power-play goals on back-to-back chances to give them what was at the time a 2-1 lead in the first period.
Both goals featured the scorer — first Nieto, then junior assistant captain Garrett Noonan — wide open, and both easily took advantage.
O’Regan’s game-tying tally in the third was also on the power play.
Although it didn’t do the Terriers any good in the end, the success on the man-advantage Friday represents an improvement over what the Terriers had done of late. BU had been just 1-for-15 on the power play in four games since Christmas.
“That was probably the only positive,” Parker said. “We moved the puck pretty well there.”
Three down
Handling Northeastern’s forecheck
The fact that BU has had a problem on defense lately is no secret — it has given up six goals in three of its five games since the team returned from break — and Friday night the pressure Northeastern put on BU’s blueliners didn’t help.
An unassisted goal from Northeastern’s star freshman forward, Kevin Roy, was just one example. It was the result of freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen getting pressured behind BU’s net and spitting up the puck to Roy low in the slot.
We put a lot of emphasis on our forecheck and Cody [Ferriero, Northeastern junior,] did a great job there,” Roy said. “We know the defensemen on BU are really skilled and they try to make plays, but sometimes they cough up the puck. It just came in front and I was there in the right place at the right time. It is all from a good forecheck.”
Sean Maguire
BU’s freshman goaltender — well, one of them — came into the game with a chance to put some room between himself and classmate Matt O’Connor if he could put up another standout performance.
He didn’t. Maguire gave up six goals, his most in any game this season. It was the first time he allowed more than two goals since he gave up three to North Dakota on Nov. 2.
The rough game upped his goals-against average to 2.39 and lowered his save percentage to .923.
Parker defended Maguire, saying he was “definitely a victim” of poor defense.
He was playing with a team in front of him that was backing right into him,” Parker said.
Vinny Saponari, getting the best of BU — again
It’s one thing to lose the way BU did — after coming back from a three-goal deficit — but it has to sting a little more with the former Terrier and current Northeastern captain getting the game-winning goal.
It was the second straight BU-Northeastern matchup in which Saponari netted the game-winner, the first being March 3, both teams’ 2011-12 regular-season finale.
Noonan was mum on the topic, and Parker “guaranteed” all the Huskies, Saponari included, get pumped up to play BU.
Vaponari was willing to spare a few more words.
It is always fun. I have a lot of friends on the team still. I’m pretty close with everyone so there is always friendly banter back and forth,” he said. “To get a game-winning goal in any game is fun, but against your friends and your former team it was even funner. So it was good.”

UPDATED: Terriers fall to Huskies, 6-5, despite late comeback

 By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
Despite a three-goal third-period comeback, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team fell again at the hands of former Terrier Vinny Saponari, who scored the deciding goal late in Northeastern University’s 6-5 win on Friday.

BU goalie Sean Maguire had a rough game without much support from his defense, allowing those six goals on 38 shots. His opposite, Chris Rawlings, let in five goals on 34 BU shots.

“I was very disappointed in our demeanor out there, our confidence level out there,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “It seems like we’re jumpy now. It seems like we’re afraid it’s going to go wrong, and it does go wrong.”

After a strong shift in the Huskies’ zone in the first period, freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen got caught too deep in the offensive zone as a pair of Huskies came back the other way against his partner, senior Ryan Ruikka. Northeastern senior Robbie Vrolyk got around Ruikka for a shot that Maguire couldn’t handle cleanly, and the puck flipped over him and into the net.
BU (12-8, 9-5 Hockey East) tied it up quickly, though, when freshman forward Danny O’Regan fed a cross-crease pass to junior Matt Nieto, who one-timed it into an open net with Rawlings out of position. The goal came in the waning seconds of a BU power play with the Huskies’ Braden Pimm in the box. 
Then, with Northeastern defenseman Colton Saucerman in the box, junior assistant captain Garrett Noonan kept it rolling for BU. At the top of the circle, Noonan took a pass from low in the zone and ripped a wrist shot over Rawlings to make it 2-1.
Northeastern (7-10-2, 4-8-2 Hockey East) tied it up again with 2:34 remaining in the second. When BU couldn’t clear away the rebounds after Maguire kicked out on a series of shots, Husky forward Adam Reid eventually flipped one top-shelf.
Less than a minute later, Oksanen lost the puck behind the net and Northeastern freshman Kevin Roy took control of it. He also flipped a shot, this one a backhander, over Maguire before the goalie could get back in position.

“When they got possession of the puck in our zone, they threw it behind the net and we just couldn’t seem to keep them from getting it to the crease,” Parker said. “We wound up on the wrong side of them a lot.”

BU failed to register a shot through the first several minutes of the second period. In that time, Northeastern stretched its lead to 4-2 when junior Cody Ferriero stuffed in a rebound that had been bouncing around in front of Maguire.
The Terriers’ pace picked up somewhat after that, and they finished the second period with 22 shots after beginning it with eight. However, Northeastern had the bulk of the chances from prime real estate in front of the net, and they made Maguire work much harder than the Terriers did Rawlings.
With about four minutes remaining in the second, Ferriero carried the puck in on Privitera, who went down to block the anticipated shot in a manner that’s served him well this season. This time, though, Ferreiro hung onto the puck, maneuvered around him and shot high over Maguire to make it 5-2.

That kind of play was characteristic of the game, as Terrier defensemen found themselves out of position at the wrong time or simply made a series of bad decisions.

“We wound up letting them sift through our 2-on-1 too,” Parker said. “I don’t remember too many 3-on-2s or 4-on-3s, but there were a lot of 2-on-2s that turned into something awful for us, whether it be a goal or just a real good chance, because we just didn’t read it or play it right. And we backed off, backed off, backed off. We had a lot of defensemen get beat on one-on-ones tonight.”

The game was far from over, though, as the Terriers answered less than a minute into the third period. O’Regan found sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues wide open between the circles and hit him with a pass, and Rodrigues had all the time in the world to fire a shot over Rawlings for his fourth goal of the year.
Then BU caught a bit of luck. Off the faceoff, Grzelcyk controlled the puck and passed across to Noonan, who fired the puck into the crossbar. But on its way back out, the puck hit Rawlings in the back and rolled into the crease, where Rodrigues poked it in for his second goal of the night to make it 5-4.
Fittingly, it was Rodrigues and O’Regan who teamed up to tie the game at five, 6:36 into the third. After an initial shot on net, Rodrigues took the puck below the goal line and tried to stuff it in. He failed as Rawlings got over just in time, but the rebound came to O’Regan on the other side of the net, and he tapped it in.
But perhaps even more fittingly, it was Saponari, just as it was on the last day of the regular season last year, who put the Terriers away, sliding the puck past Maguire with just 2:03 left in the game for a 6-5 finish.

Parker said the defense was the team’s biggest problem, as it has frequently been in recent weeks, and that that has to change Saturday night against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

“We’ve got to solve that problem,” Parker said. “We’ve got to solve that quickly, because we’re playing the hottest team in college hockey [Saturday] night.”