Terriers downed by Crimson 5-2, finish fourth in 2019 Beanpot

The Boston University men’s hockey team dropped its fifth consecutive game on Monday night, falling to Harvard University 5-2 in the consolation game of the 2019 Beanpot.

We wanted a nice game of shinny, and [Harvard] wanted a real game of hockey,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

The two sides would remain scoreless after the first 20 minutes. Harvard (13-7-3, 9-5-2 ECAC) attempted 31 total shots in the period, but BU freshman goaltender Vinnie Purpura, making just his second start with the Terriers, was up to the task for the 12 shots on target.

BU (10-14-3, 8-7-2 Hockey East) only tallied five shots on goal in the opening frame, but the Crimson were able to block 11 Terrier efforts, to their credit. Still, the discrepancy in terms of shots, especially early, continues to be a concern for BU.

According to O’Connell, “it’s frustrating, because that’s probably one of the only things we talked about – being ready to show up on time, being ready to go.”

The lopsided offensive play continued into the second period, with the Crimson leading in shots on goal by a whopping 32-14 after 40 minutes. As the opportunities piled up, Harvard were eventually rewarded for their persistence.

Nearing the halfway point of the period, junior forward Frédéric Grégoire drew first blood on a rocket from Purpura’s left that snuck in under the bar. The assists were credited to junior defenseman John Marino and sophomore defenseman Reilly Walsh.

Walsh was involved in the second Crimson tally seven minutes later, receiving the puck from junior forward Colton Kerfoot and feeding it to an uncontested Jack Badini outside BU crease. The sophomore forward converted easily, and Harvard held a 2-0 lead at the second break.

“It wasn’t a good first period, and the second was even worse,” said Coach O’Connell.

The game opened up in the third, starting with BU finally getting on the board six minutes in. A driven pass by sophomore defenseman David Farrance at the blue line was knocked centrally by freshman forward Joel Farabee, where fellow forward Patrick Curry tapped it in. The goal was the junior’s tenth of the season, and cut the Crimson lead in half.

“I thought we played pretty well for stretches of the third,” said the first-year BU head coach.

BU could not capitalize on the momentum of Curry’s tally, as Harvard restored the two-goal lead at the 12:28 mark. In 4-on-4 play, a trio of Crimson attackers flooded the BU zone, and it was Grégoire who drilled one past Vinnie Purpura for his second goal of the game.

Purpura would vacate the Terrier net in exchange for an extra attacker with just over three minutes left, but Harvard defenseman Adam Fox took no time to quickly toss one in from distance to extend the lead to three. It was the 100th point of the junior’s career.

“I can’t say enough,” remarked Harvard head coach Ted Donato about Fox reaching the 100-point milestone. “I think what he’s accomplished so far in college is pretty special.”

Junior forward Gabriel Chabot got one back for BU with less than two minutes to play off of passes from freshman forwards Mark Cheremeta and Jack DeBoer. After striking the post with an initial effort, Chabot would corral his own rebound and slot it past Michael Lackey for the first goal of his junior campaign, and his fifth as a Terrier.

With the BU goalie pulled again, the Crimson would have the last laugh, as freshman forward RJ Murphy made a slick move to find space and walk the puck into the Terrier net with 43 seconds to play.

The game would finish 5-2 in favor of Harvard, meaning that after four consecutive appearances in the Beanpot final, BU would finish in fourth out of four teams in this year’s tournament.

“You can’t play a D1 hockey team and expect to win when you don’t show up,” said O’Connell.

Harvard attempted an astounding 76 shots in the contest, including 39 on target. As has been the case for BU as of late, the Terriers simply could not match the opposing offensive output, tallying just 42 shots of their own with only 26 reaching Lackey between the pipes.

“[Harvard] were more competitive,” said O’Connell. “They were skating harder.”

Still in search for their first win since January 25th, BU now turn their attention to the seven Hockey East fixtures remaining to conclude the regular season. This stretch of conference clashes will begin this upcoming weekend, as BU will travel to the University of Connecticut for a 7pm puck drop on Friday the 15th, and then host the same Huskies the next night at 7pm as well.

Photos by Emily Hunter:

*BEANPOT* Live Blog: BU vs. Harvard, 2/11 @ 4:30pm

Trying to snap a four-game losing streak, Boston University will return to the TD Garden to fight for third place in the 2019 Beanpot against Harvard.

It may only be a consolation game, but this game could hold great significance in terms of momentum for the Terriers, looking to turn things around before entering a stretch of Hockey East matchups to close out the regular season.

Our live blog is the best place to keep up with all the action as it happens, and talk BU hockey throughout the game. Coverage starts at 4:15 with puck drop set for 4:30 – come join us!

Men’s Hockey: Terriers begin second half with draw at Harvard

After nearly a month without a game, the Boston University men’s hockey team drew 2-2 with Harvard in a visit to crosstown rivals to open play in 2019.

Coming off of the midseason holiday break, the Terriers (6-8-3, 5-5-2 in Hockey East) received much-needed reinforcements from multiple sources. Freshman Joel Farabee and sophomores Shane Bowers and Logan Cockerill returned from the World Junior Championship, having departing for the international tournament prior to the conclusion of the first half of the season. Senior captain Bobo Carpenter also became available after missing the 2018 finale due to injury, while junior defenseman Chad Krys remained sidelined for the Terriers.

BU started strong against the Crimson (6-4-3,  3-3-2 in ECAC), tilting the ice early and getting rewarded for their efforts. Less than three minutes into the opening period, it was Matthew Quercia who knocked in a centering pass from Ryan Cloonan to score the game’s first goal. Cloonan ‘s strong move and pinpoint pass gave the senior his first assist of the season, while his freshman linemate Quercia collected his first goal as a Terrier on the tap-in.

In the second, BU gained a pair of power plays in rapid succession, but successful kills by the Crimson defense propelled Harvard forward towards BU net. After two dangerous chances were denied by junior Jake Oettinger, Crimson junior Adam Fox fired a shot by the BU netminder with three minutes to play in the second stanza. The tally boosted Fox’s team lead in points to 21, and brought the game level leading into the final 20 minutes.

Harvard’s momentum continued into the third, as senior Lewis Zerter-Gossage put the Crimson in front, slapping in a rebound on the power play less than two minutes into the third period. Harvard’s leading goal scorer did not have much time to celebrate his tenth tally of the season though, as Joel Farabee knotted things up with a power play goal of his own just minutes later, his fifth goal of the campaign.

With the game tied at two, Jake Oettinger was called into action more frequently than his goaltending counterpart senior Michael Lackey, but BU’s Dallas Stars prospect was equal to the task throughout on every occasion. After goalmouth tussles on both ends, the third period buzzer sounded, and the game headed to an additional frame.

In overtime, the Terriers dominated zone time, but Lackey came up with his best saves of the night for the Crimson to ensure that BU would not find a winner. 65 minutes would not be enough to separate the two sides, and the game would finish tied 2-2.

Continuing the quest for their first win of the new year, the Terriers will move on to two crucial Hockey East matchups later this week. First, BU will return to Agganis Arena on Friday to take on the University of New Hampshire (6-7-6, 2-4-3 in Hockey East), and then the Terriers head to Providence to face the Friars (12-4-4, 6-2-1 in Hockey East) on Saturday.

What did you think of the draw against Harvard? Let us know your thoughts below!

 

Terriers open 2019 with Boston rivalry clash at Harvard

After nearly a month without a game due to the midseason holiday break, the Terriers will return to the ice on Tuesday in a visit to their Allston foes, the Harvard Crimson.

The Terriers concluded the natural first half of their season with a 6-8-2 record, going 5-5-2 in Hockey East play. While an 0-4 start and a midpoint record hovering right around .500 may not have been what first-year head coach Albie O’Connell had in mind to begin his tenure, there is certainly an optimism surrounding the team coming into the second half.

“I think we made good strides”, said O’Connell in an interview with Scott Weighart of GoTerriers.com. “We’ve played some good hockey, but the consistency level of individual and team have to match up and connect. When that happens, we play really well.”

“We have a very young team and a new coach,” said junior forward Patrick Curry to Weighart. “[The first half] wasn’t the greatest, but we went out a high note with two wins before the break.”

As alluded to by Curry, the Terriers found some success towards the end of 2018, pulling off back-to-back wins over UMass Lowell (9-8-1, 5-4-1 in Hockey East) and Dartmouth (5-7-2, 4-2-1 in ECAC). The wins featured five and four goals respectively for the Terriers, whose shorthanded roster at the time made the victories that much more impressive.

Away from the team, freshman Joel Farabee and sophomore Logan Cockerill built some individual confidence as contributing members of the silver medal-winning USA squad at the World Junior Championships in British Columbia. Sophomore Shane Bowers also participated in the tournament, proving to be a key performer for Team Canada throughout the tournament.

“I think the guys played well”, said Coach O’Connell. “Hopefully their confidence level is high.”

On the Harvard side, the Crimson (6-4-2, 3-3-2 in ECAC) will be playing their second game of 2019 after defeating RPI (5-14, 3-6 in ECAC) in overtime on January 4, with freshman Casey Dornbach scoring the game-winner. Senior Lewis Senior Zerter-Gossage assisted Dornach’s goal, and also opened the scoring for Harvard earlier in the contest, recording his team-leading ninth tally of the season.

With his goal against RPI and an assist as well, Dornbach moved to second on the team in points with 18. Junior Adam Fox leads the team with 20 points, creating attacking production despite his primary role as a defenseman. Dornbach and Fox share the team lead in assists with a whopping fifteen helpers each, seven assists ahead of the next closest provider, freshman Jack Drury.

Senior netminder Michael Lackey made 24 saves in his victorious effort against RPI, and has been relied on by the Crimson all season, starting eleven of the team’s twelve games and holding a save percentage of .912. Likely opposing Lackey on Tuesday will be BU junior Jake Oettinger, who has assumed a similar workload, but holds a slightly superior save percentage of .924.

For the Terriers, this game will be the first of three in what will be a very busy week to open up play in 2019. Following their visit to Harvard on Tuesday, BU will host the University of New Hampshire (6-7-6, 2-4-3 in Hockey East) and travel to Providence College (12-4-4, 6-2-1 in Hockey East) over the weekend.

Getting a win against Harvard could give the Terriers some coveted momentum ahead of two major Hockey East contests, and propel the team forward into the second half of the season.

“We’re going to have to start on a strong note,” summarized O’Connell.

The game will be played at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center on January 8 at 7pm, and can be heard through GoTerriers.com, or watched for a fee on ESPN+.

Can BU get off to a strong start in 2019 against Harvard? Share your thoughts in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!

BU gears up for Beanpot title game vs. Harvard

While the Beanpot Tournament is laced with history, its 65th championship game concerns a bird of a different feather: Two elite teams.

Just ask Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, an assistant captain for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team, about what it’ll be like to play against No. 4 Harvard University on Monday night at TD Garden.

“These are the kinds of games you come to BU to play,” the Swedish center said.

It’ll be head coach David Quinn’s Terriers (19-8-2, 11-4-2 Hockey East) taking on head coach Ted Donato’s Crimson (17-5-2), and they’re both likely to play for silverware come springtime.

In the here and now, though, is where the young guns from Commonwealth Avenue and the old guard from Cambridge are thriving.

For a full version of this story over on The Daily Free Press, click here

O’Connell looks to guide men’s hockey back to winning ways

FILE PHOTO/DEREK GEE O’Connell captured four Beanpot
championships during his tenure with the Terriers from 1995-99.

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

After more than a decade away, Albie O’Connell has finally returned to Commonwealth Avenue.

The former Boston University men’s hockey team captain joined the Terriers in April as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, completing a full-circle move for O’Connell, who is once again affiliated with the same program that he played for almost 20 years ago.

“It’s great. I’m excited,” O’Connell said. “I’m excited for the year to start. I think we’ll have a pretty good team. I think how good guys can get throughout the year and how they improve is going to dictate the outcome of how we end up.”

O’Connell joined the Terriers during the 1995-96 season as a heralded recruit. Over a year before his arrival at BU, the Watertown native was selected by the New York Islanders in the fifth round of the 1994 NHL Draft.

Playing a key role on a BU squad filled with NHL talent such as Chris Drury, Shawn Bates and Tom Poti, O’Connell and the Terriers established one of the greatest stretches in program history in the late 1990s, posting a 97-41-14 record from 1995-99.

While there were many positive takeaways to choose from for O’Connell, his fondest memory of playing for the Terriers was the team’s success in the annual Beanpot tournament. O’Connell and other members of the Class of 1999 are one of only four classes in program history to win four Beanpot titles.

Even though O’Connell was never able to capture an NCAA title, he made two Frozen Four appearances with BU in both 1996 and 1997 – including a loss to the University of North Dakota in the 1997 championship game, 4-2. Captaining the team during his final campaign in 1998-99, O’Connell led his squad in scoring with 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists) in 36 games.

By the end of his career with the Terriers, O’Connell acknowledged that learning under longtime BU head coach Jack Parker helped him grow as a hockey player in multiple areas – mostly due to the completive tone that Parker established from the get-go with his teams.

“He was a great coach,” O’Connell said of Parker. “We had good teams, so it was very competitive. It was setting a high standard and then coming to work and practice every day trying to get better on and off the ice. We held a high standard and he made the practices more competitive. It was very intense. He was ready to go for practice, which led to players being ready to go and be ready to compete everyday.”

While O’Connell may have turned in his scarlet and white sweater in 1999, he did not hang up his skates following his departure from Walter Brown Arena. O’Connell later played professional hockey for four teams in both the East Coast Hockey League and the British National League from 1999-02, compiling 132 points (54 goals, 78 assists) in 127 pro tilts.

Once he put a close to his playing career, O’Connell immediately made the transition from the ice to behind the bench, serving as an assistant coach at Berkshire Prep School in Sheffield during the 2002-03 season before making the move up to the collegiate level the following year at Colby College.

After stints at both Niagara University and College of the Holy Cross, O’Connell entered into the Hockey East coaching ranks in 2007-08 as an assistant coach at Merrimack College before serving the same role over the last six seasons with both Northeastern University (2008-11) and Harvard University (2011-14).

Throughout his coaching career, O’Connell has garnered praise for his recruiting skills. During his time at Northeastern, the Huskies received commitments from both standout Providence goaltender Jon Gilles and 2014 Hobey Baker Award recipient and former Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau. Both players later de-committed from the program.

For O’Connell, the key to his success in terms of identifying talent is to trust his instincts and to collaborate with the rest of his staff.

“Just going out there and working hard,” O’Connell said. “Using your resources, using what you see and not listening to anyone and trusting what you’re looking at and what your staff is looking at and what you’re trying to do as a group – that’s the biggest thing.

“Working with [associate head coach] Steve [Greeley] and [head coach] David Quinn so far, it’s been really positive. They’ve both been very sharp when it comes to what they’re looking at, and they’re very organized and hard-working, so hopefully I’m a good addition to that.”

While he has excelled at building up multiple teams, O’Connell is certainly no slouch when it comes to instructing his players on the ice. During his first season with the Crimson in 2011-12, O’Connell helped establish the country’s most potent power-play unit, which posted a 27.3 percent success rate.

While the duty of serving as both a recruiter and a mentor has its own set of challenges, O’Connell holds both jobs in equally high esteem.

“They’re both fun jobs,” O’Connell said. “Basically, it’s two different jobs. One, you’re trying to help build the team, the other one, you’re trying to help coach the guys that you were trying to recruit, so they’re both equally tough jobs, but at the same time, both fun and rewarding.”

The journey back to his alma mater has been a long and winding road for O’Connell, but the 38-year-old coach doesn’t have much time to reflect.

With an influx of freshmen already training at Agganis Arena and the season opener almost a month away, O’Connell is diverting all of his energy toward helping a talented group of players achieve the same level of success that he attained almost two decades ago.

“Hopefully, we’re a lot better at the end of the year than at the start, because we’ve got nine or ten freshmen,” O’Connell said. “Practice is going to be important, player development is going to be important…Hopefully at the end of it, we’ll make good strides as a group.”

From the FreeP: ‘Human nature’ gets best of BU in 3rd-place match

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

When the Boston University men’s hockey team took the ice last Monday for its Beanpot opener with then-No. 2 Boston College, TD Garden filled with noise. Student sections jeered and hurled taunts at each other. The Terriers moved and played at a pace that had slowly come into form over the previous two weeks. And while BU ultimately lost to the Eagles, a point in time existed where it appeared as though the Terriers might make it to the tournament championship.

With a continued increase in effort again during its tie with then-No. 7 University of Massachusetts-Lowell, it looked as though Monday afternoon’s Beanpot consolation game might just turn into the Terriers’ (8-16-4, 3-8-3 Hockey East) second win since the end of November.

When the teams took the ice, though, there was hardly a noise from the stands and the sound of blades slicing through the ice echoed throughout the cavernous Garden. BU may have taken an early lead against Harvard University, but the team that put pressure on some of the top-ranked squads in the country last week lacked the same mental intensity. By the final buzzer, that lack of intensity put them on the losing side of 6-2 game.

For more, read dailyfreepress.com 

Pluses & Minuses: Evan Rodrigues a bright spot in Beanpot loss

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

For the seventh time in its last eighth tries, the Boston University men’s hockey team lost a Beanpot game at TD Garden. This one was a 6-2 decision at the hands of Harvard University, the third time in four years the Terriers (8-16-4, 3-8-3 Hockey Eat) lost the tourney’s consolation game to the Crimson (8-12-3).

BU jumped out to a 1-0 lead but were outscored 6-1 in the final 40 minutes. Here’s a look at what went right, and what didn’t, for the Terriers.

Minuses:

‘Purpose’ and ‘responsibility’
Two of BU coach David Quinn’s recent buzzwords. He said during the last three weeks or so, the Terriers have been seemed more mature on the ice, playing with purpose and making better decisions. That has led to a better “feel” about the team, as Quinn put it Thursday, with the Terriers picking up momentum even though the wins aren’t coming as quickly.

That wasn’t the case Monday. For more, read Meredith Perri’s article in Tuesday’s Daily Free Press.

Power play
By failing to convert on both of their man-advantage chances — a shot-less one in the first, then a three-shot span in the second — the Terriers have not scored on the power play in their last 24 opportunities. That stretch coincides with sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk’s season-ending surgery.

Even when BU garnered three shots with Harvard’s Brian Hart in the box in the second period, they power play had trouble maintaining possession, at times looking like they were the ones shorthanded.

“We’re half a second slow on shooting the puck, we’re half a second slow on getting to the net for the rebound, we’re half a second slow screening the goalie,” Quinn said. “We’re not quick enough to do anything. We buzzed and looked like we had some zone time and looked like we might get one, but we just weren’t able to capitalize.”

The Terriers made up for it somewhat by killing all three Crimson power plays.

Sean Maguire
It was the sophomore netminder’s first game action since Jan. 25, as a bout with the flu kept him out of action for about two weeks. Whether it was rustiness, still not feeling 100 percent or just an off night, Maguire (31 saves) gave up four goals by the time Quinn pulled him for an empty net with 2:40 to go.

The decision to start Maguire in the consolation game was an easy one for Quinn. He had been playing well before getting sick, and despite Matt O’Connor’s impressive three games, to get Maguire back between the pipes was only fair.

Quinn didn’t pin any of the goals on Maguire — rarely does he ever blame his goalie. Rather, it was a freak bounce here, a blown backcheck there. Put them together and it’s three goals in seven minutes for the Crimson.

In eight games since the start of January, Maguire has given up four or more goals in four times.

Pluses:

Evan Rodrigues
Rodrigues found the back of the net for the first time since Dec. 7 — a two-month span that isn’t as bad as it seems considering BU had three weeks off, then Rodrigues missed some time with a bum knee.

Still, it was just the third goal of the year for the junior forward, who also assisted on sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen’s goal in the second to give him an even 10 points on the season.

It was a bit of a monkey off his back, Rodrigues agreed. He wouldn’t be surprised if they started to come in bunches.

“I’ve been playing better as of late,” Rodrigues said. “The chances are coming, it’s just not going in. You can’t really get down on yourself, you just have to keep going. Tonight one went in the net, and maybe next time it doesn’t. Maybe another game I get three.”