Terriers suffer worst defeat since 2013 in finale against UMaine

With playoff home-ice up for grabs in the last game of the regular season, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell flat at the University of Maine on Saturday night, falling 6-0 in their most lopsided loss since 2013.

“Give Maine credit, they played a really good game,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

The Terriers (14-16-4, 12-9-3 Hockey East) were in search of a crucial victory to secure home ice for next weekend’s Hockey East quarterfinal series with UMass Lowell. Meanwhile, Maine (15-15-4, 11-9-4 Hockey East) had little to gain from the contest, as their sixth seeding and matchup with Northeastern had already been confirmed.

However, as the Terriers would quickly learn, the Black Bears would not be an easy out on their Senior Night, and their final game of the season at Orono’s Alfond Arena.

“It’s the seniors’ last game in the building,” acknowledged O’Connell.

The Terriers conceded the opening goal to the Black Bears in the teams’ two meetings earlier this season, and this game was no different. The third time around, it was the Black Bears who struck first again, scoring less than two minutes into the contest.

Taking control from fellow defenseman Sam Becker near his own net, Brady Keeper lofted the puck forward into the BU end. Forward Brendan Robbins won the footrace to the bouncing puck and unleashed a laser to the far side to beat BU junior goalkeeper Jake Oettinger.

“They came out hot,” Coach O’Connell said.

The Black Bear lead would become two before the eight-minute mark in the period. After a hard hit by forward Mitchell Fossier on the forecheck jarred the puck loose from BU junior defenseman Dante Fabbro, forward Chase Pearson was right there to take advantage.

Alone in front, Pearson shoveled a backhand past Oettinger, collecting his team-leading 16th tally of the season and doubling the UMaine lead.

“[Maine] didn’t do anything fancy, they just outworked us,” said O’Connell.

To their credit, the Terriers would not hang their heads following the two early goals. BU gained the benefit of two power plays, and did everything but push one over the line on multiple scrums in front against senior netminder Rob McGovern, who was making just his third appearance of the season.

By the end of the opening frame, BU would lead in shots on goal 13-8, but trail on the scoreboard, 2-0.

According to Coach O’Connell, “if [BU] get a couple of goals in the first, it’s a different game.”

The glimmer of hope for BU following the first would quickly be diminished, as the Black Bears came out of the break with the same energy and, ultimately, output that they opened the game with.

It was Robbins again who lit the lamp for UMaine in the early stages of the period, streaking in and knocking home his second goal of the game just 2:28 into the frame. The play was set up by Becker and forward Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, feeding Robbins for UMaine’s third goal.

“It [was] a back-breaker,” O’Connell said in reference to the second Robbins tally.

Nearing the halfway point of the period, Maine would extend the lead to four. The goal would come on Schmidt-Svejstrup’s second assist of the frame, sending the puck ahead after an initial pass from Robbins, whose secondary assist made it a three-point night for the senior.

On the receiving end of Schmidt-Svejstrup’s leading pass was forward Tim Doherty, who snuck one by Oettinger to give UMaine their fourth goal of the opening thirty minutes. Doherty’s tally marked the end of Oettinger’s night, as freshman keeper Vinnie Purpura came on in relief.

“Jake has played terrific for us,” reaffirmed Coach O’Connell, who voiced his confidence in the junior goaltender going into the playoffs.

Worn down by the relentless Black Bear attack, BU stumbled their way through the second half of the period, taking a 4-0 deficit into the second intermission.

Things went from bad to worse for BU as the third period progressed. On an inspired individual effort, Brady Keeper took in a pass from Mitchell Fossier and weaved his way through the Terrier defense, snagged his own rebound, and tucked it in from behind the net at 7:22.

“They had a high level of urgency,” O’Connell said.

The Keeper goal would bring the score line to 5-0, equaling BU’s worst deficit of the season, which came in a defeat against Providence at Agganis Arena back in October. Six minutes after the fifth tally, however, a sixth Black Bear goal would come.

It was Keeper and Fossier who linked up for the second time in the period to produce the final Black Bear tally. Taking in the puck from Pearson, Keeper fluttered one goal-bound. Screening Purpura, Fossier was there to tip the puck into the net, and bring the total to six.

In O’Connell’s words, “[Maine] stuck to their game plan.”

The teams would skate out the final minutes to finish 6-0, ending a game that had been decided well before the final horn sounded.

It was the worst loss suffered by the Terriers since November 15, 2013, which saw BU by a score of 7-0, coincidentally in a visit to Maine as well.

“That’s hockey,” remarked Coach O’Connell.

While the ugly loss was not what the Terriers had in mind to end their regular season, BU will have to rebound quickly as they open the first round of the playoffs at UMass Lowell on Friday, March 15.

Live Blog: BU @ UMaine, 3/9 @ 7:30pm

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Closing out regular season play, the Boston University men’s hockey team will face off against the University of Maine at Alfond Arena in Orono at 7:30pm. The Terriers and Black Bears will meet for the final contest of any Hockey East regular season game, as all nine other teams concluded play last night or earlier this week.

Last night’s results had some major implications on the conference standings. Northeastern’s win over UNH made them the three seed, so BU will be the four or five seed and UMass Lowell will be other, meaning BU and UML will meet in the first round.

Lowell’s tie vs. UVM opened the door for the Terriers to overtake UML with a win at Maine, holding the same total points and head-to-head wins as the RiverHawks, but gaining the tiebreaker through total conference wins, which would become 13 if BU can take down UMaine.

In short, a win tonight for BU would make the Terriers the hosts for the first round series against UMass Lowell. With a loss or tie, UML would retain the fourth seed, and BU would travel to Lowell for the series.

The regular season has come down to the wire, so don’t miss a second of this crucial finale by joining our live blog for constant coverage and conversation throughout the game! Coverage will start at 7:25pm, with puck drop set for 7:30.

Terriers riding high into regular season finale vs. UMaine

Entering their final regular season game, the Boston University Terriers (14-15-4, 12-9-3 Hockey East) will face the University of Maine Black Bears (14-15-4, 10-9-4 Hockey East) in a Saturday battle at 7:30pm in Orono.

The Terriers tallied yet another big win last week, beating last seeded Merrimack 5-1 at Agganis Arena on Saturday night. Not only is BU looking to continue their five game unbeaten streak, but they are trying to climb as high up in the conference rankings as they can.

“[There is] quite a bit [of pressure] I think,” said junior defenseman Dante Fabbro regarding the Terrier’s upcoming game against Maine. The co-captain had an outstanding performance in the Merrimack game, tallying 5 points.

BU has the opportunity to land in the 3, 4, or 5 seeds heading into the Hockey East tournament depending on this weekend’s conference results. The top four positions host first round playoff matchups, so the fifth-place Terriers are still on the outside looking in at UMass Lowell one point ahead, and Northeastern two points ahead. BU hold the tiebreaker over these two teams, so if BU wins against Maine and Northeastern loses against UNH, BU will overtake Northeastern. In addition, if BU wins or even ties against Maine and UMass Lowell loses against Vermont, the Terriers will jump above UML.

It is no a secret that the game against Maine is not going to be a walk in the park for BU. The two sides already met twice  back in November when the teams split a home-and-home series. The first night in Boston, BU won 3-2, while the next night Maine grabbed the win on their home ice with a 3-1 victory.

“I think if we keep building off of things we have worked on in the last half year or so we will do really well. At the same time, we have to execute what coach is saying and bring it everyday,” said Fabbro.

A player to watch on the Black Bears’ bench is freshman defensive standout Simon Butala. Butala has appeared in every game for Maine and has logged 40 blocks for the Bears. Leading Butala and the rest of the Black Bears is senior captain Rob Michel, who has recorded 39 blocks of his own.

Moving up the ice, the Black Bears have an extremely deep junior class at the forward positions. Mitchell Fossier, Chase Pearson, and Tim Doherty are the leaders in points for the Bears. The one player that BU will key in on is Fossier. Fossier’s vision on the ice is undeniable and has an impressive 27 assists for the Bears. If BU is able to subtract him from the play, Maine will have a much tougher time unlocking the Terrier defense.

It is not the best of circumstances for the Terriers to play Maine away from their home ice, but with the confidence booster that they gained after beating Merrimack, the Terriers are flying high into their season finale up north.

Along with their recent results, an improvement in health has given the Terriers reason to be optimistic going forward. BU has finally been gifted with the return of senior captain Bobo Carpenter, who missed more than a month with a lower body injury. Always providing leadership and an offensive spark, the Terriers have already noticed a difference with captain Carpenter back on the ice.

“His competitiveness is infectious.,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell about having Carpenter back in the lineup. “His presence on the bench was felt.”

If the Terriers want any shot at home ice in the playoffs, Saturday’s game is a must-win. Tell us what you predict will happen on Saturday’s match in the comments below! You can follow the game through our live blog as well as on Twitter. You can also listen to the game through GoTerriers.com.

The Look Back: BU sweeps Maine

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PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

There’s no other way to put it: It was another great weekend for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team.

Pegged against the University of Maine for a weekend series, BU pushed its win streak to eight games with back-to-back victories. The first came on Friday night at Agganis Arena, with the Terriers knocking off the Black Bears, 4-1.

While that scoreline flatters BU, it wasn’t until a flurry of goals in the third frame that head coach David Quinn’s squad pulled away. What the third stanza did do, though, is set the stage for Saturday night’s rematch at Alfond Arena.

 

Maine was certainly boosted by playing on home ice, but the Terriers still etched out a 3-1 win. Here are some thoughts from the weekend’s games:

  • Patrick Harper: The freshman forward scored on the power play on Saturday, but then got injured and sat out the third period. We’ll touch base with Quinn early this week and see what his status is.
  • Clayton Keller: In my opinion, more people should be talking about what Keller’s return from injury in early December did to this squad. He now has a 10-game point streak and simply elevates his teammate’s play.
  • Jake Oettinger: What else is there to say about the 18-year-old goaltender? He stopped 39 of the combined 41 shots he saw against Maine; the only two that beat him were flukes off the stick of Blaine Byron. Should Oettinger keep this pace up, he could carry BU towards some hardware.
  • Kieffer Bellows: One surprise from Friday’s game was that Bellows dropped to the fourth line. He stayed there for Saturday’s contest, too, and saw time in both on the second power-play unit. It would be unfair to say he’s playing poorly, but fans have to be yearning for more offensive contributions from him.
  • Quick turnaround: BU will have hardly time to bask in these wins, as a visit to Merrimack College awaits on Tuesday night. The squad will take Sunday off, have an abbreviated practice on Monday and then get right back into the thick of it.

Highlights:

Press Conferences

Tweets of the Weekend

Live Blog: BU hosts Maine at Agganis Arena

We’re live at Agganis Arena for tonight’s clash between the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team and the University of Maine.

The Terriers are riding a six-game winning streak, while the Black Bears are tied for last in Hockey East. For an account of all the night’s action, follow along on our live blog below!

Live Blog BU vs. Maine @ Agganis Arena
 

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BU readies for home-and-home series with Maine

24490147551_8261ce418d_hOver the last month or so, everything has been turning up roses for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team.

The Terriers are riding a six-game winning streak, seven players recently secured a silver or gold medal at the 2017 World Junior Championships, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger boasts a .956 save percentage in his last three tilts and sophomore forward Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is a man on fire in front of the goal.

However, the message inside Agganis Arena goes something like this: don’t let any of that get to your head.

“We definitely like to keep everything inside our walls and control what we can control,” said sophomore winger Bobo Carpenter. “The battle right now is against our own team in how we can be better each night. We just want to come and work hard every practice, every game and be better than we were the day before.”

As mentioned, BU’s (14-5-2, 7-2-2 Hockey East) order of business this weekend comes against a team that’s struggling somewhat to kick into gear. One needs to look no further than where the Black Bears (8-11-3, 2-7-1 Hockey East) sit in the conference standings to deduce that, as they’re tied for last place.

That doesn’t mean the Terriers are going to take them lightly, though. Especially not with Red Gendron, Maine’s third-year head coach leading the charge.

“His team’s play so hard. Other than the last game when we played them here last year, it’s always been a tight, one-goal game,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “I’m anticipating that type of game [Friday] night. They’re going to come hard, they’re going to go to the net, they’re going to take away your time and space. We have to be ready to win our mano-e-mano battles.”

Arguably the stiffest battles will come against forwards Cam Brown (26 points) and Blaine Byron (23 points), both of whom rest inside Hockey East’s top 15 scorers. Meanwhile, Maine’s likely starting netminder, sophomore Rob McGovern, was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. He boasts a 2.80 goals against average and .914 save percentage for the year.

Given those threats, Brandon Hickey, a junior defenseman for the Terriers, said he holds a healthy respect for the Black Bears.

“The last couple years that I’ve been here, we’ve always had trouble with Maine,” Hickey said. “They’ve been a big team, a fast team. We can’t come in here and take them lightly because of the season they’re having. We have to come in here and prepare like they’re [Boston College].”

It’s notable that Hickey references BC (14-9-2, 9-3-1 Hockey East) largely because BU is coming off its first weekend sweep of its archrival since the 2001-02 season. It outscored head coach Jerry York’s side 5-1 during the weekend series, climbing up to second place in the conference standings along the way.

That run of form left Carpenter surging with confidence.

“It’s always the best when you can beat BC,” Carpenter said. “I mean, they’re our rivals, so getting on top is the best and sweeping them makes it even better. I definitely think the momentum is going to help us, because everyone is excited getting off to a good second start [of the season].”

Now, as Carpenter suggested, the challenge before BU is continuing this red-hot start to 2017.

Maine, a team that’s 3-2 in its last five contests, stands in the way of those hopes. However, Quinn feels that if the Terriers play with purpose and speed, the points should continue to pile up.

“We’ve been talking about it as a group; we’re not preparing to play an opponent, we’re preparing to play to the best of our ability,” Quinn said. “That’s all it’s about. It’s just about every day coming here and trying to be the best player you can be and be the best team we can be.

“It’s creating the mindset that this is about playing at a pace, skating and being physical,” Quinn added. “Everything else will take care of itself.”

*This article was originally published on The Daily Free Press*

Shoddy penalty kill downs Terriers in loss to Maine

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

The lightning should have served as a warning about what was to come.

The Boston University men’s hockey team already trailed the University of Maine 1-0 when sophomore center Sam Kurker was called for tripping.

Within seconds a flash of light filled Fenway Park and a clap of thunder shocked everyone sitting within the confines of the stadium – including the players who promptly scurried off the ice.

It took one hour, nine minutes and five seconds, but the Black Bears scored on their second power-play chance. In fact, Maine converted on its first three chances with the man-advantage en route to defeating the battered Terriers 7-3 during Frozen Fenway Saturday afternoon.

“Our penalty kill has been pretty good all year,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Right now we’re in a situation where it’s one thing after another. It’s a different problem every game right now, and that’s something we’re going to have to correct.

“Penalties have crept into our game. Early in the season they were a huge problem for us. I thought we had corrected it as the season went on.”

Quinn said from the first week of the season that he wanted the Terriers to have no more than four penalties per game. By the time BU entered November, the team was living up to that expectation. In the three games since the second half of the season kicked off, though, the team has faltered once again with a nine-penalty game against Harvard University, three penalties in the first period against Dartmouth College and Saturday’s six-penalty game against Maine.

Despite that, BU’s penalty kill had done well leading into Saturday’s tilt with the Black Bears as the Terriers had a success rate around 85-percent. Even during the Jan. 4 and Jan. 8 games against Harvard and Dartmouth, respectively, BU killed off all of the penalties it faced.

That ability did not work against Maine, though, as the Black Bears took the first three chances they had to jump on the board with the man advantage, ultimately putting the Terriers into a 4-0 hole by the end of the first.

It started when senior captain Garrett Noonan went to the box for boarding at 5:26, just a few seconds after BU had failed to convert on its own power-play chance. Just over a minute into the penalty, Maine wing Ryan Lomberg picked up a pass while in the slot and sent it through sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor’s five-hole.

Maine’s second goal was far more crazed as it took just five seconds into the power-play for them to score, but took more than an hour from the time of the penalty to the goal for it to occur. After a thunderstorm paused over Fenway and workers spent more than half an hour trying to fix the ice, Kurker made his way to the box. Right off of the faceoff defenseman Ben Hutton wristed a shot into the back of the net.

As Maine scored its first even-strength goal of the night, freshman defenseman Doyle Somerby was called for slashing. Once again, it took less than a minute for Maine to convert as center Devin Shore put the final goal of the frame by O’Connor.

With the end of the first came the end of Maine’s power-play surge, as the Terriers went three-for-three on the penalty kill for the rest of the game. Those first-period goals, however, put BU in a hole it could not escape.

“Unnecessary, needless penalties put us behind the 8-ball,” Quinn said. “Three-for-six, that hasn’t happened to us all year long. Give their power play credit. …They’re not drawing a Picasso out there. They get it to the point, they get it to the net and their forwards get to the net with a purpose. It gave our goalie problems and it gave our net-front D problems.”

UPDATED: Washed away: Terriers toppled 7-3 in flooded Frozen Fenway contest with Maine

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

When it rains, it pours for the Boston University men’s hockey team. The Terriers were washed out of the ballpark Saturday at in front of 25,580 fans at Fenway Park, dropping a waterlogged Frozen Fenway contest to the University of Maine 7-3.

Weather conditions made the contest look more like a swim meet than a hockey game, as an hour and nine minute rain delay made the first period last close to two hours and the rest of the game very, very wet.

Maine (11-7-2, 5-2-1 Hockey East) scored the only goal before that rain delay, as forward Ryan Lomberg received a pass from senior Mark Anthoine and snapped it past BU (7-11-2, 2-5-1 Hockey East) goaltender Matt O’Connor for a power-play goal. Right after sophomore forward took a tripping penalty with 12:35 remaining in the first, lightning flashed, thunder boomed and the teams scurried to their respective clubhouses.

The rain delay featured a torrential downpour of rain to go with the thunder and lightning, which flooded the playing surface with around an inch of water. Squeegees and shovels were brought out, as the ice crew shoved waves of water out the zamboni door to re-prepare the surface for play.

“[The ice maintenance crew] even came up to me and said, ‘We did that for you guys, we have never had to do something like that,'” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. “There was a lot of water removed.”
The Black Bears did not waste any time scoring after the weather delay though, as defenseman Ben Hutton ripped a wrister past O’Connor to give his team a 2-0 lead entering the mid-first-period break where teams switched ends. It was Hutton’s eighth goal of the season, and third point against BU in two contests.

“Don’t underestimate what [the wait] can do to you mentally,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Because you wait for an hour and then you go out there and then boom… It’s 2-0.”

The second half of the first period didn’t bring any more luck to the Terriers though. Junior Andrew Cerretani and sophomore Devin Shore scored goals less within a minute of each other with less than five minutes remaining in the frame, giving the Black Bears a commanding four-goal lead. Shore’s goal, which was on a quick wrist shot from the top of the right circle, was Maine’s third power-play goal of the contest.

Shore’s goal also signaled the end of O’Connor’s night, as he was pulled in favor of sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire. O’Connor has now been pulled in each of his last two starts, and has a 15.08 goals-against average and .789 save percentage during that span.

“The first half of the season he was aggressive, he was square, he was big,” said BU coach David Q. “There wasn’t a lot of room there. Now, in the last two games he has played there have been a lot of point shots that have found their way to the net, which wasn’t happening earlier in the season.”
Lomberg struck again in the second period, when a failed centering pass bounced out to his stick and he snapped it over Maguire’s shoulder. It was the winger’s sixth goal of the season.

Freshman forward Dillon Lawrence left the ice with an apparent leg injury during the second period, adding to what was already a large total of injuries for the Terriers. Lawrence returned to action in the the third period, though. With forwards Evan Rodrigues and Jake Moscatel, as well as defenseman Matt Grzelcyk out of the lineup already, an injury to Lawrence leaves BU without enough healthy skaters to fill lineup.

Senior captain Garrett Noonan got the Terriers on the board with a one-timer that zipped into the top-right corner of the net, before freshman forward Nick Roberto added a power-play goal later in the third. When junior winger Cason Hohmann added his third goal in as many games, things got a little more interesting.

“I was proud of the way we came together in the third, we stuck together in the third period,” Quinn said. “We did a lot of the little things that we’re trying to accomplish and we’ve got to hold onto that and build onto that.”

However, when the Terriers pulled the goalie, Hutton slid a slow-moving puck the length of the ice and across the goal line before sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen could clear it away — sealing the BU loss. Shore added another empty net goal to widen the lead to four.

It was BU’s sixth consecutive game without a win, and it concludes a season series with Maine in which it was outscored 14-3. The slumping Terriers will travel to Conte Forum Friday to take on No. 5 Boston College, which sits atop the Hockey East standings.

“We are in that little funk where you fix one hole in the dam and the other one springs loose and you put your finger in that one and another one springs loose,” Quinn said. “We have to find a way to put all our fingers in all the holes and stop that dam from leaking all over the place.”