Terriers announce complete 2019-20 schedule

See the schedule here!

The BU men’s hockey team has officially announced their schedule for the 2019-20 season.

Here are our immediate takeaways from this final list of games:

The Terriers will enter a critical 10-game stretch of Hockey East meetings early in the campaign between October 25 and November 23. During this run, notable opponents include UMass Lowell, who the Terriers eliminated on the road in last season’s conference quarterfinals, as well as Massachusetts, who in 2018-19 won Hockey East and appeared in the division one national championship.

To fill the gap of competitive fixtures through much of December and early January, BU has organized two exhibition games. The first will be a return to Walter Brown Arena for the Terriers as they host the Concordia Stingers of Montreal, while the second will see the Terriers travel to Michigan to face the USA U-18 team, who the Terriers defeated 5-4 in an exhibition last season.

The ever-important rivalry contests against Boston College have been scheduled for January 18th (away) and February 29th (home), moving to the second half of the season after these fixtures took place in the early months last season. The second of the two meetings will be followed by two clashes with Northeastern to conclude the regular season after seven consecutive Hockey East bouts, meaning the Terriers will have to finish strong against stiff competition as they push towards the postseason.

How do you feel about BU’s schedule for the upcoming season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Terriers ready to turn the page to 2019-20

After an action-packed 40 games and an eventful first month of the offseason, the dust has finally settled on the 2018-19 BU men’s hockey season.

“There were a lot of ups and downs this year,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell in reflection on the 2018-19 campaign.

It was O’Connell’s first season at the helm for the Terriers, and according to the former BU captain, he received some assistance along the way from BU hockey legend Jack Parker and now-New York Rangers boss David Quinn, whom O’Connell served as an assistant coach for during his tenure at BU.

“[Those were] two guys I leaned on a little bit this year,” O’Connell said. “They were pretty helpful to me and our staff in the transition.”

The first-year manager was certainly tested in his inaugural season, leading a team that finished with an overall record of 16-18-4. While the Terriers went winless in their first five competitive games, the team would only fall in three of their final 10 fixtures – an improvement that O’Connell credits to his players.

“They stuck with it and kept working,” said the Duxbury resident. “Guys were playing pretty banged up.”

Although BU’s form appeared to peak at just the right time down the stretch, the season would ultimately conclude with no hardware returning to Commonwealth Avenue.

“We were, in the Beanpot and the Hockey East semifinals, a goal away,” said O’Connell in regards to his team’s 2-1 overtime losses to Northeastern University in both competitions. “Those are tough pills to swallow.”

In terms of simply getting to the Hockey East semifinals, O’Connell believes earning a spot among the conference’s final four was a notable accomplishment in itself.

“It’s hard to get to the Garden,” the coach said. “The league was very tight this year.”

The final results may not have come for Terriers, but the way Coach O’Connell saw it, effort was never a question from his men on the ice.

The guys gave it their all,” O’Connell said. “We look for the same, if not more, from the returners.”

Embarking on a new season this upcoming fall, the Terriers will rely on continued contributions from major pieces of the 2018-19 squad. Among those anticipated to carry the weight will be a leadership group comprised of rising seniors Patrick Curry and Patrick Harper, as well as rising juniors Logan Cockerill and Cam Crotty.

Curry will serve as BU’s sole captain as announced by Coach O’Connell at the team’s annual banquet. The Illinois native had a breakout season as a junior, tallying 26 points to top his total from his first two collegiate seasons combined. With Curry entering his senior season, the Terriers know that they have a strong skipper to set an example for the club.

“To the guys who are in the weight room, watch what Curry did last year,” said Coach O’Connell. “We love the way he plays, we love the way he competes.”

Alongside Curry will be fellow senior Patrick Harper, who was named an assistant captain. As one of just a handful of seniors on the roster, Harper will be expected to continue his knack for production that has brought about three straight seasons of 20 or more points.

“He’s a great scorer, playmaker, and offensive threat,” O’Connell said about Harper. “We believe we have the most dynamic guy in the league in Patrick Harper.”

Cam Crotty will also wear an “A” in his third season with the team, and as the only non-forward among the leadership group, the Canadian looks to be the clear-cut leader of the BU defensive corps.

“He really was stable back there,” said O’Connell of Crotty. “He gave us some offense at times, but didn’t do it in the way of losing any defense.”

Another junior in a leadership position, Logan Cockerill will round out the list of BU assistant captains. To Coach O’Connell, Cockerill presents major potential on both ends of the ice, and could play a critical role for BU as an upperclassman.

“When he’s on his game, he’s about as good as anyone in the country,” said the head coach. “He’s a competitive guy, and we expect him to be like that every game next year. Consistency will be a key for him.”

The team will welcome ten recruits to Agganis Arena in the fall, replacing the five graduating seniors and five premature departures bound for professional hockey. Per Coach O’Connell, the team also has plans to bring in a graduate transfer goaltender to fill the void left by junior Jake Oettinger, who has elected to move on to the Dallas Stars organization.

Oettinger patrolled the BU crease for the previous three seasons, and the Terriers understand that a graduate student would only serve as a temporary solution between the pipes. Within the program, O’Connell is confident that rising sophomore Vinnie Purpura is poised to make a long-term impact, whether it be this upcoming season or the next.

“He did a really good job,” O’Connell said regarding Purpura. “We expect him to have a good summer and push for the number one job.”

Another freshman from the 2018-19 team deserving of recognition is Joel Farabee. In his first and only season with BU, the now-Philadelphia Flyer led the team in goals (17) and points (36), and was recently named both the Hockey East Rookie of the Year and the Most Outstanding Freshman in NCAA Division I.

As O’Connell put it simply, “Joel had a terrific freshman year.”

Looking towards the fall, the central mission for the team appears to be creating an emphasis on teamwork and cohesiveness.

“We have the ability to have a good team if we become a team right away,” said O’Connell.

The trait of team unity on the ice was an attribute that O’Connell noted as a point of development among his team over the course of his first season in charge.

“At the start of the year, we had a lot of individuals. We had a lot of guys on their own page at times,” the coach said. “By the end of the year, we became a team – we played a team game. We weren’t worried about who was scoring, we were worried about winning. That’s what the program should be about.”

While the academic semester may be concluding, there will be no break for BU hockey, as the Terriers aim to prepare themselves as best they can before they take the ice against Union College to open the 2019-20 campaign.

“The new season is starting now,” said O’Connell. “We’re worried about pushing as hard as we can to start October when we go down to Union to play that first game.”

As the offseason progresses, stayed tuned for continued posts, articles, and podcasts by the Boston Hockey Blog at hockey.dailyfreepress.com and @BOSHockeyBlog on Twitter.

YOU could write an article for us!

Hey readers, in lieu of the lack of content at this point in the offseason, I am opening up the site up to you! Have an opinion you want to defend? A memory you’d like to share? If you write an article about anything BU hockey, we’ll publish it!

Your article can be anywhere from 100 to 1,000 words (sorry to sound like a professor, haha). Please send it to myself at [email protected], and I’ll read it over to make sure it’s good to go, and post it to the site.

Thank you in advance for your submissions – the readers are what keep this blog going!

BU Hockey 2018-19 Season Superlatives

As I look back on this past season for BU men’s hockey, there are certain names that stand out among the rest, for a variety of reasons. These picks were made by Brady Gardner, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the Boston Hockey Blog team. Without further ado, here are my season superlatives for 2018-19.

Most improved during the season – Hugo Blixt

Even Hugo Blixt himself would have to admit that the first-year defenseman looked like a deer in headlights at times to begin his debut season at BU. However, as the Sweden native adjusted to the pace and style of college hockey, he became an integral part of the BU blueline corps, logging important minutes in special teams play late in the campaign. With BU’s top two defensemen moving on to the pros, Blixt will certainly be relied on more heavily in 2019-20.

Biggest surprise – Patrick Curry

Becoming an upperclassman among a relatively young team, Patrick Curry took full advantage of his increased ice time with a break-out year to spark a Terrier squad with admittedly few bright spots in attack. After tallying a combined seven goals and 22 points between his freshman and sophomore seasons, the Illinois native beat both totals with 13 goals and 26 points in his junior year alone. While BU has seen multiple offensive weapons depart in recent weeks, Terrier fans can be confident that Curry will be a consistent top forward in his fourth year with BU.

Unsung Hero – Cam Crotty

Likely overshadowed by talented d-men above him on the line sheet, Cam Crotty deserves some credit as a solid member of the Terrier defense in all 38 games throughout the season. The sophomore put up five goals after just one in his first year on Commonwealth Avenue, and finished tied for second on the team with a +2 rating, and third with 68 blocks. There will be holes to fill on the BU blue line in the fall, but it appears Crotty is ready to take on a bigger role.

Most to prove in next season – Patrick Harper

It doesn’t take a hockey expert to notice that Patrick Harper didn’t have the season he was hoping for in 2018-19. Despite appearing in every game for BU, the junior posted his lowest goal total (6) and second-lowest assists total (14) in his three-year collegiate career. The Connecticut native did heat up late in the 2019 playoffs, so the Terriers will hope Harper can continue that increase in production into the fall.

Biggest unknown ahead of next season – Jake Wise

Jake Wise was a heralded talent upon joining the team in the fall, and excited Terrier fans with encouraging performances early on. However, a season-ending injury brought an abrupt end to the Blackhawks prospect’s promising freshman campaign after just 12 games. Heading into 2019-20, it will be interesting to see if Wise can become the player the BU faithful were optimistic he could be when he arrived at BU.

Biggest offseason departure – Jake Oettinger

You would struggle to find a team who relied on a single goaltender as much as BU relied on Jake Oettinger these last three years. The junior appeared in all but two games for the Terriers in 2018-19, and was asked on a near-nightly basis to mask inconsistent team defense with flawless play between the pipes. Oettinger did it all throughout his Terrier career, from maintaining a high level of play season to season (see: 13 career shutouts, tied most in BU history), to coming up big in significant games (also see: 89 saves on 93 shots at the TD Garden in 2019). With the BU net now left to a keeper who has made two collegiate starts in Vinnie Purpura, Jake Oettinger will be a major loss for the Terriers as he moves on to the Dallas Stars farm system.

Terrier of the Year – Bobo Carpenter

This one is a no-brainer. Captain Carpenter was one of just two four-year Terrier skaters on the roster in 2018-19, but the North Reading, Massachusetts resident more than pulled his weight in terms of leadership among a very young team. After Carpenter missed ten games late in the season, there was a clear injection of energy and urgency when the senior returned to the lineup for the team’s playoff push. Carpenter demonstrated the highest level of toughness and dedication late in the season for BU, and served as both a role model and source of inspiration when the Terriers needed it the most.

Defensive Player of the Year – Dante Fabbro

You could not possibly put together a list of BU hockey superlatives from 2018-19 and not include Fabbro. The Canadian blueliner was a warrior for the Terriers as a junior, compiling the most time on ice by far for BU over the course of the season. The co-captain was involved on both ends of the ice, setting the pace for BU with 26 assists, and leading all of Hockey East with 82 blocks. After concluding his time at BU has one of the team’s most reliable players over his three-year career, Predators fans have reason to feel good about Fabbro heading to Nashville.

Most Valuable Player – Joel Farabee

Dante Fabbro gave Joel Farabee a run for his money with this title, but the freshman phenom edges out the co-captain solely based on his consistent production and immediate impact in his first season at BU. The Hockey East Rookie of the Year exploded for a team-leading 17 goals and 36 points in 2018-19, and was especially crucial in BU’s postseason run, tallying four goals in three games to lead BU over UMass Lowell in the conference quarterfinals. While Farabee would prove to follow the one-and-done path through college hockey, his presence was certainly felt on Commonwealth Avenue in the year that he was with the Terriers.

 

Agree? Disagree? Let me hear your picks for these superlatives below!

Max Willman set to graduate from BU

After serving as a forward for Boston University for one season, graduate student Max Willman’s career as a Terrier has come to an end.

Willman skated in 36 games in his lone season with BU. The Barnstable, Massachusetts native put up six assists over the course of the 2018-19 campaign, and scored a single goal, which proved to be the game-winner against Merrimack College on January 21, 2019.

Before spending a season with the Terriers, the financial management student logged 99 games with Brown University, finishing third on the team in scoring as a junior in 2016-17 with 11 goals and 16 assists. Willman was drafted 121st overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 2014.

Shane Switzer set to graduate from BU

After serving as a defenseman for Boston University for three seasons, redshirt junior Shane Switzer’s career as a Terrier has come to an end.

The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan native skated in six games as a freshman, earning a career-best plus/minus of +1. Switzer came up with his most productive season in 2016-17, notching a career-high three goals, as well as one assist to match the assist tallied in 2015-16.

In 2016-17, Switzer was named a one-time Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week and member of the 2017 Hockey East All-Academic Team, but did not appear in 2017-18. The blueliner returned as a redshirt junior for the 2018-19 season, making a career-high 17 appearances.

After joining BU from the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Switzer now concludes his collegiate career with three goals and two assists in 31 games.

During Switzer’s time at BU, the Terriers won a Hockey East championship and made three appearances in the national tournament.

Ryan Cloonan set to graduate from BU

After serving as a forward for Boston University for four seasons, senior Ryan Cloonan’s career as a Terrier has come to an end.

The East Longmeadow, Massachusetts native shined as a freshman, appearing in all 39 games and totaling career-highs in goals (4), assists (10), and points (14). The three-time Hockey East Top Performer from 2015-16 finished with a career-best plus/minus of +1 the next season.

Seeing the ice for 15 games as a junior, Cloonan reemerged as an everyday skater for his final year with the team, tallying two goals and six assists, which all came in the second half of the season.

Cloonan came to BU after trying for the United States Premier Hockey League lead in power-play points (21) during the 2014-15 season with the Boston Jr. Bruins. The four-year Terrier now finishes his collegiate career with six goals and 23 assists through 122 games.

During Cloonan’s time at BU, the Terriers won a Hockey East championship and made three appearances in the national tournament.

BU’s season comes to an end with 2-1 overtime loss to Northeastern in Hockey East semifinal

Playing with their season on the line in the 2019 Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell to Northeastern University in overtime, 2-1.

BU head coach Albie O’Connell put it best: “it’s not fun being on the wrong side of it.”

It was a familiar matchup at the Garden, as BU (16-18-4) and Northeastern (26-10-1) had met on February 4 for the Beanpot semifinals. That contest was decided in overtime by a score of 2-1, 53 days before the result would be repeated in Hockey East tournament play.

“We knew that there was a little bit of an incentive there for them,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan, acknowledging the Terriers’ hunt for Beanpot revenge.

The Terriers suffered a major blow in the hours leading up to the game, as freshman forward and leading scorer Joel Farabee was announced unavailable due to a lower-body injury suffered in the final game of the quarterfinal series against the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

“We had a bunch of guys who were pretty dinged up,” O’Connell said.

Despite missing their offensive leader, the Terriers came out on the front foot, gaining the immediate advantage in zone time. Senior forward and co-captain Bobo Carpenter and sophomore forward Shane Bowers both saw Northeastern netminder Cayden Primeau turn away their early attempts.

The Huskies would finally turn things around past the halfway point in the period, maintaining possession in the offensive zone and getting dangerous chances from defensemen Jeremy Davies and Eric Williams.

With the first period winding down, the Terriers regained their rhythm, and nearly broke the game’s deadlock.

On a rebound chance in the slot, sophomore forward Logan Cockerill spun and fired one by Primeau. However, the officials would review the play, ultimately determining that Carpenter had interfered with the Husky keeper on the edge of the crease, nullifying the goal.

With the Terrier tally taken off the board, the teams would return to the locker rooms still level at 0-0.

“They took the play to us a little bit in the first,” recalled Madigan.

Beginning the second period, it was Northeastern who grabbed the majority of the zone time in the period’s opening minutes. The Huskies’ pressure was boosted by the game’s first power play, but the Terrier penalty killers held on to survive the two minutes.

Receiving a power play of their own, BU flipped play to the Northeastern end, and earned an opener that would stay on the board.

As the Husky penalty expired at 7:39, sophomore defenseman David Farrance let go a long drive that fell in front. Picking up the rebound, sophomore forward Ty Amonte caught Primeau sprawling out and roofed the shot to beat the recently-named Hockey East goaltender of the year.

“They’re hard to beat,” said Madigan, who had seen his team concede four consecutive goals to the Terriers in BU’s lone win over Northeastern back in November.

The teams would trade punches on unsuccessful odd-man rushes and well-worked shot opportunities, with the best chance coming for BU junior forward Patrick Harper, who rang the post from close range on the pinpoint feed from Cockerill.

Northeastern turned up the heat late in the period with shots from defenseman Jeremy Davies and forward Tyler Madden, among others. Still, BU junior goalkeeper Jake Oettinger stayed perfect, accumulating 18 saves in the second period compared to 8 in the first.

The frame would come to an end on a scrappy note, with a late scuffle resulting in four-on-four play to conclude the period. The late intensity set up for an exciting final 20 minutes, as the Terriers took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.

We’ve come a long way as a team,” said O’Connell, referring to BU’s newfound sense of tenacity and unity he had noted after the quarterfinal series in Lowell.

With both teams skating four-on-four to open the third, it did not take Northeastern very long to find their equalizer.

16 seconds into the period, forward Matt Filipe drove in on the backhand, and pulled the puck back to a streaking Madden. The standout freshman did the rest, beating Oettinger just as he had in February to overcome BU in the Beanpot semifinals.

“We’ve excelled in the third period,” Madigan said. “There’s a confidence level.”

With the Husky fans finding their voice and the team sensing an opportunity for a lead, Northeastern nearly grabbed a go-ahead goal at the 13:19 mark.

Crashing the Terrier net, forward Brandon Hawkins could not get through Oettinger, but the puck would slide across the line on the second effort from forward Lincoln Griffin. Upon review, goaltender interference was called once again, this time against Hawkins for the initial net drive.

Gaining a lifeline on the disallowed goal, BU found new energy, coming closest on a rocket from sophomore forward Shane Bowers that glanced off the iron and into the protective netting above Cayden Primeau.

“We had chances to make some plays,” said O’Connell.

The second half of the period would feature porous defense, but masterful goaltending to make up for it. Primeau kept out bids from the likes of Cockerill and Amonte, while Oettinger denied good looks from Huskies such as forwards Grant Jozefek and Zach Solow to counter Primeau.

Back-and-forth play and late power plays for both teams would not be enough to separate the sides, who would require overtime just as they did back in the Beanpot matchup, tied 1-1.

As O’Connell put it simply, “it was a tight game.”

Moving into the extra frame, the Huskies tilted the ice early, but would not find a winner in the first minute like they did in February. The Terrier defense held firm, including an impressive kill of a power play three and a half minutes in.

“I thought our guys played really hard,” O’Connell said.

BU were able to gain opportunities as overtime wore on, with promising chances from Carpenter and Cockerill falling apart in great positions. Freshman forward Matt Quercia would have BU’s best look of the fourth period, jamming away at a resilient Primeau just outside the crease.

“We had some chances that we didn’t capitalize on,” claimed O’Connell.

While the Terriers looked to have taken the upper hand, it was clear that fatigue was becoming a factor. With 4:16 to play in overtime, Northeastern would take advantage.

Holding the puck deep in the left corner, Brandon Hawkins zipped it centrally for Zach Solow. Receiving the pass in the slot, Solow ripped one top shelf, taking Northeastern to the conference title game and pushing BU into the offseason.

“You have to tip your cap to them,” said O’Connell. “They made a play in a critical time of the game.”

The final score was a repeat of BU’s Beanpot defeat at the hands of the Huskies, and also marked the first loss all season for the Terriers when leading after two periods.

As Madigan suggested, “this game could’ve gone either way.”

Northeastern’s win was their program-record 26th of the season. The Huskies will play for a 27th tomorrow when they take on Boston College in the Hockey East final before turning their attention to the national tournament.

“[I’m] thrilled we’re in the championship,” Madigan said.

With the semifinal defeat, the Terriers’ season has come to an end. BU will graduate five skaters: captain Bobo Carpenter, Ryan Cloonan, Max Prawdzik, Shane Switzer, and Max Willman.

“The seniors played really hard,” credited O’Connell.

As the offseason begins, stay tuned for reflection on the 2018-19 season and team updates in anticipation of the 2019-20 campaign right here on the Boston Hockey Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

*HE Semifinals* Live Blog: BU vs. Northeastern, 3/22 @ 4pm

Join here!

In the 35th annual Hockey East tournament, the Boston University men’s hockey team will open the semifinal round against Northeastern on Friday afternoon at the TD Garden.

The Terriers overcame UMass Lowell in three games last weekend, taking games one and three through a mix of lock-down defense and timely scoring, while falling in the middle game despite a valiant comeback effort.

On the other side, Northeastern took down the University of Maine in the first round with a two-game sweep, outlasting the visitors in overtime in game one, and finishing it off with another hard-fought victory the next night.

The Terriers and Huskies know each other well, having met three times already this season. In their November home-and-home series, BU tied Northeastern to earn their first point of the season, and then gained their first win of the campaign in the second half of the back-to-back.

While BU got the better of the Huskies in the fall, the history that is getting the most attention is February’s Beanpot semifinal meeting. Jake Oettinger made a season-high 47 saves for the Terriers, but it was not enough, as the Huskies found the winner less than a minute into overtime en route to securing back-to-back championships.

Can the Terriers get Beanpot revenge on Northeastern and keep the season alive? Join our live blog for constant coverage and conversation throughout the game! The blog will begin at 3:50pm, with puck drop is set for 4.

Notable Quotes from Coach O’Connell’s mid-week press conference

BU head coach Albie O’Connell spoke to the press today on a Hockey East championship weekend conference call. Here are the best bits from the coach’s comments, categorized by topic.

 

On the season:

“We came basically from a lot of really good individuals into becoming a team.”

“[The season turned around] when we went down to UConn.”

“We had a meeting after [the UConn game]”.

“If we play on the right side of the puck, it gives us a lot better chance to win.”

“It was all team stuff.” (What the team needed to fix)

“From [the UConn series] on, we played a little bit tighter, a little bit better in the neutral zone, a little bit more commitment to playing on the right side of the puck, which has obviously let to better results.”

“I like our teams chances when we play the right way.”

“It took us a long time as a team to learn how to win and play the right way.”

 

On the future of the program:

“It’s important…that we get guys who are going to be here for four years.”

“It’s nice to get Farabee, and Jack Eichel, and Clayton Keller, but those guys don’t stay long so it’s important that we get guys who are going to be here for four years so when you get in the battles at this time of year, you’ve got guys who have gone through it.”

“Moving forward, if you look at some of the guys we do have coming in, we’ve got some young, really good young players coming in, but we’ve also mixed it in there with some guys we know will be around a little longer.”

 

On Northeastern:

“We’re excited to play, no matter who we’re going to play.”

“They’ve got a lot of veteran guys.”

“They’ve got one of the best goalies in the country.” (referring to Cayden Primeau)

“We’re going to have our hands full playing them.”

“We won and tied one at the start of the year…so this will kind of be the rubber match.”

“[Northeastern] always bring a really good crowd.”

“We’re both used to playing at the Garden.”

“[We] know that it’s probably going to be a pretty close game.”

 

On Hockey East Championship Weekend:

“We really look forward to this upcoming weekend.”

“We haven’t had great success at the neutral sites this year.”

“We’re worried about winning one game and moving on.”

“It’s an event, and it’s a good accomplishment – it’s not a great accomplishment yet, but it’s a good accomplishment to get there.”

“I’m hoping that the BU faithful will come out.”