The Look Back: BU channels comeback mindset to sweep Northeastern

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Chad Krys scored Saturday’s game-winning goal. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

What a weekend it was for the No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team.

Pegged against Northeastern University in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament, the Terriers had quite the task before them. The Huskies were 11-3 in their last 14 contests heading into the weekend and boasted two of the nation’s top-five scorers in forwards Dylan Sikura and Zach Aston-Reese.

By Saturday night’s end, however, none of that mattered. Head coach David Quinn’s side dug deep in game one and game two, producing virtually identical performances to upend their cross-city foes.

On both occasions, head coach Jim Madigan’s team jumped out to 2-0 leads in the first period, only for BU to turn into The Comeback Kids. Friday’s encounter went into overtime, while Saturday’s was decided with 24.9 seconds left – and each time a 3-2 scoreline in favor of BU stood tall.

Looking ahead, BU now plays next Friday at TD Garden in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament against a to-be-determined opponent. Early indicators are it’ll face either Boston College or the University of New Hampshire, though.

Now that the dust has settled, let’s reflect on the series that was against Northeastern.

Content

  1. Friday’s recap, with a game-winning goal by Jordan Greenway.
  2. Friday’s sider on BU’s first-period woes.
  3. Saturday’s recap, with a game-winning goal by Chad Krys.
  4. Saturday’s sider on BU’s never-say-die attitude.

Highlights

Press Conferences

Quotes of the Weekend

“You lose one of your top players in [sophomore forward] Bobo Carpenter and one of your top [junior] defenseman in Johnny MacLeod, two heavy players that are really good players and to be able to dust yourself off. Being down 2-0 and losing two players in the same period says an awful lot about our mental toughness.” – David Quinn

“It’s never easy to end somebody’s season. That’s a heck of a hockey team we just played. I don’t think there’s a team in the country that you’re playing like that in the second round of your playoffs. We may move forward and not see teams as good as them.” – David Quinn

“We just have to play a full 60. You don’t always have to be on your best every single shift, but we have to limit our worst when we’re coming out of the gates and take that never-die approach to the Garden.” – Doyle Somerby

“We can’t keep playing with fire the way we have been the last few weeks. But like I said before, I certainly like some of the characteristics we’ve shown over the last few weeks in being mentally tough and playing well in crucial and critical times.” – David Quinn

Tweets of the Weekend

Live Blog: BU hosts Northeastern in game two of Hockey East quarterfinals

When Boston University and Northeastern square off on Saturday night, both will have high stakes on the line.

The Terriers, fresh off a 3-2 overtime victory in game one of the Hockey East quarterfinals, will be playing for a berth in the semifinals next weekend at TD Garden. Meanwhile, the Huskies’ season will be on the line, as a loss guarantees their exit from postseason play.

With those plotlines, puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at Agganis Arena, and the clash will be streamed on NESN and the American Sports Network.

We’ll also be at Agganis all evening, so follow along on our live blog below!

Live Blog BU vs. Northeastern – Hockey East quarterfinals game two
 

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BU hosts Northeastern in Hockey East Tournament quarterfinals

This article originally appeared on The Daily Free Press.

M46A0355Playoff hockey is back.

Beginning Friday night, the No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team will host Northeastern University at Agganis Arena for a best-of-three series in the quarterfinal round of the Hockey East Tournament. The second-seeded Terriers and eighth-ranked Huskies will square off again on Saturday evening and, if necessary, on Sunday night.

Both squads are riding high, as BU is fresh off earning a share of the Hockey East regular-season title, while Northeastern is 11-3 in its past 14 games. Perhaps more importantly, though, senior captain and defenseman Doyle Somerby said that postseason play brings about urgency.

“It’s pretty serious now; it’s a big brand of hockey,” Somerby said. “ … When we met on Tuesday, we left it all on the line and said, ‘This is a weekend where we need to play the way we can play and set a tone for what our playoffs are going to be like.’ We trust ourselves, and it’s just something that has to come from within.”

These two sides met back in early November, with the Terriers taking three of a possible four points from the weekend series. However, BU (21-10-3, 13-6-3 Hockey East) head coach David Quinn said those results won’t influence these upcoming games.

The dominant reasons, Quinn said, are head coach Jim Madigan’s team is healthy and “better defensively.” As for Somerby, he said Northeastern (18-13-5, 9-10-3 Hockey East), which won the 2016 Hockey East Tournament, always seems to get hot come playoff hockey.

“They’re a really good team,” Somerby said. “They’re fast, they’re up-tempo, they like to push the pace. They put up so much offense.”

The superlatives from Somerby bear fruit, too.

Northeastern’s power-play unit scores 28.95 percent of the time, good for second in Division I hockey. Meanwhile, it boasts three of the nation’s top-10 scorers in senior Zach Aston-Reese (62 points), junior Dylan Sikura (56 points) and sophomore Adam Gaudette (52 points).

The Huskies’ biggest flaw, arguably, is goaltender Ryan Ruck, whose goals against average (2.94) and save percentage (.896) all rank in the bottom three of Hockey East netminders. Through those highs and lows, Quinn said Northeastern poses a serious challenge.

“We certainly understand our opponent and how talented they are, and we just have to make sure we don’t give them time and space,” Quinn said. “If you do that, you have a much better chance to have success.”

Leading that charge for BU – the youngest team in college hockey – will be a slew of talented youngsters.

M46A0533Freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, who will start on Friday, ranks in the top-10 nationally in goals against average (2.06), save percentage (.927) and shutouts (four). Meanwhile, forwards Clayton Keller (38 points) and Patrick Harper (34 points) both rank in the top-five nationally in freshman scoring.

Outside of any single player, Somerby said another motivator is how BU fared in the 2015-16 postseason.

In the Hockey East Tournament, the Terriers narrowly squeezed by the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the opening round, only to be promptly bounced by the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Come the NCAA Tournament, BU lost in the opening round, 7-2, to the University of Denver.

In simple terms, Somerby said playoff hockey means there’s no guarantee of another game.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” Somerby said. “We know we have a special group and we have a close-knit group, so we put it on the line that we’re playing for each other and extend our season for as long as we can. That starts tomorrow.”

All things considered, Quinn said BU must approach the weekend one tilt at a time. From that, he said, BU could secure its ninth Hockey East Tournament title.

So, what will Quinn be looking for?

“Our puck movement, our urgency,” Quinn said. “When a puck comes to you, are you ready to do something with it? The edge that we have physically and offensively, and then our commitment to playing defense. Those are the things that are going to determine our success throughout the weekend.”

Live Blog: BU hosts Northeastern in Hockey East quarterfinals

Playoff hockey is officially here, BU hockey fans!

We’re live at Agganis Arena for Friday night’s clash between the Terriers and Northeastern, which will get underway at 7:05 p.m. This is the first clash of a best-of-three series, with other contests occurring on Saturday and Sunday.

We’ll be providing minute-by-minute updates, so follow along on our live blog below!

Live Blog BU vs. Northeastern – Hockey East Quarterfinals
 

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BU hockey receives commitment from Liam Connors

While the Hockey East Tournament nears for the Boston University men’s hockey team, that doesn’t mean the coaching staff has turned a blind eye to the recruiting trail.

Rather, the Terriers, as first reported by SB Nation’s Jeff Cox, have secured the services of Liam Connors.

The 2001-born winger plays at the St. Sebastian’s School in nearby Needham, Massachusetts. Aged 16, Connors, per his Elite Prospects page, has also previously skated for the Boston Jr. Bruins and Neponset Valley River Rats.

While Connors won’t arrive on Commonwealth Avenue for several years, early word is he’s quite the talent.

The Look Back: BU captures share of Hockey East regular-season title

Senior defenseman Doyle Somerby returned to the blue line against Notre Dame. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALOHTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Senior defenseman Doyle Somerby returned to the blue line against Notre Dame. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALOHTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The 2016-17 regular season is over for BU hockey, and the Terriers stand as co-champions of Hockey East.

Heading into this past weekend’s series against Notre Dame, a million and one scenarios could have unfolded (that’s an exaggeration), but the dust has finally settled. BU lost, 3-1, on Friday night, only to register an inspiring, 4-1, win over the Fighting Irish on Saturday evening.

With those results, head coach David Quinn’s side will be the No. 2 seed in the Hockey East Tournament. It also ends the regular season in three-way tie for first place, sharing the crown with Boston College and UMass Lowell.

The stars of the weekend were forwards Kieffer Bellows, Clayton Keller Patrick Harper and goaltender Jake Oettinger. In other words, the freshmen are stepping up with playoff hockey around the corner. Furthermore, Quinn said defenseman and captain Doyle Somerby had his best weekend of the season.

As things stand, BU sits in seventh place in the PairWise Rankings, so the scarlet and white are in a good place with the NCAA Tournament looming. Lastly, the Terriers won’t play again until March 10 against a to-be-determined opponent, so keep an eye out on the opening round of the Hockey East Tournament.

Content

  1. Friday’s recap of the 3-1 loss.
  2. Friday’s sider about the goaltender battle between Jake Oettinger and Cal Petersen.
  3. Saturday’s recap of the 4-1, come-from-behind win.
  4. Saturday’s sider about Kieffer Bellows coming into his own on the third line.

Highlights

Press Conferences

Tweets of the Weekend

Live Blog: BU hosts Notre Dame for Friday night clash

The regular season is winding down, and the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team is hosting No. 13 University of Notre Dame this Friday night at 6 p.m.

The game is being broadcast nationally on the American Sports Network and regionally on NESN. Per usual, we’ll be live for all the action and have stories postgame.

Follow along on our live blog below and chime in with your thoughts!

Live Blog BU vs. Notre Dame – Friday night
 

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Preview: BU hosts Notre Dame to close out regular season

One hundred and forty days later, the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team’s 2016-17 regular season will come to a close on Saturday night.

The Terriers will host No. 13 University of Notre Dame for a weekend set at Agganis Arena, with the action getting underway Friday at 6 p.m. and wrapping up one day later at 7 p.m.

Heading into the series, BU has a first-round bye in the Hockey East playoffs clinched, but can still capture the regular-season crown. For a full rundown of what’s set to unfold, check out Jonathan’s preview on The Daily Free Press.


Aside from playoff implications, Saturday’s game will mark the last regular-season contest of Doyle Somerby, Nick Roberto and Tommy Kelley’s careers. They’ll have their Senior Night, capping four years of throwing on the scarlet and white.

The trio means a lot to head coach David Quinn, too, because his first year at the helm was also their freshman season.

To recount their time on Commonwealth Avenue, Jonathan caught up with Somerby, Roberto and Kelley to reflect. Click here for the full story on The Daily Free Press.

BU adds Alex Vlasic, ’01 defenseman from Chicago area

Another day, another big-time commit for the Boston University men’s hockey team.

This time, head coach David Quinn and his staff have secured the services of Alex Vlasic, a blueliner born in 2001.

The 15-year-old, who hails from Wilmette, Illinois, currently plays for the Chicago Mission. As of now, he clocks in as 6-foot-3 and 165 pounds, so he definitely boasts the size of a Hockey East player.

While little is known of Vlasic, early reports suggest he’s quite the get for Quinn and Co. His commitment also comes less than a week after Cade Webber, another 2001-born defenseman, pledged his future to the Terriers.

In other words, the talent pipeline to Agganis Arena keeps on growing stronger and stronger.

The Look Back: BU sees mixed results vs. UNH

PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Kieffer Bellows now has two goals in his last three games. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

It probably wasn’t how head coach David Quinn drew it up, but he’ll gladly take three out of four points from this past weekend’s series with the University of New Hampshire.

After slumping hard, the No. 4 Boston University men’s hockey team clawed its way back to the status quo, outscoring UNH 12-8 across two contests. It got underway with a 4-4 tie at Agganis Arena on Friday night, then wrapped up with an 8-4 win for the Terriers over the Wildcats up in Durham, New Hampshire on Saturday evening.

Content

  1. Friday’s recap.
  2. Friday’s sider about some unexpected lines.
  3. Saturday’s recap.
  4. Saturday’s side about a comprehensive team effort.

Talking points

  • The Cloonan line – The third line of Kieffer Bellows, Chase Phelps and Ryan Cloonan looked strong all weekend. It finished with six points on Friday night and displayed some true chemistry. All three players have dipped at various points in 2016-17, so it’s nice to see them hitting their stride.

“I love it. All three of us bring different aspects from our game. Cloonan is such a fast, great skater, makes great plays. Then Chase Phelps is a strong body who gets to the corners. You saw his release out there – it’s nice and quick, gets it on net. I just try to do my best to do whatever I can to help the team out. If that’s chipping it in, hitting a body, I think our whole line has great chemistry going right now.” – Bellows

  • Shuffled lines – Speaking of lines, who on Earth expected Doyle Somerby to play as a fourth line winger? That’s how crazy the new lines were, but some of the combinations bore fruit. The top line of Jordan Greenway, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Clayton Keller can score at any moment. Meanwhile, the group of Nick Roberto, Patrick Harper and Bobo Carpenter isn’t too shabby, either. For JFK, the changes were necessary after a 6-3 loss in the Beanpot final to Harvard on Monday.

“Sometimes you need to do something after a game like the against Harvard. I think it was reactionary.” – Forsbacka Karlsson

  • Team Defense – The defense needs to tighten up big time, though. UNH’s top line of Tyler Kelleher, Jason Salvaggio and Michael McNicholas was potent all weekend, and BU had no answer for them. When stronger teams come around, the Terriers can ill afford to let star players shine like Kelleher and Co. did.

“Kelleher is a really good player. Every time he’s out there, he’s extremely dangerous and makes a lot of plays happen. Those other guys seem to find him all over the ice. If they can find open space they’ll be dangerous, and you have to be aware of that.” – Harper

  • Patrick Harper – Harper had himself quite the weekend, too. He had three points on Saturday night, and quietly now has 31 points on the year. For one, Quinn called hailed his performance.

“He had a great weekend. He didn’t feel great about himself after the World Juniors. You win a gold medal, he didn’t play a lot, so I think people usually come back from that and take off. Our guys haven’t. A lot of our guys have struggled or haven’t played to the best of their ability. This weekend I think a lot of those guys found their stride. He certainly was one of them. I thought this was as good as he’s played all year.” – Quinn

  • Third Period – This is still a third period team. After struggling in both first frames against UNH, BU bounced back in a major way come the third period. Across the weekend, the Terriers outscored the Wildcats, 6-0, in the stanza when it matters the most.

Highlights

Postgame Pressers

Tweets of the Weekend