Terriers flex their offensive muscle in 7-2 trouncing of Merrimack

Looking to return to winning ways after a devastating late loss to Quinnipiac, the BU men’s hockey team broke out for three unanswered goals in the third period to down Merrimack, 7-2.

Freshman Chase Gresock got the Warriors (7-17-1, 4-11 Hockey East) on the board first with a goal immediately from a faceoff win by senior Derek Petti just over eight minutes into the game. It was the third straight game that saw the Terriers (9-9-3, 8-5-2 Hockey East) go down early, having fallen behind by two goals in the first period against both Providence and Quinnipiac.

However, as they did against both the Friars and Bobcats, the Terriers would respond well to the early deficit. At 14:34, David Farrance powered in a shot from the point on the power play to knot the game up at one. It was the sophomore’s third goal of the season, with assists from juniors Patrick Harper and Patrick Curry.

“Just get the next goal” was the mantra Farrance identified as his team’s key to coming back after conceding first.

With less than a minute remaining in the first period, BU would earn the lead through senior Ryan Cloonan with the assist credited to sophomore Cam Crotty. In a frenzy in front of the net, it was Cloonan who jammed the puck in to give the Terriers the advantage at the break, tallying his first goal of the season.

“It was a sigh of relief,” joked Cloonan about finally scoring his first as a senior.

Not only was it the first tally of Cloonan’s 2018-19 season, but it was also his first since his freshman campaign. Still, BU head coach Albie O’Connell has been impressed by the play of the Massachusetts native.

“He’s played really well in the second half, and for the most part, all year”, commented the first-year manager.

In the second frame, BU doubled their lead through a shorthanded goal by graduate student Max Willman at 9:39. The former Brown University Bear showed impressive speed to escape Warrior defense, and made a nifty move to pot his first goal of the season.

“He scored a really nice goal,” commended Coach O’Connell. “Hopefully that gives him a little bit of confidence.”

With Willman and linemate Cloonan both scoring their first goals of the season, Coach O’Connell seemed optimistic about the potential for the two veterans to contribute offensively down the stretch.

“[Those were] two guys with no goals, now they have a goal each, and hopefully that can springboard those guys and give us some more scoring.”

Junior Patrick Harper would make the BU lead three at 13:17 in the period, attacking a loose puck just outside the Merrimack crease for his second goal of the campaign. Only 20 seconds later, Merrimack freshman Logan Drevitch would negate the Harper goal with a breakaway effort to send the teams into the final intermission at 4-2.

The game became a rout in the third, as BU tacked on three goals in nine minutes to seal the victory. Junior Dante Fabbro kicked off the onslaught with a rocket on the power play for his fifth of the season, assisted by junior Chad Krys and freshman Joel Farabee.

Just four minutes later, Farabee assisted again, banking a pass off Merrimack netminder Craig Pantano and into position for sophomore Shane Bowers to net his ninth of the campaign. After four more minutes, David Farrance fired in his second of the game to cap off the victory for BU, assisted by junior Patrick Harper and sophomore Kasper Kotkansalo.

With his third and fourth goals of the season, Farrance has already surpassed his total posted in his freshman campaign.

“I think I just have a lot more experience now”, said the sophomore. “the game is coming a little easier.”

The 7-2 BU victory was a far cry from the 4-0 thrashing the Terriers took at the hands of the Warriors back in October.

“Tonight they had their legs, and we had trouble keeping up”, remarked Merrimack coach Scott Borek.

From BU’s perspective, it was exactly the performance the Terriers needed to rebound from a heartbreaking loss against Quinnipiac two nights before.

“They gave a good effort and played pretty physical tonight,” said O’Connell. “It was big.”

The Terriers will return to the ice on Friday night as they host a weekend series against Arizona State (16-9-1) in their final nonconference fixtures of the campaign, excluding the Beanpot.

BU look to bounce back against Merrimack in MLK Day Matinee

Following their first defeat of 2019, the BU Men’s Hockey team will look to return to winning ways against Merrimack in a late afternoon clash on Martin Luther King Day.

The Warriors (7-16-1, 4-10 in HE) topped the Terriers (8-9-3, 7-5-2 in HE) by a score of 4-0 in the teams’ first meeting back on October 20, defending home ice with a dominant effort on both ends. Senior Mike Babcock and junior Logan Coomes scored early for Merrimack, and junior Johnathan Kovacevic and sophomore Laine McKay added insurance late. Senior Craig Pantano had 34 saves in the victorious shut-out, while a BU combination of juniors Jake Oettinger and Max Prawdzik came up with 24 saves collectively.

It was the first time the Terriers were held goalless by the Warriors in the history of the fixture,  and the third defeat in BU’s 0-4 start to competitive play. However, the team found life following a fourth loss to post a tie and three wins in their next four games. Trending in the opposite direction, Merrimack fell in two contests following their victory against BU, though both losses came against the University of Massachusetts, who have established themselves as one of the top squads in collegiate hockey all season long.

In their most recent fixture, the Terriers fell 4-3 to Quinnipiac in heartbreaking fashion through a last-second goal by former Terrier Brandon Fortunado. BU fought back from being down multiple times in the contest, overcoming a two-goal deficit in the first period, and then leveling the game again in the third after the Bobcats had regained a one-goal advantage. BU’s loss was their first of the new year, having tied and won two games in 2019 ahead of the Quinnipiac matchup.

While he did recognize his team’s resiliency, BU head coach Albie O’Connell knows his team can do better.

We really got out-competed in those first two periods,” remarked the first-year manager. “[There is] a lack of competitive spirit at times.”

After winning three consecutive games over Northeastern, Michigan and Connecticut, Merrimack also dropped their last contest with a 5-0 thumping against the University of New Hampshire on January 18. The Warriors’ struggles did not result from a lack of opportunities, as Merrimack tallied 25 shots in comparison to UNH’s 20, and gained the benefit of five Wildcat penalties. Defensively, five goals against is by no means a desirable total to concede, so Merrimack will be looking to recover on both sides in their visit to BU.

Providing an offensive spark for the Warriors will be junior Tyler Irving, who holds a team-best 16 points and 11 assists. BU’s points leader, Dante Fabbro, has 18 this season, and leads the team in assists as well, with 14. Freshman Chase Gresock leads Merrimack in goals with six, while BU senior Bobo Carpenter has 10, holding the title as the only Terrier with a double-digit goal total thus far. Netminders Pantano and Oettinger carry save percentages of .896 and .923 respectively.

Merrimack have entered a stretch of Hockey East clashes that will close out their season, currently holding a record of 1-1 since this run of divisional games began on January 12.  As for BU, the Terriers will take a brief break from conference play to host a weekend series with Arizona State following the Merrimack game, before finishing the season with Hockey East matchups the rest of the way, and the ever-anticipated Beanpot in early February. All attention for both teams is on Monday’s game though, with momentum on the line and crucial Hockey East points up for grabs.

How does Coach O’Connell think his team will respond from the devastating loss to Quinnipiac?

“Don’t know yet,” responded the smirking head coach.

BU vs. Merrimack can be watched on NESN and TSN, or listened to through GoTerriers.com. Puck drop is at 4pm, and the Boston Hockey Blog will have constant coverage of the game through the live blog.

Mark Dennehy out as Merrimack coach

After completing his thirteenth year with Merrimack College, head coach Mark Dennehy was informed that he will not be returning to the Warriors’ bench next season.

He was told of the move after losing game two of the Hockey East quarterfinals to Boston College saturday.

The 21 losses this season are the most since 2014 in which their record was 8-22-3, Before his hiring, Merrimack lost 20 or more games in six of eight seasons.

In the 2016-2017 season, Merrimack swept then No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team.

Assistant coach Curtis Carr will remain with the team and run the day-to-day operations while Merrimack searches for a new coach which will begin immediately. 

Associate Bill Gilligan was also relieved of his duties.

Dennehy had a record of 168-243-60 at Merrimack, and made a NCAA tournament appearance in 2011.

 

The Look Back: BU swept by Merrimack after earning No. 1 ranking

untitled_shoot_January_27_2017_malhotra_8745-1600x1065Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Call it the curse of being ranked No. 1 nationally, place all the blame on head coach David Quinn, fault a player or line – whatever suits your boat, honestly.

The fact remains, though: the Boston University men’s hockey team was just handedly swept by Merrimack College.

Friday night’s 4-1 loss at Agganis Arena came just three days after the Warriors earned a 3-1 win at their place, giving Merrimack its first-ever sweep of BU. The sky isn’t quite falling around the scarlet and white, but it’s fair to sum the series up as disheartening and concerning.

While issues persisted, one of the most concerning parts was how few Grade-A chances came Collin Delia’s way. The Merrimack netminder is by no means a bad goalie, but BU made him look like an All-Star all week.

For one, I also thought this quote from Quinn was pretty telling about how the weekend went:

Content

1.) A recap of BU’s game at Lawler.

2.) A story on BU’s eight-game winning streak coming to an end at Merrimack.

3.) A recap of Friday night’s demoralizing loss at Agganis.

4.) A story on Clayton Keller emerging as a bright spot amidst dark times.

Highlights

Postgame Press Conferences


As this space normally allows, we welcome all thoughts and frustrations. The task before BU doesn’t get any easier on Saturday night, as No. 7 University of Massachusetts Lowell comes to town.

BU searches for form, swagger against Merrimack, UMass Lowell

When the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team takes to the ice at Agganis Arena this weekend, it will be in a somewhat foreign spot: looking to recover from a loss.

In fact, when Merrimack College snapped the Terriers’ eight-game win streak on Tuesday, 46 days had passed since the scarlet and white left the rink with anything less than a full two points.

“I think it’s an eye-opener,” said sophomore forward Bobo Carpenter. “[The loss] didn’t need to happen, but now that it happened, I think everyone is that much more focused. You never want to lose. I think everyone is just ready to get going again and get another streak going.”

Unfamiliar feelings aside, BU (16-6-2, 9-3-2 Hockey East) made it crystal clear that Friday night’s rematch with Merrimack (9-13-3, 3-7-3 Hockey East) and Saturday evening’s clash with No. 7 University of Massachusetts Lowell are about getting back to business.

For a full version of this story, check out Jonathan’s preview over on The Daily Free Press.

The Look Back: BU’s winning streak falls to Merrimack

Tuesday night was a dour one if you’re a fan of the Boston University men’s hockey team.

Fresh off being ranked the nation’s newest No. 1 team, the Terriers traveled to Merrimack College and fell, 3-1. In head coach David Quinn’s four years at the helm, BU is now 0-3-1 at Lawler Rink.

There are myriad excuses that can be made – tired legs, the small neutral zone at Lawler, an aura of pompousness – but the Terriers were simply outplayed against Merrimack. The compete wasn’t there. For more thoughts on this, check out Jonathan’s sider over on The Daily Free Press.

As poor as the game was from a BU perspective, the night started off bright, with freshman defenseman Chad Krys netting on the team’s first shot of the game. It all went downhill from there on out, and junior netminder Connor LaCouvee was bested three times, all unanswered. For a full account of the game, check out Shelby’s recap over on The Daily Free Press.

Highlights

Postgame Remarks


Looking down the road, BU next plays on Friday night against Merrimack at Agganis Arena. Revenge will be on the line.

Ahead of that clash, we want to hear your thoughts below!

Live Blog: BU at Merrimack

We’re live at Merrimack’s Lawler Rink in North Andover, Massachusetts for a Tuesday night clash between BU and the Warriors.

The Terriers are the nation’s newest No. 1 team, while Merrimack’s season can be defined by inconsistency. They’re 8-13-3 on the year; BU, on the other hand, is riding an eight-game winning streak.

Trends aside, tonight’s tilt should be full of energy and intensity, as Lawler is probably the smallest barn in Hockey East.

Be sure to follow along on our live blog for updates throughout the contest!

Live Blog BU @ Merrimack
 

Here are tonight’s lines:

 

From The FreeP: BU, fresh off No. 1 ranking, visits Merrimack

bumihvsmaine-35-400x266Fresh off its eighth consecutive win, the Boston University men’s hockey team will travel to Merrimack College on Tuesday night for a rare midweek clash.

Ahead of the game, however, a larger bit of news surfaced surrounding the program: the Terriers are college hockey’s newest No. 1 team.

BU (16-5-2, 9-2-2 Hockey East) last earned this distinction on Dec. 15, 2014, but head coach David Quinn scoffed at the recognition, especially with another two conference points at stake against the Warriors (8-13-3, 2-7-3 Hockey East).

“I pay zero attention to it,” Quinn added. “The only thing that matters is the PairWise [Rankings.]”

Doyle Somerby, BU’s captain and a senior defenseman, said the ranking is exciting, but also struck a similar chord with Quinn.

“We’re just chugging ahead,” Somerby said. “We were No. 1 a couple different times throughout my sophomore year, that national championship run, and we always seemed to slip up. A lot of the older guys here are saying, ‘Don’t even worry about it. Look ahead.’”

For a full version of this article, click here for the complete version on The Daily Free Press.

From the FreeP: BU manages just 24 shots on goal in tie

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff
When Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn walked into his team’s dressing room after the second period Saturday night, the Terriers were down 27-8 in shots to Merrimack College and had barely controlled the puck through the majority of the contest. He sensed his team was feeling down on itself after two consecutive games in which its offense did not even muster 20 shots.

So instead of yelling at his players for their poor performance, he lightened the mood by making a joke.

“I just said, ‘Hey, we poured it on that period. We got five,’” Quinn said. “It’s the pink elephant in the room … What are you going to do, not talk about it? Sometimes things are so bad, you have to make light of it.”

The joke seemed to do the trick — at least a little bit — as the Terriers (7-7-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East) doubled their shot total from the first two periods over the next frame and five-minute overtime period, finishing the contest in a 1-1 tie at Agganis Arena Saturday night. Still, the low shot total through the first two periods is representative of a recent trend for BU, which cannot seem to get the puck on goal.

For the rest, visit dailyfreepress.com.

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers’ offensive woes once again play big role in 1-1 tie with Merrimack

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff
It certainly wasn’t the weekend that the Boston University men’s hockey team wanted, as the Terriers only earned one out of a possible four points during a home-and-home series with Merrimack College.
The weekend series was capped by a 1-1 tie Saturday night at Agganis Arena, as the Terriers (7-7-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East), in what has been a recurring theme this season, struggled with getting shots on the Warriors’ (4-9-2, 1-5-2 Hockey East) net.
Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong Saturday night.
Pluses
O’Connor comes up big once again
Making his sixth straight start in net Saturday, sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor was great between the pipes for the Terriers. The Toronto native finished the game with 38 saves while only surrendering one goal off of a deflection from Merrimack freshman Chris LeBlanc 5:53 into the second period.
Over his last five games, O’Connor has averaged 38.8 saves per game, including a career-high 55 saves against then-No. 14/15 University of North Dakota on Nov. 23.
“I know I sound like a broken record, but he is obviously poised, he is confident, he doesn’t get rattled, he doesn’t waste movement, he is square to the puck, he is aggressive,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Thank god he is our goalie, because he makes life difficult for the other team.”
Rodrigues finds the back of the net
The Terriers got off to a fast start in Saturday’s contest, as junior forward Evan Rodrigues got BU on the board just 1:47 into the game.
After receiving the puck from freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon, Rodrigues skated into the left circle before firing the puck past Merrimack netminder Rasmus Tirronen’s blocker side for the score.
It was Rodrigues’ first goal since the team’s season opener against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on Oct. 11.
He is becoming a more well-rounded player,” Quinn said. “It was good to see him get rewarded for all of the hard work he has put in over the last month. And again, we are going to need him to be effective.”
Grzelcyk spurs Terrier offense
While he did not record any points in the game, sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was a constant presence offensively for the Terriers, leading all players with eight shots on net.
Grzelcyk had a great opportunity to end the game in overtime, as the Charlestown native nearly beat Tirronen with a wraparound attempt just a little over a minute into the extra stanza.
He just skated,” Quinn said. “He is a world-class skater and he is tough to contain. He is strong and he competes and he just took charge.”
BU finishes strong
While the Terrier offense looked downright anemic over the first two periods, the team showed some signs of life in both the third period and overtime, recording 16 shots during the final 25 minutes of play.
“I like the way we kind of rebounded and found our way after the first two periods,” Quinn said. “For us, we had a little bit of life after we killed the penalty. I don’t know if I’ve seen us that flat and that emotionless as we were in the first 35, 36 minutes of the hockey game, then after we killed the penalty I thought we gained a little bit of life, our power play had a little bit of life.”
Minuses
Terriers struggle with shot totals
Despite capitalizing less than two minutes into the game with a goal from Rodrigues, the Terriers once again struggled with getting the puck on net, as BU only managed eight shots through the first two periods. Going into the third period, the Warriors were outshooting the Terriers by a 27-8 margin.
This is not the first time that the Terriers have struggled with getting good looks at the net. In their previous two games against Merrimack (Dec. 6) and Cornell University (Nov. 30), the Terriers posted just 30 combined shots.
“Sometimes … you have to make the most of how you can play and how you can have success, and we’re still trying to find a way to do it,” Quinn said. “We’re not a big, strong team, and that’s a big, strong, older team, and we’re going to have problems with those teams.
“We’ve got to manage the puck a little bit better, we’ve got to play at a pace, we’ve got to make them uncomfortable — and we certainly didn’t do that for two periods. I thought we did a much better job in the third period and did a much better job in the overtime.”