The Look Back: BU channels comeback mindset to sweep Northeastern

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.


  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.


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


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


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

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

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the FreeP: Matt Lane excels in 2nd game of weekend sweep

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

Friday night was special for the Boston University men’s hockey team. It celebrated its seniors, it honored former coach Jack Parker and it won its first game in nearly a month. Sophomore wing Matt Lane sat on the bench as a spectator for all of it.

While he was dressed for the game, a disciplinary action stopped him and three other Terriers (10-20-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) from seeing ice time.

Twenty-four hours later, the sophomore threw his hand up into the air after he scored his second goal of the game en route to the Terriers completing a weekend sweep of Northeastern University.

“The best way to motivate him is to sit him,” said BU coach David Quinn. There is no other way to do it. I benched him toward the end of a game about three or four weeks ago, and he came back and had his best night shortly thereafter. Obviously he sat [Friday] and he comes back and he plays the way he did tonight.”


Pluses & Minuses: BU gets second win in a row vs. Northeastern

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Back to South Bend they go.

The Boston University men’s hockey team dismissed No. 9 Northeastern University, 4-2, Saturday at Matthews Arena to complete the two-game weekend sweep, the first time the Terriers have done that all season. The wins set up another trip to Indiana to play the University of Notre Dame in a one-game playoff, the first round of the Hockey East tournament.

In a reversal from most games this year — but similar to what happened Friday — most things went well for BU. Here’s a specific look.

Matt Lane
A day after the sophomore winger was benched, Lane — who joked he was well rested — came out flying as the No. 2 left wing. He netted two goals, including a nifty move around NU goalie Clay Witt after forcing a turnover at the defensive blue line for the second.

Check back here Monday or read that day’s Daily Free Press for more on Lane.

Matt O’Connor
He matched sophomore Sean Maguire’s 31-save performance Friday night with 39 stops of his own, setting up what seems to be a tough decision Quinn will have to make next weekend in terms of who will be between the pipes.

O’Connor likely wants Northeastern’s first goal back — the puck bounced off his pad, over his leg and bounded past the goal line — but other than that he was smooth. He showed off his quick lateral movement on several occasions, and snuffed out one Husky chance when he covered a puck from his stomach and absorbed several whacks from opposing sticks.

It was the seventh win of the season for O’Connor. BU has 10.

Power play
The man advantage has been a point of weakness for the Terriers ever since sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk went down before the start of the second semester, but Saturday they rebounded from Friday’s 0-for-7 effort by filling the column early.

Six seconds after NU forward John Stevens went off for tripping, Lane finished a rebound created by freshman defenseman Doyle Somerby’s shot from the blue line. The goal gave BU a 1-0 lead at 5:13 in the first.

“It’s being ready, it’s being alert, it’s taking advantage of those quick opportunities,” BU coach David Quinn said of the goal. “And we did that.”

BU finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play.

Additional benchings
Following Friday night’s four-man “sit-down crew,” as Quinn termed it, four more Terriers did not play Saturday as punishment for breaking a team rule. Sophomore Danny O’Regan, freshman Brendan Collier, freshman Kevin Duane and senior Matt Ronan all sat.

Freshman T.J. Ryan also did not play due to lingering issues of his concussion from last month.

Despite utilizing just 14 skaters, BU pulled together just fine.

“When something like this happens, teams usually play better,” Quinn said. “There’s urgency, there’s a feeling of uh-oh. When you have that uh-oh feeling, you pretty much simplify things.”

Tournament draw
Quinn said heading into the weekend that the less traveling the team had to do the better, but once the final weekend played out, the Terriers found out they will have to go to the school farthest away: Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish beat Boston College, 2-1 in overtime, Saturday.

The trip will be the second time in three weeks BU makes the trip west, the first resulting in two 2-0 losses. After winning two consecutive games for the first time since November, however, Quinn was looking forward to the prospect a little more.

“I’m excited that we won two hockey games and we feel the way we do tonight and I’m excited to be in the playoffs,” Quinn said. “Those one-game situations, anything can happen. So I’m excited to go to Notre Dame. In a long-winded answer, yes, I’m excited to go to Notre Dame.”

UPDATED: Terriers earn first road victory in 4-2 win at Northeastern

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

It looks like all the Boston University men’s hockey team needed to win on the road was to play as close as it could to home, as the Terriers topped No. 9 Northeastern University 4-2 to finally earn their first road win of the season Saturday night at Matthews Arena.

The victory also marked the Terriers’ first back-to-back win since Nov. 17 and 22, and the first two-win weekend of the season since the first weekend. The back-to-back wins came despite several different Terrier players suspended by the team both nights.

“I’ve been coaching almost 20 years and I don’t know if I have been prouder,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Through some difficult times and a difficult season to respond the way we did over the last two nights shows our resiliency and our character and our leadership.”

BU (10-20-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) will be traveling to Notre Dame for the first round of the Hockey East tournament. The Terriers were shut out twice in their trip to South Bend, Ind. a week ago.
“Those one-game situations, anything can happen,” Quinn said. “So I’m excited to go to Notre Dame.”

It was sophomore forward Matt Lane – who did not play in Friday night’s game due to a team suspension – who put the Terriers on the board first six seconds into its first power play of the contest. With Northeastern forward John Stevens in the box for tripping, freshman defenseman Doyle Somerby sent a shot off of Huskies goaltender Clay Witt’s pad right onto Lane’s stick for an easy rebound goal.

It was Lane’s sixth goal of the season, and BU’s first power play goal in its last 16 power play opportunities, a span during which it had allowed two shorthanded goals against.

Northeastern (18-12-4, 10-8-2 Hockey East) brought the game with a little less than eight minutes remaining in the period though, when winger Braden Pimm capitalized on a shot from the top of the slot. BU goaltender Matt O’Connor got a piece of it, but he failed to keep it from crossing the goal line as Pimm scored his second goal in as many nights against BU.

The Huskies even took a brief lead in the second period when freshman Zach Aston-Reese received a pass as the trailer on a 3-on-2 and ripped it past O’Connor’s glove for his eighth goal of the season. The goal came off a great feed from winger Kevin Roy, who added to his team-leading 43 points on the season.

The Terriers struck back with two quick strikes in the final six minutes of the second though. Lane scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway in which he deked past Witt and scored on his backhand. It was Lane’s first-career multi-goal game.

“I just I marked my guy and fortunately got a good stick on the puck and then I was just off to the races,” Lane said.”
Less than two minutes later, Somerby added his first-career goal on a backhander that beat Witt to his blocker side. The goal came after a nice steal at the defensive blue line by freshman forward Tommy Kelley, whose one-on-one deke left the puck sitting in the slot for Somerby to capitalize on. It was a two-goal swing that gave BU a lead it did not surrender.

Sophomore forward Mike Moran added to the scoring 7:39 into the third period, ripping a snap shot off the left post and in for his fifth goal of the season. Freshman winger Nick Roberto added an assist on the play.

Sophomore forward Danny O’Regan, freshman forwards Brendan Collier and Kevin Duane and senior defenseman Matt Ronan all did not play due to what appeared to be disciplinary reasons. Freshman defenseman T.J. Ryan also did not play, but he was out with an injury.

The thin lineup could be here to stay though, especially with all the success the team has been having.

“It’s very nice, very nice,” Quinn said. “Don’t be surprised if I play nine forwards and five defensemen in the playoffs, even if nobody gets in trouble.”

Live blog: Terriers look to finish sweep at Northeastern

Time/location: 7 p.m., Matthews Arena

BU lines:
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Cason Hohmann
Matt Lane – Mike Moran – Nick Roberto
Tommy Kelley – Dillon Lawrence – Jake Moscatel
Brendan Collier – Danny O’Regan – Kevin Duane

Garrett Noonan – Matt Ronan
Ahti Oksanen – Patrick MacGregor
Doyle Somerby – Dalton MacAfee

Matt O’Connor
Sean Maguire
Anthony Moccia

Northeastern lines:
Kevin Roy – Mike Szmatula – Zach Aston-Reese
Mike McMurtry – John Stevens – Braden Pimm
Adam Reid – Dalen Hedges – Torin Snydeman
Zak Stone – Tanner Pond – Ryan Belonger

Mike Gunn – Dustin Darou
Dax Lauwers – Colton Saucerman
Jarrett Fennell – Jake Schechter

Clay Witt
Derick Roy
Bryan Mountain

Referees: Ryan Hersey, Geoff Miller
Assistant Referees: Chris Aughe, Jeremy Lewis

Live blog: