Oettinger’s effort not enough for Terriers in OT Beanpot loss

Despite a 47-save performance from junior netminder Jake Oettinger, the Boston University men’s hockey team suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Northeastern University in the semifinal round of the Beanpot at the TD Garden on Monday night.

“It hurts, it’s frustrating,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell, who saw his Terriers (10-12-3, 8-6-2 in Hockey East) knocked off by the Huskies (15-8-1, 9-6-1 Hockey East) in Beanpot play for the second year in a row.

As they had in six consecutive games prior, BU conceded the game’s first goal, with Northeastern’s opener coming at the 3:14 mark in the first period. On a giveaway in the Terrier end, senior forward Liam Pecararo provided the feed to classmate Patrick Schule, who fired it past Jake Oettinger to put the Huskies on top.

“The first one, [Oettinger] didn’t really have much of a chance on,” said O’Connell after the game.

BU squandered two early opportunities on the frame’s only power plays, but eventually found their equalizer with 21 seconds to play in the period.

On a pass from sophomore forward Shane Bowers, fellow sophomore Cam Crotty launched a wrister towards Northeastern sophomore keeper Cayden Primeau. The puck fell to Joel Farabee alone at the back post where the freshman forward angled the rebound in off Primeau to tally his tenth goal of the season and knot the game at one going into the break.

“I thought Joel was dynamite,” said O’Connell about his standout freshman.

In a scoreless second period, Jake Oettinger came up big with some dazzling saves as pressure poured in from the Huskies. BU gained their best chances towards the end of the frame, but could not capitalize.

It was the Terrier goal scorer Farabee who had both opportunities for the Terriers, getting in alone twice within the period’s final five minutes but being denied by Primeau on both occasions. Ahead of the final twenty minutes, the teams would retreat to the locker rooms still tied 1-1.

“You’d like to bury those chances, but to put yourself in a situation to get two breakaways in a game, obviously shows a high level of intelligence and skill,” said a positive-minded O’Connell about Farabee’s two missed opportunities.

The drama continued into the third period, as the tension mounted the longer the game remained even. Northeastern attempted 34 shots in the final 20 minutes of regulation alone, holding a 48-27 lead in shots on goal after 60 minutes.

“We were dominating them, so we had all the confidence,” said Northeastern’s Primeau regarding the mindset of his Huskies during their offensive onslaught in the Terrier end.

Despite the pressure, Jake Oettinger refused to budge, and both the BU junior and his counterpart Primeau remained strong to keep the game level despite late power plays for both teams in the waning minutes of regulation. The score line would hold after three period of play, and the teams would continue on to overtime.

“I thought both goalies were outstanding,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan.

The additional frame would not last very long, as the Huskies rallied for a game-winner just 51 seconds into overtime. Taking advantage of a mistimed Terrier line change, junior defenseman Jeremy Davies found freshman forward Tyler Madden streaking into the BU end. Oettinger got a piece of Madden’s shot on the breakaway, but the puck would trickle through, bringing an abrupt end to BU’s 2019 Beanpot bid and sending the Huskies into next week’s final.

“[There were] bright lights out there, and I shine in those,” said the confident freshman.

For the Terriers, it was the first semifinal loss in a Beanpot tournament since 2014, in which the Terriers were bounced by Harvard 6-2. The loss to Northeastern was also a repeat of last season’s championship game, which saw the Huskies overcome BU to win their first Beanpot title in three decades.

“I think everyone on our team is disappointed,” said O’Connell about the heartbreaking loss. “Tip the cap to [Northeastern].”

While he may have finished on the losing side of the game, Oettinger’s 47 saves were his most since last year’s Beanpot tournament, in which the Minnesota native also tallied 47 in a victorious semifinal effort against Harvard.

“It was probably one of the best games he’s played in a BU uniform,” said O’Connell of Oettinger. “It’s a good sign for our team if he can play at that level.”

The schedule will get no easier for the Terriers, as they travel to Amherst to visit #2 University of Massachusetts on Friday night before returning to the Garden to face Harvard in the Beanpot’s third place game the following Monday.

*BEANPOT* Live Blog: BU vs. Northeastern, 2/4 at 8pm

In the first round of the 2019 Beanpot, Boston University will take on Northeastern at the TD Garden. The Huskies won last year’s tournament, getting a 5-2 win in the final over BU. The Terriers will be seeking revenge, looking to get one step closer to their 31st Beanpot title.

It’s one of the biggest games of the year, so come join our live blog! Coverage will start at 7:45pm, with puck drop set for 8pm.

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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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.”

Read more at dailyfreepress.com

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.

Pluses
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.

Minuses
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.”