2013-14 men’s hockey preview issue

Thursday brought the annual hockey preview edition of The Daily Free Press, and this year all eight pages of the issue were dedicated to men’s and women’s hockey.

Be sure to grab a copy and share it with your friends if you’re on campus, but if you are not, here is a look at all of the content the issue features.

The season preview, which details what to expect from David Quinn’s first year as coach, is the first story of the issue.

Here is more background on Quinn and the path he took to go from BU hockey player to head coach of his alma mater.

Jake Moscatel dreamed of playing for BU his entire life, but getting there was not easy.

Garrett Noonan is back, he is captain, and he has business to take care of.

Sophomore year was a chance for Evan Rodrigues and Cason Hohmann to break out. Now, they have a chance to lead.

Hockey East is only getting tougher with the arrival of Notre Dame and the emergence of UMass-Lowell and Providence. Where does BU fit in? Check out our power rankings.

On the women’s front, take a look at the season preview as Brian Durocher’s squad tries to get back to the national championship, and a profile of Kerrin Sperry, who is a leader both between the pipes and with ROTC.

What is Patrick MacGregor’s favorite pregame music? Find out in our lighthearted “Seven Questions” Q&A.

You can find the digital copy of the issue here.

Garrett Noonan, Patrick MacGregor named 2013-14 co-captains

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Sports

The wait is finally over, and senior defensemen Garrett Noonan and Patrick MacGregor have been named co-captains of the 2013-14 Boston University men’s hockey team. Noonan and MacGregor are the first co-captains of the Terriers since Chris Connolly and Joe Pereira shared the ‘C’ in 2010-11.

“Over the last six months I’ve been really impressed by the senior leadership on this team both on and off the ice,” BU coach David Quinn said in a team release. “Garrett and Patrick were selected following a team vote and they both have what it takes to be a great leader. They’ll have the help of their fellow seniors as well, which will be very important with 10 newcomers this year.”

Noonan, who was named an assistant captain on Dec. 14 last season, returned to the Terriers despite speculation that he may forgo his senior year and sign a pro contract with the Nashville Predators. The Norfolk native was named a 2012 Hockey East Second Team All-Star.

“I wanted to be here,” Noonan told the Daily Free Press at Hockey East media day on Sept. 24. “[The Predators] were happy with my development here, I was happy and it was kind of one of those things where it kind of fit that I would stay here, finish my degree, come back and be a leader on the team.”

MacGregor, who appeared in 30 games for the Terriers last season, is expected to provide some experience among a defensive group that features four underclassmen. He has seven assists in 79 career games with the Terriers.

The captains are often announced at the team banquet after the season, but with the head coaching change from Jack Parker to Quinn, the captains spots were not officially assigned until one day before the team’s first preseason game.

“This year I think it was very important to wait because number one, new coach. Number two, nine freshmen,” Quinn told the Daily Free Press on Monday. “For me, it was a great opportunity to kind of see how they handled the freshmen in the early part of the season and let the freshmen have the say. Those are the guys that are leading them as well.

“Last year’s team may vote and then all of a sudden something may change over the summer or you don’t know how they’re going to handle freshmen. I think this was the right way to do it. Jack actually suggested it to me after I got the job and I think it was a great idea because I think it kind of worked out well.”

Video: Quinn, Noonan and MacGregor discuss team leadership

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff 

Thursday afternoon, members of the media met with coaches and players during the annual Hockey East Media Day at TD Garden. First-year Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn stressed the leadership he has seen from his senior class, and senior defensemen Garrett Noonan and Patrick MacGregor followed suit by discussing how they have developed as mentors to a large freshmen class. 

Watch the videos below to hear more from Quinn, Noonan and MacGregor:

No. 8 BU turns it around on defense in win over Merrimack

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
NORTH ANDOVER — As Boston University students ready themselves to return to campus this weekend for second semester, it seems too that the No. 8 BU men’s hockey team decided to end its month-long break after three poor performances.
The Terriers (12-7, 9-4 Hockey East) returned to their first-semester form Friday night when they visited Merrimack College, beating the Warriors (7-9-4, 5-5-1 Hockey East) with a strong defensive effort, the complete opposite of what the team turned in Wednesday when it blew a three-goal, third-period lead against Harvard University.
We gave ourselves a much better chance to win because of the attitude we had about defense-first,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “Nobody had a hangover from what we did to ourselves against Harvard. They wanted to come back and couldn’t wait to get back and try to redeem themselves. And they did more than that tonight. It was a huge win for us.”
BU did all of the things it needed to do but could not find the motivation for against Harvard. The penalty kill was perfect, killing off all three Warrior man-advantages, the forwards backchecked when they needed to and defensemen cleared rebounds in front of their own net.
The Terriers did surrender 38 shots, but many of those were from outside high-percentage scoring areas.
No matter where the shots were from, Sean Maguire stopped all but one. The freshman goaltender made 37 saves, allowing just a Kyle Bigos goal late in the third, for his fifth straight win.
The rookie has given up just three goals in his last four games.
Another huge game for Mags,” said sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera. “He is standing on his head lately. Both guys [Maguire and freshman Matt O’Connor] are playing well, but Mags especially has taken a big step forward here. We trust playing — we trust both of them — but he has been huge for us lately. He has been kicking it really well.”
Maguire got help from the skaters in front of him who blocked 25 shots in total — one more than the Terriers took on the night.
Privitera, who is returning from his two-game suspension, led the way with nine and now has a team-high 52 on the season. No other Terrier had more than two against the Warriors
Parker, who made Privitera sit out a second game after the blueliner got an automatic one-game suspension for a game-disqualification penalty, was more than pleased.
“I couldn’t be more happy [Privitera] is back in the lineup. I hope he stays there,” Parker said. “If he doesn’t lead the league [in blocked shots], his partner [senior defenseman Sean Escobedo] does. It’s a tough duo to get a puck to the net on. I thought he played great tonight. It was great having him back.”
Parker was complimentary of all six of his defensemen — Privitera and Escobedo, juniors Garrett Noonan and Patrick MacGregor, and freshmen Matt Grzelcyk and Ahti Oksanen — after what he called “a complete turnaround” from Wednesday’s game.
“As bad as our core of defensemen were the other night, it was just the opposite tonight,” Parker said. “They played real solid, play-the-right-way type of hockey.”
One of the pieces of the defensive core was MacGregor, who has had to battle all season to get in the lineup, often splitting time with senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka.
Against Merrimack, though, MacGregor gave BU a physical presence in the defensive end. At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, easily BU’s largest defenseman, MacGregor being a physical presence is often the case.
“When Pat’s in the lineup he’s physical, and we like that about him and that’s one of the reasons why we wanted him out there,” Parker said.
Senior captain Wade Megan, who himself turned in a good effort on both sides of the puck while battling a sore shoulder, said this young BU team wants to avoid the mistakes it has made recently.
The team’s break, it seems, has ended.
Credit our guys, they just played phenomenal defensively,” Megan said. All of the little stuff that we were doing in the first half is coming back now. We need to do a lot more of the same.”

Terriers lead conference in penalties after Saturday free-for-all

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

DENVER — The Boston University men’s hockey team entered Saturday’s game ranked fourth in Hockey East in penalty minutes per game. By the time their 6-0 loss to the University of Denver ended, they’d roughed, kicked and tripped their way to the league lead.

Despite a relatively disciplined start to the year, the Terriers averaged 17 penalty minutes per game in their three December contests, creeping up from the bottom half of Hockey East into the top five.

Then, against Denver, BU racked up 56 penalty minutes to the Pioneers’ 35 in what became an unruly mess by the final buzzer. They now average 15.9 minutes in the box per game, sixth most in the nation.

“We took some stupid penalties, and we’re going to pay for it,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “When I watch film, people will sit out the next game for sure, anyway.”

Ten of the penalty minutes on Saturday came on a disqualification penalty to sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera, who kicked a Denver player in a scrum after the whistle. Privitera alone accounted for 19 minutes in the box before he was ejected late in the second period. Ten more came from a late game misconduct to junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor.

The Terriers’ defensemen recorded 40 of those 56 minutes in total. They might easily have had more, but junior defenseman Garrett Noonan – recently named an assistant captain – got away scot-free after he hit Denver freshman Quentin Shore from behind and continued to shove him into the boards away from the play late in the third period.

MacGregor took the punishment for that play instead when he jumped in next to Noonan, punching Shore and drawing three penalties: roughing, cross-checking, and a game misconduct. Freshman forward Matt Lane served the ensuing seven-minute penalty in his place.

Parker said he had no idea how Noonan got away with the play, and that frustration, with the game 5-0 at that point, was likely part of the reason he went after Shore.

“Guys were getting frustrated, definitely, because pucks weren’t bouncing our way, but we’ve just got to battle through,” said senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka, one of only two Terrier blueliners who didn’t take a penalty on Saturday. “You can’t lose games like that.”

Privitera entered the game with a team-leading 32 penalty minutes on the year. He’s now up to 51. While his improved defensive play has been key to BU’s success this season, his lack of discipline has hurt the team repeatedly. On Saturday, his first penalty, for roughing, came 14 seconds after BU went on a five-minute power play. Denver scored twice on the ensuing 4-on-4 to take a 3-0 lead.

With freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk already missing because he couldn’t fly back from the World Junior Championships in Russia in time, the Terriers could ill afford to lose another defenseman. But when Privitera was ejected, they had no choice but to rotate five blueliners for the remaining 22 minutes of the game.

“I think we missed [Grzelcyk] a lot, with all the penalties and everything,” Ruikka said. “I was gasping for air, especially up here in the Mile High City.”

Of the other four least disciplined Hockey East teams – the University of Maine, Providence College, Northeastern University and the University of Vermont – only Providence has a winning record (7-6-3).

Meanwhile, BU’s main rivals for the top spot in Hockey East, Boston College and New Hampshire, are the two least penalized teams in the conference. They rank 45th and 46th in the nation, respectively, in minutes spent in the box per game.

BU’s penalty kill has also fallen off recently, succeeding just 81.2 percent of the time. Regularly losing players like Privitera, who’s become a significant part of the PK, only makes it harder on the players left shorthanded on the ice.

“We just need to keep those guys calmed down, because they’re good players for us,” Ruikka said. “They contribute for us on the power play and they create plays. We need them on the ice. We can’t have them in the locker room not playing for us.”