No. 13 men’s hockey to take on No. 10 Michigan in NCAA Northeast Regional final

It certainly has been a tale of two seasons for the No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team — and it is not over yet. After facing off against No. 4 Cornell University 3-1 Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals at the DCU Center in Worcester, the Terriers (22-13-4, 12-8-4 Hockey East) downed Cornell (25-6-2) 3-1 in a rematch of November’s Red Hot Hockey game.

Freshmen forwards Shane Bowers and Logan Cockerill as well as freshman defenseman David Farrance all found the back of the net in the win against the Big Red.

On Sunday in the regional finals, the Terriers will take on the No. 10 University of Michigan for the ninth time in the NCAA tournament, which marks the most times BU has played a single opponent in the tournament of all time.

The Wolverines (21-14-3) knocked off No. 8 Northeastern University 3-2 yesterday, thanks two goals from junior forward Cooper Marody and one from senior forward Dexter Dancs.

The game will feature a total of 19 players currently drafted by NHL teams with the Terriers having 12 on their roster and the Wolverines sporting seven.

However, both teams also have a top-four rated North American Skater for the NHL draft in BU’s freshman forward Brady Tkachuk and Michigan’s freshman defenseman Quinn Hughes, who are ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Although they will be facing off against each other Sunday, Hughes and Tkachuk were teammates during the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship for Team USA.

Both the Terriers and the Wolverines sent three players to the international tournament. For BU, sophomores goaltender Jake Oettinger and forward Patrick Harper. In addition to Hughes, Michigan sent forwards sophomore Will Lockwood and freshman Josh Norris.

Tkachuk outscored the three Wolverines in that tournament 9-6.

Since returning from the tournament on Jan. 6, Oettinger boasts a 1.96 goals against average and a goal save percentage of .931, which puts the Lakeville, Minnesota native 11th in the nation in both categories.

The first round Dallas Stars prospect has played extremely well since the start of the Hockey East Tournament on March 9.

During the last five games, the netminder has posted a .949 goal save percentage and a goals against average of 1.69, which puts him fourth and 12th in the country respectively.

BU will look to him to stop a Michigan offense that ranks ninth in the country averaging 3.34 goals per game, which is led by Marody who has 48 points. The Wolverines have seven players more than 20 points and two with 40 or more.

Although BU does not have a single player on their roster with 40 points, it has four players with 30 or more points and a total of eight players with 20 points or more.

Junior forward and assistant captain Bobo Carpenter leads the Terriers in points (35) and goals (20).

Michigan will turn to sophomore goaltender Hayden Lavigne to slow down the Terriers offense.

He current sits on a  .910 goal save percentage and a 2.76 goals against average of 2.76 while picking up one assist.

BU is playing in its third regional final in the past four years, which matches the University of Denver and the University of Minnesota Duluth as the only teams to do so.

With a victory over the Wolverines, the Terriers will find themselves in the Frozen Four for the first time since the 2014-15 season where they fell to Providence College in the National title game.

No. 18 men’s hockey set for No. 9 Providence in Hockey East championship

It’s been three years since the No. 18 Boston University men’s hockey team faced No. 9 Providence College at TD Garden. In that game, the Friars (23-10-4, 13-7-4 Hockey East) overcame Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jack Eichel and downed BU (20-13-4, 12-8-4 Hockey East) to take home the school’s first national championship.

For the Terriers, the options are simple: with a win they secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but with a loss, their season is over.

BU’s season almost ended Friday night at the hands of No. 14 Boston College.

The Eagles (20-14-3, 18-6 Hockey East) jumped out to a 2-0 lead by three minutes and 26 seconds into the second period.

However, the Terriers battled to send the game into overtime, where sophomore forward Patrick Curry cleaned up a rebound from freshman forward Shane Bowers 15:40 into the extended period to send BU to the championship game.

The Terriers have remained undefeated (13-0-2) in games where Curry has notched a point.

The Friars also needed overtime to put themselves in position to win their first Hockey East crown since 1996.

In a battle of two top-10 teams, Providence overcame No. 7 Northeastern University 2-1 in overtime.

The Friars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, but the Huskies (23-9-5 15-6-3 Hockey East) knotted the game in the second period thanks to a short-handed goal by senior forward and assistant captain Dylan Sikura.

Freshman forward Austin Goldstein and sophomore forward Kasper Bjorkqvist each tallied goals for Northeastern and Providence, respectively, in the third period, but sophomore forward Brandon Duhaime scored the game-winner for the Friars 9:55 into overtime.

BU and Providence split the three regular season games evenly at 1-1-1, with both wins coming from the home team.

Sophomore defenseman Chad Krys picked up three points against the Friars, including a two-goal game at Agganis Arena on Nov. 3. Junior forward and assistant captain Bobo Carpenter also recorded a two-goal game against Providence at Agganis on Jan. 13.

The Friars are led by Hockey East First-Team All-Stars junior forward Erik Foley and sophomore defenseman Jacob Bryson. Foley recorded two goals against the Terriers this season.

In net, the Friars feature Hockey East All-Star Second Team member junior goaltender Hayden Hawkey — who shutout BU earlier this season at Schneider Arena. He will be tasked with stopping a BU offense that averages 3.14 goals per game, a mark that is good for second in the conference.

Hawkey’s netminding counterpart, sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger, also recorded a shutout in the series on Nov. 3. The Terriers will rely on the Lakeville, Minnesota native to slow down a Providence team that is third in the conference in scoring, as the Friars average 3.11 goals per game.

Providence already has guaranteed its spot in the NCAA tournament, but for the Terriers, it is the definition of “win or go home.”

Men’s hockey heads west for bout against Arizona State

After knocking off Merrimack College in consecutive nights last weekend, the Boston University men’s hockey team heads into the final weekend of January with fresh experiences on the horizon.

For the first time all season, the Terriers (11-11-2, 9-7-2 Hockey East) enter a weekend series having swept their previous opponent. Not only that, but this weekend’s foe is not just any ordinary Hockey East competition, as BU visits the Valley of the Sun to face Arizona State University.

The Terriers touched down in Arizona Wednesday evening, set to face off against the Sun Devils (7-14-5) twice this weekend. Friday night’s contest will be held at Gila River Arena, just across the street from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale where the New England Patriots trumped the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX.

On Saturday, the two teams will head 30 minutes southeast to Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe for the series finale.

Facing Hockey East competition is nothing new for the Sun Devils. In fact, their last two weekends have been spent hosting teams from New England.

Being that the Pac-12 Conference does not have a men’s hockey division, Arizona State is an independent hockey program, allowing them to schedule series against teams from across the country.

In October, the Sun Devils split a two-game series with the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They met up with then-No. 11 Providence College last month at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Classic and were trumped 6-0.

Most recently, Arizona State hosted the University of Massachusetts Lowell and another New England troup, Quinnipiac University.

The matchup against the River Hawks (14-11, 9-7 Hockey East) yielded mixed results, similar to how the Terriers fared when they faced Lowell the second weekend of December.

The Sun Devils fell 4-0 in the first meeting before flipping the script and hammering the River Hawks by the same margin the subsequent evening.

BU adopts “us against the world” mentality ahead of North Dakota, NCAA Tournament

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BU is playing in its third straight NCAA Tournament. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Doyle Somerby has heard the message loud and clear: He and his teammates are underdogs on Friday.

The senior defenseman and captain of the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team doesn’t like it one bit.

“In our locker room we’ve seen a lot of people picking North Dakota,” Somerby said of Friday’s West Regional semifinal against the No. 10 Fighting Hawks at Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota. “A lot of people don’t really give us the respect that we should get. Going out there, it’ll be pretty interesting and really loud. I think we’re just using that to fuel ourselves.”

Kindling the flames even further will be 5,000-plus North Dakota (21-15-3) fans, all hoping for the program’s ninth national title. The Terriers (23-11-3), however, aren’t letting the noise — Fargo is 80 miles south of North Dakota’s campus in Grand Forks — muddy their hopes for the sixth national title.

“If you’re an elite athlete and you’re an elite hockey player, this is a game you want to play in,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “ … If I’m a player, I think it’d be pretty cool to go play North Dakota in Fargo in front of a packed house with that type of atmosphere. That’s why you come to places like BU — to play in games like this.”

While the noise is guaranteed to be stifling, fans in Fargo and those watching on ESPN2 will be treated to 21 NHL draft picks — 11 from BU and 10 from the Fighting Hawks.

The player to watch from BU, the youngest team in college hockey, is freshman forward Clayton Keller. The Hockey East Rookie of the Year — also an Arizona Coyotes first-rounder — has 42 points on the year and is seventh in the nation with 1.45 points per game.

Freshman forward Tyson Jost is North Dakota's go-to man on offense. Photo courtesy of: Conor Knuteson/UND Athletics
Freshman forward Tyson Jost is North Dakota’s go-to man on offense. Photo courtesy of: Conor Knuteson/UND Athletics

He’ll be aided by other stars ranging from sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins) to freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger (a likely first-rounder in 2017) to freshman forward Patrick Harper (Nashville Predators) and more. The key for BU, though, Quinn said, will be turning all its talent into a 60-minute performance.

“Right now we’re playing pretty good hockey,” Quinn said. “The last few weekends I think we’ve played well. A couple of times we haven’t gotten the results we wanted, but we’ve played a much smarter brand of hockey.”

Quinn was referring to BU’s slow starts, as the scarlet and white have allowed the first goal in each of their last nine games.

Sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, however, doesn’t feel that’ll be a problem, especially with a Frozen Four berth on the line.

“This weekend we obviously need to win,” Greenway said. “If you lose you’re done, so we’re really desperate. We want to make it to Chicago and move on forward.”

Obstructing that path will be head coach Brad Berry’s squad, one that allows the nation’s second-fewest shots per game (24.7) and can score in bunches (3.18 goals per game).

Leading their charge up top will be Brock Boeser, Tyson Jost and Shane Gersich, all of whom have surpassed the 30-point mark. Then on defense, keep an eye out for Tucker Poolman (30 points) and Gage Ausmus, as well as goaltender Cam Johnson, a finalist for the Mike Richter Award in 2016.

For junior defenseman Brandon Hickey, the myriad of challenges NoDak poses are all welcomed with open arms.

“As an athlete, you want to go into hostile buildings and be able to go there and say you beat a team on their home ice,” Hickey said. “It’s basically a home game for them being so close to where they play. It’s nothing but excitement out of me. I’m ready to go in there and play in front of a loud crowd and a packed house.”

Freshman forward Clayton Keller was recently named Hockey East Rookie of the Year. PHOTO MY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman forward Clayton Keller was recently named Hockey East Rookie of the Year. PHOTO MY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Whichever way Friday’s game is spliced, the fact remains: the winner will advance to Saturday’s West Regional final, also held at Scheels Arena. They’ll take on whoever emerges from the other semifinal between No. 3 University of Minnesota Duluth and No. 14 Ohio State University.

Before then, Somerby said BU has adopted an “us against the world” mentality, and Quinn harped on several coaching points when previewing the encounter.

He highlighted winning puck battles, creating havoc in front of Johnson and making mature decisions with the puck.

And, if all goes to plan, BU will return to Boston with a Frozen Four to prepare for, instead of the end of the 2016-17 season.

“We want to go in there and make sure that we’re going to do whatever it takes to extend the season,” Hickey said. “We don’t it to be our last weekend as a team.”

Preview: BU readies for home-and-home set with UNH

There’s an aura of déjà vu around Agganis Arena.

For the second time in three weeks, the No. 4 Boston University men’s hockey team approaches the weekend looking to break out of a two-game skid.

This go around, the opportunity comes via a home-and-home series against the University of New Hampshire, with Friday night’s game at Agganis and Saturday evening’s at the Whittemore Center.

“Our next goal is to win the regular season championship, and we still can do that,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “All our energy has been geared towards Friday night and putting forth our best effort.”

For a full version of this story, click here for Jonathan’s preview on The Daily Free Press.

BU gears up for Beanpot title game vs. Harvard

While the Beanpot Tournament is laced with history, its 65th championship game concerns a bird of a different feather: Two elite teams.

Just ask Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, an assistant captain for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team, about what it’ll be like to play against No. 4 Harvard University on Monday night at TD Garden.

“These are the kinds of games you come to BU to play,” the Swedish center said.

It’ll be head coach David Quinn’s Terriers (19-8-2, 11-4-2 Hockey East) taking on head coach Ted Donato’s Crimson (17-5-2), and they’re both likely to play for silverware come springtime.

In the here and now, though, is where the young guns from Commonwealth Avenue and the old guard from Cambridge are thriving.

For a full version of this story over on The Daily Free Press, click here

BU visits UMass Lowell on Friday night to close out Hockey East series

A stern test awaits the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team, as it’ll visit No. 9 University of Massachusetts Lowell on Friday night.

Rumor is the Tsongas Center has been sold out for weeks, and rightly so with two of the NCAA’s elite teams duking it out. For context, they met back on Jan. 28, with BU earning a 4-2 win over the River Hawks.

Ahead of this game, Jonathan wrote his usual preview, so be sure to check that out over on The Daily Free Press.

As tough as Lowell will be, it’s hard not to look ahead to Monday night’s Beanpot title game vs. No. 4 Harvard University. Despite that, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger stressed that the Terriers are staying in the moment.

“We have a chance to win a championship on Monday, but we also have a chance to move towards another championship Friday night. It’s trying to focus on one game at a time, because the biggest game ahead of us is Lowell. Just focus on that and … play a full 60. It’s going to be a really good test for us.” – Oettinger

For more from Oettinger and head coach David Quinn, click the link above.

Preview: BU hosts UMass Amherst

The Beanpot Tournament’s opening round is just four days away, but the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team has business to take care of first.

On Friday night at Agganis Arena, the Terriers will play host to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In many ways, the clash will mark the coming together of two sides heading in opposite directions.

BU sits third in the PairWise Rankings, in second place in Hockey East and is 9-2 in its last 11 contests. UMass, meanwhile, is a lowly 56th in the PairWise Rankings, dead last in Hockey East and in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

“I’m hoping our guys don’t put any stock into any of that, because it means nothing [Friday] night,” said BU head coach David Quinn.

For a full version of the story, click here.

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.

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.