Terriers limp into weekend series with UConn

Over the last few weeks, the Boston University men’s hockey team has learned just how far it is from the top of the Hockey East conference.

Terriers fans knew how tough the previous four-game stretch, which included a home-and-home series with UMass Amherst and the Beanpot, would be. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a BU loyalist who thought the team would lose all four tilts.

Mired in a five-game losing slump, BU limps into this weekend’s matchup against UConn in the bottom half of the league. The Terriers are eight points behind the first-place Minutemen and in danger of falling to eighth in the conference with a poor weekend.

After defeating Arizona State on January 25, BU was 10-9-3 and inching closer to the USCHO Top 20 rankings. The Terriers suffered a shutout loss to the Sun Devils the following night and the slide ensued. This skid has included a pair of Beanpot losses, the first time the team has lost in both the tournament semifinal and consolation round since the forgettable 2013-14 season.

BU will bus down to Hartford for Friday night’s contest before hosting the Huskies on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. After this weekend, the Terriers will have just one home game left in the regular season. The silver lining is only one of those meetings is against a team with a winning record, so the squad has a chance to piece its season back together after this head-scratching stretch.

This weekend is a great opportunity for BU to begin its climb back to relevance in the college hockey landscape. The Terriers have had success against this UConn before, beating them 3-2 in the Friendship Four a few months ago. In that game, BU fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 before goals by sophomore forwards Logan Cockerill and Ty Amonte lifted them to a victory.

Junior forward Patrick Curry also scored in that tilt. That game was part of a seven-game losing streak for the Huskies that put them in a deep hole before 2019 even began. UConn recently endured a six-game winless streak from January 5-February 7, but the group has looked better as of late.

The Huskies have won their last two games, including a shocking 3-2 upset win over Northeastern last Thursday. Senior forward Karl El-Amir assisted on each of his unit’s goals in the triumph, adding to his team-high of 25 points. The Montreal native has done it by himself and used his teammates to compile points this year, scoring 12 times and assisting on 13 goals. He did both against the Terriers in Ireland, garnering a goal and an assist with four shots.

BU also has to worry about fellow Montrealer Alexander Payusov. The junior leads the Huskies with 14 goals and has four assists for good measure. Payusov has scored twice in a game on three occasions this year, including a pair of goals in contests against conference foes Maine and New Hampshire.

Game Notes: This weekend’s games will not be televised on local cable but can be streamed online here. You can also listen online to the Terriers radio broadcast. Do you think BU can break its skid this weekend? Let us know in the comment section!

From the FreeP: Joe Pereira returns to Agganis Arena as UConn assistant coach

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

As Joe Pereira sat in the Agganis Arena stands about two hours before puck drop, readying for the Boston University men’s hockey team’s nonconference matchup with the University of Connecticut, his attire said it all.

A dark blue tie with lighter blue and silver stripes complemented Pereira’s white collared shirt, which featured blue pinstripes. His jacket lapel donned a pin of UConn’s new Husky logo.

This was not just “Joe Pereira, former Terrier.” It was “Joe Pereira, UConn assistant coach.”

Sunday evening, a 4-1 BU (5-6-0, 2-3-0 Hockey East) win over UConn (3-4-1), was the 26-year-old Pereira’s first time at Agganis since relocating to Storrs, Conn., to take the position with the Huskies.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Pereira, who finished with 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) as a Terrier and was a part of the 2009 national championship team before taking over as captain in 2010-11, said. “It’s different, but it’s awesome, too.

For more, visit dailyfreepress.com.

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers offense finally gets things going in 4-1 win over UConn

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s hockey team broke its three-game losing streak Sunday, topping the University of Connecticut 4-1 at Agganis Arena.

It was a welcome result for the Terriers, who were coming off a 7-0 blowout at the hands of the University of Maine Friday night. With the victory Sunday night, BU scored more than one goal in a game for the second time in its last seven games.

Here is a look at some of the pluses and minuses for the Terriers in their win.

Pluses

Finally some success for the offense

As a Hockey East team, the expectation for BU was that it would beat a Huskies team that plays in the less-prestigious Atlantic Hockey Association. However, with only one goal or fewer scored in five of their last six games, the expectations for the Terriers’ offense had fallen significantly entering the contest.

It took until the second period, but BU finally broke through UConn’s conservative neutral-zone trap scheme with three goals — which matched the most goals the Terriers had scored in a period this season. BU coach David Quinn said the utilization of the team’s defensemen was key to breaking through the trap.

“This day and age the way people collapse their coverage, you’re going to have to use your defensemen, and I didn’t think we had been doing that over the last two or three games,” Quinn said. “We have got some skill on the blue line obviously, guys that can produce some offense. I thought we used our defense a little bit more in the offensive zone, which freed things up a little bit down low.”

Third line stands out

BU’s top two lines created offense against the Huskies — something they had struggled to do in recent games — but perhaps the biggest revelation of the night was the play of the third line of sophomore Mike Moran and freshmen Dillon Lawrence and Kevin Duane.

The trio applied sustained pressure several times during the first period, and although it did not score as a unit (Duane scored a power-play goal), it kept possession well enough to deserve an increase of playing time later in the game.

“I thought in the first period they were our best line,” Quinn said. “They didn’t let any cuteness creep into their game. I thought they got to the net, they got pucks to the net and they did a great job protecting it down low.

“Every time they were on the ice the puck was in UConn’s end. That’s why you saw them more and more as the game went on.”

O’Connor strong again

Sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor was less than spectacular in relief Friday night against Maine, allowing four goals on 14 shots in relief of fellow sophomore Sean Maguire. However, O’Connor stepped up his performance in his start on the weekend, stopping 28 of the 29 shots that came his way.

It was not as easy of a game for O’Connor as one would expect though. The former Youngstown Phantoms goalie was stellar at moving post to post on backdoor scoring opportunities, making several two-on-one stops. Perhaps his best one of the game came within the first two minutes, when center Shawn Pauly fed winger Cody Sharib for what appeared to be an easy goal. O’Connor was quick in getting over and made an incredible stop.

“O’Connor was huge,” said freshman forward Nick Roberto. “He takes up so much net … He controls his rebounds really well so there aren’t second and third chances that much during the game.”

Minuses

Let-down in third period

The Terriers and Huskies each scored a goal in the third period, but the Huskies won the frame if one does not count freshman center Robbie Baillargeon’s empty-netter. UConn also outshot BU in the frame 10-6 after being outshot 35-19 through the first two.

The Terriers also had some mental slip-ups in the third, and they took two penalties in a one-minute span to give UConn a 5-on-3 — which turned into a 6-on-3 when the Huskies pulled goaltender Matt Grogan. After not taking a single penalty through the first two frames, BU took three penalties in the final period.

“Obviously we take two penalties in the last five minutes and make it a little bit squirrely, but I liked our penalty kill,” Quinn said. “I thought we were smart and I thought we were disciplined with the penalty kill.”

UPDATED: Strong second period puts Terriers over UConn

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

After a first period where it showed an improvement in puck possession without any results on the scoreboard, the Boston University men’s hockey team found the back of the net for the first time in close to 120 minutes at the start of the second period.

Following a trend from the first 10 games of the season, the Terriers, who have scored nearly 65 percent of their goals in the second period, went up 3-0 in the middle frame en route to defeating the University of Connecticut 4-1 Sunday night at Agganis Arena.

“I really liked our first 40 minutes,” said BU coach David Quinn after the tilt. “I thought we were ready to play from the get-go. I thought we got the puck to the net a little bit more than we had in the past. I thought we were physical.”

Read more at dailyfreepress.com

Live blog: Looking to rebound, BU hosts UConn

Time/location: 5 pm., Agganis Arena

BU lines:
Matt Lane – Danny O’Regan – Cason Hohmann
Evan Rodrigues  – Robbie Baillargeon – Nick Roberto
Mike Moran – Dillon Lawrence – Kevin Duane
Brendan Collier – Sam Kurker – Jake Moscatel
Ahti Oksanen – Garrett Noonan
Matt Grzelcyk – Dalton MacAfee
Doyle Somerby – Patrick MacGregor
Matt O’Connor
Sean Maguire
Anthony Moccia
UConn lines:
Billy Latta – Jordan Sims – Brant Harris
Cody Sharib – Shawn Pauly – Trevor Gerling
Patrick Kirtland – Ryan Tyson – Joey Ferriss
Sean Gaffney – Brad Smith – Tyler Bouchard
Kyle Huson – Tyler Cooke
Ben Oskroba – Joona Kunnas
Ryan Segalla – Jacob Poe
Matt Grogan
Robby Nichols
Tom Cumanale
Referees: Kevin Keenan, Jack Millea
Linesmen: Shane Belanger, Marc Sullivan
Live Blog:

From the FreeP: BU to visit Maine, host UConn in battle of Hockey East foes present and future

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
This weekend, when it comes to coaches in the first year of new gigs, David Quinn will have company — plenty of it.

All three teams involved in the Boston University men’s hockey team’s weekend feature bench bosses about a month and a half into their inaugural season in their new positions: Quinn, Red Gendron (University of Maine) and Mike Cavanaugh (University of Connecticut).

“I have known Red a long time and he has done a great job and he has moved around an awful lot,” Quinn said. “Mike Cavanaugh and I have been good friends for a long time back to his days at Dartmouth and my days back at Nebraska-Omaha. So it will be fun. It will be fun to see those guys and shoot the breeze with them a little bit before the game. Hopefully they both go 0-1 on the weekend.”

The Terriers (4-5, 2-2 Hockey East) will visit the Black Bears (4-4-1, 1-2-1 Hockey East) for a matchup Friday evening at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine, before hosting the Huskies (3-2-1) at Agganis Arena at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The BU team Maine and UConn sees, however, will look quite different than the one that lost to Boston College — and even made the Eagles “look like the Harlem Globetrotters,” as Quinn put it — last week.

For more, visit dailyfreepress.com.