Terriers’ season ends with 1-0 loss to UML in Hockey East finals

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
The Boston University men’s hockey team’s season ended Saturday with a 1-0 loss to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the Hockey East championship. The game marked the end of coach Jack Parker’s 40-year career.

Junior Derek Arnold scored the game’s only goal 11:09 into the third period. Lowell’s Connor Hellebuyck and BU freshman goalie Sean Maguire maintained a 0-0 game for over 50 minutes, and Hellebuyck wound up with 37 saves, Maguire 29.

On the Lowell goal, senior forward Wade Megan lost the puck near the Lowell blue line. That sprung the River Hawks on a 3-on-2, and while BU stopped them on their initial chances, Arnold came around the net and flipped the puck over Maguire while he was down to make it 1-0.

The Terriers opened the game with energy, outshooting UML 8-6 in the first period and establishing possession in the offensive zone much better than they did the last two times they saw Lowell.

BU made a few defensive miscues in the second that almost hurt them, including one where freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen sent the puck softly into open ice in the defensive zone and UML’s Ryan McGrath picked it up. McGrath drew Maguire to the right side of the net and tried for the wraparound, but O’Regan stopped him at the goal line.

Through two periods, BU led in shots, 26-21, but neither Hellebuyck nor Maguire had yielded a goal.

The Terriers opened the third on the power play but never really threatened Hellebuyck. When the player in the box, Colin Wright, got out, he picked up the puck in the neutral zone and took off on a breakaway. He fired into the crossbar, and the puck came back out onto the ice through Maguire’s legs. Lowell’s goal came about eight minutes later, and after it was 1-0, the River Hawks clamped down, limiting BU’s chances in the game’s final minutes.

Live blog: BU, UMass-Lowell compete for Hockey East championship

Time/location (TV): 7 p.m., TD Garden (NESNPlus, NBCSN)

BU lines: 
Wade Megan – Cason Hohmann – Sahir Gill
Matt Nieto – Danny O’Regan – Evan Rodrigues
Matt Lane – Ben Rosen – Sam Kurker
Mike Moran – Ryan Santana – Jake Moscatel
Sean Escobedo – Ryan Ruikka
Garrett Noonan – Patrick MacGregor
Matt Grzelcyk – Ahti Oksanen
Sean Maguire
Anthony Moccia
UMass-Lowell lines:
Ryan McGrath – Riley Wetmore – Derek Arnold
Scott Wilson – Michael Fallon – Terrence Wallin
Shayne Thompson – Colin Wright – Adam Chapie
A.J. White – Joseph Pendenza – Josh Holmstrom

Greg Amlong – Chad Ruhwedel
Joe Houk – Christian Folin
Zack Kamrass – Jake Suter

Connor Hellebuyck
Doug Carr

Referees: Scott Hansen, Jeff Bunyon
Assistant referees: Bob Bernard, Marc Sullivan
Live blog:

With win over BC behind them, Terriers look ahead to Lowell

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff 

The Boston University men’s hockey team didn’t do a whole lot of celebrating at TD Garden Friday night.

Yes, the third-seeded Terriers came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat second-seeded Boston College, 6-3, in the Hockey East semifinals. Yes, they have won five in a row and seven of their last eight. And yes, they have extended Jack Parker’s career by at least one more game.

But the Terriers (21-15-2) still have a tall task in front of them — and they know it.

That tall task is in the form of top seed University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the only team in the conference to sweep BU in the regular season. The Terriers and River Hawks (25-10-2), who beat Providence College 2-1 Friday night, will square off at the Garden 7 p.m. Saturday night with the Hockey East championship on the line.

“We haven’t beaten them yet,” said freshman forward Matt Lane. “But it’s tough to beat any team four times in this league, so hopefully it will be a different outcome.”

A different outcome, the Terriers hope, than the aggregate 10-4 edge the River Hawks held in the three regular-season game. In two of those games — a home-and-home series Feb. 22-23 — BU’s offensive effort was particularly futile, getting outscored 6-1 and collecting just 41 shots in the two games.

That weekend, Lowell’s trap defense gave BU fits. It had a hard time breaking in UML’s defensive zone, and when it did it often had to settle for shots from the perimeter.

When those shots did get through — and the River Hawks are in the habit of blocking a ton of shots — the last line of defense for Lowell, freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, was more often than not up to the challenge.

Hellebuyck, who Friday was named to the All-Hockey East Second Team, has played in just 20 games after battling first for playing time early in the season and then injuries later on.

Still, his save percentage (.946) and goals-against average (1.46) are tops in the league.

“They’re tenacious defensively. They don’t spend a lot of time in their zone,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “They block a lot of shots in front of their goaltender, they really pack it in, and they play a little different style of d-zone coverage than most other teams do. We’re going to have to adjust from what we saw tonight [vs. BC] to what they play.”

But here’s the thing about Lowell: They do that to everyone. Widely considered one of the best and hottest teams in the country, UML is 21-3-1 since Dec. 8.

Saturday’s matchup will be a rematch of the 2009 Hockey East championship game, a 1-0 Terrier win. It was also the last time either team made the finals.

There are a number of similarities between that game and Saturday’s, notably that BU is starting a freshman goaltender who has caught fire since his classmate went down with an injury.

Last time around, Kieran Millan took over the starting job in November when Grant Rollheiser got hurt in November 2008. This time, Sean Maguire has turned it on the last five games since Matt O’Connor was officially out for the rest of the season after suffering a collapsed lung.

There are many differences between those seasons — namely, BU was the best team in the country from start to finish in 2008-09, while this year’s team has taken more than its fair share of lumps — but the goal remains the same: Take home the trophy.

That sure is on junior assistant captain Garrett Noonan’s mind after scoring a power-play goal in his first game back from a separated shoulder.

Questioned on what it meant to hand rival BC its first loss at TD Garden after 14 straight wins, it didn’t take long for Noonan to change the subject.

“It’s obviously good to beat BC in the Garden — I don’t know if we have yet in my career here,” Noonan said. “I don’t know.

“The job’s not done yet. We need to win tomorrow.”

Live blog: UMass-Lowell, PC face off in Hockey East semis

Time/location (TV): 5 p.m., TD Garden (NESN, NBCSN)

UMass-Lowell lines:
Ryan McGrath – Riley Wetmore – Derek Arnold
Scott Wilson – Michael Fallon – Terrence Wallin
Shayne Thompson – Colin Wright – Adam Chapie
A.J. White – Joseph Pendenza – Josh Holmstrom

Greg Amlong – Chad Ruhwedel
Joe Houk – Christian Folin
Zack Kamrass – Jake Suter

Connor Hellebuyck
Doug Carr
Brian Robbins

Providence lines:
Mark Jankowski – Tim Schaller – Paul de Jersey
Nick Saracino – Ross Mauermann – Shane Luke
Steven McParland – Kyle Murphy – Derek Army
Kevin Rooney – Noel Acciari – Chris Rooney

Myles Harvey – Kevin Hart
Tom Parisi – Alex Velischek
John Gilmour – Steven Shamanski

Jon Gillies
Russ Stein
Dylan Wells

Referees: Jeff Bunyon, Kevin Shea
Linesmen: Bob Bernard, Chris Millea
Live blog:

Three up, three down: PK gives BU chance at win, but offense overwhelmed

LOWELL — The Boston University men’s hockey team’s postseason hopes took another hit this weekend as they were swept by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong in Saturday’s 3-1 loss.

Three up Two up
The penalty kill
With the characteristic parade of Terriers to the box on Saturday, the BU penalty kill had plenty of time to continue sorting itself out after struggling in Maine last weekend. And it acquitted itself well, allowing one goal on 13 shots in 16:16 of UML power-play time and improving to 82.5 percent on the year.

Killing off an early 5-on-3, with junior defenseman Garrett Noonan and then sophomore forward Cason Hohmann in the box, helped keep the game close, although BU didn’t get the momentum boost it could have from the kill.

Sean Maguire
As in many of his starts this semester, freshman goalie Sean Maguire played better than his final stat line indicates (and the final line – 36 saves on 39 shots – is nothing to be ashamed of). Lowell forward Joseph Pendenza’s goal, which snuck through Maguire’s five-hole to give the River Hawks a 3-1 lead, was the only one that reflected badly on the goaltender.

On the River Hawks’ first goal, Lowell forward Scott Wilson executed a near-carbon copy of his play from the night before, taking advantage of a badly timed BU change to rip a shot from the top of the circle into the net.

The second goal came from an overzealous shorthanded rush from which BU couldn’t recover when a UML defender sent the puck back toward BU’s zone quickly. Maguire made the initial save on Pendenza, sprawling to rob him of a sure goal, but couldn’t get up in time to stop defenseman Chad Ruhwedel’s shot off the rebound.

“On the second goal, he made an unbelievable save and the guy just buried the rebound,” sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues said.

Three down
Offense stifled again
All year, the Terriers have struggled with aggressive forechecks, finding themselves pinned in the defensive zone and unable to establish possession in the offensive zone. This weekend, they faced the opposite in UML – a team that sits back and focuses on overwhelming teams in its own defensive zone – and fared no better.

BU finished Saturday’s game with 16 shots. UML had 39, more than twice as many. They failed to challenge freshman goalie Connor Hellebuyck on rebounds or

The forwards’ issues were apparent at even strength, but they were underscored further when, in eight minutes of power-play time, BU got just one shot through to Hellebuyck.

“When we tried dumping it in, it was just little battles that they were winning,” said Rodrigues, the only BU player to score. “They were getting bounces, the puck and from the refs. It just wasn’t our weekend.”

Penalty troubles continue
No matter how hard the penalty killers work, it’s difficult to win games by taking 36 minutes’ worth of penalties, especially when those include two prolonged 5-on-3 disadvantages.

Junior defenseman Garrett Noonan received a 10-minute game misconduct, bringing his total penalty minutes on the year to 86. Parker said he thinks some of the calls made against BU were questionable.

“Most of the time I think we deserve our penalties,” Parker said. “I think we probably deserved about six or seven of those.”

PairWise, Hockey East standings take a hit
BU is now looking up at five teams in the Hockey East standings, sitting in sixth place with 24 points. In their final five games, they face fourth-place Merrimack College, the seventh-place University of Vermont, and tenth-place Northeastern University. They have clinched a playoff spot, but nothing else – certainly not home ice – is guaranteed.

The Terriers also fell to 22nd in the PairWise rankings. That puts them just ahead of Merrimack, as UML jumped into a tie for 11th.

From the FreeP: Men’s hockey can find no answer to impressive defense

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

LOWELL — There was a truck coming to Commonwealth Avenue this weekend, and the Boston University men’s hockey team knew it. It just couldn’t do anything to get out of the way.

That truck was in the form of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the 12th-ranked team in the country, which used a stifling trap defense to sweep the regular-season series with the No. 13/15 Terriers by taking both ends of a home-and-home, first 3-0 at Agganis Arena Friday night and then 3-1 Saturday at the Tsongas Center.

BU coach Jack Parker, pleased with his team’s effort in both games, credited much of the Terriers’ (14-14-2, 11-9-2 Hockey East) inability to find the net to the River Hawk (18-9-2, 12-8-2 Hockey East) defense — a defense from which the Terriers knew exactly what to expect.

“[The River Hawks] play a completely different d-zone coverage than anybody else in college hockey,” Parker said Thursday before mentioning it is similar to the system BU used when he suited up as a Terrier in the 1960s. “It’s not new by any stretch of the imagination.

“They do just the opposite of what everybody else does. They have one guy out high covering both points, they have two wings down low, so they’re always doubling and tripling you. They double you up every time the puck goes to the corner … So their d-zone coverage is based on outnumbering you in the corners.

“And they’re real good at it.”

If the Terriers did not believe that before, they certainly believe it after Saturday’s game.

Updated: River Hawks sink Terriers 3-1, complete series sweep

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

LOWELL — The No. 13/15 Boston University men’s hockey team’s chances at hosting a Hockey East quarterfinal game took another hit Saturday night, when the Terriers to No. 12 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 3-1 at the Tsongas Center.

With the win, Lowell (18-9-2, 12-8-2 Hockey East) swept the season series with BU (14-14-2, 11-9-2 Hockey East) for the first time since 2000-01. The Terriers now sit in sixth place in Hockey East, as Lowell and Providence College moved ahead of them in the standings over the weekend.

“[Losing both games on the weekend] really hurts us in both races,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “Kills us in both races, in a lot of ways.”
Just like the night before, Lowell forward Scott Wilson opened the scoring with a blistering slap shot from the top of the circles. The goal, which was Wilson’s 10th goal of the season, was unassisted.

Lowell struck again in the second period, when UML defenseman Chad Ruhwedel flipped a rebound over freshman goaltender Sean Maguire for a power-play goal. Maguire, who made the initial save and stopped Lowell forward Derek Arnold on a 4-on-1, could not get up in time to make the second save.

The play developed at the other end of the ice though, when junior defenseman Garrett Noonan failed to hit the net on a shorthanded 3-on-1 rush. With Noonan out of the play, four River Hawks had no trouble moving the puck past freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to set up the goal.

“We worked like hell to get back but we ended up covering the wrong guy,” Parker said. “If we backchecked to the weak side we would have had the rebound.”

BU, which was shut out the previous night, struggled to produce offense again Saturday night. The Terriers only produced four shots on goal in the first period and nine shots on goal in the second period.

It was not until 8:25 into the third period that BU could finally crack Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck, when sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues scored on a quick wraparound chance while shorthanded. Junior forward Sahir Gill and senior defenseman Sean Escobedo earned assists on the play.

However, Lowell answered Rodrigues’ goal less than five minutes later, when UML forward Joseph Pendenza chipped the puck past senior defenseman Ryan Ruikka in the neutral zone before beating Maguire five-hole.

It was the Wilmington native’s 12th goal on the season, which increased his team lead in points to 27.

The Terriers spent a lot of time in the penalty box in the game, as they took 14 penalties for 36 minutes Saturday night. However, the penalty kill was relatively successful, only allowing one power-play goal in the game and surviving three separate 5-on-3 situations.

“I don’t think Lowell was diving, but they were already going down and they got called,” Parker said. “Penalties have been a concern for us all year long. It has been killing us.”
Maguire was the star of the game for BU, as he made 36 saves and kept the score close. Lowell finished the night with more than double the amount of shots the Terriers had.

“He played great,” Rodrigues said. “He really did everything he could to keep us in the game, so kudos to him.”

With another loss, BU is 4-10-2 since traveling to Denver on Dec. 29, 2012. With the second-half slump continuing, the Parker said his players are frustrated.

“We’re losing games, we’re not scoring goals, guys are expecting to score and they’re not, and they’re getting frustrated,” Parker said. “No question, you could pick up any number on that team. They’re real frustrated right now.”