The Look Back: BU slides past UMass ahead of Beanpot Tournament

mihvsumass_February_03_2017_malhotra_9011-1600x1065A three-point night from freshman forward Clayton Keller was the difference on Friday, as the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team skated past the University of Massachusetts at home.

The final scoreline was 3-1 in favor of the Terriers, with the Arizona Coyotes first rounder snagging a goal and two assists. Dante Fabbro, a freshman defenseman, had himself a game, too, pitching in a goal and an assist.

Bobo Carpenter, who now has 10 goals on the year, potted the third tally midway through the third period. The sophomore winger was a continual threat all night long, tying Keller’s team-high seven shots on goal.

For a full account of the game’s events, check out Jonathan’s recap over on The Daily Free Press.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the win assured BU heads into the Beanpot Tournament on a high, having won 10 of its last 12 games. The annual Boston showdown will get underway Monday at 8 p.m. against No. 8 Boston College.

Yep, the squad BU already beat twice this year.


Press Conferences

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.

Pluses & Minuses: Challenging third period ends BU’s chances in tie with UMass

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

AMHERST — David Quinn had one word to describe Friday’s matchup between the Boston University and University of Massachusetts men’s hockey teams – disappointing.

The first-year head coach of the Terriers (8-14-3, 3-8-2 Hockey East), used the word seven times in about a three minutes span after the contest at the Mullins Center. Quinn was disappointed with the way things ended, disappointed with not getting an explanation on a waved off goal call and disappointed because he liked the effort he saw from his team.

“I thought our guys deserved a better fate,” Quinn said. “I thought we played hard. I thought we did a lot of good things.”

So what went wrong (and right) in a game that had so much potential? Here’s a closer look.


Penalties at the worst possible moment
The Terriers amassed eight penalties during Friday’s game against the Minutemen (7-16-4, 3-8-3 Hockey East), a number double the amount that Quinn has said he wants to see during games.

The most egregious penalty, though, came just over a minute into the third. BU had 5-on-3 advantage and a 2-1 lead after UMass’ Colin Shea was called for boarding with seven seconds left in the second period, and Oleg Yevenko went to the box for interference 37 seconds into the third. Instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, though, BU gave it away less than a minute later when junior forward Evan Rodrigues went to the box for hooking.

“We had the 5-on-3 and we don’t do anything with it,” Quinn said. “We take a penalty with the 5-on-3. We’ve got to be better in that situation. … That’s just inexcusable. Inexcusable.”

BU killed off the penalty, but, especially what happened later in the period, a strong 5-on-3 would have changed the complexion of Friday’s game.

A few fateful minutes
While never holding the advantage in shots, the Terriers did hold onto a 3-1 lead into the second half of the third period. According to Quinn, though, that lead should have sat at 4-1 and the Minutemen’s second goal should never have gotten on the board.

Rodrigues had a breakaway chance around the 11-minute mark that would have given the Terriers a 4-1 lead. After he took his shot, which UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz smothered, Rodrigues collided with the goaltender, pushing both of them into the goal and sending the net off its pegs. Officials reviewed the play and stuck with the original decision on the ice that it was not a goal.

From the perspective of those watching the game on NBC, it looked as though Mastalerz had crossed the goal line before the goal came off its pegs.

“I had about 15 text messages when I got done with the game about how this should have been a goal,” Quinn said. “It’s disappointing, and I got no explanation on why the goal was waved off. So disappointing.”


The second goal
Sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen is becoming known for his slap shot, something he usually displays while the Terriers are on the power play. Friday night, though, Oksanen registered just his fifth full-strength point of the year on one of the most cohesive plays of the night by the Terriers.

Freshman wing Nick Roberto went hard to the net, creating an open area for the resulting play. Junior center Cason Hohmann picked up the puck and sent a drop pass back to Oksanen.

“There’s deception in the play because the defender doesn’t know what [Hohmann’s] going to do,” Quinn said. “He actually makes a drop pass as he’s moving feet and Ahti just rips it.”

O’Connor’s return
While he did not pick up the win, sophomore netminder Matt O’Connor played well enough to secure a starting spot in goal for the Beanpot on Monday.

O’Connor, who had not started a game since giving up four goals in about 16 minutes against the University of Maine at Frozen Fenway, stopped 46 shots during the contest.

For more on O’Connor’s performance, check out this piece here.

Matt O’Connor returns to form in tie with UMass

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

AMHERST — It was only a few minutes after the Boston University men’s hockey team tied the University of Massachusetts, 3-3, but Matt O’Connor had already moved on from the blown third-period lead and his 46 saves. He had mentally left the Mullins Center Friday night and was focusing squarely on Monday’s first round of the Beanpot Tournament.

O’Connor, who will start for the Terriers against No. 2 Boston College at TD Garden, mentioned Beantown’s annual four-team tourney four times in a four-minute span.

“I actually didn’t know what the plan is,” O’Connor said upon being notified he’d get the nod over classmate Sean Maguire, who has had the flu all week. “I’ve been trying to play well enough to earn the start.”

“I thought there was a lot to build on and I’m ready to win the Beanpot,” O’Connor added.

“Definitely a lot to build on there and carry into Monday night.

“When a goalie plays well you just say he’s in the zone. I’m looking forward to keeping that going at TD Garden.”

It’s only a one-game sample, but it’s safe to say O’Connor was in the zone against the Minutemen. He took advantage of his first game action in nearly three weeks by making a number of flashy glove saves and, until the final minute of regulation, helped BU’s lead stick despite UMass’ gaudy 49-22 shot advantage.

The Minutemen’s second goal came after what BU coach David Quinn insisted was a missed call when sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen had his stick slashed out of his hands. The game-tying tally was the result of a deflection, a play Quinn considered “undefendable.”

It was an important bounce-back game for O’Connor, who had been pulled in each of his last two games, rough outings against Harvard University on Jan. 4 and the University of Maine a week later.

“It really was only two periods, two bad periods in January,” said O’Connor, who gave up four goals in each game before getting benched. “Obviously I had a lot of time to dwell on those two periods, but I think it really just fueled my on-ice practicing, and I feel like I’ve been game-ready the last couple of weeks.”

It did not take long for him to prove that Friday. On one shot from UMass defenseman Colin Shea in the first period, O’Connor got across the crease just fast enough to make a slick glove stop that he called “one of my better saves this season.”

It was a perfect example of what O’Connor has worked on with goaltending coach Mike Geragosian in recent weeks. O’Connor explained that during those “two bad periods,” about five of the eight goals came through traffic. He took responsibility for not doing a good enough job to either find different lanes to see or moving the opposing player screening hm.

So he worked at his lateral movement — not hard with his long legs — and being more aggressive when it comes to intruders in his crease.

Early in the game Friday, it resulted in a roughing penalty. But overall O’Connor was happy with the improvements.

“I’m moving a little bit more agile, trying to find [the puck] and choosing a different lane and getting my hands out in front,” O’Connor said. “On a couple of plays tonight even, I caught pucks through traffic and I think that definitely helps.

“That team really likes to work the back-door options, so I felt like I was pretty aware of the cross-crease pass. I was really rotating well and getting good pushes tonight, and I was really aggressive, getting good extension and not giving up on the play.”

O’Connor’s sharp performance, parlayed with Maguire being under the weather, made picking a starter for Monday’s game an easy one.

“Yeah, O’Connor played great. He’s been good all year,” Quinn said, his tone indicating he was simply acknowledging the obvious. “We got great goaltending tonight.”

BU played BC close when the teams matched up at Conte Forum two weeks ago. Quinn made sure to note it was a one-goal game late, with the Terriers threatening to tie it when they pulled their goalie.

It’s not outlandish to expect a similar game on an even bigger stage Monday.

“If we get goaltending the way we did tonight,” Quinn said, “we give ourselves a chance. You never know what could happen, especially in the Beanpot.”

UPDATED: Terriers falter in final minute of regulation, tie UMass 3-3

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

AMHERST — The Boston University men’s hockey team could hardly be called road warriors this season. After all, it entered Friday night’s contest with the University of Massachusetts 0-5 on the road, being outscored 8-22 in the process.

It has been 10 months and 23 days since BU’s last win on the road— a drought that will last at least a little longer. The Terriers let a lead slip away in the final minute before finishing in a 3-3 tie Friday night at the Mullins Center.

“Very disappointing way for the thing to end,” said BU coach David Quinn. “I thought our kids played hard. I thought we did a lot of good things, but disappointing to lose in the fashion ­— or tie in the fashion we did”

BU (8-14-3, 3-8-2 Hockey East) placed a heavy load on sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor’s shoulders in the game, and he responded by making 46 saves. It is the most saves by a BU goalie since O’Connor made 55 saves against the University of North Dakota on Nov. 23, 2013.

Junior center Cason Hohmann got the scoring started for BU, as he whacked home a pass from freshman linemate Nick Roberto as a power play expired in the first period. Freshman defenseman Dalton MacAfee was credited with a secondary assist after finding Roberto open in close to the goal.

O’Connor made a few brilliant saves on an ensuing power play for UMass (7-16-4, 3-8-3 Hockey East), but senior Branden Gracel finally put one away to tie the game at one with less than a minute remaining in the first period. It was Gracel’s 11th goal of the season, and it was the only time UMass capitalized on its seven power plays in the game.

Hohmann was again part of the scoring when BU took another lead in the second period, as he assisted on sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen’s fifth goal of the season. Hohmann skated the puck in on a two-on-two rush before dropping the puck back to a trailing Oksanen. The Finn stepped into a rocket of a slap shot and sniped the top corner, scoring just his sixth five-on-five point of the season.

“I see him shoot the puck hard a lot,” Quinn said. “Roberto won’t get an assist on that play but boy did he go to the net… I mean he really created space on that initial rush and Hohmann never stopped moving his feet.”

BU expanded on its lead in the third period when sophomore forward Mike Moran ripped a shot over UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz for his fourth goal of the season. Freshmen forwards Brendan Collier and Kevin Duane each assisted on the goal.

The lead was almost expanded to a three-goal gap when junior forward Evan Rodrigues put the puck past Mastalerz on a breakaway opportunity before colliding with him and knocking the net off its pegs. The goal was waved off though, and Quinn was not offered an explanation as to why it was not a goal.

[Referees Jack Millea and b] never came over and told me,” Quinn said. “First time that’s ever happened. So — just disappointed. Everybody in the world, everybody in the building thought it was a goal.”

Soon after the no-goal call, senior Conor Sheary put one more on the board for UMass on a blast from the point, pulling the Minutemen within one. Quinn was upset with the officiating on this goal as well, as he saw Oksanen’s stick slashed out of his hands right before the goal was scored.

“I don’t know how… how a penalty isn’t called on the second goal,” Quinn said. “ I don’t know how many guys saw it — Oksanen’s at the net front, shot taken, he goes to play the puck, stick slashed out of his hands on the ice, goes right through their guy on the goal. Disappointing because I thought our guys deserved a better fate.”

UMass peppered O’Connor with shots in the final ten minutes before freshman Ray Pigozzi tied the game with only 50 seconds remaining in the game. Pigozzi was in front and tipped a shot from the point by forward Adam Phillips past O’Connor to send the game to overtime.

It was the first time BU had been to overtime since its 1-1 tie with Merrimack College on Dec. 7, 2013. Neither team put much offense together in the final five minutes, however, and BU earned its third tie of the season.

The Terriers now head into the first round of the Beanpot against No. 2 Boston College having only totaled four points in their last 11 games. However, BU has typically been a better Friday night team, and Quinn said the weekend break should help his team heading into Monday’s contest.

“I think without question not going back-to-back for us is going to help,” Quinn said. “If we get goaltending the way we did tonight I like give ourselves a chance. You never know what could happen especially in the Beanpot.”

Live blog: BU visits Mike Pereira, UMass

Time/location (TV): 7:30 p.m., Mullins Center (Amherst) (NBCSN)

BU lines:
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Danny O’Regan
Matt Lane – Cason Hohmann – Nick Roberto
Tommy Kelley – Mike Moran – Kevin Duane
Brendan Collier – Dillon Lawrence – Matt Ronan

Garrett Noonan – T.J. Ryan
Doyle Somerby – Dalton MacAfee
Ahti Oksanen – Patrick MacGregor

Matt O’Connor
Anthony Moccia

UMass lines: 
Conor Cheary – Steven Iacobellis – Branden Gracel
Michael Pereira – Ray Pigozzi – Troy Power
Marc Hetnik – Adam Phillips – Zack LaRue
Steven Guzzo – Emerson Auvenshine – Shane Walsh

Joel Hanley – Colin Shea
Mike Busillo – Ben Gallacher
Oleg Yevenko – Brenna Baxandall

Steve Mastalerz
Alex Wakaluk

Referees: Jack Millea, Cameron Voss
Assistant Referees: Brendan Blanchard, Chris Millea
Live blog:

From the FreeP: Terriers set to take on UMass

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff

It was the first game of the David Quinn Era – before the injuries, before the winless streak and before the frustrations came to the surface.

Back on Oct. 11, the Boston University men’s hockey team took the ice for the first time in the regular season and faced off against the University of Massachusetts at Agganis Arena. By the end of the game, the Terriers, and Quinn, had their first win behind them.

Just over three months later, that game means little as the Terriers continue to look for a way to right a ship that has been tilting ever since December.

“I don’t think there’s any correlation of what happens in October and what you’re going to see at the game tomorrow night,” Quinn said. “Both teams have grown. I know they have, and obviously we’ve had our struggles.”

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