Wade Megan signs ATO with San Antonio Rampage

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Boston University men’s hockey captain Wade Megan has found a new place to play hockey, as he signed an amateur tryout contract with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL Monday. The Rampage are the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers — the organization that drafted him in the fifth round in 2009.

“It is a pretty good feeling,” Megan said. “I haven’t gotten into it too much yet, but just being here is great and I’m excited to get started.”

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound left winger was second on the Terriers with 16 goals this season while leading the team with 140 shots on goal. Megan did not make First Team or Second Team Hockey East, but was given an honorable mention for his play. He ends his BU career with 49 goals and 34 assists in 151 games.

“I was happy that Wade Megan was my last captain, because he was a hell of a captain,” said BU coach Jack Parker after his team’s season ended in a loss in the Hockey East finals. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of those type of guys over my career here, over 40 years here. He was a terrific captain for us.”

Megan got the call from San Antonio Monday night and flew there Tuesday night before spending the day undergoing medical tests Wednesday. Now officially with the Rampage, he expects to play his first professional game Thursday night.

Part of the medical testing was to look at this shoulder, which had been injured in BU’s 6-0 loss to Denver on Dec. 29, 2012. However, Megan said he did not need to wear a brace for the end of the season with the Terriers and “it feels fine now.”

With 13 games remaining on San Antonio’s schedule and the team at the bottom of the South Division in the Western Conference, Megan said he is planning on using these last 13 games to help adapt himself to the AHL level.

“I’ve got a lot of things I want to work on,” Megan said. “I’m going to continue to do that. I’m just trying to stay as relaxed as possible right now and playing good hockey down the stretch here.”

Terrier seniors skate off Garden ice for final time without a trophy

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

There are a lot of ways to classify the members of the Boston University men’s hockey Class of 2013: best friends, leaders and even professional prospects, for some of them.

But there is one thing the seniors are not: champions.
With a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in Saturday’s Hockey East title game at TD Garden, BU (21-16-2) wrapped up its fourth consecutive season without a major tournament championship.
For captain Wade Megan, Sean Escobedo, Ben Rosen and Ryan Santana — the final four of what was originally a group of seven in the fall of 2009 — it was the end of their careers donning scarlet and white, four years without a single Beanpot, Hockey East regular season crown, Hockey East tournament title or national championship.
I didn’t think I’d be leaving BU without any trophies,” Megan said. “But the group of guys we had and the senior class this year was pretty amazing.”
The official senior class also includes fifth-year assistant captain Ryan Ruikka, who came to BU in 2008, and Jake Moscatel, who joined the team at the halfway point last season and will likely be back next year. But for the quartet that started together and ended together, Saturday’s loss, which also ended Jack Parker’s BU hockey career, served as the final dip after four years of peaks and valleys.

There was the low of the 2009-10 team that barely finished over .500 a year after winning the national championship, and the low of failing to get out of the Hockey East quarterfinals as sophomores the next year.
The Terriers looked like one of the best teams in the country at times when this group was juniors. Then they lost a pair of teammates to legal issues and had another quit on them — all in the middle of the season. The team pulled together and even managed an NCAA tournament bid.
Two members of the Class of 2013 ended their tenure at the school early for more joyous reasons — Alex Chiasson signed with the Dallas Stars in April 2012, then Justin Courtnall signed with the Providence Bruins in August — before another valley. A task force, commissioned following the arrests of a pair of players, slapped the well-documented “culture of sexual entitlement” label on the program last fall.
For a time, seniors’ final campaign seemed destined to be its best yet.
With a large freshman class, a miserable slump that consumed most of the second half and having two more teammates quit mid-season, the Terriers managed to finish in the top half of the conference standings.
The Terriers powered through Merrimack College in the quarterfinals, and even came from behind to beat rival Boston College in the semifinals.
But Saturday night, with a trophy on the line, BU couldn’t come through.
“It’s something you think about. It gets brought up a lot,” Rosen said of the championship drought. “But obviously we’ve been through a lot and we’re still here, and to make it to the Garden … it’s just a testament to how strong we’ve been as a senior class and as a team in general.”
The scene on the Garden ice after the game was a familiar one — a celebration and pure bliss on one end, disappointment and hunched-over bodies at the other.
“The last two years have been pretty tough, losing classmates and things like that,” Escobedo said. “But I think it has just made us closer as a unit. Even this year a couple guys have left early, but it has just made us a tighter unit and I think Coach is a big part of that.”
Parker, though, gave his squad a lot of credit. He told the team in the dressing room he was “proud to be their coach this year.”
“And I mentioned that I was happy that Wade Megan was my last captain, because he was a hell of a captain,” Parker said. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of those types of guys over my career here, over 40 years here. He was a terrific captain for us.”
“This wasn’t a hugging fest or a goodbye fest. We’ll see each other,” Parker continued. “It was more like any other time you lose your last game of the season. Kids are crying in the dressing room. They wanted to win it for the seniors, they wanted to go a little longer, they wanted to get a trophy.”
But as Megan put it, “It wasn’t meant to be.”
The seniors’ lasting legacy is yet to be determined. Will they be remembered as a troubled class, marred by people’s memories of the task force? One that failed to win anything on the ice? Or simply as Parker’s last?
Only time will tell for sure, but Megan has one idea.
With glassy eyes and a stare off into the distance, Megan found something else for the seniors to hang their collective hat on: laying a foundation for the future.
“What we did leave for this organization is we hopefully showed the freshmen and the younger guys what it means to wear the uniform and what it means to be a BU hockey player,” he said. “That’s very important to us. I think we did a good job of that.”

Players, coaches and friends react to Parker’s retirement

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

Current players, former players and coaches alike had plenty to say about BU men’s hockey coach Jack Parker as he announced his retirement after 40 seasons. Here are some highlights, including comments from Parker’s former assistant Don “Toot” Cahoon and current players including seniors Sean Escobedo and Wade Megan, junior Garrett Noonan, and freshman Danny O’Regan.
Former UMass coach and former BU assistant Don “Toot” Cahoon
On what it’s like to see Parker call it a career: “I think he’s going to enjoy coaching down the stretch here as much as he ever enjoyed it, knowing the next recruit isn’t going to be his responsibility right now, knowing he doesn’t have to get on a plane to western Canada to close some deal.

“Just to be able to stay employed in one situation for 40 years speaks volumes about the type of character he is. But to be able to do it under the public’s eye, under the pressure he’s been in, you can’t help but tell his character, his wit, his sense of humor and his intelligence are at the highest levels. You wouldn’t survive otherwise.”

On good anecdotes involving Parker: “Most of them center around food. Jack used to always tease me. I would stop a meeting if I thought the pizza was at the door. I could think about a situation at Michigan State where we had a couple of kids with a couple of coeds from Michigan State. Jack was furious about, ‘I told these kids, no one in the room after 9 o’clock. No women in the room.’

“I go up there and there’s a couple of women in the room, and then there’s one even in the closet that I had to exit out. So Jack, being the rational guy he was, would never overreact and say, ‘This is what I’m going to do to you.’ He would say, ‘I’m going to get back to you guys.’ And then he’d come down and sort it all out so he made a good decision. So he came down to the room and I was there and he told me this story, pizza boxes up there, and all sorts of things up there, kids were partying with the girls.

“And he taps me on the shoulder. ‘So what would you do?’ I stopped him in his tracks and asked him if there was any pizza left. He never let me forget that.

“‘We’ll get to that other part, but did you bring the pizza back?’ So those are the types of things. We used to wrestle when we were younger. We’d get frustrated with a discussion and we’d just start wrestling, just like former players, but we were in our 20s at the time.” 

Former BU and NHL player Mike Grier 
On his first impression of Parker: “I thought he was pretty cool, actually. You go in his office and he is fast-talking and he is laid-back and he makes you feel comfortable. He is someone that you wanted to play for and enjoyed being around. I think he is that way today.”

On what people were saying about Parker and the program last year: “I was disappointed and a little bit upset that people were saying things about him that weren’t true, and things about the program that weren’t true. I don’t know if there is a stricter coach as far as what these kids can do and can’t do around here. I know how seriously he takes the school’s reputation. It is a little bit upsetting to hear but at the same time the people who really know what goes on here know that he did a great job and that he did all he could.”

Junior defenseman and assistant captain Garrett Noonan
On his reaction to the news: “Definitely really sad … but I’m really glad that he’ll get to enjoy his time with his grandkids. I know how much they mean to him. Coach means so much to us, and we’ll miss him so much.” 

BU sports information director Brian Kelley
On Parker’s competitive nature: “I can’t believe he’s as competitive as he is but he’s such a gracious loser. The combination is something I’ve never seen before in anybody. The best thing for me is, I know after a win or a loss he’s ready to go, ready to talk. That’s what I like the best. I can’t get over how gracious of a loser he is. He’s the same way around the opposing coach.

“He always likes to see the opposing coach again, shake hands on the ice and after the press. He’ll always stop and see them, especially at our place, even if he has to go back to the bus.”

Senior forward and captain Wade Megan
On what he’s learned from Parker: “He has taught me as much about the game of hockey as he has about life. Whether he knows that or not, a lot of the stuff that he has passed onto me is not just stuff I will use in hockey, but I’ll use it in my everyday life. I think I speak for all of the former players when I say that he is not just a hockey coach, he is a life coach. I’m just grateful that he not only gave me the opportunity to be here, but that he gave me the opportunity to be the captain of this hockey team.”

Freshman center Danny O’Regan
On only playing one year for Parker: “Coming in, I had a feeling he maybe wasn’t going to be here all four years anyway. I mean, we’ve just got to finish the year strong and hopefully win something for him.”

On his experience with Parker compared to that of his father (who played for BU in the 1980s): “I heard he has actually calmed down a lot … We kind of compare stories, and it seems like not a lot has changed, actually.”

Senior defenseman Sean Escobedo 

On what he’ll remember most about Parker: “He is definitely one of the most passionate coaches I have played for, whether it be a practice or a game. He always seems to be out of breath or something like that. Probably just being around him at practices, talking to him and getting to know him as a person away from being a head coach has been a real pleasure.”

On how Parker handled the task force: “I think he handled it the best way anyone could. He was up front with us about it, made sure that we were OK. The first thing that was always on his mind was us. He didn’t really care about himself too much. He was just making sure that we were OK, we were sticking together and that we were going to pull through this. He always remained positive with us and he made sure that we were a family and that we stayed that way.”

On Parker’s sense of humor
: “Bad recycled lines for years. He likes to use one with me, ‘I was born during the day, but not yesterday.’ Every time I try to pull a quick one on him he just throws that one at me. ‘Don’t make me laugh, I have chapped lips.’ He always uses that one. He’s got a couple good lines and he is not afraid to use them. That’s for sure.”

On what that second line means: “I don’t know. But he loves it. He’ll laugh at himself and walk away.”

Three up, three down: Oksanen stands out despite rough game for BU penalty kill

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff

ORONO, Maine — The Boston University men’s hockey team could either count itself unlucky to walk away with a 3-3 tie with the University of Maine after taking an early 2-0 lead, or lucky to salvage a point in a game filled with ill-advised penalties.

Terrier coach Jack Parker chose the latter route, saying he liked everything about the game except his team’s five second-period minors. Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong for BU on Friday.

Three up
Ahti stands out 
Freshman defenseman Ahti Oksanen made his most visible impact of the night when he scored the game-tying goal halfway through the third period. But he also stabilized his play at the other end of the ice, shutting down multiple Maine rushes and positioning himself well in the defensive zone.

Oksanen scored three goals in his first six games but hadn’t found the back of the net since Nov. 16 in Vermont. On Friday, with senior forward Ben Rosen screening Maine goalie Martin Ouellette, the same slap shot that earned him those early goals found its way through traffic and over Ouellette’s shoulder to tie the game 3-3.

“When I shoot high it’s more likely to go in, so you can say that I try to score every time when [I] shoot from the blue line,” Oksanen said.

“He’s had a lot of stances where he’s been in good positions to shoot, and it’s nice we’re getting the puck to him a bit more,” freshman goalie Matt O’Connor said. “He’s got such a great shot. It’s nice to see him utilize it a bit more.”

A point gained 
At the end of the second period, BU found itself staring at a 3-2 deficit against Hockey East’s ninth-place team. They’d spent half of the second period shorthanded and appeared on the way to another frustrating loss. But with Oksanen’s goal and a third period that was at least more energetic than the second, they earned the tie.

Oksanen said he was disappointed with not winning, but offered an assessment that was both obvious and relevant, considering BU is without a point in its last four games and is in no position to turn down a tie.

“Of course a tie is good,” Oksanen said. “One point is more than zero points.”

Second line pitches in 
Junior forward Matt Nieto had just one point, an assist, in his last three games, but he and his sophomore linemate Evan Rodrigues combined to set up BU’s first goal, in which Nieto flipped a feed from Rodrigues over Ouellette’s shoulder.

Those two teamed up again on Oksanen’s goal. Rodrigues sent the puck to Oksanen for the slap shot, and Nieto also had an assist on the play.

“Rodrigues had a hell of a game on the point on the power play, and that line played pretty well,” Parker said. “I thought Nieto played well.”

Three down 
Megan’s outburst 
Through the last month and a half, when the Terriers have been at their lowest, senior captain Wade Megan was rarely part of the disciplinary problem. But when Joey Diamond, who leads the Black Bears in penalty minutes on the year with 87, threw a low hit on him behind the BU net, that appeared to be the final straw.

Megan shoved Diamond to the ground and gave him a couple cross-checks to the back of the head. When those were about to go unpunished, he shoved Diamond one more time, then gestured toward the rest of the ice, apparently still hoping for a call against Diamond.

That call didn’t come, but Megan got a double-minor for roughing, and Diamond scored on the ensuing power play. Parker said he thought Diamond targeted Megan’s knees on the hit.

“I don’t even think [Megan] deserved the first penalty,” Parker said. “He definitely deserved the second penalty.”

Shorthanded second period
Aside from Megan’s time in the box (cut short when Maine scored less than a minute into the first minor), BU took three other minors in the period. They finished the game with 12:25 of shorthanded time, enough that even a struggling power play like the Black Bears’ had ample opportunity to score.

Maine took 17 shots to BU’s four in the second, a margin that would be tough to achieve without one team spending a great deal of time shorthanded. On their third power-play goal, scored by Diamond with Megan in the box, the Terrier penalty killers just didn’t seem to have the energy left to challenge Diamond on the shot.

Penalty kill continues to struggle

The Black Bears, who came into the game with a 9.8 percent power play (worst in the league), scored three power play goals on eight chances. They appeared to have a fourth late in the game to take the lead, but upon review, the officials ruled there was a Maine player in the crease and disallowed the goal.

“We’re making everybody’s power play look good,” Parker said. “It was just strictly three individual breakdowns by three guys. Two of them were the exact same breakdown. The weak-side wing didn’t get back low enough so that our one defenseman was outnumbered in the crease and had a two-on-one there.”

Ill-advised penalties, poor penalty kill mar Terriers in tie with Maine

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff       
ORONO, Maine — With the No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team and the University of Maine tied at two goals apiece early in the second period Friday night, Wade Megan lost it.
After Maine captain Joey Diamond took a shot at BU’s senior captain’s knees, Megan retaliated, repeatedly shoving Diamond to the ice behind Maine’s goal with an official just feet away. Megan looked like he was going to walk away — and without a whistle — but gave Diamond one last big push.
The result was a double-minor roughing penalty, the second and third of five total penalties the Terriers (13-12-2, 10-7-2 Hockey East) took in the middle frame.
[Megan] was just T’ed off,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We will have to address that with him … I don’t even think he deserved the first penalty. He definitely deserved the second penalty.”
Just 34 seconds later, Diamond was at the other end of the ice netting his team-high 11th goal of the season for a 3-2 Black Bear (8-15-6, 4-10-6 Hockey East) lead in a game that eventually ended in a 3-3 tie, costing BU a crucial point in the Hockey East standings.
The sequence of events encapsulated exactly what has been wrong with the Terriers during their brutal second semester, including what is now a five-game winless streak dating back to Jan. 26.
After taking an early 2-0 lead BU did itself in by continually marching to the box. Maine — which entered the game with a 9.77 percent success rate on the power play, worst in the conference — found its stroke and potted all three of its goals with the Terriers down a man.
Unfortunately that’s where they generated all their goals, so that’s something to work on for me personally and finding the puck through screened shots,” said freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor, who made 33 saves on the night. “It was really our Achilles’ heel tonight.”
First, freshman forward Sam Kurker went of for hooking toward the end of the first, 39 seconds before Maine forward Steven Swavely halved the Black Bear deficit.
Then freshman forward Matt Lane got called for tripping at the 20:00 mark in the first, paving the way for another Swavely goal early in the second.
After the Megan-Diamond fiasco, and with a lead in hand, the Black Bears had upped their power-play goals season total to 16. At a 11.35 percent success rate, only three teams in the country (Penn State, Wisconsin and Harvard) are worse.
We are giving up penalties and we are making everybody’s power play look good,” said Parker, whose team also gave up three power-play tallies to Harvard this season. “We have been a little anxious there, that’s for sure.”

In a way, BU got lucky. Even after breaking down in the second — Parker noted the second-period penalties were the only thing he didn’t like from his team — the Terriers managed to somewhat turn it around, and thanks to an Ahti Oksanen goal in the third fought for the tie.
BU could spin it as a bad tie, having blown an early 2-0 lead against a team with four conference wins all season. Or the team could spin it as a good one, having come back after trailing entering the third.
The way things have gone for BU of late, Parker is choosing the latter.
“There was effort there,” Parker said. “Other than those individual breakdowns [on the three goals] I thought we killed their penalties pretty well … That was a nice step in the right direction.”

From the FreeP: Terriers fall short of Beanpot for fourth straight year

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

The No. 11/13 Boston University men’s hockey team made history Monday night, but in a way the Terriers (13–11–1, 10–7–1 Hockey East) least desired.

BU fell, 3–2, to Northeastern University at TD Garden in the semifinals of the 61st Annual Beanpot, making the Terriers’ seniors the first class since 1965 to go their entire BU career without winning the four-team tournament.

“It’s pretty devastating,” said senior captain Wade Megan, tears welling up in his eyes. “I just wanted this so bad, for my teammates, my classmates, the school and the BU community.”

The Class of 2013’s Beanpot experience was certainly a rough one. After falling in the championship game to Boston College as freshmen in 2010, they got topped by the Eagles in overtime in the semifinals the next year. They then lost a heartbreaker — again to BC, and again in overtime — in the championship of their junior year.

This time, the Huskies (8–13–3, 4–11–3 Hockey East) and freshman forward Kevin Roy did them in. Roy netted a goal per period for a hat trick in his Beanpot debut, giving him a team-high 15 on the season.

For more, visit dailyfreepress.com.

Three up, three down: Matt O’Connor not the problem as BU loses Beanpot semifinal

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

The No. 11/13 Boston University men’s hockey team fell in the first round of the 61st Annual Beanpot to Northeastern University 3–2 Monday evening at TD Garden. The Terriers struggled to score on the power play, and a hat trick from Northeastern freshman Kevin Roy helped put BU in the consolation round for the second time in three years.

Three Up

The O’Regan line
Senior captain Wade Megan moved from a line centered by sophomore forward Cason Hohmann to one centered by freshman forward Danny O’Regan Monday night, and the move paid off for BU coach Jack Parker.

Megan, O’Regan and sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues combined for a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play on BU’s first goal of the game, which set up O’Regan for a goal in his first ever Beanpot game. Each of his wingers earned an assist on the play.

That line was the best for BU all night, and was the only real scoring threat until the final few minutes with freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor pulled.

Close to a comeback
It took until the final two minutes, but BU almost used a late surge in offense to tie the game. With O’Connor on the bench, freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk skated through a wave of Northeastern players and followed up on his own rebound chance to set junior Sahir Gill up for a goal.

Gill’s goal brought the score to 3–2 with 1:11 remaining, leaving BU enough time for one final effort for the goal. BU had its chances, but ultimately a high-stick call brought a faceoff into BU’s zone and finished out the rest of the game.

BU did not win the game, but the final two minutes showed BU’s resilience, which is something it showed in its 1–0–1 weekend against Providence College the weekend before.

Matt O’Connor
While he was not perfect on the night by any means, O’Connor certainly kept BU in the game all the way until the end. The freshman made 23 saves on the night, including an incredible split save to shut down Roy with a wide open net early in the game.

O’Connor played well for a freshman goalie in his first Beanpot, only allowing three goals — one of which was due to an ill-advised pass in front of his goal while he was in the corner. BU had its fair share of problems tonight, but O’Connor was not one of them.

Three Down

No Beanpot for seniors
Perhaps it was a teary-eyed Megan who put it best when he called not getting a Beanpot in his four years “pretty devastating.”

It is also something relatively new to anyone from BU. This is the first time a class has gone its entire BU career without winning a Beanpot since 1965.

For what had been a BU dominated tournament for many years, Boston College has a chance to leave its mark on the history books, as it will go for its fourth consecutive Beanpot championship Monday against Northeastern.

Ben Rosen’s turnover
The most critical and blatant BU mistake of the game came in the second period, when senior forward Ben Rosen passed the puck in front of his own net with O’Connor in the corner and Roy poked it in to make the score 2–1.

The play was the latest example of BU being too careless with the puck in its own defensive zone. O’Connor took too long to play the puck to a teammate, and Northeastern forward Steve Morra pressured him into making a quick pass to Rosen. The senior then quickly tried to get the puck to senior defenseman Sean Escobedo, but his pass went off-line and found a wide open Roy with the entire net in front of him.

The goal was too easy for Northeastern, as O’Connor was not anywhere near his crease as Roy scored his second goal of the game.

Shot selection
BU’s power play struggled to get into the offensive zone and set up all night, but when it finally did get set up it struggled to find the right time to shoot.

Whether it involved shooting the puck directly at a defender instead of passing the puck or hesitating to shoot when there was a shot available, the Terriers could not find the right time to shoot.

This has been a trend as of late from BU’s defensemen, especially on the power play when they have the best chance to create a quality scoring chance. If this does not improve soon, BU’s power play will have more performances like its 0-for-6 output it had Monday evening.