Terriers open 2019 with Boston rivalry clash at Harvard

After nearly a month without a game due to the midseason holiday break, the Terriers will return to the ice on Tuesday in a visit to their Allston foes, the Harvard Crimson.

The Terriers concluded the natural first half of their season with a 6-8-2 record, going 5-5-2 in Hockey East play. While an 0-4 start and a midpoint record hovering right around .500 may not have been what first-year head coach Albie O’Connell had in mind to begin his tenure, there is certainly an optimism surrounding the team coming into the second half.

“I think we made good strides”, said O’Connell in an interview with Scott Weighart of GoTerriers.com. “We’ve played some good hockey, but the consistency level of individual and team have to match up and connect. When that happens, we play really well.”

“We have a very young team and a new coach,” said junior forward Patrick Curry to Weighart. “[The first half] wasn’t the greatest, but we went out a high note with two wins before the break.”

As alluded to by Curry, the Terriers found some success towards the end of 2018, pulling off back-to-back wins over UMass Lowell (9-8-1, 5-4-1 in Hockey East) and Dartmouth (5-7-2, 4-2-1 in ECAC). The wins featured five and four goals respectively for the Terriers, whose shorthanded roster at the time made the victories that much more impressive.

Away from the team, freshman Joel Farabee and sophomore Logan Cockerill built some individual confidence as contributing members of the silver medal-winning USA squad at the World Junior Championships in British Columbia. Sophomore Shane Bowers also participated in the tournament, proving to be a key performer for Team Canada throughout the tournament.

“I think the guys played well”, said Coach O’Connell. “Hopefully their confidence level is high.”

On the Harvard side, the Crimson (6-4-2, 3-3-2 in ECAC) will be playing their second game of 2019 after defeating RPI (5-14, 3-6 in ECAC) in overtime on January 4, with freshman Casey Dornbach scoring the game-winner. Senior Lewis Senior Zerter-Gossage assisted Dornach’s goal, and also opened the scoring for Harvard earlier in the contest, recording his team-leading ninth tally of the season.

With his goal against RPI and an assist as well, Dornbach moved to second on the team in points with 18. Junior Adam Fox leads the team with 20 points, creating attacking production despite his primary role as a defenseman. Dornbach and Fox share the team lead in assists with a whopping fifteen helpers each, seven assists ahead of the next closest provider, freshman Jack Drury.

Senior netminder Michael Lackey made 24 saves in his victorious effort against RPI, and has been relied on by the Crimson all season, starting eleven of the team’s twelve games and holding a save percentage of .912. Likely opposing Lackey on Tuesday will be BU junior Jake Oettinger, who has assumed a similar workload, but holds a slightly superior save percentage of .924.

For the Terriers, this game will be the first of three in what will be a very busy week to open up play in 2019. Following their visit to Harvard on Tuesday, BU will host the University of New Hampshire (6-7-6, 2-4-3 in Hockey East) and travel to Providence College (12-4-4, 6-2-1 in Hockey East) over the weekend.

Getting a win against Harvard could give the Terriers some coveted momentum ahead of two major Hockey East contests, and propel the team forward into the second half of the season.

“We’re going to have to start on a strong note,” summarized O’Connell.

The game will be played at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center on January 8 at 7pm, and can be heard through GoTerriers.com, or watched for a fee on ESPN+.

Can BU get off to a strong start in 2019 against Harvard? Share your thoughts in the comments section below – we’d love to hear from you!

BU Men’s Hockey’s New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to 2019, hockey fans! As people often do upon embarking on a new year, I am putting together a collection of New Year’s resolutions, but not for myself. Instead, I will be compiling a list of potential improvements that could bring the BU Men’s Hockey team a successful 2019. These ideas are all my own, so if you have any additional thoughts or responses to my resolutions, please feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section or on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

Resolution 1: Tighten up on defense

The Terrier defense has been uncharacteristically inconsistent throughout the first half of the season, allowing the fourth most shots on goal of any team in the league thus far (543). Worse, BU has allowed the second most shots on goal per game (33.94), only better than Vermont, who sit at the bottom of the division. To their credit, BU’s blueliners have been heavily involved in the offense this season, but if the Terriers want to make a run for the league title, the defensive side of the game must be improved.

Resolution 2: Take pressure off of Jake Oettinger

This resolution is closely related to the first, but one cannot consider improvements for BU in 2019 without mentioning the goaltender. At third-worst in the Hockey East in the terms of goals against, Jake Oettinger has conceded 40 goals thus far, a total driven by the number of shots he has faced. The Dallas Stars prospect has single-handedly kept BU in games at times, but such performances can take a toll on a keeper over the course of a season. For Oettinger to still be sharp come March, BU must find a way to lessen the workload on their standout keeper.

Resolution 3: Get the most out of attacking talent

BU has great talent at the offensive positions, but cold stretches from certain forwards have prevented the BU attack from finding their rhythm as an entire unit. As we know, hockey can be a game of streaks, and within a matter of games, we could see previously-quiet Terriers emerge as consistent producers and threats to opposing defenses. As points become more and more crucial with the season nearing its close, BU will need these potential contributors to step up, especially if team defense continues to be an issue.

Resolution 4: Spread the wealth on offense

In the first half of the season, BU has relied on the likes of Bobo Carpenter, Dante Fabbro, and Joel Farabee to lead the way on offense. While getting production out of those who are expected to produce is certainly a positive, BU must develop depth in scoring if they aim to become a real offensive danger in Hockey East. The Terriers are already progressing towards acquiring this depth, as four of the team’s top 10 leading scorers are defensemen, but for success in both 2019 and beyond, BU will need to get goals out of players further down the offensive depth chart.

There is a lot of hockey left to be played in BU’s season this year. Will the Terriers make the necessary adjustments to become true contenders for the Hockey East tournament? Only time will tell.

12/14 Preview: Shorthanded Terriers to finish 2018 against difficult Dartmouth side

After a weekend that featured their second-greatest offensive output of the season thus far, the Boston University men’s hockey team will conclude 2018 play against Dartmouth.

In last weekend’s home-and-home set against UMass Lowell (8-7-1, 4-4-1 Hockey East), the Terriers (5-8-2, 5-5-2 Hockey East) split the series with the River Hawks, with both teams picking up their respective wins in enemy territory. After falling 5-3 on home ice, the Terriers responded well in Lowell with an offensive explosion headlined by five goals over UMass Lowell’s two.

Two of BU’s goals in the victory came from sophomore Shane Bowers, bringing him level with Patrick Curry at second on the team leaderboard in terms of goals (5). However, the Terriers will be without the services of Bowers against Dartmouth (4-5-1, 4-2-1 ECAC), as he joins the Canadian junior national team for the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Bowers will not be the only Terrier absent for this Friday’s contest, as sophomore defenseman Cam Crotty will be travelling to represent Team Canada as well. Crotty’s fellow blueliner Chad Krys remains unavailable due to injury, which is expected to keep the junior out of the lineup until the start of the second semester.

“We’re going to have to have guys step up and play well”, said BU head coach Albie O’Connell in response to being without three regulars in Bowers, Crotty and Krys.“It’s a good opportunity for guys to step up and show us what they can do.”

The depleted Terriers will be relying on the likes of senior captain Bobo Carpenter and junior co-captain Dante Fabbro to carry the load against the Big Green. Carpenter holds the team lead in goals with nine, including three last weekend against UMass Lowell. Meanwhile, Fabbro leads the Terriers in points with 13, comprised of three goals and ten assists.

Between the pipes for the Terriers will likely be junior Jake Oettinger, who holds a .941 save percentage and 1.99 goals-against average. On the other end of the ice, Adrian Clark is expected to get the start in net for the Big Green. Clark has saved 91.1% of the shots he has faced and allows an average of 2.58 goals per game.

Leading the Dartmouth attack will be junior Will Graber, who leads his team in both points (9) and assists (6). Freshman Drew O’Connor and sophomore Quin Foreman lead the team in goals (5), with O’Connor holding the edge in points with 8 compared to Foreman’s 7.

After a difficult start to the season, BU has turned things around having won four of their last six, compared to Dartmouth’s two victories in as many games. The Big Green have gone winless in their previous three competitions, including a 4-0 loss to the University of New Hampshire in their most recent contest.

While momentum may be on BU’s side, Dartmouth has always been a challenge for the Terriers. The Big Green have defeated BU in three straight meetings, and are one of only four teams in the nation who currently hold a win streak over the Terriers.

These two clubs have not squared off since 2014, meaning that no player on either squad has ever participated in a matchup between the two programs. However, previous defeats at the hands of the Big Green are still fresh in Coach O’Connell’s mind, as the first-year head coach looks to turn the tides in his first managerial meeting with the Ivy League side.

“They ended up physically man-handling us up there a few years back” recalled O’Connell.

This game will be the only fixture of the weekend for either team, making the full two points that much more crucial, especially as the last regular season contest of the calendar year. For O’Connell and the Terriers though, it’s business as usual ahead of this nonconference clash.

“We’re just taking it as another game,” O’Connell said.

4 Terriers named to World Junior Selection camps

With the semester coming to a close some Terriers will be getting a few weeks off from playing. However, others will dawn their countries colors will playing in the IIHF World Junior Championship.

Here are the list of Terriers that have been invited to their countries camps.

Canada:

Sophomore forward Shane Bowers

The Halifax, Nova Scotia native is currently tied for third on the squad with three goals.

The former first round pick finished his freshman season third on the team with points (32) and goals (17).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAGxhFgMeq4

Sophomore defenseman Cam Crotty

The Greely Ontario, native currently ranks second on the team and eighth in the conference with 21 blocked shots.

Last season the Arizona Coyotes prospect finished the season with a +10 ranking, however this season his plus/minus sits at -3.

Crotty has yet to record a point this season.

The rest of Team Canada can be found here.

USA

Freshman forward Joel Farabee

The Cicero, New York native currently fourth on the team with nine points and his three goals are tied for third on the squad.

Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers’ draft picked served as captain of the 2017-18 U.S. National Under-18 Team.

Sophomore forward Logan Cockerill

The Brighton, Michigan native eight on the team with five points.

The New York Islanders’ prospect captured a gold medal with Team USA at 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship.

The rest of Team USA can be found here.

You can read a breakdown of each player at Team USA’s camp here.