BU-UMass Postgame Notes

Photo by Sarah Gordon, DFP Staff

-BU coach Jack Parker said that sophomore forward Andrew Glass was scratched for breaking team rules. When asked to elaborate, he responded, “He broke team rules.” Glass is expected to be back on Tuesday against Notre Dame.
-Parker said that he thought his younger players were his best players. He mentioned that the third line of Corey Trivino, Wade Megan and Alex Chiasson was BU’s best line. He also said that he liked the way freshman defensemen Sean Escobedo and Max Nicastro played, and that that was why he paired them together for the second and third periods.
-Parker, echoing himself from the two exhibition games, said that his team got too fancy. He said that it looked like they “wanted to get a 10 goal, not a two goal,” referring to the fact that his team was acting like they would be judged after they scored. He specifically called out his top two lines for getting too showy.
-Parker said his team’s “center ice play was horrible.”
-UMass coach Don Cahoon added that he thought there were times where BU’s defensemen held the puck too long, specifically in the neutral zone.
-Parker said that he was disappointed with the play of Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen and Eric Gryba on defense. “Our important guys played below their capabilities,” he said.
-Parker said that his goalie, Kieran Millan, was terrific. “Millan played great.”

From the FreeP: Hockey East Preseason Power Rankings

By Scott McLaughlin, Daily Free Press Staff

1) University of Massachusetts-Lowell

After reaching their second Hockey East title game in program history, the River Hawks return 22 letter-winners, including their top seven scorers and two senior goalies (Nevin Hamilton and Carter Hutton). Defenseman Maury Edwards leads the way at both ends of the ice. The junior was named a Hockey East First-Team All-Star and Second-Team All-American a season ago after leading all Hockey East defensemen with 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists) in conference play. The River Hawks ranked in the top three in Hockey East in scoring offense, scoring defense, power-play percentage and penalty-kill percentage last year, and there’s no reason to think they won’t be able to match that production this season.

2) Boston University

Yes, the Terriers are the defending national champions. Yes, they won every other trophy they could possibly win along the way last year. And yes, they placed first in this year’s Hockey East preseason coaches’ poll. But the fact remains that this team lost five-sixths of its top two forward lines and its top defensive pairing. Of course, there’s still a lot of talent coming back –– junior forward Nick Bonino, junior defenseman and captain Kevin Shattenkirk, sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky and sophomore goalie Kieran Millan should all be All-American candidates at the end of the season. The Terriers should still be a very good team, but they have more question marks than the River Hawks at this point.

3) Boston College

Even though they lost two of their top three scorers (Brock Bradford and Benn Ferriero), the Eagles are simply too talented to finish sixth again. Senior forward Ben Smith saw his point total drop from 50 in 2007-08 to 17 last year. Junior forward Joe Whitney saw his plummet from 51 to 15. If they land somewhere in between this year, that would be a huge boost for BC. Also adding to what should be a turnaround season are a strong freshman class and a healthy John Muse in net. Five Eagle rookies were selected in the first four rounds of this year’s NHL Draft, including 19th-overall pick Chris Kreider. Muse battled a hip injury throughout last season, but offseason surgery should have him back to freshman form.

4) University of Vermont

After reaching their second Frozen Four in program history, the Catamounts know exactly what they’re getting on defense. All six starting blue-liners and sophomore goalie Rob Madore return from a unit that tied for fourth in the conference in scoring defense. On the other hand, Vermont loses four of its top seven scorers, including Hobey Baker Award finalist Viktor Stalberg, leaving plenty of questions to be answered up front. If opening weekend was any indication, though, the Catamount offense might be just fine. It put up 10 goals in a weekend split against the then-No. 1/2 University of Denver. Another cause for concern, though, is the penalty kill, which ranked a measly ninth in Hockey East last year.

5) University of New Hampshire

The Wildcats saw last season come to a heartbreaking end at the hands of BU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but they should be a contender again this year. Despite losing leading scorer James van Riemsdyk, UNH is one of only two Hockey East teams (BU’s the other) to return three 30-point scorers –– junior Mike Sislo (31) and seniors Bobby Butler and Peter LeBlanc (30 each). However, depth could be a problem both up front and on defense. Three other 20-point forwards and two starting defensemen departed. If senior goalie Brian Foster can be more than the middle-of-the-pack goalie he was last year and some of the underclassmen can step up, UNH could be in the NCAAs for the ninth straight season.

6) University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Junior James Marcou, whose 1.21 points per game were second only to Colin Wilson, and sophomore Casey Wellman, whose 33 points were best among Hockey East rookies, should form one of the most lethal scoring duos in the league. Senior Justin Braun (23 points) and sophomore Matt Irwin (18) are both defensemen who know how to create offense as well. Junior goalie Paul Dainton was fourth in save percentage in conference play. The Minutemen don’t have a lot of depth on either offense or defense, but those five guys provide a stable core that should help bring along the underclassmen. If the underclassmen do produce, UMass could find itself competing for its second NCAA berth in program history.

7) Northeastern University

Husky fans who are expecting a repeat of last year’s second-place finish are in for a disappointment. Gone is Hobey Baker finalist and Hockey East Player of the Year Brad Thiessen. Gone are starting defensemen Louis Liotti, Denis Chisholm and Daniel Nycholat. Gone are forwards Ryan Ginand (32 points) and Joe Vitale (27). And if that wasn’t enough, sophomore forward Steve Quailer (25 points) is out indefinitely with an ACL injury. On the bright side, leading scorer Wade MacLeod (35 points) is back along with three other 20-point scorers. But if the freshman defensemen and freshman goalie Chris Rawlings can’t adjust to the college game, it might not matter how much the offense scores.

8) Merrimack College

There’s definitely reason to think that this could be the year the Warriors make it to the postseason for the first time since 2004. They return 11 of their top 12 scorers and have a strong defensive corps led by senior Pat Bowen, junior Fraser Allan and Hockey East All-Rookie Team selection Karl Stollery. Merrimack also brings back sophomore backstop Joe Cannata, who ranked fourth among Hockey East goalies with a .918 save percentage last season. As a team, the Warriors tied with Vermont for fourth in Hockey East with a 2.62 goals-against average. Continued improvement from the young forwards plus more stellar defense and goaltending should equal mid-March hockey for the boys from North Andover.

9) University of Maine

After reaching 11 Frozen Fours from 1988 to 2007, the Black Bears could be looking at their third straight season of finishing eighth or worse. Maine has a strong sophomore class, led by Swedish sensation Gustav Nyquist, who was second among Hockey East rookies with 32 points last year. But unless that group shows tremendous progress, it will be another disappointing season in Orono. Maine ranked last in Hockey East in scoring offense during conference play and ninth in scoring defense. Chief among those who need to improve is the goaltending tandem of senior Dave Wilson and sophomore Scott Darling, who ranked 10th and 11th, respectively, among Hockey East goalies in save percentage last year.

10) Providence College

The Friars missed the Hockey East playoffs for the first time in program history last year. They finished ninth in the conference in scoring offense, last in scoring defense, last in power-play percentage and last in penalty-kill percentage. Normally, you’d be tempted to say something like “There’s nowhere to go but up” or “Things can’t get any worse” after a season like that. Unfortunately for Providence, that might not be true. The team loses three of its top five scorers from a season ago and still has a big question mark in net. Alex Beaudry was brought in halfway through last season to try and solve the goaltending enigma. It didn’t work ­­–– he ranked 13th in Hockey East in save percentage and 13th in goals-against average.

From the FreeP: Banner raising marks end of championship journey

By Cary Betagole, Daily Free Press Staff

Boston University men’s hockey coach Jack Parker has stressed it. So has junior captain Kevin Shattenkirk:

This is a new season. It’s time to turn the page.

But history wasn’t feeling submissive Saturday night inside Agganis Arena, wrestling for one last night in its six-month long monopoly of the BU consciousness.

Drunk with nostalgia, the BU hockey family hardly needed a nudge, as the unveiling of BU’s 2008-09 championship banners was met with an energy more commonly found at a religious service than a hockey arena.

“Just sitting on the goal line, you just get chills thinking back to how it happened and the journey we went through with the ups and downs,” junior forward Joe Pereira said, who watched with the rest of his teammates single file on the blue line.

“You think back on the players when you see the parents from last year’s team and you’re like, ‘Wow, we did something special and we’ll be remembered forever together.’ It’s pretty special –– definitely got goosebumps and chills.”

Parents of departed Terriers Brian Strait, Steve Smolinsky, Jason Lawrence, Chris Higgins and Matt Gilroy were on hand to manually unfurl, in order of their capture, canvases representing each of the Terriers’ main triumphs from a year ago: the Beanpot, the Hockey East regular season, the Hockey East Tournament, the Frozen Four and, finally, the NCAA Tournament championship.

“I thought it was nicely done,” Parker said. “It was nice to have all the trophies out there and let the fans see one more time what a great year last year was.”

Sitting at the head of a T-shaped red carpet arrangement, Athletic Director Mike Lynch led the ceremony with his assessment of last season’s run.

“It was one of the most remarkable runs by a team in the history of college athletics,” he said. “This building was built for one reason, and one reason only, to bring the national championship right back here.”

Then the lights were dimmed and a video played reviewing last season’s highlights. Applause grew to a roar as a slow-motion replay of Colby Cohen’s knuckler inched closer and closer to Miami’s net.

When the lights returned, each group of parents had aligned themselves underneath the banner they would drop.

A chant of, “Go BU,” broke out when Peggy and Frank Gilroy approached the coiled NCAA championship banner, and it continued to rise in volume as the canvas cruised closer and closer to the ice.

“I was real happy with the crowd,” Parker said. “I was worried about that because it was only an exhibition game.”

BU’s opponent, the U.S. National Under-18 team, watched the whole thing unfold from the opposing blue-line.

“I know it left an impression on me,” US-18 coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. “I wanted my guys to see that.”

Some of those guys will be at the University of Notre Dame, others at the University of Michigan or University of Denver or Boston College, and two are coming right here to BU.

For Matt Nieto and Adam Clendening, it was a sneak peak of the impossible dream realized — completing the spectrum of affect from old to young, as surely a couple of inner fires were stirred by the ceremony.

“The fact that we’re recruiting a couple kids from this team didn’t hurt,” Parker said about the timing of the ceremony.

On the other end, the banner raising was a symbolic contribution to BU lore, richer with the turnover of each storied roster.

“All our guys think they played on the same team. It doesn’t matter if you played in the ‘70s or the ‘90s, we all think we played on the same team,” Parker said. “They got a lot of calls, and we got a lot of calls from former players saying, ‘We’re really happy for you. We felt like we won it, too.’”

For 14 years, etched in scarlet banners were the years 1971, 1972, 1978 and 1995.

Now, 2009.

From the FreeP: Terriers top US-18s, 3-2, in final exhibition game

By Jake Seiner, Daily Free Press Staff

With less than a week until it officially began its national championship defense, the Boston University men’s hockey team took down the US National Under-18 Team, 3-2, Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

Before the game, the Terriers raised banners commemorating last season’s Beanpot victory, Hockey East regular season and postseason titles, NCAA Frozen Four appearance and NCAA national championship. The banners were dropped by parents of graduated players from the 2008-09 season.

Junior Joe Pereira put home the winner for the Terriers at 19:52 of the second period, when he and Andrew Glass found themselves with a 2-on-1 opportunity following a defensive-zone faceoff win by senior Luke Popko.

Pereira hesitated just inside the left wing circle, leaving US-18 goalie Jack Campbell guessing on whether Pereira would pass to Glass or fire a shot. Campbell, apparently anticipating a pass, floated to the center of the crease, leaving the top left corner of the net open for Pereira to snipe the puck home.

“Popko won the faceoff,” Pereira said, “and right before the faceoff he said, ‘We’re going to go off the wall,’ because they’d been trying to catch us off our defensive zone faceoffs. Popko said, ‘Just go up the middle and we’ll try to find you.’”

“Andy Glass made a great play off the boards and kind of laid it for the defense to commit to me, and I just kind of used it as a screen to put it on net, and I was lucky enough for it to go in.”

Junior Nick Bonino and sophomore Chris Connolly registered BU’s other two goals.

At the 12:07 mark of the first, Bonino beat Campbell to the right post on a forehand wrap around, tying the game at a goal each. Senior Zach Cohen and sophomore Vinny Saponari assisted on the goal.

Connolly gave the Terriers at 2-1 lead 17:55 into the first on a power play goal. From the right point, sophomore David Warsofsky passed the puck to freshman defenseman Max Nicastro at the left point, who one-touched a pass to Connolly waiting at the right dot. Connolly one-timed a laser top shelf past Campbell.

The BU goals came after the US-18 squad punished the Terriers for a pair of early penalties. Freshman Alex Chiasson and Saponari were sent to the sin bin in the game’s first two minutes, giving the US-18s 1:04 of 5-on-3 time.

Twelve seconds into the Saponari minor, Justin Faulk whizzed a one-time shot over sophomore goaltender Kieran Millan’s shoulder and into the top-left corner of the net.

For the second-straight week, the Terriers offensive efforts resulted in few relative goals. In its first game against St. Francis Xavier University, BU registered 53 shots on goal, but beat freshman netminder Joseph Perricone just twice.

Saturday night, the Terriers again blistered their opponents with a multitude of pucks, but Campbell turned away on 39 of BU’s 42 shots on net.

“If you take a look at the shots, you don’t have to be Scotty Bowman to realize that, you know, Jack gave us a chance,” US-18 coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. “The one thing we get every night with Jack between the pipes is he gives us a chance to win, and I think he did that.”

Among the leading shot takers for BU were Warsofsky (6 shots), sophomore Colby Cohen (6 shots) and junior captain Kevin Shattenkirk (5 shots).

Two US-18 players drew particular attention from Terrier fans. Matt Nieto and Adam Clendening, both verbally committed to BU for 2010, were cheered before the game when announced on the US-18’s starting lineup.

Nieto, a Long Beach, Calif., native, tallied an assist on Faulk’s first-period goal.

“Matty’s a nice player –– he’s got very good skills,” Kleinendorst said. “You watch him play, and he’s kind of one of the new breeds. He’s out of California and you’d never know it. He’s from the L.A. area. He’s a strong skater, he’s a good skater, he’s a solid skater, he’s got good skills and thinks the game very well.

“I talk about a good get –– I think that’s a good get for Jack [Parker]. I think he’s going to come in here and he’s going to be a nice player. You guys will appreciate him for four years.”

Kibbles and BitsSophomore Ross Gaudet missed Saturday’s contest with a dislocated left shoulder. Parker expects him to be back in a couple weeks. . .US-18 center and Boston College recruit Bill Arnold was welcomed to the Green-Line Rivalry in fitting fashion. The Needham native was booed and harassed by the BU student sections throughout the game. . .Bonino (2 goals) and Glass (2 assists) finished the exhibition season tied for the team lead in points with two each.

Around Hockey East

We’ll skip the other Hockey East exhibition games this weekend as there were plenty of games that actually counted on the first weekend of the regular season.
Out-of-conference record on the weekend: 5-8-0

Multi-point games were a-plenty for the Minutemen. Potential Hobey Baker candidate James Marcou led the way with four assists, but Matthew Irwin (2 goals, 1 assist), Justin Braun (1 goal, 2 assists) and Casey Wellman (1 goal, 2 assists) all had big nights as well.
Late first-period goals from Justin Bonitatibus and Chris Barton gave the Warriors a 2-2 tie after one, but the Fighting Sioux dominated the final 40 minutes, outshooting Merrimack 30-10 over the final two periods and scoring three unanswered goals.
Two goals in the first six minutes gave the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in this fast-paced game that featured 68 total shots, including 28 in the third period alone. Unfortunately for the Huskies, CC’s Joe Howe bested Chris Rawlings in the battle of the rookie goalies.
Three third-period goals doomed the Black Bears, who actually outshot the Dutchmen 28-18. Senior goalie Dave Wilson saved just 14 of the 17 shots he faced though (Union’s final goal was an empty-netter). A 1-for-8 power-play showing didn’t help Maine, either.
The Catamounts carried a 4-2 lead in the the final stanza against the No. 1/2 team in the nation, but a goal from standout defenseman Patrick Wiercioch and two more from Bruins’ 2008 first-round pick Joe Colborne gave the Pioneers a thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Billerica native Kory Falite (1 goal, 2 assists) and second-team All-American Maury Edwards (1 goal, 1 assist) led the way on offense for the River Hawks, while Carter Hutton was a rock in net, saving all 24 shots he faced.
The Catamounts rebounded from their tough-to-swallow loss on Friday night with a big win on the road. Brayden Irwin netted two goals as 11 different UVM players found their way onto the stat sheet. Tyler Ruegsegger potted two of his own for the Pioneers.
Bryan Brutlag and Tyler Helfrich set up both of the Engineers’ third-period goals to down the Wildcats. Allen York saved 37 of the 38 shots UNH fired at him.
The Warriors again stayed close in front of a hostile crowd of over 11,000, but Jake Marto’s power-play goal at the 8:53 mark of the third proved to be the decisive tally for the Fighting Sioux. UND outshot Merrimack 35-18.
Daniel New (1 goal, 1 assist) recorded the game-winner with 1:18 left in regulation to get the Friars’ season off on the right foot. Sophomore goalie Alex Beaudry saved 33 of the 34 shots he faced from the Crusaders.
The Huskies scored three first-period goals en route to earning the weekend split with the Tigers. Senior Chris Donovan and freshman Garrett Vermeersch each posted a goal and an assist for Northeastern.
Falling behind 4-0 before the halfway point of the second ensured the Black Bears of starting the season with a sweep at the hands of the Dutchmen. The one positive for Maine was sophomore sensation Gustav Nyquist’s two-goal performance.
The River Hawks failed to make it back-to-back IceBreaker titles for Hockey East as Maverick goalie John Faulkner saved all 11 shots he faced after replacing Jeremie Dupont five minutes into the second. Kory Falite netted his second goal of the young season in the first.