Former BU committ Ryan O’Connell commits to Ohio State

Former Boston University men’s hockey commit and Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Ryan O’Connell has committed to The Ohio State University.

Despite being a seventh-round pick in last years draft, O’Connell did not play for BU this past season, instead, he played for the Princeton Vees on the BCHL.

BU graduated three defensemen this past May in Brien Diffley, Jonathan MacLeod and captain Brandon Hickey.

Culver Academy’s Dominic Vidoli commits to BU

The Boston University men’s hockey team just added a stellar find to their 2018 recruiting class as Culver Military Academy Prep defenseman Dominic Vidoli announced his commitment to join the Terrier family.

Vidoli is a grinder in a 6’0”, 170-pound frame, a force when it comes to corralling loose pucks and a terror on the boards. The Strongsville, Ohio native is willing to put his body on the line to stop a puck from sailing towards the net and should be someone Terriers head coach David Quinn can rely on to make sound decisions in the defensive zone.

In his first full season with Culver Academy in 2016-17, Vidoli logged four goals and four assists while compiling a +16 plus-minus rating in his time on the ice.

Vidoli improved his puck-handling and passing skills over the summer, and it has showed in the first 26 games of this season. The left-hander has poured in nine goals and 25 assists, becoming a staple of the Culver offensive attack.

With the likes of defenseman Brien Diffley and John MacLeod graduating, expect Vidoli to get a chance at filling in the minutes that these two will void. Should he impress over the summer and gel with his fellow defenseman, Vidoli could become a common member of the defensive third line in 2018-19.

 

 

Midseason Report: BU hockey, halfway through 2016-17 season, in position to thrive

2016harvard-3328-1600x1065Boy does time fly by.

It feels like yesterday that the Boston University men’s hockey team got its 2016-17 season underway, but the halfway point is here. As things stand, BU is 10-5-2, sits fourth in the Pairwise rankings and sixth in the Hockey East standings.

Of course, the state of the Terriers is not that simple, so we’re here to break down some of the subtler nuances and trends that developed in the fall of 2016. It’s also important to note context, as BU entered the year with great hype and expectations, largely the byproduct of rostering 11 NHL Draft picks. The jury is still out on whether all that talent will translate into silverware of some kind.

Before we get underway, it’s important to give these two quotes from disparate parts of the semester a read through. The first came on Sept. 27 at Hockey East’s annual media day, and is from junior assistant captain Nikolas Olsson. Meanwhile, the second is from head coach David Quinn and came after BU’s 5-2 win over Yale on Dec. 13.

Quote 1: “We want to hold ourselves to our own standard, so we don’t want to pay attention to what everyone else expects us to do. We tune everything out and when we’re all in the locker room, we have a saying of, ‘Close that up and everything that’s in here matters – this is what matters, whatever is outside doesn’t.’ If we can figure out our affairs in here, then we can do great things.” – Olsson

Quote 2: “It’s been a really good first half for us. We feel our best hockey is ahead of us. It’s a great group. I love coming to the rink every day with them. They work hard, they care for each other, they’re forming some of those characteristics you need to have as a group to win important games in late March and April. We feel really good about where we’re at.” – Quinn


Forwards

  • harper-vs-upeiPatrick Harper – Who would have thought that freshman Patrick Harper would lead the team in points by the end of 2016? Heading into this season, the hype centered around Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows, but it’s been the 5-foot-9, 160-pound playmaker from New Canaan, Connecticut who has led the way early on. With seven goals and 13 assists, Harper ranks fifth in scoring among Division I freshmen. He will head into the next half of the season with a three-game point streak, and it’s safe to assume that the Nashville Predators draft pick will look to extend that run of form on the first line. – Nick
  • Kieffer Bellows – Yes, Kieffer Bellows has disappointed in his freshman campaign, but there’s a very good chance he turns it around. Just look at sophomore Jordan Greenway, who totaled one goal and seven assists in the first half of the 2015-16 season. After the holiday break, Greenway scored four goals and notched 14 helpers to finish the season top-5 on the team in points (26). Of course, Greenway didn’t have a plus/minus rating of -8 halfway through his freshman year, but you get the point. Sometimes, freshmen need some extra time to adjust before they flourish, and that very well could be the case with Bellows. His penalty problem can be easily fixed, and he’s flashed his trademark scoring ability at points. Let’s hope playing with Team USA in the World Junior Championships will energize Bellows so he can begin the 2017 on a high note. – Nick
  • pvd_at_bu-1-1600x1067Third line – Oft-overlooked, especially on a team with five forwards drafted by NHL teams, BU’s third line deserves ample credit for wins against powerhouse and mid-level teams alike. The contingent typically features senior Nick Roberto and junior Nikolas Olsson as wingers, with freshman Patrick Curry at center. They all have subtly good hands, play heavy on the forecheck and consistently skate with the pace and intensity Quinn so ardently desires. They’re chipping in on the scoreboard, too, as they’ve combined for 19 points from eight goals and 11 assists. What’s perhaps most significant about the third line, though, is that it affords BU’s top two lines the chance to catch a breather, all the while maintaining the level those elite forwards (Keller, Greenway, etc.) demand. Lastly, any team looking to make a deep postseason run with only two lines is in deep trouble. Luckily for Quinn, this Roberto-Olsson-Curry group won’t cause that worry to arise. – Jonathan
  • JFK – It’s natural to watch BU’s top-end players and make NHL comparisons. When it comes to Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, a sophomore and assistant captain, one of the highest honor surfaces: Patrice Bergeron. Both are centers, both were picked 45th overall by the Boston Bruins in their respective drafts and both offer forth the same skill set. Bergeron, now a two-time participant in the NHL All-Star Game, has smooth hands, makes smart hockey plays like clockwork and has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times, which is annually given to the NHL’s top defensive forward. As for Forsbacka Karlsson, the scorer of 45 points in 56 career games for the Terriers, he’s an expert at using his body to protect the puck, plays a 200-foot game in every sense of the phrase and does so many of the little things right. Who knows if “JFK” will ever reach Bergeron’s notoriety or respect throughout the professional ranks, but it’s still a joy to watch the 20-year-old Swede lead BU night in and night out. And for those who feel JFK isn’t chipping in on the scoreboard, he boasts three goals and 12 assists. That puts him a tie with Keller for the third-most points on the Terriers. – Jonathan

Defense/Goaltending

  • pvd_at_bu-10-1600x1067Sixth Man – There’s really not much to complain about in this department, as BU ranks fourth in the nation in goals allowed (2.06). The core four of Charlie McAvoy, Chad Krys, Dante Fabbro and Brandon Hickey have been excellent, but perhaps the most important piece of the defense has been the sixth man, usually paired with captain Doyle Somerby. For the most part, that has been John MacLeod, who has four assists in 13 games but has also been dealing with injuries. When he’s unavailable, Brien Diffley and Shane Switzer stepped into his spot on the blue line, making smart choices with the puck and seamlessly slotting into the defensive zone. Expect the D-unit to continue to shut down top offenses in 2017. – Nick
  • LaCouvee – Jake Oettinger has been terrific in net, but a shoutout has to go to his backup, Connor LaCouvee. He’s only started twice, but knowing that there’s a solid netminder behind Oettinger is comforting for Terrier fans. He earned victories in both of his starts, and has a save percentage of .938. Sure, a small sample size, but so what? He’s been awesome in limited play. Should the 18-year-old Oettinger fall in a slump or require some rest, LaCouvee can slide right into the starting lineup and keep the Terriers in it. – Nick
  • m46a0201Oettinger – Speaking of Oettinger, it’s hard to ask for more from the freshman. It’s commonplace in postgame press conferences for his teammates to shower the recently-turned 18-year-old with praise, and that’s because he deserves every plaudit thrown his way. In his young career, the former U.S. National Team Development goaltender has three shutouts, blanking Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Vermont. He also boasts a .932 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average, which both lead Hockey East. In terms of a grander scope, the former statistic stacks up as the eighth best in the country, while the latter is fifth best in the nation. To the credit of critics in and around Agganis Arena, Oettinger did have an incredibly rough outing at home – BU’s 4-0 loss to UConn on Nov. 11 – but he has since bounced back with aplomb. Looking ahead, the Lakeville, Minnesota native seems stout enough to lead the Terriers when playoff hockey rolls around, as he instills confidence in the squad and can stymie the nation’s best forwards. Do you know what’s scariest of all? This kid is so young he isn’t even draft eligible until the summer. – Jonathan
  • Fourth line – While BU’s defense has largely been resolute, one area in need of marked improvement arises through the fourth line. Whether it’s freshmen Johnny McDermott and Gabriel Chabot, sophomores Ryan Cloonan and Oskar Andren, junior Chase Phelps or senior Tommy Kelley, a worrisome theme has surfaced against tougher opponents: an inability to break out of the defensive zone on a consistent basis. This note is based on the eye test and isn’t easily measurable, but too often has some combination of the aforementioned group been hemmed below its own blue line. There are several reasons for this trend – being mismatched against an opponent’s top line, a changing cast of characters and general fatigue late in games – but it needs a firm resolution. On the other hand, when this is the biggest complaint about the Terriers’ defense, they’re in pretty good shape. – Jonathan

Special Teams

  • keller_maddiemalhotra_online-1-of-1-1600x1109Net value – Special teams have been the strongest part of the Terriers’ game in 2016. They have scored on 16.87 percent of their power plays, while going 91.2 percent on the penalty kill, second best in the nation. What’s the most impressive stat from special teams? The Terriers have allowed nine goals on the penalty kill, yet they have scored six shorthanded goals this year. That makes them a fantastic -3 on the PK, which is even more impressive when you consider the number of penalties this team has been whistled for. Stick taps to all involved. – Nick
  • Freshmen – So who have the stars of the power play been thus far? You may want to sit down for this … it’s been the freshmen. Harper, Keller and Fabbro have three power play goals each, which lead the team. In fact, the only other Terrier with multiple power play goals is … Bellows. It’s obvious that these guys are well-coached when it comes to the PP, so another shoutout to the coaching staff for a job well done. – Nick
  • QB1, QB2, QB3 – In his weekly sit-down with the media, Quinn routinely talks about the importance of learning what a professional-level power play looks like. From BU’s first 17 games of the year, it appears as though Keller, Fabbro and McAvoy have firmly grasped every coaching point. The trio often operates from the point, quarterbacking the Terriers’ man advantages and always seems willing to pull the trigger. There’s proof in the pudding, too, as Keller and Fabbro both have three tallies on the power play. McAvoy hasn’t registered a point on the power play, but his contributions surface in other ways. – Jonathan
  • img_3767-1-1600x1138The magic number – During October and November, as was the case throughout college hockey, penalties dominated the conversation. Truthfully, BU has been one of the worst culprits in this regard, as its 16.24 penalty minutes per game is the 15th-highest total in the NCAA. Given that fact, you’d never guess this, but coach Quinn considers four to be his team’s magic number. And that’s a reference to taking no more than four penalties across all three periods. When that’s been the case, meaning BU is playing 5-on-5 hockey, it’s a dominant team that makes mediocre teams look poor and great teams look OK. This was the case in the 3-0 win over Northeastern on Nov. 5, as BU took five penalties, and the same pattern repeated in the 4-0 win over Vermont on Dec. 10, when it took six penalties. The Terriers are far from perfect in this regard, but the trend is clear. – Jonathan

Defining Moments

  • Surprise, surprise – Perhaps the most fun I’ve had watching the team so far was the last game of the semester, when Shane Switzer scored twice to propel BU to a 5-2 victory over Yale. Can’t say anyone saw that coming. It was great to see the guys hype the crowd up when Switzer was named the No. 1 star after the game. – Nick
  • mhock7_justinhawk-1600x1190Breakout moment – Another shining moment came in the exhibition against Prince Edward Island, when Pat Harper scored five times. Obviously, the competition wasn’t the best. But after Harper’s third or fourth goal, it became pretty clear that this guy was going to be integral. I remember being surprised that Harper was on the first line with Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter. Can’t say it was a bad move. – Nick
  • Bye bye Crimson – Outside of the result itself, pre-break games boast an extra layer of significance in that the scoreline will linger around for quite some time. So when then-No. 9 Harvard University visited Agganis Arena on Nov. 22 – just before the Thanksgiving break – an essential opportunity was before the Terriers. Its next game wasn’t for 10 days either, so a win or loss would remain fresh. In back-and-forth fashion, BU edged out a 5-3 win over the Crimson. Furthermore, coach Ted Donato’s side is now ranked fourth in the nation, making the win better than advertised at the time. – Jonathan
  • UConn at home – While adulation usually follows the Terriers at every turn, a low moment arose on Nov. 19 at Agganis Arena. The visiting UConn Huskies blanked BU, 4-0, cementing the fact that Hockey East wins won’t come easily for this squad. Quinn’s side didn’t play poorly against the likes of Tage Thompson and Max Letunov, so perhaps the result was an outlier without much of an explanation. After all, sometimes the better team goes home empty handed. – Jonathan

Recruits

  • The big get: Oh yeah, we almost forgot about the commits the Terriers secured during the season. It appears the biggest one was forward Shane Bowers, a 17-year-old currently with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. He currently has nine goals and 10 assists through 26 games after totaling 33 points with the Black Hawks last season. With a few present Terriers likely to move on to the NHL next season, Bowers should contribute right away in 2017-18. – Nick
  • img_3861-1600x1126Reinforcements – On top of that, Finland defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo (at least it’s easier to spell than Grzelcyk) committed to BU and is likely to play next season. Kotkansalo, 18, measures up at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds and has a reputation for hard hits on the boards. He is also currently in the USHL, totaling a plus/minus rating of +7 in 20 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede. – Nick
  • Red, white and blue – When BU scrimmaged the U.S. National Team Development Program on Oct. 6, Terrier fans got a major glimpse into the future. The coveted squad featured defenseman David Farrance and forwards Brady Tkachuk and Logan Cockerill. While none registered a point – largely the product of BU skating to a comfortable 8-2 win – it was still interesting to see what the young guns could do. Lastly, Tkachuk is second on the NTDP in points with 22, Farrance is seventh with 18 and Cockerill is ninth with 17. – Jonathan
  • Don’t forget about me – While so much attention, understandably, is given to BU’s big-name recruits, it’s important not to lose sight of those who might not boast as lofty of a pedigree. This is certainly the case with Ty Amonte, who will call Agganis Arena home in the fall of 2017 and currently skates with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. That’s the same squad that Fabbro used to play for, and Amonte currently has 28 points in 35 games for them. – Jonathan

Top Goals

1.) Patrick Harper vs. Northeastern

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2.) Brandon Hickey vs. Providence

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3.) Shane Switzer vs. Yale

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4.) Clayton Keller vs. Northeastern

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5.) Clayton Keller vs. Vermont

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3 BU-tied players selected on 2nd day of NHL Entry Draft

Much like the first night, the second day of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft proved to be a successful one for the Boston University men’s hockey program.

Following center Jack Eichel‘s selection at No. 2 overall to the Buffalo Sabres, three players with connections to BU were selected on day two of the draft.

The first of these draft picks was sophomore forward A.J. Greer at No. 39 to the Colorado Avalanche. Although Greer was ranked No. 69 by NHL Central Scouting and was projected to be drafted anywhere between late in the second to the fourth round, Colorado nabbed him early.


Greer battled inconsistencies early in his BU tenure, but picked up his play during BU’s postseason run. He had a chance to play on the second line and made contributions, including a goal during the national semifinal against the University of North Dakota.

The next of the selections was soon-to-be-freshman forward Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson at No. 45 by the Boston Bruins. Forsbacka-Karlsson, who was ranked No. 31 by Central Scouting and 52nd by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, joins captain Matt Grzelcyk as a Bruins prospect.

With the USHL’s Omaha Lancers this season, the 6-foot-1 Karlsson had 53 points in 50 games. The Sweden native is considered a two-way center that can skate well and win faceoffs.

Another 2015 commit, forward Jordan Greenway, rounded out the BU selections when he was taken No. 50 overall by the Minnesota Wild. Standing at 6-foot-4, Greenway is a highly touted power forward in this year’s recruiting class. He had 44 points while playing with U.S. National Under-18 team, which included a trip at Agganis Arena.

Although they were ranked by ISS Hockey, sophomore defenseman Brien Diffley and incoming freshman forward Bobo Carpenter were not taken in the draft.

In all, 23 current or future Hockey East players were selected this season, the most of any college hockey conference. BU and Boston College led the conference with four picks each.

2015-16 captains announced, team awards presented at Friends of Hockey Banquet

Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn announced junior captain Matt Grzelcyk will serve as the Boston University men’s hockey captain for 2015-16, while freshman forward Jack Eichel, junior forward Danny O’Regan and junior forward Matt Lane were named 2015-16 assistant captains at the 52nd annual Friends of BU Hockey Banquet on Friday evening at the Metcalf Hall in BU’s George Sherman Union.

Grzelcyk also confirmed at the ceremony that he will return for his senior season.

Additionally, eight awards were presented at the ceremony. Grzelcyk was awarded the Clifford P. Fitzgerald Scholarship, presented annually to an “outstanding rising junior or senior defenseman.” In his first season as captain of the Terriers, Grzelcyk collected CCM First Team All-American, Hockey East First Team All-Star and Hockey East All-Tournament Team accolades.

Junior goaltender Matt O’Connor earned the Regina Eilberg Scholarship — dedicated to a player that “combines the highest standards of Terrier athletics and academic performance.”

Freshman center Jack Eichel was named the Ed Carpenter Award recipient, given to the BU skater that leads the team in scoring. In an impressive freshman campaign, Eichel led the Terriers — and the nation — with 71 points in 40 games.

Graduate student goaltender Anthony Moccia and senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann received the Bennett McInnis Award for Spirit, given to players that best represent “the spirit of a Boston University hockey player both on and off the ice.”

In its third year of circulation, the Iron Terrier Award — awarded to the Terrier player who best displays “character, strength, dedication and discipline in the weight room and off-ice training” — was handed to Hohmann.

Flying under the radar as an unheralded recruit out of Buckingham Browne and Nichols, freshman defenseman Brien Diffley became a relied upon member of the BU blueline and was subsequently given the Most Improved Player Award.

Hohmann added to his already impressive haul of trophies on the night when he was awarded The Friends Albert Sidd Unsung Hero Award, handed out to the player “who contributes much during his four years and does not garner proper recognition.”

After capturing the third BU player to capture the Hobey Baker Award, Eichel was bestowed with the George V. Brown Most Valuable Player Award.

With the scarlet and white captains already in place for the 2015-16 season, the ceremony ended on a look ahead, as the Terriers will open the new year in Schenectady, New York, taking on Union College on Oct. 10.

Conor Ryan contributed to the reporting of this article.

Pluses and Minuses: Freshmen key in draw with Union

In the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team’s first game in 15 days, the Terriers earned a 3-3 tie against the defending national champions, Union College, at Agganis Arena.

Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues’ goal with just more than four minutes remaining in regulation salvaged the tie for the Terriers. His goal was one of many positives for BU on Saturday.

Here’s some more of what we liked — and didn’t like — in BU’s first game of 2015:

Pluses

Reinforcements back

Freshman forward Nikolas Olsson. PHOTO BY DANIEL GUAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman forward Nikolas Olsson. PHOTO BY DANIEL GUAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Terriers returned two key players who had missed nearly two months to the lineup on Saturday, and both had a positive impact on the result.

Sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon — BU’s leading scorer last season — saw his first playing time in nine games. He recorded two shots on goal.

“I thought Robbie did pretty well,” said BU coach David Quinn. “He hasn’t played in long time. He played a lot of minutes, probably too many minutes, but I thought Robbie did a good job.”

Freshman forward Nikolas Olsson, who had also missed nine games, tallied a goal and was a plus-1 on the evening.

“I took about two months off so that was pretty rough, but I just tried to stay positive and remind myself that I’d be back soon enough,” Olsson said. “I’ve been practicing hard. I’d been skating for a while, even though it was no-contact, so I tried to keep up to speed and make contributions once I got out, and I did.”

Skilled youth
BU played without freshman forward and leading scorer Jack Eichel, whom the coaches chose to bench after he competed for the United States in the IIHF World Junior Championships during winter break. But still, three freshmen made it on the score sheet Saturday: forward A.J. Greer, who had the game-opening goal, defenseman Brien Diffley, who added an assist, and Olsson.

Greer’s goal came off a rebound to open the scoring 5:47 into the game. It was his second goal of the season, and his first since BU’s 8-1 win over the University of Massachusetts on Oct. 10. Diffley’s fourth assist of the season came on Olsson’s goal — his third of the year — at the 13:42 mark of the 1st period.

Physical presence
Union presented a physical test to the Terriers, which BU matched with a consistent tough effort. The Terriers had a number of physical challenges along the boards — in turn, accumulating five penalties on the night, but Quinn said he was pleased with the effort.

“If we’re going to be able to have success moving forward, we need to be physical for 60 minutes, we can’t pick and choose our spots,” Quinn said. “I thought we were pretty consistent with our physical play tonight.”

Olsson’s return gave BU a boost physically, and he said he was happy to come in and get a few big hits.

“The first thing I thought about was going out and getting a hit,” Olsson said. “That’s how I kind of … get more mentally into it than you can get just by prepping yourself.

“I try to maintain a physical presence when I’m out there, and remind guys on the bench on our team that you can’t let up on a hit, just to finish guys and then try to incorporate that into my game in a big way.”

Quinn noted the significance of Olsson’s return to the lineup as pivotal to the Terriers’ physicality.

“He gives us a swagger,” Quinn said. “He’s got a physical presence out there. He’s a horse. He’s looking to hurt people and hit them, and he’s got skill. Once he gets out there right from the get go and makes a big hit in his first shift and everyone kind of follows his cue.”

Minuses

Cobwebs
As previously mentioned, it was the Terriers’ first game action in 15 days, and their first regular-season matchup in three weeks. Quinn mentioned before the game that he had some concerns about the team having a bit of dust, and said that he thought BU’s effort early was a bit shaky.

He did note, however, that BU was able to settle in, save for some rough play in the second frame.

“I thought in the second period, we completely got away from supporting the puck,” Quinn said. “I thought we cheated too much, our forwards were leaving our defenseman on an island, and it showed.”

Defensive miscues
The Terriers allowed three goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 25 — just one of three times this regular season they have given up three or more scores to an opponent.

Midway through the first period, with the game tied 1-1, freshman defenseman Brandon Fortunato trailed Union forward Daniel Ciampini on a breakaway attempt. He wrapped his stick around, but was unable to stop the attempt from reaching the back of the net.

BU also left a number of wide-open chances for the Dutchmen when junior goaltender Matt O’Connor couldn’t control a few rebounds, which at one point early in the game led to a goal for forward Spencer Foo.

Pluses and Minuses: No. 5 Terriers settle for draw with UConn

Trying to earn its second weekend sweep of the season, the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team played to a 4-4 draw with the University of Connecticut Saturday night.

The Terriers (5-1-1, 3-1-1 Hockey East) scored within the first 40 seconds of the game on junior forward Danny O’Regan’s goal, but the Huskies (2-4-3, 1-2-1 Hockey East) battled back in a neck-and-neck, fast-paced affair.

Junior Mike Moran scored his second goal of the season in a 4-4 tie with UConn.  PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Junior Mike Moran scored his second goal of the season in a 4-4 tie with UConn.
PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Here’s a closer look at what went right and wrong for the Terriers on the back end of a two-game weekend:

Pluses

An Early Tally

Against Boston College at Conte Forum Friday night, the Terriers didn’t get any sustained attacking time early. It took over three minutes for the team to get a chance on net.

Saturday was a completely different story.

Even without junior forward Ahti Oksanen in the lineup, the first line was aggressive from the get-go. Freshman forward Jack Eichel skated down the left wing, and fed O’Regan on a cross-ice pass down low. After a few pretty deke moves, O’Regan buried the shot past goaltender Rob Nichols.

“Well you always like to get on the board early — it’s easier said than done,” said BU coach David Quinn. “One of the things that I thought happened on that first goal, Jack did a great job driving wide and then pulling up and finding Danny.”

The Eichel-O’Regan Connection

The top BU forwards continued their impressive play even after the opening goal. After multiple chances throughout the first and second periods, the two were rewarded for their hard work with less than five minutes to go in the third.

Eichel started the rush when he sped out to center ice. As O’Regan charged toward the blue line, the freshman split the defense with a pass, allowing O’Regan to spring forward. The junior did the rest, and after fancy stickhandling in front of Nichols, O’Regan found himself on the scoresheet again.

The two finished the night with three points each — Eichel with three assists and O’Regan with the two goals and an assist.

Unsung Heroes Come Up Big

When the 2014-15 season started, junior forward Mike Moran was out of the lineup with an injury. Freshman defenseman Brien Diffley found himself on the third defensive pairing. On this night, though, both made big contributions in the tie.

For a more in-depth look at Diffley, check out Conor’s sidebar.

Moran, who scored his first goal of the season on Friday night, added his second of the year against UConn 30 seconds after the Huskies grabbed a late lead in the third.

After Diffley took a shot from the point, Moran batted in the puck out of mid-air — and under the crossbar — for the goal at 9:30 of the second period.

“He’s a smart player, he’s got some skill, he shoots the puck a ton and he’s a very physical player and he goes to the net,” Quinn said of Moran. “I’m happy to see a guy like that get rewarded. He’s getting a lot of ice time because he’s earning it.”

Minuses

An Early Tally

How does a plus become a minus? When complacency sets in, issues can arise and create chances for the opposition. This is what Quinn said happened after BU’s first goal of the game.

“It was nice to get that first one, looking back, as crazy as it sounds, I don’t know if you want to score 20-plus seconds into the game because, like I said, all of sudden we thought this was going to be easy,” Quinn said. “We all know it wasn’t going to be easy.”

After O’Regan’s opening tally, things were far from being painless. UConn scored about three minutes later on a rebound by forward Shawn Pauly, his first of two on the night.

BU held two one-goal leads throughout the game, but none lasted more than 3:08. As much as Quinn has used the word “resilient” to characterize the Terriers, UConn threatened all night and was not deterred by the initial goal.

Penalties Upon Penalties

What seems to be a recurring theme for this Terriers team is the amount of time it spends on the penalty kill versus the man advantage. Before the game against UConn, the Terriers had 66 total minutes shorthanded against 40 on power-play chances.

By the end of the night, the Terriers added seven more penalties to its season total.

There were two infractions, though, that hindered the Terriers the most. BU was forced to work with one less skater on its bench after freshman forward Nikolas Olsson’s game misconduct for making contact to the head at 15:29 in the second period. Quinn used a combination of players like Moran and sophomore forward Kevin Duane on the second line to keep things stable.

Then at the end of the third and teams in the midst of a 4-on-4, junior captain Matt Grzelcyk held forward Trevor Gerling as he drove to the net. On the ensuing Huskies power play, Pauly scored his second goal of the game, which was the final score of the contest.

“It’s nothing new, Quinn said of the penalties. “You look at what’s happened this year, we probably have the biggest discrepancy between power plays and penalty kills. I can’t explain it, I don’t want to talk too long about it.

“[UConn] played well, they deserved the chances that they got. They had the five-minute major, they capitalized on it and the four-on-three goal.”

Trouble with Pauly and Gerling

Other than penalties being a major issue, the Terriers had their difficulties defending the second line. Pauly, who did not have a goal coming into the game, finished with two tallies, five shots on goal and a plus-2 rating. Gerling doubled his season output with two goals, while also adding two helpers.

UConn’s first unit had trouble keeping up with BU’s top line, but the Huskies’ second line combined for seven of UConn’s 12 points.