The No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team beat No. 17 Quinnipiac University 3-2 during overtime in a physical and fast-paced game in Hamden, Connecticut on Sunday. Freshman forward Shane Bowers got the overtime tally while sophomore forward Patrick Harper added two more goals to this season and was subsequently named Hockey East’s Player of the Week.
We only have a recap this week, but will return this Friday and Saturday nights with a plethora of articles when the Terriers take on Minnesota State and former goaltender Connor LaCouvee will make his way back to Agganis Arena for a few days.
Also a side note: there were some technical difficulties with WordPress at Quinnipiac in terms of linking up the live blog and Nikki’s computer wasn’t cooperating. We’re sorry for any inconveniences caused and will be prepared in the future for road games, but everything is working now and please tune into the live blog this weekend!
This weekend the Boston University men’s hockey team held its first ever season opener in the month of September. The Terriers beat Union College 4-1 on Saturday night after a three-point (2g, 1a) performance from sophomore forward Patrick Harper and game-winning goal notched by sophomore defenseman Dante Fabbro.
On Sunday night, BU didn’t have the same luck against the University of Prince Edward Island during its exhibition game. After five minutes of overtime, the game ended in a 5-5 draw. However, the Terriers continued to have a productive power play with four power-play goals after scoring two during opening night, and freshman forward Brady Tkachuk and sophomore defenseman Chad Krys each tallied three points.
BU’s next matchup will be against Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut at 2 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 8). Tune in to the live blog for updates.
After beating No. 16 Union College, the No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team returns to Agganis Arena for an exhibition game against the University of Prince Edward Island. Last season, the Terriers (1-0) met the Panthers (0-0) at Agganis where BU won 10-2 after sophomore forward Patrick Harper’s seven-point (5g, 2a) night.
With the Boston University men’s hockey season right around the corner, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to be precise, we have an entire edition of The Daily Free Press full of photos, content and all things regarding BU hockey.
Click here for the entire edition, but if you are around BU please pick up a copy today! We are also going to try to put some near the doors of Agganis Arena before BU’s first game of the season against Union College.
We dive deep into the No. 2 (in the USCHO.com preseason poll) Terriers as they attempt to make a run to the Frozen Four in Minnesota. Learn all about returning stars and the new freshman that plan on paving the way forBU to make it all the way to this April.
Sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger was the 26th pick by the Dallas Stars in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft this summer, but returns to BU with many goals for the upcoming season.
One of the best goaltenders in Hockey East, Oettinger will look to be a brick wall in net throughout the year. Although the question remains: what goes on Oettinger’s mind to produce such a calm and stable presence between the pipes?
Freshman forwards Brady Tkachuk and Ty Amonte have received the baton from their five-time NHL all-star fathers, both of whom played for BU on the same 1990-91 team during their own college hockey days.
Amonte looks to serve a prominent role on the squad’s offensive attack, following in the footsteps of his father Tony, who played in the NHL for 18 seasons with teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers.
Tkachuk, a forward in his own right and one of the top prospects for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, will look to light the lamp in the shadow of his father Keith who enjoyed 20 seasons in the NHL.
Despite their father’s legacies, the two players hope to create their own at BU.
Get to know Max Prawdzik, a redshirt sophomore goalie who spent his spring with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL. Prawdzik discussed what it was like leaving BU for a semester, which he’d bring on a desert island and much more.
The 20-year-old most recently stood between the pipes for the Johnstown Tomahawks (NAHL), but previously played in the United States Hockey League for the Waterloo Black Hawks and Madison Capitols.
During the 2016-17 season, Hotte posted a .913 goal save percentage, 2.43 goals against average and a 24-12-1 record with the Tomahawks. He also set the team record for the most wins during a single season.
Boston University’s home schedule was released Wednesday afternoon. The Terriers will play 18 games at Agganis Arena, including 11 Hockey East games.
BU will open its season with exhibition games versus the University of Prince Edward Island on Oct. 1 and the U.S. National Under-18 Team on Oct. 6. The Terriers fell to the Under-18 squad, 7-4, last year, with incoming freshmen in forwards Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows, goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenseman Chad Krys featuring prominently.
Head coach David Quinn’s squad will then return to Commonwealth Avenue on Oct. 21 to host Sacred Heart University. It will be the first ever meeting between the two programs. The following night, 2015-16 national runner-up Quinnipiac University will come to town for its first contest at Agganis in team history. Boston University got the best of the Bobcats last season, defeating the country’s then-No. 2 squad, 4-1, in Connecticut.
The Terriers will then host their first conference opponent on Nov. 5, when defending Hockey East champion Northeastern University makes the short trip from Matthews Arena. BU will then play the University of Connecticut at home two weeks later.
Harvard University comes to Agganis Arena for a non-conference game on Nov. 22 after the Terriers earned a 6-5 win on the road over the Crimson last season. BU’s next home game is against Providence University, who defeated the Terriers in the 2015 national championship. The Friars and the Terriers played twice last season, with both games resulting in ties.
BU will then host Yale University on Dec. 13, the final game before the holiday break. It will be the first trip to Agganis for the Bulldogs since 2009. After the holidays, the Terriers will begin the second half of the regular season with a game versus Union College on Jan. 5. That matchup will be the last non-conference home game of the season.
After the Union game, Boston University’s last eight home games will be with familiar foes. Boston College comes to Agganis on Jan. 13 as part of the Green Line Rivalry. The Terriers then host the University of Maine on Jan. 20, Merrimack College on Jan. 27 and the University of Massachusetts Lowell the following night. BU had a 4-3-1 record against those four teams last season.
In February, the University of Massachusetts Amherst comes to town on Feb. 3, while the University of New Hampshire visits the Terriers Feb. 17. BU will wrap up the regular season with a pair of home games versus the University of Notre Dame, who will be leaving Hockey East next season for the Big Ten Conference. The Terriers split a pair of games with the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana last year.
The full 2016-17 regular season schedule will be released in the coming weeks.
But as some have mentioned in comment sections and on fan forums, it seems as if BU’s season began its downward spiral during and after the Beanpot final against Boston College. The team had just five wins in 12 games between the Beanpot and the final game of the season, with six losses and a tie mixed in.
Of course, we can’t really get into the heads of what was going on mentally during that span, but we can point to a few things in particular that we were able to see on the ice over the final weeks of the season that could possibly account for the slip-up.
Offense, defense or goaltending?
Twelve goals allowed in two games. That makes it hard to win at any level, especially in the NCAA against top teams like the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Denver.
And BU didn’t win either of those games, and none down the stretch in what became its final three games of the year. But who’s really at fault? Is it senior goaltender Sean Maguire, who didn’t look exactly like himself during the team’s postseason run? Based on a lot of the discussion on the live blogs here, some believe that to be the case.
But let’s set the record straight. Maguire was nowhere near as sharp as he had been earlier in the season during the past few games. For long stretches, like during the Beanpot, he was absolutely lockdown in the crease. He was far from it during the Hockey East Tournament and one game in St. Paul. But the onus should not fall squarely on his shoulders. Far from it, actually. Because without Maguire, BU maybe doesn’t even make it this far in the season.
Some soft goals were let in, yes, but Maguire’s defense in front of him was poor and did not play particularly well in its own zone. Especially against Denver, there were plenty of turnovers at the defensive blue line, and both he and sophomore Connor LaCouvee were hung out to dry multiple times.
This team’s defense was supposed to be the core, the big factor in why this year’s team would be in contention for another Frozen Four run. And, at times, the unit did play up to its potential. However, there were too many instances, like Saturday’s loss, where the D corps failed to show up.
Senior winger Ahti Oksanen said a lot of the talk and work in practice over the last two weeks was based on defensive zone coverage and just generally being more responsible with and without the puck. Maybe for the first 10 minutes of the game things looked better, but by the time BU failed to convert on its second power play of the first period, everything spiraled out of control.
The attention to detail and lack of control in the defensive zone allowed Denver to walk all over BU for most of the night. For the first time since Frozen Fenway in January 2014, BU gave up seven goals in one game. Defense clearly was an issue, but this argument almost becomes a moot point due to the fact the offense did next to nothing.
It wasn’t as if the offense just struggled against Denver, the issues seem to go all the way back to at least the Beanpot title game against Boston College. Consider this: BU played eight of its final 12 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament (one of those games being in the tournament against Denver). And in those eight games, the Terriers recorded just 11 goals. That’s 1.375 goals per game against tournament-level teams. Three times in those eight games, BU was shut out. The team was not once held goal-less in its first 27 games of the season.
For a team that averaged 3.18 goals per game, and was one of the higher scoring teams in Hockey East for most of the season, the offense sputtered at a time when it was needed the most. It’s hard to have the conversation about bad defense when the offense could only muster so little. — Andrew Battifarano
Greenway move to the first line
It’s hard not to take notice, specifically, of the impact on the offense when freshman forward Jordan Greenway moved back to the first line after playing 15 games on the second line with seniors Matt Lane and Ahti Oksanen.
Greenway had seven points in his final nine games on the first line, but had 15 points in the 15 games he played alongside Lane and Oksanen.
Lane, meanwhile, had three points in the final nine games without Greenway on his line.
In the 15 games he played with Greenway on his line, he had 16 points.
Oksanen, with Greenway on his line, he had 20 points in 15 games. Without Greenway, he also had three points in his final nine games.
Furthermore, in the span that BU had that combination of players on the second line, the team had a 10-4-1 record, and averaged 3.8 goals per game. After moving Greenway, the team went 4-4-1 and averaged 2.22 goals per game.
That’s a small sample size, and obviously other factors come into play, but that’s still three one-point-per-game players when they play together, and with Greenway’s removal from that line, two of them became disappointingly unproductive as the year wound down. There was something about that line that worked, something that clicked — probably some of the best chemistry we saw from anyone this season — and it got taken apart. — SK
Lack of adjustments, lack of accountability
Save for Greenway’s move to the first line, and a brief stint from Bobo Carpenter on the second line, we seldom came to the rink this season and were shocked by any sort of move on the line charts. That goes for both forwards and defense. And there were plenty of arguments from fans about lack of depth, lack of options, but here’s the thing: The Terriers still had options. Not many, but options existed.
The most prominent example of this came on the defense, though. It was something I asked in January when we were at the University of Maine — was Quinn just going to keep rotating that sixth defenseman spot between Brien Diffley and John MacLeod? Was that a tangible solution going forward?
He said he didn’t look at it that way, and he said he’d reward whoever was playing best in practice. Yet that remained essentially the defensive situation — Diffley in sometimes, MacLeod when he wasn’t — for the remainder of the season, with the other five spots locked.
In games where he had his entire defense, all eight players, at his disposal — no injuries, suspensions or World Juniors appearances — the locked-in pairs of Matt Grzelcyk/Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Hickey/Brandon Fortunato never changed. Not once, until Saturday’s game, when he put MacLeod back with Grzelcyk.
We don’t see practice, but we see the lack of adjustments during game time — and that suggests a lack of accountability. A bad performance won’t put your spot in the lineup even remotely at stake, and it didn’t seem like players were forced to prove anything.
Something I don’t think I’ll be able to let go of about this season: The defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the nation, and ranked 30th in the nation after Saturday’s game. It regressed from last year, and didn’t do anything to get better as the season went on. I might be a bit more sympathetic if they’d tried to mix it up during the season and it still didn’t work. But that didn’t happen.
Here’s the bottom line — BU was riding a short bench, but not an empty one. And even if you want to argue that BU didn’t have any further options, there’s still a huge difference between not having enough bodies and not changing anything with those bodies at all. — SK
Senior goaltender Sean Maguire kept BU in it for most of the night, but his opposer, sophomore Cal Petersen, made 39 saves to preserve the Notre Dame (19-8-7, 15-5-2 Hockey East) shutout.
Freshman Dylan Malmquist provided the only offense needed with a power-play goal at the 11:47 mark of the second period.
BU’s loss, in conjunction with No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell’s win over No. 2 Boston College, means the Terriers slipped to the No. 5 seed in Hockey East, so there will be no first-round bye in the cards.
We’ll take a look at the bad and the good in our breakdown from Compton Family Ice Arena:
Opportunity knocks, no answer
BU had the chance to clinch the third or fourth seeds in the conference playoffs under a few scenarios, the easiest of them being a win or tie against the Fighting Irish.
But, as I’m sure you’ve read up to this point, BU did neither of those in its regular-season finale. Instead of getting a first-round bye and home ice in the quarterfinals, the Terriers will play host in the first round and have to travel to a road site in the quarterfinals, if they advance out of the opening series.
The silver lining in this? BU will host 12th-seeded University of Massachusetts Amherst, a team BU has defeated four times in as many games the last two seasons, outscoring the Minutemen (8-22-4, 2-16-4 Hockey East) by a combined score of 30-11.
“Obviously you’re hoping to get a point tonight, allow yourself to get a bye, but didn’t happen and, as a I told our guys, ‘You’re hockey players, you get to play more hockey,'” Quinn said. “That’s how you got to look at it. Right? Obviously lick our wounds from tonight, they can feel sorry for themselves for the next 24 hours, but you get to play more hockey. That’s how you got to look at it.
“It’s an opportunity to get better, it’s playoff time, it’s the best time of year.”
Before Saturday, Petersen had 15 games this season in which he stopped at least 30 shots. Make that 16 now.
Whether it was the glove, pads or blocker, Petersen made some terrific saves all night, and Friday for that matter, too.
At times, BU was hemmed in its own zone and couldn’t get any offense going toward net, but especially toward the end of the game, the shots came in and Petersen was there for each one.
“It’s frustrating, I thought we had some good chances,” said senior assistant captain Matt Lane, who registered one shot on net. “I thought at times we could have challenged a little more, but he’s a great goaltender and he was on his game tonight.”
Power play ineffective
This has been a recurring theme in this section of our articles, so we’ll try and keep this part brief.
At times in this game during BU’s power play, it was difficult to even see that the Terriers even had an extra man on the ice. There were a lot of passes in the neutral zone (sloppy ones at that) and not a whole lot of shooting on net. All three man advantages came in the second period, and at least on the first one, BU did next to nothing.
On those three power plays, BU totaled four shots, and it wasn’t as if Petersen was pressured in any of these particular instances.
More than one thing attributed to the lack of success, Quinn said.
“Just, we lost a lot of battles,” Quinn said. “Sometimes what can happen on a power play is you lose sight of the fact that you’ve got to play hockey within a power play. Go here, do this, do that, and you’ve got to play hockey within the power play and I think when we’re not effective on our power play, we don’t play hockey within our power play. We go to our spots.
“I just thought we lost some one-on-one battles, I thought we were a little inept coming up ice, and it cost you.”
Maguire hangs in, shots come late
BU’s senior goaltender didn’t face a tremendous number of shots through two periods (13), but he saw a lot of action his way in the early stages of the third.
Notre Dame pressed for a game-breaking goal, but Maguire hung in there, making 15 saves on 15 chances. Quinn said Maguire did all of the things he’s been doing all season to be successful in this one.
And while the Terriers could not make their final push come to fruition, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. There was almost nothing going on in the Fighting Irish zone in the opening minutes of the third, but around the halfway point, BU made a rush to get the score even. BU had 13 shots and goal and attempted 24, including one in which senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan was denied on in the final five minutes.
McAvoy’s big hit
Freshman defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been on the top pair for most of this season, bringing an offensive element to the game any time he’s on the ice.
But tonight, we’ll give him a plus for the crushing hit he put on forward Connor Hurley late in the first period.
Junior forward Nick Roberto, who has not played a game for the Boston University men’s hockey team this season, has been suspended and will not play for the remainder of the season, sources confirmed to The Daily Free Press.
Roberto has been out of the lineup for BU as part of a team suspension.
“According to several sources, Roberto’s suspension is the result of gambling activity he participated in during last season. Sources indicate that Roberto was not the only BU player involved, though those players are no longer with the hockey program. The identity of those players could not be confirmed. Other sources have indicated that players from other teams were involved, too.”
BU released a statement saying, “Beyond confirming that Mr. Roberto will not play for the Boston University hockey team this season, federal privacy laws prevent us from discussing his status.
“However, we can say that several months ago, we heard rumors that a BU hockey player had engaged in gambling. Although the rumors did not involve gambling on either college or professional hockey games, we nonetheless immediately conducted a thorough investigation and turned the results over to the appropriate authorities at the NCAA. Based on that investigation, the NCAA made its own findings and took remedial action, and we would refer you to that organization for further information.”
CHN’s report also cited the NCAA’s rule that “a player who is found gambling on any sporting event, amateur or pro in any sport, via a ‘bookie’ or the Internet, faces a minimum one-year suspension,” adding that for some of the players involved, “the gambling activities incurred ‘large’ debts, which eventually led to the situation coming to light.”
The report also said this instance of gambling at BU could be tied to a Massachusetts gambling ring that was broken up last month by state and federal investigators:
“In a 122-count indictment handed down after a year-long investigation, 33 people were indicted by a grand jury as part of the operation, which was based out of Boston and the South Shore. One of those was Keith O’Connell, who, sources indicate, is the same Keith O’Connell that is a former defenseman at Boston College and Massachusetts.
“O’Connell was charged with registering bets, using the telephone to register bets and conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
In addition, per a report from WEEI.com, “Roberto is not currently being investigated by any law enforcement agencies. He is still enrolled at BU and still a member of the hockey team, and that is not expected to change.”
CHN wrote that Emily James, a spokesperson for the NCAA, said “the NCAA will have no comment regarding a potential investigation into the BU hockey program stemming from the alleged gambling.”
She could not be reached for immediate comment when The Daily Free Press tried.