Best of 2014-15: Ranking the top 10 Terrier assists from the season

As part of our “Best of 2014-15” segment, the Boston Hockey Blog crew is counting down some of the top plays/quotes/games from this past BU hockey season. Here is our second post, in which we rank our top 10 favorite assists from the 2014-15 campaign:

10. Matt Grzelcyk to Nikolas Olsson (3/21/15 vs. UMass Lowell)

We open our list with this impressive set of plays from junior captain Matt Grzelcyk and freshman winger Nikolas Olsson during the Hockey East title game against the River Hawks.

With BU leading 3-1 with under a minute to go in the second period, Grzelcyk and Olsson broke out on a 2-on-1 blitz into Lowell’s zone. Olsson sent the puck to Grzelcyk at the high slot, who quickly launched the disc back to Olsson just a second later. The puck bounced off Olsson’s stick and into the UML net to give BU a commanding three-goal lead.

9. Danny O’Regan to Jack Eichel (2/13/15 vs. UNH)

Freshman center Jack Eichel and junior winger Danny O’Regan teamed up on multiple goals throughout the season, but we figured that this 2-on-1 score serves a great intro for these two forwards.

After O’Regan forced a turnover just outside of UNH’s zone, both he and Eichel traded the puck before the San Jose Sharks prospect careened the biscuit back over to Eichel, who sniped it into the nearly empty net to give BU a 3-1 lead over the Wildcats at 4:14 in the second.

8. Evan Rodrigues and Jack Eichel to Danny O’Regan (1/30/15 vs. UMass Amherst)

In what eventually resulted in a 9-5 slugfest win for the Terriers over UMass Amherst on Jan. 30, BU’s first line once again orchestrated the most impressive tally on the night.

BU was already holding onto a 1-0 lead in the first when senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues fired a backhand shot to the net. The puck was drawn in by Eichel at the crease, who zipped it over to O’Regan for the easy tap-in goal.

7. Jack Eichel to Danny O’Regan (11/14/14 @ Maine)

Throughout the season, Eichel used his speed and playmaking ability to generate offense, even when the Terriers were down a skater. One of the best instances of such a scenario occurred when the Terriers faced off against Maine on Nov. 14 up in Orono.

BU was forced to go on the penalty kill with the game tied 1-1 in the closing minutes of the second period, but Eichel and Co. were quickly able to turn the tables on the Black Bears.

BU’s freshman center forced a turnover in the Terriers’ zone before outskating three Maine players down the left side of the ice. After blowing past his opponents, Eichel sent the puck over to an advancing O’Regan at the right post, who flipped the puck over Maine goalie Sean Romeo to give BU a 2-1 lead with 14 seconds left in the period.

6. Nick Roberto to Matt Lane (11/21/14 vs. Maine)

While an impressive set of plays from Eichel and junior forward Ahti Oksanen (found further down on this list) might have landed BU its first goal on the night against Maine on Nov. 21, it was the Terriers’ third line that tied the score midway in the third period.

With just over nine minutes left in regulation, freshman winger A.J. Greer passed the puck from behind the Maine net to sophomore forward Nick Roberto in the right slot. Roberto quickly fired a backhand pass to junior center Matt Lane across the slot, who then tucked the puck past  Romeo to tie the game, 2-2.

5. Jack Eichel to Ahti Oksanen (11/21/14 vs. Maine)

Staring at a 2-0 deficit against the Black Bears in the third period, the Terriers used yet another crafty pass from Eichel and a strong shot from Oksanen to claw back into their contest.

After blocking a shot in BU’s zone, Eichel exchanged passes with O’Regan before coasting into Maine’s side of the ice, eventually dealing a backhand helper across the slot to Oksanen, who one-timed it into the cage to put BU on the board. The Terriers eventually bested Maine in overtime off of a game-winning strike from Eichel.

4. Jack Eichel to Cason Hohmann (3/14/15 vs. Merrimack)

Playing in their final game at Agganis Arena for the 2014-15 season, the Terriers got on the board in the second game of their Hockey East quarterfinal series by way of a shorthanded rush from Eichel and senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann.

With the game deadlocked with no score after the first period, BU was forced to head on the penalty kill after Grzelcyk was whistled for cross checking at 2:11 in the middle stanza.

The disadvantage mattered little for Eichel and Hohmann, who broke into a 2-on-1 chance against Merrimack goaltender Rasmus Tirronen. Eichel gathered the puck on the right side and faked a pass before eventually sending the puck to Hohmann, who easily slid it past Tirronen to light the lamp for BU. The Terriers would go on to win, 5-0.

3. Jack Eichel to Ahti Oksanen (10/4/14 vs. St. Thomas)

While it might not have officially counted in the record books, Eichel’s impressive helper to Oksanen in the Terriers’ 12-1 win over St. Thomas deserves mention on our list.

On a 2-on-1 bid with Oksanen, Eichel dangled his way to the right slot before dishing the puck at the last second to his junior teammate, who then fired it into the net to give 2-0 lead at 10:31 in the first period. Oksanen finished the contest with four goals, while Eichel chipped in with five assists.

2. Jack Eichel to Danny O’Regan (12/6/14 vs. Merrimack)

The Terriers concluded a three-goal second period against Merrimack with an impressive set-up from Eichel, who fired a no-look drop pass from the left end boards to O’Regan in the slot.

O’Regan fired the puck past MC goalie Colin Delia to give BU a 4-1 lead. The strike completed a hat trick for O’Regan and Eichel’s fourth point on the night.

1. Ahti Oksanen to Danny O’Regan (2/28/15 @ Northeastern)

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead over the Huskies, the Terriers continued on the offensive, earning a power-play bid with just over six minutes remaining in the first period.

After collecting the puck at the crease off of a pass from Rodrigues, Oksanen promptly pulled off a no-look, between-the-legs maneuver to a waiting O’Regan, who notched his 100th career point with the Terriers thanks to his 19th goal at 13:53.

From the FreeP: Evan Rodrigues to sign deal with Buffalo Sabres

UPDATE (12:50 p.m.) The story has been updated with quotes from Rodrigues. Check it out here.

Boston University senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues will sign an entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres, sources confirmed with The Daily Free Press.

A skilled two-way forward who was able to impact the game in multiple facets, Rodrigues often drew praise from his coach, David Quinn, who lauded his ability to make his presence felt both on and off the score sheet.In four years with the scarlet and white, Rodrigues tallied 121 points, helping BU clinch a Beanpot title, a Hockey East Championship and an appearance in the national title game during his senior campaign.

A skilled two-way forward who was able to impact the game in multiple facets, Rodrigues often drew praise from his coach, David Quinn, who lauded his ability to make his presence felt both on and off the score sheet.

“I’ve seen it ever since I got to BU,” Quinn said on Feb. 7. “He’s just an incredibly smart player, works hard, competes, has a great skill set and he can skate. Other than that, he can’t really do too much.”

Read more on 

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers punch ticket to Frozen Four

Game Photos 


MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — The No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team has had its fair share of success at TD Garden this season, posting a record of 4-0 while taking both the Beanpot championship and the Hockey East title.

Now, it’ll try to win a national title on Causeway Street.

The Terriers (27-7-5) defeated No. 7 University of Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, Saturday night in the NCAA Northeast Regional final at Verizon Wireless Arena, clinching the Icedogs’ 22nd Frozen Four appearance and their first visit since the 2009.

Facing off against a physical Bulldogs (21-16-3) squad, BU relied on two goals from senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues to help secure its bid back to TD Garden.

As with every game, there was a fair share of good and bad takeaways from BU’s performance out on the ice. Here’s a look:


Terrier depth shines

Looking at the big picture, it appeared that Duluth accomplished its goal of shutting down freshman center Jack Eichel — holding the North Chelmsford native off the scoresheet for the first time since the Beanpot semifinal game against Harvard on Feb. 3.

While Rodrigues picked up the slack on the first line with two tallies in the contest, BU received a big boost throughout the game from its deep roster.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the second period, freshman forwards Chase Phelps and J.J. Piccinich — BU’s fourth-line wingers — created space around the Bulldogs’ net, generating an opportunity for junior forward Matt Lane.

Piccinich dished the puck to Lane, who promptly snuck the puck past Duluth goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo at 3:32 to hand BU a 2-1 lead.

BU’s versatile group of players also came up big on the defensive end, especially after freshman defenseman John MacLeod went down with an injury just about halfway through the game.

BU coach David Quinn was forced to roll out five blueliners for the remainder of the tilt, but scarlet and white D-corps stood firm, keeping the Bulldogs off the board through the final 32 minutes of play.

Somerby leaves his mark

He might not have registered a point over the weekend, but sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby was a huge presence (literally) for the Terriers out on the ice.

While the New York Islanders prospect used his 6-foot-5 frame to impact Saturday’s game — including a bone-crushing hit on UMD forward Tony Cameranesi at center ice in the second period — he also impressed with both his offensive and defensive awareness.

On multiple shifts, Somerby pinched up on the ice, using his size to win puck battles along the boards while keeping the pressure on the Bulldogs. Later, Quinn noted that Somerby was one of the few skaters unfazed when UMD pulled Kaskisuo in the closing minutes of the game.

“He was immense,” Quinn said. “Very active on the forecheck. Did a great job the last 20 seconds with the goalie pulled. You have a tendency when the other team has six and you have five to kind of sit back and watch. We did that when they almost scored. I thought after that, ‘OK, the guy’s got the puck let’s go defend him.’

“Everybody else has to protect, but don’t give him time. He did a great job jumping. The guy had the puck down by the left of our goalie with about eight or nine seconds to go and people were indecisive and Doyle took charge.”

Evan almighty

He might have been snubbed from the Hockey East First Team earlier this month, but Evan Rodrigues just keeps producing out on the ice.

The Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Northeast Regional, Rodrigues once again came up big for the Terriers, scoring twice — including the game winning goal with just under 2:30 left in the match.

For more on Rodrigues’s performance, check out Andrew’s sider.


Terriers falter in middle frame

Coming out of first intermission, it appeared that the Terriers had the Bulldogs right where they wanted them — jumping out to a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.

Ultimately, though, Lane’s second-period strike proved to be the one bright part of the stanza, as the Bulldogs out-muscled and out-hustled the Terriers throughout the period. UMD bested BU goaltender Matt O’Connor twice in the period, first off of a slapshot goal from defenseman Willie Raskob just 37 seconds into play to tie the game.

Just under four minutes after Lane’s goal, Duluth capitalized again, with forward Kyle Osterberg firing a wrister from outside the blue line that bounced off O’Connor’s glove and trickled into the Terrier cage, once again knotting the game at two goals a piece. Minnesota outshot the Terriers by a 13-6 margin in the period.

“I wasn’t surprised how that game unfolded,” Quinn said. “It was kind of like a heavyweight fight. We controlled the first few rounds. Almost had a couple of opportunities to deliver a knockout punch. Then they’d come back and dominate for about 10 or 12 minutes. Then we’d come back and dominate for about 10 or 12 minutes.”  

Hohmann takes a tumble

Lost in the scrum at BU’s net following the win was senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann, who wiped out while skating out to his teammates. Hohmann was a good sport about it, however, posting a replay of his slip on Twitter.

Pluses and Minuses: O’Connor’s strong play in net helps Terriers advance to Hockey East title game


For the second time in three seasons, the Boston University men’s hockey team will play for the Hockey East championship.

Facing off against a red-hot University of New Hampshire squad that had won nine of its last 10 contests, the Terriers (24-7-5) ricocheted from yet another slow start to best the Wildcats (19-19-2), 4-1, Friday night at TD Garden.

The Terriers will have little time to rest following their victory, as they will face off against two-time defending conference champion University of Massachusetts Lowell Saturday night.

As with every hockey game, there were a good amount of positive and negative takeaways Friday night. Here they are.


O’Connor stabilizes Terriers in uneven first period

Fresh off of earning Hockey East Second Team All-Star honors Thursday night, junior goaltender Matt O’Connor lived up to newly awarded accolade against the Wildcats, standing tall in the Terrier crease to the tune of 32 saves — his highest save total since stopped 32 shots against the University of Vermont on Jan. 23.

The Toronto native especially came up big over the first 20 minutes of play, negating a multitude of sloppy plays from the blueliners in front of him by holding an opportunistic and aggressive Wildcat offense to just one goal.

A pivotal moment came in the closing minutes of the stanza, with UNH holding onto a 1-0 advantage. As the Wildcats vied for yet another tally, forward Andrew Poturalski fired a puck on net that a sprawling O’Connor deflected at the last second with his pads, keeping it a one-goal game. Less than 20 seconds later, the Terriers capitalized, with senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann lighting the lamp at 17:38 to knot the score at one goal apiece.

O’Connor is now 21-3-4 on the year with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.

MacLeod impresses in return

Despite sitting out the past three games due to an upper-body injury, freshman defenseman John MacLeod failed to show any rust in his return to action Friday night.

The blueliner was steady out on the ice, tying defensive partner Matt Grzelcyk with a game-high plus-four rating on the night while also earning his seventh assist of the season on Hohmann’s first-period score.

The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect also paid dividends on defense, stopping a potential Wildcat goal in the third period. With the Terriers clinging to a 2-1 lead, sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby sent a shot from the blue line that was blocked by a UNH skater, generating a breakaway opportunity for New Hampshire.

As the UNH skater coasted into the Terriers’ zone, MacLeod hustled back and swooped into the skater’s lane, disrupting his easy look on net.

Good timing from Chase Phelps

Freshman forward Chase Phelps picked an awful good time to score his second goal of the season.

With Friday’s match locked in a 1-1 draw, the Terriers’ fourth line buzzed around the UNH net, attempting to generate some semblance of an opportunity against New Hampshire goaltender Danny Tirone.

Junior forward Mike Moran coasted the puck along the end boards to sophomore forward Nick Roberto, who motioned from behind the UNH cage and put the puck on net. As the puck settled near the crease, Phelps quickly flipped it over Tirone, handing BU its first lead of the night.

It was the Shattuck St. Mary’s product’s first goal since Nov. 29 against Colgate University.

Eichel keeps doing Eichel things

While BU’s formidable first line was mostly held in check over the first 40 minutes of play, freshman center Jack Eichel could not be muted for long.

The young forward capped the Terriers’ scoring on the night with two goals in the final 10 minutes of play, both off of rebound offerings off the stick of senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues.

With his two strikes, Eichel has extended his point streak to 11 games, notching 23 points during that stretch. Now standing at 63 points on the season, Eichel needs just one more to stand as the second-highest scoring freshman in NCAA history.


New day at the garden, same slow start

For the third time this season, the Terriers dropped the puck at TD Garden. And for the third time in this arena, the Terriers underwhelmed with their performance in the first period.

BU appeared sluggish and indecisive both in terms of defense and offense over the first 20 minutes, with the Wildcats outshooting the Terriers by an 11-8 margin.

While it appeared that the Wildcats consistently outplayed their opponent throughout the period, O’Connor’s strong play and Hohmann’s goal were able to help the Terriers escape the stanza still locked in a 1-1 tie.

“After the first period we all knew we didn’t play well. I’m careful to say that, because I think a big part of that had to do with the way UNH was playing,” said BU coach David Quinn. “For us to come out of that period 1-1 I thought it bode well for us moving forward because I knew we couldn’t play much worse than that. Hopefully we get off to a better start tomorrow night because I don’t think we’re going to be able to get away with it with Lowell.”

Freshman blueliners struggle in opening frame

Throughout the first period of play Friday night, BU’s four freshman defensemen sure looked like … Well, freshmen.

A key factor in the team’s lackluster performance in opening frame can be attributed to a few choice plays from its rookie defensemen. In particular, Brandon Fortunato and Brandon Hickey coughed up a costly turnover in BU’s own zone, directly leading to a goal from UNH forward Tyler Kelleher at 14:34.

For more on the Terriers’ sluggish defensive play (and subsequent redemption), check out Andrew’s sider.

Terriers lock up another recruit in ’95 defenseman Shane Switzer

The Terriers continued to bolster their future blueliner corps Wednesday, as ’95-born defenseman Shane Switzer announced his commitment to BU on Twitter.

The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, native currently plays for the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, notching 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 17 regular-season games. Switzer has continued to produce in the AJHL playoffs, totaling seven points (three goals, four assists) in six games.

The 6-foot-2 defenseman was a member of the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits earlier this season, chipping in 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 35 games. has Switzer set to arrive on Commonwealth Avenue for the 2016-17 season.

UPDATE: Switzer later tweeted that he will join the Terriers for the 2015-16 season.

Pluses and Minuses: Faulty penalty kill stymies Terriers against Notre Dame


The Hockey East regular-season title will have to go unclaimed for at least another week.

The No. 2/3 BU men’s hockey needed either a win or a tie Saturday night against the University of Notre Dame to earn outright possession of the conference regular-season title, but ultimately came up short — dropping a 3-2 game to the Fighting Irish at Agganis Arena.

BU (19-6-5, 13-4-3 Hockey East) bounced back after Notre Dame j(14-15-5, 9-6-5 Hockey East) jumped out to a 2-0 lead almost midway through the second period, but the Terriers were unable to push the tying score past Irish netminder Cal Petersen over the final minutes of play, sealing the three-point weekend for BU’s opponents from South Bend.

As it’s been throughout the season, there were plenty of good and bad points to take away from Saturday’s contest. Here’s a look:


Terriers continue to slump on the penalty kill

For the fourth time in five games, a team managed to orchestrate a power-play goal against the Terriers, highlighting a disheartening trend in BU’s penalty-kill unit over the past month.

Notre Dame left Agganis Arena Saturday night with a 50 percent showing on the power play, scoring twice with an extra-skater to build up a lead that the Terriers ultimately could not catch up to.

After the Terriers managed to hold the University of Wisconsin’s power-play unit off the scoreboard seven times on Jan. 10, BU’s penalty kill has operated at a success rate of just 72.3 percent in the following 11 games. During that stretch, BU’s penalty-kill percentage has dropped to seventh in Hockey East at 82.8 percent.

“It’s correctable, it’s not like we’re scratching our heads wondering, ‘Geez, how are they scoring?’ We got a way that we prefer to kill penalties and the two goals they score, we don’t kill them the way we should,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “And that’s coaching. Obviously, I’ve got to do a better job coaching, because it they’re not doing it, then that’s on the coach. It’s February.”

Fighting Irish pounce on last-second opportunities

Costly mistakes at the end of both the first and second periods proved to be the difference maker Saturday night at Agganis Arena, with Notre Dame taking advantage in both cases.

A goal from forward Mario Lucia with .1 seconds left on the clock broke a scoreless stalemate going into the first intermission, while a roughing call on freshman center Jack Eichel at the end of the second period handed Notre Dame a power-play chance at the start of the final frame.

Notre Dame would make good on Eichel’s blunder, with sophomore Vince Hinostroza scoring the eventual game-winning goal with just 15 seconds left on the man advantage.

For more on BU’s costly last-second mistakes, check out Sarah’s sider.

LaCouvee handed another loss

Freshman goaltender Connor LaCouvee saw his record drop to 3-3-1 once the game clock expired Saturday night, marking the second straight appearance in which the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (BCHL) product has been handed a loss.

LaCouvee ultimately finished with 19 saves on the night, while Quinn maintained confidence in his backup goaltender after the game.

“I thought LaCouvee was good,” Quinn said. “I thought he was strong, made some big saves. He’s strong in that crease. You can’t fault him on any of the goals.”


Grzelcyk jumpstarts BU man advantage

The Terriers have been hard pressed in terms of finding success on the power play as of late.

Entering the third period of Saturday’s game, BU had failed to convert on its last 13 extra-man opportunities, with their last special-teams strike coming on Feb. 13 against the University of New Hampshire.

Ultimately, BU junior captain Matt Grzelcyk would put an end to BU’s listless power-play streak, scoring his fifth goal of the season at 7:50 in the third period.

The Bruins prospect corralled the puck off a pass from Eichel and promptly blasted a shot from the right circle that sailed into the Irish’s net, making it a 3-2 game with a little over 12 minutes to play.

Grzelcyk — not especially known for his goal-scoring prowess — has now found the back of the net four times in BU’s last four games.

Moran lights the lamp

For the first time in 22 games, junior forward Mike Moran found the back of the net, scoring his third goal of the season at 15:39 in the second stanza.

After freshman forward Nikolas Olsson gathered the puck behind the Irish net, he sent the disc to a waiting Moran near the slot. Moran did not hesitate, firing the puck past Petersen to put the Terriers on the board.

“It’s good to see him get on the scoresheet,” Quinn said. “He’s played much better lately. He’s done a good job. I’m not surprised. He plays a hard game, he’s heavy, strong on his skates, gets to the net.”

Hickey dodges a bullet

Well, not literally, of course.

But after the freshman defenseman collided with Fighting Irish defenseman Luke Ripley early on the third, many feared the worst.

The Leduc, Alberta, native immediately fell to the Agganis Arena ice and spun around at a dizzying rate before coming to a stop near the right circle. Hickey was eventually helped off the ice by junior forward Ahti Oksanen and a trainer, and was quickly brought off the bench.

No more than five minutes after exiting the game, however, Hickey was back on the bench, loosened up during a break in action and was back in the game for the final stretches of play.

The Calgary flames draft pick has been an invaluable addition to the Terriers on both offense and defense, placing second amongst Terrier defenseman with 14 points, while also logging a plus-17 rating in 30 games.

“He’s fine, he’s fine,” Quinn said. “Obviously that’s a scary situation when a guy gets hit like that, but obviously was just something that he was able to shake off.”

Transcript: Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues after loss to UNH

Did you guys think that you had a chance to come back entering the third? 

“Yeah, definitely. We’ve never given up all year long. I think the goalie was making a few good saves and we knew that If we got one, that more would come. I think that’s what happened, we just knew that we had to stick to the game plan and things would turn our way. Just too little, too late.”

How good was it to get back on the score sheet?

“Obviously, it’s nice. I mean, I’d rather take a win than points, but I’m not going to complain.”

Matt Grzelcyk has been on a pretty good streak the last couple games. What do you think has been different about his play, at least offensively?

“I think he’s just getting the bounces now. He’s been great for us all year, he’s been a great captain for us. I just think that at the beginning of the year, some of his shots were getting blocked, they were off the post — this and that — and I think things are just starting to go his way and it’s good to see.”

How much do you think last night’s game contributed to the slow start today?

“I think we were ready, we just didn’t execute. We had a good first couple shifts, they got the first one and then we kind of got away from our gameplan and didn’t work as hard as we wanted to and the results obviously showed. We took way too many penalties and I think they had two or three power play goals. It’s been a trend as of late and it’s something that we need to stop doing.”

Down 3-0, [Quinn] called a timeout and pulled [junior goaltender Matt O’Connor.] What was the message in that timeout?

“I think just to get back. We knew we were not playing the way we wanted to. It wasn’t O’Connor’s fault at all. I think it was one of those things where we needed to figure it out, get back to our gameplan and we just needed a fresh start. We obviously weren’t playing the way that we’re capable of and we just tried to shake things up.”

’97 F Kole Sherwood commits to Boston University

The Terriers added to their impressive list of recruits today, with ’97 F Kole Sherwood announcing his commitment to BU via his Twitter account.

The six-foot forward hails from New Albany, Ohio, and has been noted for his “opportunistic” play and possesses an impressive shot. 

Sherwood currently plays for the Ohio Blue Jackets of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, where he is currently leading the team in goals (22) for a 22-26-48 line in just 31 games.

The young forward hails from a hockey-centric family, as his older brother — Kiefer Sherwood — plays for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League and is committed to play for Miami University (Ohio) next season.

According to Over the Boards, Sherwood would likely slot into the Terrier roster for either the 2016-17 or 2017-18 season.

Pluses and Minuses: Impressive start propels No. 2/3 Terriers past No. 11/12 River Hawks


LOWELL — Heading into BU’s showdown with UMass Lowell Friday night, Terrier head coach David Quinn stressed that his team was not looking past the River Hawks on the way to an appearance in the appearance in the Beanpot Tournament title game Monday.

“We look at it as if we have two Beanpot Finals coming up,” Quinn noted. “We have one Friday and one Monday. When you’re playing a team that’s right on your heels and is the two-time defending league champion and had all the success they’ve had, I don’t think there’s anybody that’s looking past anybody.”

It seems like the Terriers agreed with their coach’s words, with BU handily beating Lowell by a score of 5-2 to win its sixth contest in a row and earn the season sweep over the River Hawks.

While the Terriers now turn their focus back to TD Garden, here’s a quick look at what went right and wrong for BU on Friday at Tsongas Center.


Off to a quick start

It’s been a recurring trend all season long, but the Terriers have had trouble in terms of generating leads over the first 20 minutes of play. In fact, heading into Friday night, BU was dead last in Hockey East with just 12 first-period goals.

In what served as a refreshing change of pace, the Terriers were able to seize the advantage early against UMass, lighting the lamp three times over the first nine minutes of play in what was the team’s first three-goal opening period this season.

Just 38 seconds were eclipsed on the game clock when junior forward Ahti Oksanen fired the puck past Lowell goalie Kevin Boyle to help BU jump out to the 1-0 lead.

Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues would take care of the rest, besting Boyle both at 3:01 and 8:16 in the first period to help build a comfortable cushion against a challenging conference foe

“To get off to the start that we had, considering the way our season’s gone in the first period, was certainly a surprise to me,” Quinn said. “We did think we were ready to play as a staff, but you never envision getting out to a lead that early and then building on it. I think it really changed the complexion of the game.”

Rodrigues keeps on going. And going. And going. And going….

Another win for BU and another impressive stat line for senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues. Ho hum.

The reigning Hockey East Player of the Month feasted on the River Hawks defense, securing his first career hat trick en route to a four-point night. It may come as no surprise at this point, but Rodrigues has been scoring hot as of late, scoring 27 points over his last 11 games.

Lowell had few answers for BU’s first line of Rodrigues, freshman center Jack Eichel and junior winger Danny O’Regan, with the triumvirate totaling nine points on the night.

For more on Rodrigues’ hat-trick showing against Lowell, be sure to check out Sarah’s sider.

Lane comes up clutch … again

His numbers might not rival those of some of teammates, but junior forward Matt Lane certainly has shown a knack for stepping up in big situations.

The Rochester, New York, product made his presence felt at a critical point in Friday’s match. BU’s comfortable four-goal lead had quickly been carved down to two during the opening minutes of the third — with the River Hawks looking for more.

However, BU’s fourth power-play bid on the night swung the momentum back into the Terriers’ favor, with Lane serving as the benefactor.

A wrist shot from Eichel slammed off of Boyle and created a loose-puck chance in front of the UMass crease that Lane pounced on, forcing it past the goal line to put the nail in the coffin for the River Hawks.


Poor penalties give Lowell life

Through the first 39 minutes of play, it appeared that the Terriers could do no wrong up in The Mill City, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and holding a potent River Hawks offense at bay as the second period drew to a close.

Unfortunately for the Terriers, struggles with staying out of the sin pin proved costly — as Eichel was whistled for tripping at 19:55 while freshman defenseman John MacLeod was later sent away for the same infraction just four seconds later, giving Lowell nearly two minutes of 5-on-3 hockey entering the third.

Lowell would make good on the extra-man advantage, with freshman C.J. Smith firing the puck past BU netminder Matt O’Connor at 1:22 in the final period to get the River Hawks on the board.

Smith’s wrister goal appeared to give the River Hawks the jolt that they needed. A little over four minutes later, another puck found BU netting, this time coming from sophomore Evan Campbell at 5:41 to cut BU’s lead down to two.

Lane’s power-play score less than three minutes later helped stem the tide, but Quinn acknowledged that crucial momentum swing that both penalties could have contributed to during the game.

“I thought we played a really good first 39:47 and then all of a sudden we take two ridiculous penalties at the end of the second period — just ridiculous penalties,” Quinn said. “Then they get the 5-on-3 goal, then they get another one and they got life. And then fortunately we were able to get a power-play goal.”

Penalty on Winter Storm “Linus”, two minutes for interference

As if the brutal snowfall hitting Massachusetts for the past few weeks hadn’t already made most of our commutes/lives miserable over the last few weeks, it even found a way to put a damper on the start of Friday’s game.

Originally scheduled for a 7:15 start time, Friday’s match was delayed until 7:40, as some of the officials were still stuck in traffic in the minutes leading up to the opening faceoff.

With more snow slated in the near future, this “minus” might be a recurring trend over the next week or so. I certainly hope not.

Pluses and Minuses: Freshman defensemen show inexperience in loss to No. 17 Eagles


Losses have been hard to come by for both No. 2/3 Boston University and No. 17 Boston College entering into Friday night’s tilt between the archrivals at Agganis Arena.

With both squads posting a combined record of 8-0-5 since the start of December, something had to give.

Unfortunately for the Terriers, a seven-game unbeaten streak was not in the cards against their Chestnut Hill foe, as the Eagles skated off the ice at Jack Parker Rink with a 4-2 victory.

As with any game, there were both positives and negatives to take away from the 267th meeting between the Terriers and Eagles.


BU’s blueliners reveal their youth

For perhaps the first time all season, BU’s young defenseman corps — which have supplied the Terriers with sound play, keen decision making and a consistent output of offense from the blue line — proved to be the team’s Achilles’ heel.

Throughout the game, BC’s forwards used their size and skill to consistently put BU’s defensemen on their heels, specifically the Terriers’ four freshman blueliners in John MacLeod, Brandon Hickey, Brandon Fortunato and Brien Diffley.

For BU coach David Quinn, it was his team’s inability to challenge the Eagles on transition proved to be the prime culprit for his team’s struggles, as maroon and gold skaters were constantly left unchecked before breaking into the Terriers’ zone.

“Our gap was horrific,” Quinn said. “It was the number-one problem for us all night long. Our D just did not hold the offensive blue line long enough. BC’s fast, we made them look a lot faster by just backing off.

“Like I said, we looked like we had four freshmen D tonight, and that hasn’t happened very often this year, so frustrating, because it’s not how we’ve been playing, but it was the case tonight.”

Penalties prove costly

Before Friday night’s contest got underway, the opening faceoff was disrupted for a few fleeting moments after BU senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues became tangled up with a BC skater and tumbled down near center ice.

It was a telling sign for what was set to transpire.

As has been the case throughout the almost century-long discord between BU and BC, Friday night’s game was marked by physical play, post-whistle extracurricular activities and penalties abound.

Both teams combined for 17 penalties in the match — including 12 in the first period — paving the way for multiple special-team chances throughout.

In the end, the Eagles were able to capitalize off of the Terrier’s undisciplined slip-ups, notching two 5-on-3 goals and one 4-on-4 tally to jump out to a commanding 3-0 lead after two periods.

While BU managed to light the lamp with an extra skater in the third — the fifth straight game in which the Terriers have scored on the man advantage — it was “too little, too late” for the scarlet and white.

“Dumb penalties in the first period set us back, Quinn said. “We had a power play and we take an offensive-zone penalty which you just can’t have and then we take two stupid penalties right after that which we really haven’t done all year. They get a 5-on-3 goal, they get a 4-on-4 goal and then they get another 5-on-3 goal and we’re down 3-0.”


A quick start …. And a strong finish

The Eagles might have entered into the first intermission with a 2-0 advantage, but based off of the opening five minutes of play, it seemed as if the Terriers were primed to establish themselves on the scoresheet thanks to a few scoring chances generated against BC netminder Thatcher Demko.

Ultimately, BU’s undisciplined play ended up putting an end to the team’s impressive opening display.

“I thought that we actually got off to a pretty good start,” Quinn said. “I liked our first five minutes and then the penalties.”

BU only managed to compile nine shots against Demko over the final 20 minutes of play, but made its chances count, finding the back of the net twice — thanks to goals from junior forwards Danny O’Regan and Matt Lane — to give the Terriers new life after entering the period staring at a 3-0 BC lead.

The Sasquatch Effect

Down by two goals with a little over five minutes remaining in the game, the Terriers and Agganis Arena crowd seemed to receive a shot in the arm with the arrival of BU superfan “Sasquatch.”

No more than 20 seconds after the bewhiskered BU backer made his presence felt in the BU student section, Lane tipped a rebound offering past Demko to cut the Terriers’ deficit to one and send Agganis into a frenzy.

Was there a direct correlation? Likely not. But a Sasquatch sighting is always a plus in my book.