BU places 2nd in 2015-16 Hockey East media poll

The Hockey East regular season and tournament championships a season ago were not enough for the Boston University men’s hockey team to retain its titles this year, at least according to one poll.

In the sixth annual Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association poll, BU was picked to finish second (with seven first place votes), while rival Boston College was predicted to win Hockey East, garnering 20 first-place votes.

University of Massachusetts Lowell placed in third and defending national champions Providence College rounded out the top four teams. The University of Notre Dame was the last team to receive a first place vote, coming in fifth in the poll.

BC led the way with three players on the All-Hockey East Preseason Team, but BU saw two of its players selected for this year’s squad, senior captain Matt Grzelcyk and senior forward Danny O’Regan. A tie in votes occurred at the forward position, so there are four forwards on the team instead of the normal three.

Here’s the the full media poll, as well as full breakdown on how we at the Boston Hockey Blog voted:

2015-16 Hockey East Preseason Media Poll (First place votes in parentheses)

  1. Boston College (20)
  2. Boston University (7)
  3. University of Massachusetts Lowell (5)
  4. Providence College (2)
  5. University of Notre Dame (1)
  6. University of Vermont
  7. Northeastern University
  8. University of New Hampshire
  9. University of Connecticut
  10. Merrimack College
  11. University of Maine
  12. University of Massachusetts

All-Hockey East Preseason Team

Forward Tyler Kelleher, University of New Hampshire

Forward Kevin Roy, Northeastern University

Forward Danny O’Regan, Boston University

Forward Alex Tuch, Boston College

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Boston University

Defensemen Ian McCoshen, Boston College

Goalie Thatcher Demko, Boston College

Andrew’s Predictions

  1. University of Massachusetts Lowell
  2. Boston University
  3. Boston College
  4. Providence College
  5. University of Vermont
  6. University of Notre Dame
  7. Merrimack College
  8. University of New Hampshire
  9. University of Connecticut
  10. Northeastern University
  11. University of Maine
  12. University of Massachusetts

All-Hockey East Preseason Team

Forward Tyler Kelleher, University of New Hampshire

Forward Kevin Roy, Northeastern University

Forward Danny O’Regan, Boston University

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Boston University

Defenseman Ian McCoshen, Boston College

Goalie Thatcher Demko, Boston College

Judy’s Predictions 

  1. Boston College
  2. Boston University
  3. University of Massachusetts Lowell
  4. University of Vermont
  5. Providence College
  6. University of Notre Dame
  7. Northeastern University
  8. Merrimack College
  9. University of Connecticut
  10. University of New Hampshire
  11. University of Maine
  12. University of Massachusetts Lowell

All-Hockey East Preseason Team

Forward Tyler Kelleher, University of New Hampshire

Forward Kevin Roy, Northeastern University

Forward Alex Tuch, Boston College

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Boston University

Defenseman Brandon Hickey, Boston University

Goalie Thatcher Demko, Boston College

Sarah’s Predictions 

  1. Boston College
  2. Boston University
  3. University of Massachusetts Lowell
  4. Providence College
  5. University of Vermont
  6. Northeastern University
  7. Merrimack College
  8. University of Notre Dame
  9. University of New Hampshire
  10. University of Connecticut
  11. University of Maine
  12. University of Massachusetts

All-Hockey East Preseason Team

Forward Tyler Kelleher, University of New Hampshire

Forward Kevin Roy, Northeastern University

Forward C.J. Smith, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Boston University

Defenseman Brandon Hickey, Boston University

Goalie Thatcher Demko, Boston College

From the FreeP: Matt Grzelcyk’s return prompted by more than just unfinished business

Sarah and I were able to chat with Matt Grzelcyk last week about his decision to return for his senior season, his new assistant captains, expectations for 2015-16 and much more. Be sure to check it out! – Conor

_____________________

When Boston University men’s hockey team junior captain Matt Grzelcyk announced during the team’s annual banquet that he intended to return for the 2015-16 season, it appeared that the motivating factors in his decision were easy to map out.

After all, less than a week before he made his return official, Grzelcyk and the Terriers bore the brunt of a crushing loss to Providence College in the NCAA title game, coming up one game short in what was a miraculous turnaround season for BU.

Clamoring for one last championship run would seem to be more than enough motivation for any player to make the call to return to school for another season, but Grzelcyk — speaking with The Daily Free Press outside of the team’s training facilities at Agganis Arena — said that such a scenario wasn’t the case.

Read more at dailyfreepress.com.

Best of 2014-15: Counting down the top 10 BU goals from the season

In our next segment for the “Best of 2014-15” BU hockey season recap, the Boston Hockey Blog decided to rank our top 10 favorite goals from the Terriers last year.

Check out our list below, and feel free to share your picks in the comments as well:

10. A.J. Greer vs. North Dakota (4/9/15)

Freshman winger A.J. Greer picked an awful good time to snag his third goal of the season, as his one-time blast helped keep the Terriers ahead against North Dakota in the Frozen Four semifinal game.

Greer helped BU reclaim a two-goal cushion after receiving a pass from freshman center Jack Eichel just past the UND blue line. Greer uncorked a blast that soared past the reach of North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre to help build the Terriers’ lead.

9. Jack Eichel vs. Maine (11/21/14)

 Eichel’s first of three overtime goals during the 2014-15 season sent Agganis Arena into a frenzy, as his power-play strike in overtime pushed the Terriers past the Black Bears and completed an impressive comeback win.

Freshman defenseman Brandon Fortunato left the puck behind the Terrier net, with Eichel then carrying the play all the way into Maine’s side of the ice. Eichel eluded one Maine skater before using another skater as a screen in front of Maine goaltender Sean Romeo. The young center then unleashed a wrister that sailed past Romeo’s left shoulder to give BU the 3-2 win.

8. Danny O’Regan vs. Providence (4/11/15)

Danny O’Regan’s backhand score against the Friars in the national championship game helped cap a two-goal outburst for the Terriers in just four seconds.

After junior forward Ahti Oksanen scored to tie the game at 1-1, Eichel secured the ensuing faceoff at center ice. Eichel pushed the puck into PC’s zone, casting it over to Danny O’Regan, who was about to be knocked down by a Providence skater. With just a split second to spare, O’Regan fired the shot past goalie Jon Gillies to make it a 2-1 game in favor of the Terriers at TD Garden.

7. Jack Eichel @ Wisconsin (1/10/15)

BU’s first line of Eichel, senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues and junior forward Danny O’Regan dominated the Badgers in this contest — with the trio combining for 10 points on the night.

However, Eichel’s first point of the game stands as the most impressive takeaway from BU’s 6-2 Madison massacre. The freshman skated from the left circle to the right circle, holding onto the puck until goalie Joel Rumpel fell down in the crease. With the net open, Eichel fired into the empty cage to tie the game at 1-1.

6. Evan Rodrigues @ Vermont (1/24/15)

In the midst of a crucial two-game road series against Vermont, Rodrigues put the Terriers up for good in the first tilt of the weekend with this impressive end-to-end goal.

The Etobicoke, Ontario native’s impressive goal gave the Terriers a 3-0 lead at the time, with BU eventually skating off the ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse with a 4-2 win in hand.

5. Danny O’Regan vs. Harvard (2/3/15)

Junior forward Danny O’Regan closed out the longest Beanpot game in tournament history with this quick shot.

With BU and Harvard knotted at 2-2 in double overtime, Rodrigues intercepted a pass in the Crimson’s zone before firing a centering pass to O’Regan, who fired the puck from the low slot past goalie Steve Michalek to give the Terriers the dramatic victory.

4. Jack Eichel vs. UMass Lowell (3/21/15)

Jack Eichel capped the Terriers’ Hockey East championship with this impressive breakaway goal against the River Hawks.

BU already had a reassuring 4-2 lead over Lowell in the conference title game with under six minute left on the clock, but Eichel’s second marker of the contest helped put the final nail in the coffin for UML.

After possessing the puck near the BU blue line, Eichel stepped on the gas, zipping past the Lowell defense all the way into the River Hawks’ side of the ice before sliding the disc through goalie Kevin Boyle’s five-hole to hand BU a late three-goal advantage.

3. Evan Rodrigues @ BC (11/7/14)

Rodrigues once again puts his stamp on our list with this nifty goal against the Eagles at Conte Forum.

Looking to erase a 1-0 BC lead, Rodrigues seized the puck, dangled around a multitude of Eagles and faked out goaltender Thatcher Demko before easily tucking the puck into the net by way of a backhand shot.

Rodrigues would finish the night with two goals, as the Terriers defeated their hated rivals by a score of 5-3.

2. Matt Grzelcyk vs. Northeastern (2/23/15)

BU captain Matt Grzelcyk might have had the Terriers’ only shot of overtime against Northeastern in the Beanpot title game, but he certainly made it count.

Not even a minute had passed in extra time before junior forward Ahti Oksanen corralled the puck along the boards and passing it over to Rodrigues. Rodrigues quickly dished the puck over to Grzelcyk, whose shot from beyond the left circle beat NU goalie Clay Witt and sent the scarlet and white skaters into a frenzy.

Grzelcyk’s overtime strike helped BU claim its 30th Beanpot and first title since 2009.

1. Evan Rodrigues vs. Minnesota Duluth (3/28/15)

The final submission on our list goes to the goal that helped carry the Terriers to the Frozen Four.

Facing off against the University of Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA Northeast Regional final, BU was staring at a 2-2 tie with just under three minutes left to play in the contest. With BU on the power play, Rodrigues gathered the puck, toe-dragged around a Duluth skater and then hesitated before firing the puck from the right circle.

The wrister sailed past Minnesota netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo to give BU the late lead. Ultimately, the Terriers would hold on for the 3-2 win and a trip back to TD Garden.

A Few Honorable Mentions:

Jack Eichel’s overtime strike against UMass Lowell (1/18/15)

Eichel’s shorthanded tally @ Northeastern (2/28/15)

Danny O’Regan’s mini-breakaway goal vs. UConn (11/8/14)

Evan Rodrigues’ golf swing against Minnesota Duluth (3/28/15)

Mike Moran’s batted-in rebound vs. UConn (11/8/14)

 

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.

Best of 2014-15: Counting down the top 30 quotes from the season

With the 2014-15 BU hockey season now in the rearview, the Boston Hockey Blog crew will be unveiling some lists over the next week or so — looking some of our favorite moments from the past year. Here’s our first post, ranking the top 30 quotes from a wild year of BU hockey:

30.  “I don’t like our power play.”

— David Quinn after BU’s 1-0 victory over Michigan State on Oct. 24. BU finished the season ranked second in the nation in power-play percentage.

29. “I found out after my nap.”

— Connor LaCouvee on finding out that he was going to start BU’s first regular-season game of the season

28. “I think if you combine the length that all his goals have traveled it would equal two feet, so that says something for going to the net.”

— David Quinn on the proximity of Matt Lane’s scoring chances

27. “I got choked up for a minute talking, just because I looked down and I saw my mom and she was crying, so it choked me up for a minute, just because of how important my parents are and everything they’ve done for me.

— Jack Eichel talking about his parents after winning the Hobey Baker Award

26. “I just thanked him for not letting any of the guys hit me.”

— Jack Eichel on what he said to David Quinn after BU’s exhibition against the U.S. World Juniors team on Dec. 19

25. “I think last year made all the returning guys in that room hungrier, and I think we added a freshman class that brings a lot of positive attitude, and they’re always upbeat, they’re always positive, they’re always coming to work everyday. It’s made for a special season so far, and hopefully, this is just the beginning.”

— Evan Rodrigues following BU’s Beanpot victory over Northeastern on Feb. 23.

24. “You look around the room and from top to bottom, you believe in the guys that are sitting next to you, and I think that confidence builds throughout the game. We’ve done it time and time again … Keep pressing, keep pressing, it will come. And it did today.”

— Evan Rodrigues after BU’s overtime win against Vermont on Jan. 24.

23. “When you look at their club, boy, Grzelcyk, and O’Regan … Rodrigues, their goaltender, O’Connor’s very strong … They’re gonna be a dangerous team as the season progresses. And they have been already. But they’ve got a lot of good players. Too many good players.”

— BC head coach Jerry York on BU’s roster

22. “He’s [O’Connor] played a lot of hockey and I just thought what the heck. They’re not listening to me up to this point so maybe if I pull the goalie they might actually get a little rattled and pay attention. They [UNH] scored a goal a minute later, so that didn’t really work.”

— David Quinn on replacing Matt O’Connor in net with Connor LaCouvee against UNH on Feb. 14

21. “We’ve bottled it and we can’t reveal it … I have no idea. I wish I could tell you. I have no idea.”

— David Quinn on BU’s “formula” for successful third periods

20. “The reason I think we have the record we have is we have some talent, but I think we have a grit element to our game, for the most part, all year. When we struggle, I think we get away from that. I think we think we’re a little bit more like the Harlem Globetrotters and the ’86 Oilers and we can shoot ourselves in the foot because we have been successful offensively.”

— David Quinn on BU’s playing style

19. “You see his stats and his skills and all those things — don’t get me wrong, they’re elite — but he’s a tough son of a bitch, and he’s competitive, and he’s withstood an awful lot. He’s handled it about as well as anybody could.”

— David Quinn on Jack Eichel’s toughness

18. “There wasn’t a goalie on the planet stopping that one.”

— David Quinn on Jack Eichel’s overtime goal against UMass Lowell on Jan. 18.

17. “I expected the worst and he kind of lived up to it.”

— Danny O’Regan on facing off against Jack Eichel in BU’s exhibition against the U.S. World Juniors team

16. “Just tried to tell him that I love him and it’s been a pleasure playing with him. I’m going to keep telling him that ‘till I’m probably dead.”

— Anthony Moccia on what he said to console Matt O’Connor after the team’s national championship loss

15. “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.”

—David Quinn on Evan Rodrigues’ talent

14. “When we got into the building.”

— David Quinn on when he considered putting Anthony Moccia in the game in BU’s 6-1 win over Northeastern on Feb. 28.

13. “I’ve been coaching for 20 years, and I’ve never enjoyed coaching a team more than the one we had this year.”

— David Quinn after BU’s loss in the national championship game

12. “This is a man’s game, and we better be ready to play like men tomorrow night, and I don’t mean like acting like Joe Tough Guy after the whistle and pushing and shoving. I’m talking about taking a hit, I’m talking about 50-50 pucks, having an attitude.”

— David Quinn after BU’s 6-5 loss to Northeastern on Feb. 27

11. “Probably beating BC was better. I mean, it’s BU-BC.”

— Ahti Oksanen on whether BU’s overtime victory against Maine was better than the win over BC

10. “Tough one to swallow, without question.  But we’ll be back.”

— David Quinn after BU’s loss in the national championship

9. “If I was gonna die, I would probably bring [graduate student goaltender Anthony] Moccia. He’d probably do some good Bible studies. If I wanted to live, I’d probably bring Ahti because he can fish pretty well.”

— Matt O’Connor on which teammate he would bring if he were stuck on a deserted island

8. “It’s not just some silly slogan. …Their work ethic, their enthusiasm throughout the summer, leading up to this…certainly you get the sense that they understand what it’s gonna take to never have to have something like [last season] happen again.”

— David Quinn, prior to the season, on BU’s “Never Again” offseason slogan

7. “We’ve piled up a lot of wins, but like Quinn’s [been] reiterating throughout the week, wins don’t mean anything. It’s trophies and championships.”

— Evan Rodrigues prior to the Beanpot tournament

6. “I had a rosary bead in my coat pocket. It certainly didn’t feel like he didn’t have points tonight.”

— Harvard coach Ted Donato on Jack Eichel’s first scoreless game of the season on Nov. 25 against the Crimson

5. “Just a really weird, indecisive moment there cost us a national championship, I guess you could say.”

— Matt O’Connor following BU’s loss in the national championship

4. “I jokingly say he’s kind of like the Secretariat of a hockey player. If you ever watch Secretariat run, he just looks so different than all the other horses. Jack is very much in that mold.”

— David Quinn on Jack Eichel’s talent

3. “All I can say is that he lives up to the hype. A lot of times, guys are overhyped, but not with Jack. He works hard, on and off the ice. He’s the most skilled guy I’ve ever seen in my life.”

— Danny O’Regan on Jack Eichel prior to the season

2. “I may wear it out of here. Hopefully they’ll let me do that. I really don’t want to take it off.”

— Cason Hohmann, following BU’s loss in the national championship, on the thought of removing his jersey

1. “When I told him we were going to move him up front, I told him we’re not going to put you on the third or fourth line, we’re going to put you up front and we think you’re going to be one of the top six forwards.  I said you’re going to have a chance to play with Danny O’Regan or Cason Hohmann or Jack Eichel.  When I told him Jack Eichel ‑‑ this is in May ‑‑ he said:  ‘Who is that?  Never heard of him.'”

— David Quinn, recalling his decision to move Ahti Oksanen from defenseman to forward

 

 

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: BU ends Beanpot losing streak, advances to tournament final

It might’ve felt like an eternity. In fact, it was 1,093 days.

Nikolas Olsson.  PHOTO BY EVAN JONES/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Nikolas Olsson.
PHOTO BY EVAN JONES/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

But at long last, the losing streak is over.

The No. 2/3 Boston University men’s hockey team overcame a two-goal deficit and record-breaking goaltending performance to dispatch No. 4/6 Harvard University, 4-3, in double overtime in the Beanpot semifinal at TD Garden.

Sixty-seven shots later, the Terriers (17-4-4, 11-2-2 Hockey East) won it on a goal from junior forward Danny O’Regan 2:18 into the second overtime period. Down by two in the middle of the second, freshman forward Nikolas Olsson and junior winger Ahti Oksanen tied the game up, which set up a dramatic third and overtime periods.

BU dominated for large portions of the game, but it wasn’t perfect. As always, things went right and wrong for the Terriers. Here’s the Beanpot semifinal edition of Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses

The final play

It seemed at just about every turn, Harvard (12-6-2) netminder Stephen Michalek bailed out his defense. With 63 saves, a new Beanpot record, he at times looked impenetrable. One Crimson turnover changed everything.

As Harvard attempted to clear its own defensive zone, senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues got in the way of the exit pass. O’Regan saw this, and immediately charged toward the crease. Rodrigues made a crisp centering pass to the Needham native, who finished off the play with a wrister into an almost-open net.

Michalek had no chance to make that 64th save.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play with Evan [Rodrigues] for awhile now,” O’Regan said. “He’s a great player, so I just kind of put my head down and went to the net and knew he would find me — he did just that.”

Cason Hohmann’s resurgence

BU’s other senior assistant captain went all the way from Nov. 22 to Jan 23 without scoring a goal. At certain points over the last month-and-half, BU coach David Quinn even moved the center to the third line at points.

Over the last few games, including Tuesday night’s, Hohmann looks to be back in form. He opened up the scoring at the 16:50 mark of the first, as he found himself perfectly positioned in the crease to finish off a good passing play from Rodrigues.

Arguably even bigger was assist he made to Oksanen that tied the game in the waning seconds of the second period.

Second-period comeback

Believe it or not, but the Terriers were actually getting outshot and outplayed by the Crimson at the end of the first and beginning of the second. Harvard capitalized on sloppy in-zone defense and went up 3-1 in the first 10 minutes of the second frame, but more on that in the minus section.

After awhile, though, BU found its groove and fought back.

What initially looked to be a failed BU opportunity actually led to the first goal of the comeback. Olsson sprang Nick Roberto on a long lead pass through the neutral zone, all but giving Roberto a 1-on-1 showdown with Michalek. But on the ensuing breakway, Roberto shot well high of goal.

Undeterred, the third line kept the puck in the zone and created another opportunity. This time, the unit cashed in.

Roberto worked his way open in the slot and fired off a shot that created a big rebound. Olsson, as he’s done so many times this season, crashed the front of the net and picked up the loose change for his fifth goal.

Four minutes later, Oksanen connected on his 17th of the year off a nice feed from Hohmann. And like that, the tide of the game turned.

“I thought there was a point early in the second where it looked like a pond hockey game — we were giving up way too many odd-man rushes,” Quinn said. “And then I thought there was a point where we kind of settled down and started playing more responsible.”

Scoring chances … many scoring chances 

After a little bit of a lull at the end of the first period and start of the second period, the Terriers kicked it into high gear and amped up the pressure on Michalek. In the third period and first overtime, the Terriers generated 72 total shots, 32 of which hit net.

By the time O’Regan scored, the Terriers had attempted 123 shots — more than double Harvard’s shot attempts. It took some stellar goaltending, a few key blocks and some puck luck for Harvard to force the game as far as it did.

Minuses 

Bad defensive lapse and a sloppy start of the second

The Terriers already let the Crimson back into the game after they let Harvard rush the net at the end of the second period. Another misplay in the defensive zone at the start of the second period was, as Quinn put it, “deflating.”

The aforementioned second goal came off a bad exchange behind junior netminder Matt O’Connor. Freshman defenseman John MacLeod fed junior captain Matt Grzelcyk behind the net, who in turn gave the puck right to Harvard. The turnover all but set up forward Alexander Kerfoot’s goal 22 seconds into the frame.

It didn’t end up costing the Terriers in the long run, but it, and some other bad defensive plays later, put the team in bad position to start the second frame.

Record-breaking goaltender

Not exactly a clear-cut minus for BU, but Michalek’s performance for Harvard is worth at least a mention. Admittedly battling cramps, the backstop made a combined 32 saves in the third period and first overtime. A few times he was bailed out on some blocks, though for the most part, Michalek was impressive during his career-best day.

Pluses and Minuses: No. 2 Terriers trounce Wisconsin to close out weekend trip

MADISON, Wisconsin — No late-game deflections were needed this time for the No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team.

Danny O'Regan. Photo by Alexanda Wimley/Daily Free Press Staff
Danny O’Regan. Photo by Alexanda Wimley/Daily Free Press Staff

Behind freshman forward Jack Eichel’s four points, the Terriers (12-3-4, 7-1-2 Hockey East) cruised to a 6-1 victory over the University of Wisconsin on Saturday at the Kohl Center.

A new-look first line composed of Eichel, senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues and junior winger Danny O’Regan combined for five of the six goals. For his part, freshman netiminder Connor LaCouvee made 32 saves in his return to the crease.

As always, there were positives and negatives to Saturday night’s game. Here’s an in-depth look at the pluses and minuses:

Pluses 

Eichel’s big night

If there were any fears that the freshman was in the midst of a slump, Eichel allayed those  — and then some.

Trailing by a goal early in the second period, the Terriers were in need of a goal to get back in the game. Eichel came through.

As he skated in through the left wing, he had the opportunity to feed Rodrigues as he charged low to the net. But instead of making a cross-ice pass, Eichel dangled through multiple defenders, turned around and fired a wrister that Badgers (2-12-2) goaltender Joel Rumpel had little chance to stop.

Eichel connected on his second goal of the game on a power-play opportunity as he threw a puck in between a well-placed screen in front of the net. On the man advantage midway through the third, it appeared like Eichel might have scored his third of the night, but O’Regan deflected the puck past Rumpel, so the freshman was credited with the assist.

As if he didn’t have enough spaces on the stat sheet filled, the North Chelmsford native started a shorthanded 2-on-1 with O’Regan, who tapped the puck into a gaping net at 11:32 in the final period.

BU coach David Quinn said a down game on Friday fed into a positive one on Saturday.

“I didn’t think he played well and, more importantly, he didn’t think he played well,” Quinn said. “So I knew he was going to bust out for a big night sooner or later.”

Revamped first line clicks 

Yes, Eichel had a stellar night, but his linemates weren’t too shabby either. Instead of Oksanen playing at one of the wing spots, Quinn shook things up and bumped Rodrigues up, while Oksanen slid into the second unit. The move paid off, as the new trio finished with 10 combined points.

O’Regan scored two goals off of Eichel primary helpers, and Rodrigues finished the night off with a goal in which he toe dragged around a diving Badgers defenseman and wristed the puck high over Rumpel.

The addidtion of Rodriuges to the group didn’t affect the chemistry the line previously had, O’Regan said after the game.

“Ahti’s got a big-time shot, but Evan’s just a great player,” O’Regan said. “He’s got great vision and [he’s] really creative. It’s really fun playing with him, he opens stuff up and creates a lot of offense.”

LaCouvee returns in a big way

It had not been since Nov. 30 that the freshman started a game. If he had any cobwebs, it didn’t show. It was his best game since opening night in Amherst.

He finished the night with 32 saves, including 17 in the third period alone. It was not just the saves he made, but the way he made them that stood out. Time and time again he used his right pad to kick away most rebound attempts to the side boards.

“I thought he played very well, Quinn said of his goaltender. “Made some big saves and did a lot of good things.”

His only blemish came two minutes into the second period when forward Jedd Soleway jammed a loose puck into the net.

Olsson continues physical play

For a long stretch in the first half of the season, the Terriers were without the 6-foot freshman forward. Since Nikolas Olsson’s return to the lineup on Jan. 3, BU has benefitted from his gritty efforts.

The freshman seems to find his way fighting for the puck near the boards or down low in the crease. This is exactly how he found the back of the net Saturday. As he pushed to the net after an initial shot from sophomore forward Nick Roberto, Olsson bounced on the rebound and deposited the puck into the cage for his second goal in three games.

“You know when he’s out there, he’s a big, wide body, Quinn said. “He’s got good hands, he’s got good skill. He’s a guy that we missed when he was out of the lineup.”

Minuses 

Too many chances allowed in third period

Up 3-1 to start the third period, the Terriers sat back and let Wisconsin rack up offensive-zone time. In just the first few minutes, the Badgers held a 6-0 shot advantage in the frame.

Although BU scored three goals in the final 20 minutes, Wisconsin outshot the Terriers 17-12 to end the game. Quinn said the problems that led to so many Wisconsin chances need to be addressed.

“We were just way too sloppy, Quinn said. “We were much better than we were last night, but still, we can’t just give 17 shots up in the third period with a 3-1 lead. We have to play smarter hockey than that — we recognize that, we know that.”