Pluses and Minuses: Terriers dominate Friars on Halloween night

Senior forward Cason Hohmann recorded two assists Friday night against Providence. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Senior forward Cason Hohmann recorded two assists Friday night against Providence. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — It was a ghastly experience for No. 8/9 Providence College on Halloween night at Schneider Arena, as No. 6 Boston University unleashed its full bag of tricks against the Friars, treating itself to a dominating 4-1 victory in the process.

The Terriers will look to continue their hot start to the season at home against the Friars Saturday night. If BU emerges victorious against Providence for the second night in as many games, it will be the program’s first 5-0 start since the 1991-92 campaign.

Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Terriers on Friday night:


D Steps Up Against The Friars

The Terriers’ defensive unit made their mark against the Friars, holding its opponent to just 18 shots in the game, including a minuscule three pegs in the final period of play.

Even with four power-play opportunities, the Friars could do little to generate offense, accruing just two shots on the man advantage.

“Our D corps is doing really well right now,” said freshman blueliner John MacLeod, who netted his first collegiate goal in the first period. “We’re working a lot on specifics in practice and stuff. We’re a young D corps, obviously. We have a lot of freshmen that are playing a lot of minutes, but we’re doing a great job so far. We just got to keep working hard to be successful.”

Second Line Succeeds 

BU’s second line unit of senior forward Evan Rodrigues, senior forward Cason Hohmann and sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon excelled against the Friars Friday night, combining for six points in the win. Sarah Kirkpatrick has more on the performance of the second line here.

The Usual Suspects

BU received additional scoring from the ever-fruitful OREO line of freshman forward Jack Eichel, junior forward Ahti Oksanen and junior forward Danny O’Regan, who helped generate two goals for the Terriers.

Oksanen made it a 2-1 game at 2:12 in the second – cashing in on a juicy rebound off the pads of Providence goaltender Jon Gillies to give the Terriers their first lead of the night.

Eichel would later cap BU’s scoring efforts at 3:21 in the third, firing a wrister past Gillies on an impromptu breakaway to give the Terriers a three-goal cushion.

“I thought Jack played great,” Quinn said. “I thought he blocked shots – he was physical. He was, offensively, good. I thought he moved the puck better tonight. Sometimes when you got all that skill and you’re used to skating by five guys, I think he was holding on to it a little much early on this year, but I thought his puck movement was good, and that line was good again, it’s a dangerous line and it’s fun to watch him emerge.”

Down Goes Gillies

While his numbers this season may not stand as an accurate reflection on the standard that’s he’s set over the last two-plus seasons at Providence, Gillies is still an intimidating presence between the pipes.

Despite his skill in net, Gillies could do little against BU, as the Terriers peppered the netminder with 41 shots in the contest while generating offense as a result of a strong net-front presence and keen passing.

“It’s a great plan. It’s always a great plan to get 40 [shots],” Quinn said. “He’s a heck of a goalie, you got to get that net-front presence, you got to shoot pucks – two of them were on rebounds. … MacLeod’s shot was from the point but we had traffic. The next two goals were on rebounds and then Jack’s was a partial breakaway, so you got to get pucks on him.

“If you’re going to score four, you better get 40, because without question, he’s going to save a majority of them, but I thought that we did a good job in the offensive zone possessing and using our points.” Quinn said. “I thought we used the back of the net well, so you just got to get pucks on him, because he’s very, very good.”

The 2012 Calgary Flames prospect now possesses an unimpressive 1-4-1 record in his career against the Terriers.


Providence Jumps Out Early

While BU might have dominated the box score at the end of the game, Providence made it interesting early. The Friars were the first to get on the board, as forward Steven McParland fired a shot from the left circle that beat BU netminder Matt O’Connor blocker side to put PC up 1-0 at 7:37 in the first period.

That would be all that Providence would be able to muster against O’Connor and the Terriers, as the Toronto native registered 14 saves in his third win of the season.

A Tough Test At Home

Aside from the Friars’ first-period score, Quinn struggled to come up with many negatives to take away from Friday’s match. However, BU’s bench boss acknowledged that he expects BU’s foe from “The Ocean State” to bring everything it has Saturday night.

“I’ll find something, trust me. That’s my job,” Quinn said when asked to find additional flaws in BU’s performance. “I’m a coach, I can never be happy all of the time. But there’s always things you can work on — always. I know this, I know that we’re going to see a very determined hockey team tomorrow night. They’re well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players.

“I know tomorrow night, and I’m not just saying this is in coach talk, this will be the hardest game of the year tomorrow,” Quinn added. “Without question.”

By the Numbers: BU versus Michigan State, Michigan

A highly anticipated weekend for the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team culminated in two wins against two Big Ten opponents in Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. The Terriers (3-0, 1-0 Hockey East) had to rely on strong third-period play — and some luck — for the first time this season.

In our third addition of By the Numbers, we look at the Corsi and Fenwick advanced stats for BU’s two-game weekend. I also want to take note that in our first two posts, we focused on the team’s stats in all phases of the game (even strength, power play, penalty kill). In this post, and all of those going forward, I would like to look at BU’s performance in just 5-on-5 situations.

So here’s a closer look at BU’s two wins from the weekend:

Corsi/Fenwick vs. Michigan State (Full Game)

Corsi For: 65 (Shots on goal, missed shots, blocked shots)

Corsi Against: 53

Corsi For Percentage: 55.1

Fenwick For: 51 (Shots on goal, missed shots)

Fenwick Against: 34

Fenwick For Percentage: 60

BU Goals For: 1

MSU Goals For: 0

Corsi/Fenwick First Period

Corsi For: 28

Corsi Against: 12

Corsi For Percentage: 70

Fenwick For: 22

Fenwick Against: 11

Fenwick For Percentage: 66.7

BU Goals For/MSU Goals For: 0

Corsi/Fenwick Second Period

Corsi For: 26

Corsi Against: 16

Corsi For Percentage: 61.9

Fenwick For: 20

Fenwick Against: 9

Fenwick For Percentage: 69

BU Goals For: 1

MSU Goals For: 0

Corsi/Fenwick Third Period

Corsi For: 11

Corsi Against: 25

Corsi For Percentage: 30.6

Fenwick For: 9

Fenwick Against: 14

Fenwick For Percentage: 39.1

BU/MSU Goals For: 0


Corsi/Fenwick vs. Michigan (Full Game)

Corsi For: 53

Corsi Against: 62

Corsi For Percentage: 46.1

Fenwick For: 41

Fenwick Against: 51

Fenwick For Percentage: 44.6

BU Goals For: 3

Michigan Goals For: 2

Corsi/Fenwick First Period

Corsi For: 17

Corsi Against: 11

Corsi Percentage: 60.1

Fenwick For: 14

Fenwick Against: 10

Fenwick For Percentage: 58.3

BU Goals For: 0

Michigan Goals For: 1

Corsi/Fenwick Second Period

Corsi For: 15

Corsi Against: 23

Corsi For Percentage: 39.5

Fenwick For: 11

Fenwick Against: 18

Fenwick For Percentage: 37.9

BU Goals For: 1

Michigan Goals For: 1

Corsi/Fenwick Third Period

Corsi For: 21

Corsi Against: 28

Corsi For Percentage: 42.9

Fenwick For: 16

Fenwick Against: 23

Fenwick For Percentage: 41.0

BU Goals For: 2

Michigan Goals For: 0



Looking at these statistics, BU could’ve easily walked away with a huge win on Friday night against the Spartans. Goaltender Jake Hildebrand was named one of the three stars of the game, and this shows why. BU dominated puck possession for most of the game, but he allowed just one goal. BU coach David Quinn wasn’t pleased with the offensive performance, saying his team missed the net a lot and was too fancy with the puck. Though some of this does hold true, BU should’ve had a better showing on the scoreboard.

Saturday against the Wolverines, though, was a different story. Michigan consistently kept up the pace against BU and gave junior netminder Matt O’Connor a challenge in net. He kept the Terriers in it, allowing two goals, part of the reason he was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week. BU’s goals against Michigan all came down low, either on deflections or chances that goaltender Zach Nagelvoort had little chance to save. A win is a win, but according to the numbers, it should’ve been Michigan in the victor’s column.

Pluses and Minuses: Late surge propels Terriers against Michigan

The Boston University men’s hockey team faced a situation it had not been in all year — a deficit.

Freshman forward Jack Eichel scored the game-tying goal in the third period of BU's win over Michigan.  PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman forward Jack Eichel scored the game-tying goal in the third period of BU’s win over Michigan.

Worst of all for the Terriers (3-0, 1-0 Hockey East), they trailed going into the final period against the University of Michigan. With some determination up front and the help of video reviews, BU won 3-2 after a back-and-forth third period.

Here’s a closer look at what went well and what didn’t for the Terriers against the Wolverines (2-3):


A long-awaited third period comeback

The last time the Boston University men’s hockey team won a game in which it trailed heading into a third period, Jack Parker was still coaching. To be exact, the Terriers had not completed the feat since Jan. 4, 2013 in an overtime victory against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

For a team that went winless all last year during those situations, this win felt even more special. Freshman forward Jack Eichel turned a 2-1 deficit into a tie game on a deflection just under three minutes into the frame. Junior center Matt Lane finished off the win on a tip-in of his own at the 16:50 mark.

BU coach David Quinn said having quality play from all four lines has made for improved third periods this season.

“I think our depth up front allows us to kind of keep guys fresh,” Quinn said. “When you kill five penalties and get two power plays that kind of throws things out whack a little bit.

“It’s nice to be winning when you think you’re going to get better and when you think your best hockey is ahead of you.”

One game-changing penalty kill

BU’s special teams unit allowed two goals on three chances through the first two periods of Friday’s contest. When Michigan went to the  power play again with four seconds remaining in the middle frame, an already shaky PK would have to work hard to keep the game within reach.

After the Wolverines rattled off shots toward junior goaltender Matt O’Connor, the defensive corps warded off the infraction.

It was not pretty, but according to junior captain Matt Grzelcyk, it set the tone for the rest of the game.

“It was huge. It was something that we focused on going into the third,” Grzelcyk said. “To get that kill was very big and it carried our momentum going for the rest of the game, so, I think it was good to get the crowd back into it and kind of feed off their energy.”

Not long after the penalty was over, Eichel potted the game-tying goal, putting BU in prime position to earn at least one point. As much as the penalty kill had its problems, this one attempt changed the complexion of the game.

Doyle Somerby steps up

Before Saturday night’s game, freshman defenseman John MacLeod was ruled out with an injury. Somerby, the sophomore New York Islanders draft pick, shined in his absence. This play more than juxtaposes his freshman campaign where he led the team in penalty minutes.

Despite being listed on BU’s third pairing, Somerby played significant time with Grzelcyk on the top unit. The sophomore worked hard along the boards, used his body to knock pucks loose and made key clearances out of BU’s defensive zone.

On top of all of that, he recorded the primary assist on the tying goal after his shot from the right point was redirected.

“He’s more physical,” Quinn said. “I mean he’s not just content with keeping people on the outside. He’s been a lot more aggressive in his 1-on-1s. … With a guy with that reach and that size, if he can continue to be physical around puck, he’s going to be a problem for other teams.”


Penalty kill issues

The Terrier defensive unit combined to kill six Michigan State University penalties on Friday night. The story was not the same for the penalty kill unit against the Wolverines. Both of Michigan’s goals came via extra-man chances.

Whether it was failed clearance opportunities or leaving snipers wide open, the Wolverines took advantage of BU’s mistakes.

“The first goal they score, we don’t ice the puck,” Quinn said. “The second power-play goal they score, a 50-50 puck off the faceoff, and we try to clear it and they keep it in. The second one we just completely blew our responsibility.”

Lack of success in the faceoff dot

One area the Terriers have struggled in through three regular season games is their effort on the draw. In BU’s first game of the weekend, it won just 37 percent of its chances on the draw. Saturday night’s effort did not improve, as the Terriers won 39 of 62 efforts in the dot. Eichel especially had problems corralling faceoffs, losing more than he won in both games. For the Terriers to maintain more possession, draw control success is essential.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time on it,” Quinn said. “We spent a little time on it, we obviously need to spend a lot of time on it because we can’t be getting hammered on faceoffs to the level that we are. It really makes a huge difference in the game.”

Second period woes

Junior forward Ahti Oksanen’s goal 34 seconds into the second frame looked to give the Terriers the jolt they needed. After an initial offensive rush, though, Michigan controlled the flow of the stanza and took 12 shots on goal to BU’s nine. The Wolverines attacked in the offensive zone and the young crop of Terriers had trouble regaining momentum.

What started as a good period nearly ended in disaster.

“It was doom-and-gloom at the end of the second when they made it 2-1 because I thought we played in the early second,” Quinn said. “I though we controlled the play, having some great opportunities. And then they get that power-play goal. And we were on our heels quite a bit.”


By the Numbers: BU versus United States U-18

In our second edition of By the Numbers, we take a look at the advanced metrics (Corsi and Fenwick) for the Boston University men’s hockey team’s 6-4 win against the U.S. National Under-18 team last Saturday. For those who are unsure on what exactly these numbers mean or what they stand for, you can refer to our previous post for the Terriers’ game against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Team USA provided BU arguably its best competition this year, and the numbers and goals scored prove that. The following is a breakdown of the Corsi and Fenwick numbers from the game.

Corsi Full Game

  • Corsi For (Shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots): 59
  • Corsi Against: 44
  • Corsi For Percentage: 57.3
  • BU Goals For: 6
  • Goals Against: 4

Corsi First Period

  • Corsi For: 16
  • Corsi Against: 15
  • Corsi Percentage: 51.6
  • BU Goals For: 1
  • Goals Against: 1

Corsi Second Period

  • Corsi For: 20
  • Corsi Against: 18
  • Corsi Percentage: 52.6
  • BU Goals For: 3
  • Goals Against: 2

Corsi Third Period

  • Corsi For: 23
  • Corsi Against: 11
  • Corsi Percentage: 67.6
  • BU Goals For: 2
  • Goals Against: 1

Fenwick Full Game

  • Fenwick For: 45 (Shots on goal and missed shots)
  • Fenwick Against: 33
  • Fenwick Percentage: 57.7

Fenwick First Period

  • Fenwick For: 11
  • Fenwick Against: 13
  • Fenwick Percentage: 45.8

Fenwick Second Period

  • Fenwick For: 17
  • Fenwick Against: 12
  • Fenwick Percentage: 58.6

Fenwick Third Period

  • Fenwick For: 17
  • Fenwick: 12
  • Fenwick Percentage: 58.6



BU held an advantage in both Corsi and Fenwick in the final two periods, but not the first. Watching the game in person, this does not come as a surprise. The Terriers held the puck in the offensive zone and generated a lot of good scoring opportunities. Team USA had fewer chances, but did have a number of “Grade-A” shots on goal, especially on its power play.

Though BU scored just twice in the third period, that’s the chunk of time that really sticks out. Head coach David Quinn asked his team to make defensive adjustments heading into the third. Solid defensive zone play led to better transition to the offensive side, meaning more shots for the Terriers. Overall, BU held the advantage in shots and possession, which in the end translated to a victory.

Odds and Ends: Day after victory over U.S. Under-18 Team

The Boston University men’s hockey team, in its toughest test of the season yet, came away with a 6-4 win over the U.S. Under-18 National Team on Saturday.

Here are a few links and notes to get you caught up on yesterday’s action:

-Conor provided our recap of the game.

-Andrew discussed the team’s third-period adjustments in his sidebar.

-Some pluses and minuses from the game.

-Postgame comments from Jack Eichel and Danny O’Regan and coach David Quinn.

-Here are some photos from the game from the lovely Maya Devereaux.

-Boston College beat RIT, 6-2, on Saturday.

-UMass-Amherst dealt Michigan State a 4-3 loss on Saturday.

-UNH lost a 2-1 game at Michigan on Saturday.

-Maine fell to Union, 5-2, on Saturday.

-Merrimack beat UConn, 2-1, in an overtime win Saturday.

Tweet of the Day:

Honorable Mention:

-Apparently, there’s a Twitter account called “Did Eichel Score?”

Pluses and Minuses: First line shines in exhibition win over US Under-18 Team

In its toughest test this season thus far, the No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey team knocked off an aggressive U.S. National Under-18 Team with a 6-4 exhibition win Saturday evening at Agganis Arena.

Here’s some of what went right and wrong for the Terriers:


OREO line
BU’s first line of junior Danny O’Regan, freshman Jack Eichel and junior Ahti Oksanen — the OREO line, as it has become affectionately known by the Twitterverse — had a strong performance yet again.

Freshman forward Jack Eichel had two goals and one assist in BU's 6-4 victory.
Freshman forward Jack Eichel had two goals and one assist in BU’s 6-4 victory. (PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF)

The trio combined for four of BU’s six goals. Perhaps the most impressive goal was the Terriers’ first of the game, on a crisp tic-tac-toe play between Eichel, Oksanen and O’Regan, who rang the puck home right in front of the net.

“It wasn’t really how you draw it up,” O’Regan said about the goal. “I didn’t really see Jack — he did a good job speaking up and yelling for the puck, and he feathered a nice pass to Ahti and then I just had a wide-open net after, so it was kind of the skill and chemistry that you talked about kind of took over right there.”

Eichel also noted the line’s fantastic chemistry.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with Danny and Ahti,” Eichel said. “They’re two really good players, so it’s nice to be able to go to school with them every day and you get to know them, so you build chemistry off the ice and I think that translates onto the ice. They’re two unbelievable players, so it’s a lot of fun.”

BU head coach David Quinn said he has been impressed with his team’s play thus far, noting each player’s skills — O’Regan’s hockey IQ, Oksanen’s strength and hard work and Eichel’s “world-class skillset.”

“That line, there’s a little bit of everything on that line,” Quinn said. “I should say a lot of everything on that line.

“I love what I see, but I think their best hockey is ahead of them. I think they can really be a line that’s going to be difficult to match up against and I think they’re just scratching the surface.”

Power play
A week after generating zero power-play opportunities against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Terriers had three in this game — and converted goals on two of them.

The first power-play goal came on a right-circle wrister from Eichel, and the second came from freshman J.J. Piccinich on an empty-net opportunity.

“We were just moving the puck, keeping things simple,” Eichel said. “We’re getting pucks to the net, getting bodies to the net.”

BU’s first power-play opportunity impressed Quinn, who said the Terriers had an opportunity to shine in the future despite limited chances in the team’s pervious two games.

“I think with our skillset, I think we’re going to be able to have two really good power-play units,” Quinn said.

Third-period adjustments
The Terriers, after playing with what Quinn described as a “lack of physicality” first two periods, made a number of defensive adjustments in the third period, holding Team USA to just six shots in the final frame.

“I thought we backed off a little,” Quinn said. “I thought we were much more aggressive in the neutral zone, taking away time and space for us. And then to chip pucks instead of carrying with full possession into our end. And I thought we defended much better in the third period.”


Penalty kill
Though the team excelled on the power play, BU also committed four penalties, allowing two goals on the penalty kill.

The first PK goal for the U-18 team came after freshman defenseman John MacLeod was called for interference 16:35 into the first period. Forward Jeremy Bracco was able to score 39 seconds into Team USA’s power play, tying the game 1-1 at that point.

The U-18 team scored again after a boarding penalty from Nick Roberto. Auston Matthews scored the first of what would be two goals for him in the game at 6:21 into the second period.

“I think it was a microcosm of what was going on in the game, I didn’t think we were alert,” Quinn said about the Terriers’ penalty kill. “Killing penalties, you’ve better bear down and pay attention to details and work hard. I thought the second one, Matthews makes an unbelievable play – bats it out of the air. So sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other team and I certainly attest to the second one they scored. The first one I just thought we were lackadaisical and just kind of casual.”

Defense lagging in first 40 minutes
Quinn said he was not impressed with his team’s defensive effort, as the Terriers were outshot 9-8 in the first period. They gave up another nine shots to the aggressive Team USA in the second period before holding the U-18 team to just six in the third.

“I didn’t think we did a great job in the neutral zone,” Quinn said. “I thought they really created some odd-man rushes coming out of their end. And a lot of that had to do with our lack of physical play in open ice.”