The Boston University men’s hockey team faced off in the 275th and 276th editions of the Battle of Comm. Ave. on Friday and Saturday night respectively. The Terriers emerged with a split after both teams found success on the other’s home ice.
On Friday, BU found itself in an early 2-0 deficit after the Eagles scored two goals minutes into the contest. However, the Terriers came back with three goals in the first period, including a short-handed bid by freshman forward Brady Tkachuk. BU didn’t stop there as it netted four more goals to cap the 7-4 win.
Saturday night started similarly with BC getting on the board twice without response from the Terriers. Freshman forward Shane Bowers scored BU’s lone tally of the night, but the Eagles found the back of the net once again to put the Terriers in another two-goal deficit, one they would not come back from in the eventual 4-1 loss.
BU will finish off 2017 with a home-and-home series against the No. 18 University of Massachusetts Lowell.
The Boston University men’s hockey team will take on No. 15 Boston College tonight at Agganis Arena for the final game of its Hockey East home-and-home series. Last night at Conte Forum, the Terriers came out with a 7-4 win after coming back from an 2-0 deficit in the first minutes of the game. Follow along on tonight’s live blog below.
What a weekend for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team.
Pegged against its archrival, No. 10 Boston College, head coach David Quinn’s side earned a 3-0 win at Conte Forum on Monday night, capping off a series sweep. The Terriers had previously beaten the Eagles, 2-1, at home on Friday night, paving the way for four vital points in the Hockey East standings.
Freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger was once again outstanding, as he posted 34 saves and made the difficult ones look routine. The defense deserves plenty of credit, too, as it limited BC’s “Grade-A” chances and ultimately silenced head coach Jerry York’s squad. For a full recap of the night’s affairs, check out Shelby’s recap over on The Daily Free Press.
A dominant storyline from Monday’s tilt was the play of freshman forward Patrick Curry. He opened the scoring on a second-period power play, and was often doing the little things right against the Eagles. For a full account of the 21-year-old winger’s night, check out Jonathan’s story over on The Daily Free Press.
With a 1-0 lead late and two power-play chances, BU iced the game via goals from sophomore forwards Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter. Looking ahead, BU welcomes the University of Maine to Agganis Arena on Friday night, only to travel up to Orono on Saturday night for the reverse fixture.
JFK now has seven goals in his last four games. The center from Stockholm, Sweden is on fire.
Across the weekend, BU never allowed an even-strength goal. The Eagles’ lone tally came on Friday, with Colin White striking on the power play.
While this is hard to measure, that felt like the most complete weekend the Terriers have put together all season. There was opportunistic finishing, solid offensive zone time, great transitions through the neutral zone and stellar goaltending. All around, there were little to no flaws. The only gripe I can think of is BU’s third period from Friday’s game, as it sat back and nearly offerred BC a lifeline.
He’s not getting on the scoresheet, but I’ve really been impressed with sophomore forward Ryan Cloonan’s play. His ability on the breakout is nearly flawless, and his speed across the blueline continually pins defensemen back.
BU now sits in second place in the Hockey East standings. Its next opponent, the Maine Black Bears, is tied for last place. We could very well see the Terriers surging up the table even more next weekend.
This article appeared originally on The Daily Free Press.
The rivalry is back.
For the 271st and 272nd times, the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team and No. 8 Boston College will square off, this go around via a home-and-home series. The first tilt is set for Friday night at Agganis Arena, with the second unfolding Monday evening at Conte Forum.
While the high-profile games are riddled with storylines, the Terriers (12-5-2, 5-2-2 Hockey East) carry extra motivation in knowing that the Eagles (14-7-2, 9-1-1 Hockey East) await.
“We don’t like them and they don’t like us,” said junior defenseman Brandon Hickey. “You feed off the energy in the crowd, and it’s a sold-out building wherever you play. It’s one of the best rivalries in sports, and it’s obviously one of the most intense ones. For sure you want to come out on top this weekend.”
BU head coach David Quinn, who stressed his squad must first take care of business at home, spoke of the rivalry in a similar light.
“It’s a game that when your schedule comes out over the summer, the first thing you probably look at as a player is, ‘When do we play BC?,’” Quinn said. “I’m sure the BC guys like at it and say, ‘When do we play BU?’ Both programs push each other, and BC hockey is great for BU and BU hockey is great for BC. I think coach [Jack] Parker said that for a long time, and it’s a heated rivalry with a lot of respect.”
That healthy respect Quinn referenced is another theme that arose in and around Agganis this week. Doyle Somerby, BU’s captain and a senior defenseman, said he and several players have taken the short trip to Chestnut Hill to scout BC, particularly when now-No. 9 University of Minnesota visited on Nov. 27.
On those occasions, Somerby said they got a glimpse into just how dangerous the Eagles can be. In net, head coach Jerry York’s team, which sits atop Hockey East, boasts Joseph Woll, the owner of a .920 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average.
Building on out, the names to watch become even more dangerous. BC’s star defensemen are Casey Fitzgerald and Michael Kim, while the threats at winger and center come in droves thanks to Colin White, Austin Cangelosi, Christopher Brown, Ryan Fitzgerald and Matthew Gaudreau. Altogether, that group has banged home 44 goals and handed out 74 assists throughout the 2016-17 season.
“They’re a really fast, skilled team,” said freshman forward Kieffer Bellows. “They have so many good players and great goaltending. We’re really going to have to bring our A game and step it up.”
The Terriers feel well prepared to do just that, largely because this week at long last let them catch their breath. In fact, BU practiced with its full roster on Wednesday for the first time since Dec. 12, with seven of its players recently missing considerable time for the 2017 World Junior Championships.
During that span, BU saw its American representatives – freshman forwards Clayton Keller, Patrick Harper and Bellows, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy and sophomore forward Jordan Greenway – win gold alongside BC’s White, Woll and Casey Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro won a silver medal with Team Canada.
“It’s great to be back with all the guys,” Bellows said. “Coming off a huge win at World Juniors is really exciting and something that we always dreamed about, all of us. Coming back our main focus right now is BU hockey.”
While BU’s focus in unwavering, it will be without two contributors. Sophomore defenseman Shane Switzer is still recovering from a concussion, while senior forward Tommy Kelley is suspended for the first game by Hockey East for a hit from behind last Sunday against the University of Massachusetts.
Other than that, the Terriers are at full health and will be looking to build off a four-game winning streak. On the other hand, BC is 3-4-1 in its last eight games.
Despite those trends and the magnitude of this conference set, Quinn said the task at hand remains the same.
“We’re going to continue to establish our forecheck, do a good job in transition defense and move the puck,” Quinn said. “It’s not who you play, it’s how you play. We want to stick to that approach.”