Pluses and Minuses: Forsbacka Karlsson pushes Terriers to draw with Providence

Both nights, it could have ended poorly, but both nights, the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team managed to erase deficits and eke out a tie.

PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DFP STAFF
PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DFP STAFF

Saturday afternoon’s matchup with No. 1 Providence College at Agganis Arena was a little more intense offensively than Friday’s 1-1 tie in Providence, Rhode Island. After eliminating BU’s 2-0 deficit and jumping ahead 3-2 thanks to the heroics of freshman forward Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, BU (5-3-2, 3-2-2 Hockey East) eventually skated away with a 3-3 tie and two points on the weekend.

After a battle of a series, as always, it’s time to sit back, relax and pick apart what we liked and didn’t like. Here are our pluses and minuses from Saturday’s game:

Pluses

Keeping up with the best

The narrative was there all weekend — the rematch between last year’s national championship game foes, BU looking for “redemption” against the No. 1 team in the nation.

At the end of the day, BU came away with a pair of ties and two crucial Hockey East points — and impressive resilience to earn comeback ties against one of the nation’s top teams.

“We can compete with the best of ‘em,” said BU head coach David Quinn following the game. “That’s a big, strong, well-balanced team. We showed a lot of resiliency, we showed some mental toughness.”

Of course, the ties can be a tad bittersweet, but it’s hard to complain about getting points.

“It’s a little weird with ties, you don’t really know how to feel about it,” Forsbacka Karlsson said. “But obviously two points this weekend is not too bad.”

JFK for President

First of all, props to the fans at Agganis Arena with a sign that said “JFK for President 2016.” Good execution on that.

Forsbacka Karlsson certainly made a surge in his freshman campaign with his performance against the Friars (6-0-2, 0-0-2 Hockey East). His first goal, which at the time tied the game 2-2, came on an attempt to chip in the puck to his linemate, senior forward Ahti Oksanen. Forsbacka Karlsson admitted he “wasn’t really sure if” Oksanen touched the puck or not, but it took a good enough curve that it made its way in.

Less than three minutes later, Forsbacka Karlsson gave BU the lead on a high shot from the slot.

“It was a good feeling,” he said. “… It’s always fun to kind of get energy from the crowd and play off that. I think that helps us a lot.”

Third period

Forsbacka Karlsson’s goals were just part of a huge third frame from BU. Andrew talks more about the team’s third-period surge in his sidebar.

Minuses

Penalties

It was undeniably a whistle-heavy contest, with a total of 16 penalties throughout the game. Both Quinn and Providence head coach Nate Leaman could be seen yelling at the officials at several points throughout the game. The game got a bit testy at times, with Oksanen and Friar defenseman Tom Parisi both getting penalized for hitting after the whistle at 9:14 of the second period.

“I think, especially last night, and this night, it was a lot of physical play,” Forsbacka Karlsson said. “And I think that’s part of the game, that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’ve got to stay out of the penalty box a little bit more than we did these two games, but aside from that, it’s just part of hockey.”

Eventually, the penalty-laden contest hit its worst point for the Terriers about 11 minutes into the second period when sophomore defenseman Brandon Hickey and junior defenseman Doyle Somerby — two of the biggest bodies on the team — went to the box and BU was forced to stave off a 5-on-3 without those players dispensable.

Despite success on the penalty kill a night ago, it didn’t work out on Saturday, and defenseman Jake Walman gave Providence a 2-0 lead just over halfway through the game.

And shortly after that goal, BU earned a bench minor.

The crowd wasn’t too pleased with the excess of calls, either. When the referees came on the ice before the third period, they heard a chorus of boos from the BU fans.

Sluggish start

BU was outshot 15-8 in the first frame, and again outshot in the second period, 10-7.

Quinn fully acknowledged the dull start after the game.

“They [Providence] came out and continued what they did last night, while I thought our intensity level fell a little bit, our physicality fell a little bit and it took us a little while to pick up where we left off last night,” Quinn said. “And obviously penalties certainly didn’t help us again.”

But true to the form of last season, BU refocused and surged in the third period.

“I think we always have the same message,” said senior captain Matt Grzelcyk of the locker room mentality between the second and third periods. “We were down a lot last year, and I think we kind of learned from that. And I think we tried not to get frustrated as best as possible.”

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers take home opener over Wisconsin

Chase Phelps. PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Chase Phelps. PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

On Friday night playing against the U.S. National Development Team Program Under-18 Team, David Quinn said he saw what you might expect to see out of a young team playing in an exhibition game — immaturity.

But, Quinn said when the games mattered again, his team would get its act together and right the ship.

True to his word, the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team won when it counted, defeating the University of Wisconsin on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

The Terriers (1-1) fell behind early on in the first period, but rallied for four unanswered goals to close out the Badgers (0-2-2), 4-1.

Ten different Terriers chipped in at least one point in what was an all-around, clean win.

As always, though, it wasn’t perfect, so we’ll take a look at what went right and wrong in this Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses 

Lane’s score flips the script 

It was beginning to look a lot like Friday night early on in Saturday’s game.

Much like the first period against the U-18s, the Terriers held a sizable shot advantage over the Badgers to start the game, more than doubling Wisconsin’s first-period shot total. However, there were no goals to show for it.

But senior assistant captain Matt Lane changed all of that 1:36 into the second period.

Taking a fortuitous carom off the end boards, Lane backhanded a shot over high over goaltender Matt Jurusik to put BU on the board. It looked a lot like much of Lane’s goals from the previous three years — close and down low in the dirty area.

They haven’t been from far out, but Lane’s scoring has been effective nonetheless.

“He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s got a good stick. He’s got good hands, he’s not easily denied,” Quinn said. “I don’t think his goals traveled, last year, he had eight or nine goals, I don’t think his goals traveled more than a foot combined. He’s off to a great start, both of his goals this year are the same. Back door, quick, picking up a puck, having the athleticism to corral it and get it in the net.

“That’s how you’ve got to score these days.”

Fortunato turns it around 

Back in the lineup for the first time this season on Friday, sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato looked like a player that needed to shake off the rust. When it was all said and done, he finished the night with a team-worst minus-4.

But whatever rust was there was nowhere to be found against Wisconsin.

He came away with two points (a goal and an assist) and a plus-1 rating. Better yet, his defensive coverage was strong and he was effective quarterbacking BU’s top power-play unit.

Having a more shoot-first mentality translated in what proved to be a game-winning goal for the sophomore.

“Last year Coach had a lot of individual meetings with me and he said if I were to get my shot a lot better, then I would improve as a player tremendously,” Fortunato said. “And I worked a lot with him last year and went home for summer. This summer I worked on it every day and the first month since I’ve been here I’ve been working on it every day and I feel like I’m getting stronger and I feel like it’s getting better so I’m just going to keep on working on it.”

Fortunato was just one of many players to make an improvement from Friday to Saturday. You can read more about that in Judy’s sider.

New line combinations pay off

Looking for a shakeup, Quinn adjusted all four lines and two of the three defensive pairs.

To say the least, it worked.

Most impressive were BU’s second and fourth lines, which registered four points and three points, respectively.

The second line of freshman forwards Ryan Cloonan and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Lane combined for a speed game that Wisconsin had trouble keeping up with. Each had at least one point, with Cloonan registering two. They were quick on the puck and caused a lot of trouble for the Badgers in the neutral zone.

As for the fourth line, senior Mike Moran centered, while the wingers, sophomore Chase Phelps and freshman Bobo Carpenter, all contributed. Phelps and Carpenter scored the Terriers’ final two goals and Moran had the primary assist on the last goal score.

“I like the speed on Forsbacka Karlsson, Lane, Cloonan line,” Quinn said. “I thought that Bobo Carpenter and Phelps had great nights. So did Mike Moran. So it’s a little bit of everything on those lines.”

New uniforms 

BU already has a lot of jerseys and alternates, and they added to that count Saturday night.

The Terriers wore a jersey that was similar to the retro red one they unveiled last season, but the base of this uniform is white and the letters and numbers are red. It’s a nice, clean look that I’m sure BU will use at some more home games this year.

Minuses 

Early goal and struggles

Not even a minute and a half into the game, forward Adam Rockwood somehow snuck in a shot through sophomore netminder Connor LaCouvee and the retreating BU defense.

It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it gave a winless Wisconsin team some early excitement.

There was a response and chances from BU, but it seemed that all of the “Grade-A” chances either went wide or were turned aside by Jurusik. They recorded eight shots on three power plays, but the Terriers just could not hit the twine in the first period.

It didn’t come back to bite them, but it could down the road against tougher competition.

Low power-play percentage

It’s a tough complaint, especially just two games into the regular season, but BU still hasn’t found its groove on the power play.

Yes, they had seven power plays and recorded an impressive 21 shots on goal, but the Terriers just converted once for a 14.3 percent conversion rate.

“Well, we have to capitalize,” Quinn said of the power play. “We had 21 shots on the power play. So again, there are going to be nights where it’s not going to go in, tonight happened to be one of those nights. We certainly obviously have to do some things better on the power play.”

Odds and Ends: Playing catch-up

Hey folks. Did you miss us? We certainly missed you!

The past week we’ve had issues with our entire website, which stemmed from our old host. Essentially, the only way to fix this was by switching to a new host. Given the volume of content on the dailyfreepress.com domain, transferring all of the information from the old host to the new one took much longer than we all anticipated.

You might notice that some of our design looks a little different than before — a bunch of our custom design coding got wiped, so we’re in the process of fixing that. But for the moment, getting content brought back to you was a much higher priority.

Naturally, given that we didn’t have a platform to show you all of our content, a whole bunch of BU hockey stuff happened in the past several days. So here’s a gigantic roundup of everything we weren’t able to share with you.

Our sincerest apologies for being out of touch. Hopefully, this transfer avoids any future issues and you guys won’t be left in the dark again. — Sarah

-Last Friday, BU formally announced its incoming seven-person freshman class. No surprises, but we now know what jersey numbers they’ll all wear:

  • #1: Max Prawdzik, G
  • #2: Shane Switzer, D
  • #7: Charlie McAvoy, D
  • #8: Ryan Cloonan, F
  • #14: Bobo Carpenter, F
  • #18: Jordan Greenway, F
  • #23: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, F

-According to the updated roster on GoTerriers, Ahti Oksanen will wear #17 this season. Dillon Lawrence will wear #28.

-Right before our site blackout, we reported that T.J. Ryan has decided to retire from hockey after multiple concussions. I got a chance to chat with him (and his father, Tom) about what went into that decision and what the future looks like for him. Here’s that story.

-Former Terrier Chris Dyment was formally named the new Director of Hockey Operations on Wednesday. The news was first reported by Jeff Cox of SB Nation on Monday. Here’s Judy’s brief for that.

-Cox also ranked all 12 Hockey East schools in terms of recruiting classes. He ranked BU #2.

Looking forward:
-It’s Hockey East Media Day on Monday! All three of us will be there and will have a full writeup of anything important that happens.

-They’ll unveil the preseason coaches’ poll on Monday, too. We all know that polls don’t have that much value (i.e., BU was picked to finish sixth in the conference last season, and we all know how that turned out) but it’s always fun to see what people say and argue about it.

-On that note of polls, the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association poll is expected to be released on Sunday. We’ve already revealed our votes for that on Twitter (Sarah, Judy, Andrew) but we’ll have a post up on Sunday once the results are out.

3 BU-tied players selected on 2nd day of NHL Entry Draft

Much like the first night, the second day of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft proved to be a successful one for the Boston University men’s hockey program.

Following center Jack Eichel‘s selection at No. 2 overall to the Buffalo Sabres, three players with connections to BU were selected on day two of the draft.

The first of these draft picks was sophomore forward A.J. Greer at No. 39 to the Colorado Avalanche. Although Greer was ranked No. 69 by NHL Central Scouting and was projected to be drafted anywhere between late in the second to the fourth round, Colorado nabbed him early.


Greer battled inconsistencies early in his BU tenure, but picked up his play during BU’s postseason run. He had a chance to play on the second line and made contributions, including a goal during the national semifinal against the University of North Dakota.

The next of the selections was soon-to-be-freshman forward Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson at No. 45 by the Boston Bruins. Forsbacka-Karlsson, who was ranked No. 31 by Central Scouting and 52nd by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, joins captain Matt Grzelcyk as a Bruins prospect.

With the USHL’s Omaha Lancers this season, the 6-foot-1 Karlsson had 53 points in 50 games. The Sweden native is considered a two-way center that can skate well and win faceoffs.

Another 2015 commit, forward Jordan Greenway, rounded out the BU selections when he was taken No. 50 overall by the Minnesota Wild. Standing at 6-foot-4, Greenway is a highly touted power forward in this year’s recruiting class. He had 44 points while playing with U.S. National Under-18 team, which included a trip at Agganis Arena.

Although they were ranked by ISS Hockey, sophomore defenseman Brien Diffley and incoming freshman forward Bobo Carpenter were not taken in the draft.

In all, 23 current or future Hockey East players were selected this season, the most of any college hockey conference. BU and Boston College led the conference with four picks each.