Five Thoughts on BU’s weekend series with Northeastern

Now that the dust has settled, let’s reflect back on the Boston University men’s hockey team’s weekend series against Northeastern University.

On Friday night at Matthews Arena, the Terriers let up a late equalizer and struggled to tune out the Matthews Arena crowd. Simply, the 4-4 tie in overtime left BU with a bitter taste in its mouth.

In the return affair on Saturday evening at Agganis Arena, the Terriers bounced back in a major way, earning a 3-0 win. Freshmen Patrick Harper, Jake Oettinger and Kieffer Bellows led the way, while BU finally stayed out of the box for an extended period of time.

Now, here are our five thoughts:

1.) Second line – It’s interesting to note that the second line had much more success than the first line this weekend. That second line of Patrick Harper, Clayton Keller and Jordan Greenway scored five of BU’s seven total goals in its two games against Northeastern, while the first line of Kieffer Bellows, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter totaled just one. In Saturday’s game, both of Harper’s goals featured assists from Keller and Greenway, indicating that those three have really gelled together quickly.

While Bellows scored in Saturday’s win, it was a quiet weekend for both Forsbacka Karlsson and Carpenter, who combined for just two assists in the two games. Of course, to refer to their efforts as quiet is more of a testament to that stacked BU offense. Regardless, the Harper-Keller-Greenway line looked fantastic all weekend, while the Bellows-JFK-Carpenter line was cast in the shadows. – Nick

2.) Jordan Greenway – After Greenway picked up a 10-minute misconduct penalty that proved crucial in the tie with Northeastern on Friday, Coach David Quinn responded by sitting Greenway for the entire first period Saturday. In his press conference on Friday, Quinn made it clear he wasn’t going to let those type of penalties slide, and he backed it up by sitting Greenway.

Once he got out on the ice, Greenway was back to his old, physical self. He had a few bad moments, like when he completely whiffed on a one-timer early in the second period, but he still contributed with two assists in the win. Once or twice after the whistle, a NU player would get in Greenway’s face to try and incite him, but Greenway kept his arms down and stayed out of trouble. He was called for no penalties after spending 14 minutes in the penalty box on Friday, so we assume Quinn is pleased with Greenway’s turnaround. – Nick

3.) Clayton Keller – Man, Keller is so fun to watch. Every time the opposing goalie passes out to a defenseman, Keller is there to try and disrupt it. That’s what led to his shorthanded goal on Friday. We’ll update you as soon as we learn more about the severity of his injury. – Nick

4.) Oskar Andrén – With injuries stacking up – Nik Olsson, Ryan Cloonan and Keller could all be out for a while – the return of the Swedish winger was a welcomed sight. The sophomore slotted onto the fourth line in Saturday’s game and brought energy throughout. It was his first game of the 2016-17 season. He didn’t register a shot or make any jaw-dropping plays, but he doesn’t need to right now. He just needs to fill a role. – Jonathan

5.) Tommy Kelley – When BU hockey fans picture Tommy Kelley, odds are they envision a fourth line player who is on the periphery. Now a senior, it’s clear that coach Quinn wants “TK” to take on a far more expansive role for the Terriers.

He’ll never be an offensive powerhouse and likely isn’t a top-six forward, but his contributions are undoubtedly important. He kills penalties, makes smart hockey plays and is gradually growing into a leadership role. He also logs an incredible amount of ice time, far more than most fourth-line players ever would. – Jonathan

Highlights

Friday’s game:

Saturday’s game:

VIDEO: Coaches, players react to BU’s win over Quinnipiac

The Terriers secured a statement win over Quinnipiac on Saturday night. The final score was 3-0, with Jordan Greenway, Bobo Carpenter and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson all scoring. Freshman goalie Jake Oettinger also posted his second straight shutout.

Without further ado, here’s what coaches and players had to say in the game’s aftermath.

Coach Quinn:

Jordan Greenway and Brandon Hickey:

Rand Pecknold, Quinnipiac’s coach:

Six Terriers to participate in Team USA National Junior Evaluation Camp

Jordan Greenway was one of six Terriers selected for NJEC.
Jordan Greenway was one of six Terriers selected for the NJEC.

College hockey season may be months away, but there are still opportunities for Boston University fans see some of BU’s finest take the ice.

On Friday, USA Hockey announced the two rosters that will participate in the National Junior Evalutaion Camp, which will be held June 30 to Aug. 6 in Plymouth, Michigan. The rosters come out a day after six Terriers were invited to the camp. Sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, freshman defenseman Chad Krys, sophomore blueliner Charlie McAvoy and freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger have been placed on the Blue Team, while freshman forwards Kieffer Bellows and Clayton Keller will join the White Team.

This will be the second NJEC for Greenway, McAvoy, and Krys. They were on the beginning roster last season with teammates Brandon Fortunato and John Macleod. Only McAvoy, Fortunato and Krys survived the final roster.

The athletes have been separated into two groups for three days of practice, as well as for games against Finland and Sweden. Team USA will trim its roster to a single team on Aug. 2 before finishing the camp with games versus Canada, Finland and Sweden.

You can find the 2016 NJEC schedule here.

How many NHL draft picks does Boston University have rostered?

Somerby will be BU's sole senior drafted by an NHL team. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Somerby will be BU’s sole senior drafted by an NHL team. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

This past weekend’s NHL Draft in Buffalo, New York was undoubtedly historic for the Boston University men’s hockey team. A whopping six Terriers heard their name called at First Niagara Center, speaking volumes to the youthful talent that will soon grace Agganis Arena for the 2016-17 season.

It’s important to take a step back, though, and ponder this: Just how many NHL selections does head coach David Quinn have at his disposal? As it turns out, quite a lot.

On any given weekend in Hockey East or out-of-conference play, it’s likely 11 skaters will have been drafted. The numbers break down to five forwards and six defensemen, altogether coalescing into what is – on paper – one of the NCAA’s most talented rosters.

Forwards: The Terriers have nearly two lines NHL scouts have tabbed as ready for the next step. It’s impossible to predict who will pan out as hoped, but potential is abound.

  1. Kieffer Bellows – Freshman – New York Islanders  – First round, 19th overall in 2016
  2. Jakob Forsbacka KarlssonSophomore – Boston Bruins – Second round, 45th overall in 2015
  3. Jordan Greenway – Sophomore – Minnesota Wild – Second round, 50th overall in 2015
  4. Patrick Harper – Freshman – Nashville Predators – Fifth round, 138th overall in 2016
  5. Clayton Keller – Freshman – Arizona Coyotes – First round, 7th overall in 2016

Defenseman: Lineup decisions and injuries notwithstanding, Quinn could field an entire defensive unit of NHL draft picks. Somerby, the team’s captain, leads the contingent.

  1. Dante Fabbro – Freshman – Nashville Predators – First round, 17th overall in 2016
  2. Brandon Hickey – Junior – Calgary Flames – Third round, 64th overall in 2014
  3. Chad Krys – Freshman – Chicago Blackhawks – Second round, 45th overall in 2016
  4. John MacLeod – Junior – Tampa Bay Lightning – Second round, 57th overall in 2014
  5. Charlie McAvoy – Sophomore – Boston Bruins – First round, 14th overall in 2016
  6. Doyle Somerby – Senior – New York Islanders – Fifth round, 125th overall in 2012

Here are some remarks from Quinn following the 2016 Draft about the NHL picks that’ll be wearing scarlet and white.

Also, be sure to read this article by Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated. He was on location in Buffalo last weekend, and has some interesting tidbits from McAvoy, Quinn and Jack Eichel.

Here’s a brief preview:

“Just talking about it and thinking about it,” said Charlie McAvoy, the only one of the quartet who skated for the Terriers last season. Not the upcoming first round of the draft, mind you, but the prospect of playing together in the fall. “It’s surreal, the class that we’re coming in with. It’s going to be special.”

Quinn: BU’s ‘season ended at Notre Dame,’ but what exactly went wrong?

Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY JUDY COHEN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY JUDY COHEN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Following the Boston University men’s hockey team’s season-ending loss in the NCAA Tournament to the University of Denver on Saturday, head coach David Quinn had a theory.

“It seems like our season ended at Notre Dame,” he said. “I don’t know what happened to us mentally. We were playing good hockey and we became a fragile group mentally.”

Considering BU’s lackluster postseason run — if you can even call it a run — where it barely knocked off a last-place University of Massachusetts Amherst team in the first round and then got railed by the University of Massachusetts Lowell the following week, that’s a fair assessment. BU’s last “feel good” victory probably came at the University of Notre Dame on Feb. 26, which works out to a full month of pretty disappointing playoff hockey.

But as some have mentioned in comment sections and on fan forums, it seems as if BU’s season began its downward spiral during and after the Beanpot final against Boston College. The team had just five wins in 12 games between the Beanpot and the final game of the season, with six losses and a tie mixed in.

Of course, we can’t really get into the heads of what was going on mentally during that span, but we can point to a few things in particular that we were able to see on the ice over the final weeks of the season that could possibly account for the slip-up.

Offense, defense or goaltending?
Twelve goals allowed in two games. That makes it hard to win at any level, especially in the NCAA against top teams like the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Denver.

And BU didn’t win either of those games, and none down the stretch in what became its final three games of the year. But who’s really at fault? Is it senior goaltender Sean Maguire, who didn’t look exactly like himself during the team’s postseason run? Based on a lot of the discussion on the live blogs here, some believe that to be the case.

But let’s set the record straight. Maguire was nowhere near as sharp as he had been earlier in the season during the past few games. For long stretches, like during the Beanpot, he was absolutely lockdown in the crease. He was far from it during the Hockey East Tournament and one game in St. Paul. But the onus should not fall squarely on his shoulders. Far from it, actually. Because without Maguire, BU maybe doesn’t even make it this far in the season.

Some soft goals were let in, yes, but Maguire’s defense in front of him was poor and did not play particularly well in its own zone. Especially against Denver, there were plenty of turnovers at the defensive blue line, and both he and sophomore Connor LaCouvee were hung out to dry multiple times.

This team’s defense was supposed to be the core, the big factor in why this year’s team would be in contention for another Frozen Four run. And, at times, the unit did play up to its potential. However, there were too many instances, like Saturday’s loss, where the D corps failed to show up.

Senior winger Ahti Oksanen said a lot of the talk and work in practice over the last two weeks was based on defensive zone coverage and just generally being more responsible with and without the puck. Maybe for the first 10 minutes of the game things looked better, but by the time BU failed to convert on its second power play of the first period, everything spiraled out of control.

The attention to detail and lack of control in the defensive zone allowed Denver to walk all over BU for most of the night. For the first time since Frozen Fenway in January 2014, BU gave up seven goals in one game. Defense clearly was an issue, but this argument almost becomes a moot point due to the fact the offense did next to nothing.

It wasn’t as if the offense just struggled against Denver, the issues seem to go all the way back to at least the Beanpot title game against Boston College. Consider this: BU played eight of its final 12 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament (one of those games being in the tournament against Denver). And in those eight games, the Terriers recorded just 11 goals. That’s 1.375 goals per game against tournament-level teams. Three times in those eight games, BU was shut out. The team was not once held goal-less in its first 27 games of the season.

For a team that averaged 3.18 goals per game, and was one of the higher scoring teams in Hockey East for most of the season, the offense sputtered at a time when it was needed the most. It’s hard to have the conversation about bad defense when the offense could only muster so little. — Andrew Battifarano

Greenway move to the first line
It’s hard not to take notice, specifically, of the impact on the offense when freshman forward Jordan Greenway moved back to the first line after playing 15 games on the second line with seniors Matt Lane and Ahti Oksanen.

Greenway had seven points in his final nine games on the first line, but had 15 points in the 15 games he played alongside Lane and Oksanen.

Lane, meanwhile, had three points in the final nine games without Greenway on his line.
In the 15 games he played with Greenway on his line, he had 16 points.

Oksanen, with Greenway on his line, he had 20 points in 15 games. Without Greenway, he also had three points in his final nine games.

Furthermore, in the span that BU had that combination of players on the second line, the team had a 10-4-1 record, and averaged 3.8 goals per game. After moving Greenway, the team went 4-4-1 and averaged 2.22 goals per game.

That’s a small sample size, and obviously other factors come into play, but that’s still three one-point-per-game players when they play together, and with Greenway’s removal from that line, two of them became disappointingly unproductive as the year wound down. There was something about that line that worked, something that clicked — probably some of the best chemistry we saw from anyone this season — and it got taken apart. — SK

Lack of adjustments, lack of accountability
Save for Greenway’s move to the first line, and a brief stint from Bobo Carpenter on the second line, we seldom came to the rink this season and were shocked by any sort of move on the line charts. That goes for both forwards and defense. And there were plenty of arguments from fans about lack of depth, lack of options, but here’s the thing: The Terriers still had options. Not many, but options existed.

The most prominent example of this came on the defense, though. It was something I asked in January when we were at the University of Maine — was Quinn just going to keep rotating that sixth defenseman spot between Brien Diffley and John MacLeod? Was that a tangible solution going forward?

He said he didn’t look at it that way, and he said he’d reward whoever was playing best in practice. Yet that remained essentially the defensive situation — Diffley in sometimes, MacLeod when he wasn’t — for the remainder of the season, with the other five spots locked.

In games where he had his entire defense, all eight players, at his disposal — no injuries, suspensions or World Juniors appearances — the locked-in pairs of Matt Grzelcyk/Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Hickey/Brandon Fortunato never changed. Not once, until Saturday’s game, when he put MacLeod back with Grzelcyk.

We don’t see practice, but we see the lack of adjustments during game time — and that suggests a lack of accountability. A bad performance won’t put your spot in the lineup even remotely at stake, and it didn’t seem like players were forced to prove anything.

Something I don’t think I’ll be able to let go of about this season: The defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the nation, and ranked 30th in the nation after Saturday’s game. It regressed from last year, and didn’t do anything to get better as the season went on. I might be a bit more sympathetic if they’d tried to mix it up during the season and it still didn’t work. But that didn’t happen.

Here’s the bottom line — BU was riding a short bench, but not an empty one. And even if you want to argue that BU didn’t have any further options, there’s still a huge difference between not having enough bodies and not changing anything with those bodies at all. — SK

Pluses and Minuses: No. 9 Terriers blow late lead, settle for tie at UNH

DURHAM, New Hampshire — For a few seconds in the third period, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team had what it wanted, and standings-wise, arguably needed.

There was some not-so-pretty play throughout its game at the University of New Hampshire, but BU gained a late lead on senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan‘s goal with 2:32 left in the third period.

In terms of the playoff picture, holding onto the lead would have kept BU within one point of No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell for fourth place in Hockey East.

But just as quickly as BU (17-9-5, 10-5-4 Hockey East) scored, it gave the lead right back.

Thirty-five seconds after O’Regan’s tally, UNH forward Maxim Gaudreault tied the game at 3-3. That’s where things would stay for the final 1:57 of the third and the five minutes of overtime, so the Terriers ended with a draw against the Wildcats (10-15-6, 4-9-6 Hockey East) at the Whittemore Center.

There was some good, some not as good and other stuff in between in this one, so we’ll break it down in this Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses 

O’Regan hat trick, first line clicks 

Different wingers, good defenses, anyway you slice it, BU’s first line during its previous three games struggled to get anything going.

O’Regan, in particular, had gone three consecutive games without a point, matching a career-long scoreless streak that only happened one other time in his career, late in Feb. 2014.

That streak would not last into a fourth game, however, with O’Regan striking for three goals, the second collegiate hat trick of his career.

He came through with the first goal 12 seconds into the second, off a nice cross-ice feed from freshman winger Jordan Greenway. A little over six minutes after, while BU was in the midst of a power play, O’Regan one-timed a shot that trickled off goaltender Danny Tirone’s pads and past the the goal line.

The latter of the three saw O’Regan get to the netfront and wrist the puck high over Tirone.

O’Regan’s line has already changed a number of times this year, and it looked a little bit different with Greenway alongside freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. At least for the night, the changes paid off, as the freshmen added two points apiece.

Greenway, who was on BU’s top line to start the year, has gotten back to where he started, in large part because of his ability to use his physicality to his advantage. Two points through the first 13 games, Greenway now has 21 total — fifth on the team.

“Pretty good, they got three goals so I like that,” said BU head coach David Quinn on the first line’s play. “… I just thought that the way [Greenway] was playing and Danny and JFK I just thought that’d be a real good line.”

Shots on the rise, limited UNH chances 

You could argue that this could be a minus because BU only scored three times. In the same breath, though, it was not as if BU didn’t get the puck to the net or close to it. In total, the Terriers accumulated 70 shot attempts as compared to UNH’s 30.

Especially in the first and third periods, BU’s shot attempts came from in close range in the slot or near the crease area.

“There was a lot I liked about our game tonight but obviously the result isn’t what we wanted,” Quinn said. “Obviously i thought we possessed the puck well, got pucks to the net, just weren’t able to capitalize and our goals we had to earn.”

BU’s defense, despite giving up three goals, for the most part held it together and limited the chances that sophomore goaltender Connor LaCouvee saw. It was momentary lapses that really came back to bite BU, which we’ll get to in a titch…

Minuses 

Two quick responses 

If momentum does indeed exist, it did not last long for BU on Friday night, and that became more pronounced in the final minutes of the third period.

Off a BU turnover, UNH possessed the puck in the Terriers’ zone and also controlled the area in front of the crease. That’s where Gaudreault was when he rebounded in the tying goal, not even 40 seconds after O’Regan gave BU the lead.

Yet that wasn’t the first time the Terriers allowed a goal shortly after scoring one of their own. After BU’s second score, winger Jamie Hill snuck behind BU’s third defensive pair, junior Doyle Somerby and sophomore Brien Diffley, walking in alone from the offensive blue line to the net, where he slipped the puck under LaCouvee.

Quinn expressed his frustration with his team’s missed assignments on UNH’s final goal.

“Yeah, we turned it over, had possession entering their zone, we turned it over then our transition defense,” Quinn said, “we just blew coverage I mean first forward back did his job, the next two forwards got a little too deep and they get the puck to the point and we don’t block the shot and we don’t pick our stick up at the net front I mean just basic hockey and it’s disappointing.”

Failed five-minute major 

Quinn said after the game that he was more pleased with the way his power-play unit played this time out. But there was one disappointing aspect. BU could not break through when given the chance on a five-minute major.

In fairness, the extended man advantage did carry over from the second period to the third, but the Terriers did not get a lot of great looks on net and also were not as quick on the puck as they probably would’ve liked.

The process is getting better for the power play, but Quinn said he would like to see the rubber hit the twine more during such opportunities.

“The five-minute major we didn’t do much with, disappointing it’s kind of disjointed when the period ends and you’ve got 1:40 on one side of it and 3:20 the next,” Quinn said, “so that being said, the power play was better but we’ve just got to do a better job on it.”

Pluses and Minuses: BC prevails over BU in overtime, claims Beanpot championship

Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

None from the current crop of players on the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team was on the 2012 BU team that lost to Boston College in the Beanpot championship in overtime.

This year’s seniors were still a few months removed from Commonwealth Avenue when BC forward Bill Arnold scored the game-winning goal at TD Garden.

But four years later, this year’s team is pretty engrained in the Beanpot tradition, and now well acquainted with a similar heartbreak.

A scoreless, physical game throughout Monday night, No. 3 BC finally broke through 1:57 into overtime when Alex Tuch wristed home the first and only goal, defeating BU 1-0 in the Beanpot title game.

BC (20-4-4, 11-1-4 Hockey East) has now won the Beanpot five times in the last six years.

“Certainly an exciting game for everybody in the stands, and the last two periods it was a competitive hockey game,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play, and up-and-down action, both teams had great chances in the second and the third, they certainly had a majority of the chances in the first and we felt very fortunate to get out 0-0 after one.”

It was scoreless for almost 62 minutes, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to talk about. We’ll break this one down in this Beanpot championship Pluses and Minuses.

Minuses

Untimely screen

Senior netminder Sean Maguire was on his game throughout the title game and really the entire Beanpot Tournament. BC had a good deal of chances throughout the first three periods of the game, but Maguire stood on his head just about every time.

One of the few times Maguire didn’t see the puck, though, things went wrong for BU (16-8-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East). After both teams tried to get their legs back at the beginning of overtime, the Eagles got the first real opportunity about two minutes in and made it count.

As Tuch skated into the high slot area, BU’s defense tried to contain him before he could shoot, but the bodies standing in front of Maguire caused an unintentional screen, setting up an unpleasant result.

“I think if I saw all of it I would’ve stopped it,” Maguire said after the game. “But he [Tuch] made a great shot, and the shot crossed body post in. That’s a pro-level shot.”

Slog of a start

Against a rival like BC, and in a game of importance such as this one, it’s generally pertinent to get things started in the first period on the right foot. The Terriers, however, did not have one of their better opening periods on Monday night.

One thing that stands out right away on the shot chart is the fact that BC not only attempted 32 shots in the opening stanza, but a majority of them came in the slot and home plate area. Life was not easy for Maguire, to say the least.

BU was mostly kept to the outside of the faceoff circles and did not really kick things into gear until the second period.

Sloppy play, Greenway to the box

For anyone who’s watched a BU-BC, you know it can get chippy and downright nasty during and after the play. This one was no different, especially on the BU end of things.

Freshman forward Jordan Greenway seemed to be in the middle of it all on Monday, drawing the ire from a lot of the BC contingent in the arena.

Greenway was involved in a play in the third period in which BC goalie Thatcher Demko was knocked down for a few minutes, and he also drew three penalties during one scrum in the second period, including a 10-minute misconduct. BU killed off all of the penalty time, but was without Greenway’s presence until early in the third period.

“Well certainly missed him, but I thought we continued to play a pretty good second period,” Quinn said. “…But any time you’re missing a guy who’s 6 foot 5, 230 pounds against that team with the big, strong D corps that they have for an extended period of time, it’s not going to help you, that’s for sure, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game.”

Power outage

BU’s offense could not muster a goal in what turned to be Demko’s ninth shutout of the season (a new single-season BC record), but the real issue tonight was the lighting at TD Garden.

With 8:53 to play in the first period, the main lights above the ice slowly dimmed and then turned out. The teams skated around the ice to stay loose, but were eventually sent back to their respective dressing rooms. The situation was finally resolved after nearly 30 minutes, but it took longer than a normal intermission to get the lights up and running.

BC head coach Jerry York said after the game said both teams were offered the chance to play a 29-minute second period instead of finishing the first, but York said he and Quinn declined the opportunity.

Pluses 

Maguire nearly perfect

We’ve mentioned it in this article a few times already, but Maguire was good in this one — really good.

He kept BU in the game with 23-first period saves and finished with 41 stops on 42 chances. Maguire, for the tournament, saved 65 shots on 67 opportunities for a .970 save percentage. He wouldn’t carry the Beanpot trophy, but he did earn Beanpot MVP and the Eberly Award for the highest save percentage in the tournament.

The only two goaltenders to have a higher single-tournament save percentage than Maguire were former BU netminders John Curry (.985) and Rick DiPietro (.981).

Sarah will have more on Maguire’s stellar performance in her sidebar.

Mid-game adjustments

The first period was not one BU will be writing home about anytime soon. The rest of the game, especially from a defensive standpoint, the Terriers did a much better job in their own end.

BU pushed the Eagles to the perimeter and limited the number of “Grade-A” opportunities they could get on net. By game’s end, the total shot attempts were closer than the first period may have indicated, with BC holding a slight 68-62 edge.

“…I thought in the second and third period we did a much better job of being decisive and just making a decision and doing it with conviction,” Quinn said, “and that made everybody else’s job easier and that’s why you saw the dramatic drop in shots and scoring chances and made it a hockey game.”

Pluses and Minuses: No. 9 Terriers cruise past UMass

MBM_5856 copy
Freshman wing Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO

AMHERST — On Friday night, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team took the ice at the Mullins Center three days before its upcoming Beanpot championship game.

But before the Terriers (16-7-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East) could shift their focus to No. 4 Boston College, they had to face the University of Massachusetts Amherst in an important league game.

BU scored four goals in the first period en route to an eventual 6-3 win over the Minutemen (7-17-4, 2-12-4 Hockey East), extending BU’s winning streak to five games.

“I liked our focus, I thought we were ready from the drop of the puck,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “I thought we kind of let the score and situation maybe at times dictate our commitment and our honest effort, but I thought we responded when we needed to.”

Here’s what we liked in the Terriers’ win.

Pluses

Fourth line

BU’s fourth line of sophomore winger Chase Phelps, senior center Mike Moran and junior forward Tommy Kelley accounted for two of the Terriers’ six goals and four of their 15 points on the evening. Andrew has more about the trio’s success in his sider.

Scoring depth

It’s been a trend for the Terriers this year, especially as of late, but BU got goals from all throughout the lineup on Friday night. Three of four lines registered markers and at least one player on each d-pair had a point as well.

“It’s nice when you spread it around …” Quinn said. “Any time you can do that, you get a better chance to win. You don’t want to be a one-line team, and we’re certainly not that right now, so it’s nice to get contributions from those guys and, again, if you’re gonna go places, you need depth and you need everybody contributing, and we certainly did that tonight.”

Jordan Greenway

In his third multi-point game this season, freshman wing Jordan Greenway found the back of the net twice for his third and fourth goals of the year. Greenway now has at least one point in four of his past five games and has posted a 2-5—7 scoring line in that time.

“Obviously it’s a nice feeling,” he said of his two-goal effort. “I really worked on scoring in practice this week, but I just worked hard down low and it just paid off.”

Greenway added that his two senior linemates, assistant captain Matt Lane and forward Ahti Oksanen, have taught him “little things” that they’ve learned in their time at BU.

“They always tell me to have more of a shooting mentality,” he said. “…It’s just been a great time with those two line mates. They’ve really helped me out a lot.”

Oskar Andrén

Freshman winger Oskar Andrén was rewarded for his increasingly good play on Friday night in the form of his first collegiate goal and what would be the game-winning tally. Andrén ripped the puck in the slot and roofed it over goalie Nic Renyard to put BU up 4-1 at the end of the first period.

“It’s nice to see him get rewarded with a goal,” Quinn said.

Sarah and Andrew weren’t late

While I wasn’t late to the game at Mullins Center last season (I actually made it in time for warmups!), Sarah, Andrew and our old pal Conor Ryan were kept from Amherst by some pretty heavy Columbus Day traffic. This year, however, we all got there on time and had a blast, woo!

Minuses

Penalty kill

The penalty kill was not a bright point in BU’s game Friday, but it wasn’t necessarily as bad as the stat sheet said either. UMass scored two of its three goals on the power play even though the Minutemen “didn’t really have much going on that,” according to Quinn, and the coach added he “didn’t think [BU was] as bad as giving up two out of three opportunities reflects.”

He said maybe being on the Olympic-sized ice had something to do with it, but affirmed that it’s something the Terriers need to work on and that it’s seemed that “when [they’re] off, [they’re] off.”

“I didn’t think we cleared pucks the way we need to, just not really paying attention, systematically just understanding what our responsibilities are,” Quinn said. “We got a little bit sloppy, roaming around a little bit too much, not stopping and starting. We’ve got to work on that.”

The goal that shouldn’t have been

As mentioned before, UMass was pretty prolific on the power play Friday, scoring its first two goals of the game on the man advantage. The opening marker for the Minutemen, however, probably shouldn’t have counted.

About seven minutes into the first period, with bodies in front, senior goaltender Sean Maguire looked to have successfully saved and held onto the puck and so the officials blew the whistle, signaling that play was dead. However, forward Ray Pigozzi finished off the play and put the puck in the back of the net, which prompted the refs to call it a goal. After reviewing the play, the officiating crew determined it was a good goal, despite having blown the whistle prior to it being scored.

“I mean, it should not have been a goal,” Quinn said. “The whistle was blown, everybody in the building knew it.”

Tailing off

It tends to happen when teams are facing a large deficit, but as the game progressed, it appeared that the Minutemen began to drive play a bit more than the Terriers did. After outshooting UMass 14-6 in the first period, BU was outshot for the remaining 40 minutes by a 27-20 margin. Total shot attempts were relatively even for the final two periods, with the Terriers holding a slight 43-41 advantage, but Quinn said they “tailed off a little bit.”

“Lost a little bit of focus, but attribute some of that to the way UMass played,” he said. “They never quit, tough when you’re down 3-0 then 4-1 after one, but they kept coming at us.”

“I thought we had a chance to put them away a few times and we just didn’t do it,” he added. “We let them hang around.”

Pluses and Minuses: Late goal sinks No. 12 BU at No. 15 Yale to start Connecticut weekend

Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO
Jordan Greenway. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — Late in the third period of Friday night’s game against No. 15 Yale University, there was some confusion among the skaters on the ice for the No. 12 Boston University men’s hockey team.

The Terriers had already pulled sophomore goaltender Connor LaCouvee for an extra skater, but there was a slight issue.

BU had seven skaters on the ice when there should’ve been six.

After some discussing and finger pointing, the problem was sorted out and the Terriers (8-6-3, 4-3-2 Hockey East) had the correct number of skaters to finish the game, although they probably wished they could’ve gotten away with sneaking in an extra, extra forward.

They made it close in the end, but the Terriers fell to Yale, 3-2. Bulldogs (6-4-2) forward John Hayden scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period to propel Yale.

It wasn’t BU’s best effort by any stretch, so here’s a breakdown of the loss at Ingalls Rink.

Minuses 

Slow Start

Honestly, we could have just copied and pasted this section from a bunch of other stories we’ve written, but it really held true again.

It wasn’t like the Terriers got severely outplayed from the outset, and they even got on the board first with senior forward Ahti Oksanen’s ninth goal of the season, but there just seemed to be a flow missing. Part of that could be attributed to Yale’s strong defense and goaltending from Alex Lyon, who had a 1.78 goals-against average coming into the game.

Any way you slice it, BU was outshot 28-19 after two periods, and trailed by a goal after those 40 minutes.

It was the eighth time since Nov. 13 at Providence College that BU has entered a third period either trailing or tied.

“Too little, too late,” said head coach David Quinn. “You can’t beat yourselves, and we just beat ourselves tonight.” 

Major penalty

Yale was already crawling back into the game, and freshman forward Ryan Cloonan did his team no favors by taking a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty on a hit he threw in the neutral zone at 19:03 of the second period.

Thirty-seven seconds into that major penalty, Hayden scored the first of his two goals on a perfect passing play set up by the Bulldogs that started down low from the right-wing boards and eventually to Hayden in the slot.

It would be the only goal the Bulldogs would get on this man advantage, but having Cloonan out of the picture meant an already shorthanded BU group was forced to play down a man for the entire third period.

Missed coverage

Without senior captain Matt Grzelcyk and sophomore defenseman Brandon Hickey, it was going to be a challenge for the remaining BU defensemen to step up to contain Yale. But, much to their credit, the blue liners played well for most of the game.

Although they made smart plays a majority of the time, when they did mess up, it directly cost the Terriers.

The goals, most notably the first one, all appeared to involve a missed assignment or failed coverage.

BU had just called a timeout after it iced the puck in the middle of the second period, and off the ensuing faceoff, forward Ryan Hitchcock somehow snuck open near the net and beat LaCouvee on a rebound to tie the game at one with 1:47 left in the second period.

“Coach reiterated all week that they’re not going to beat themselves and unfortunately their first goal and that power-play goal wasn’t great plays on our part, you can’t let them get a lead like that because it’s tough to score goals against them,” said junior defenseman Doyle Somerby.

“Unfortunately it came back to bite us.”

Pluses 

Greenway continues improvement 

Like other highly touted recruits from the U.S. National Team Development Program, freshman forward Jordan Greenway had his fair share of hype coming into his first year on Commonwealth Avenue.

But the first month-plus of his season was relatively quiet, at least points-wise. Quinn reiterated that he liked the potential he saw from Greenway, but there a lack of “killer instinct.”

The faith in Greenway seems to finally be paying dividends. Greenway has five points (one goal, four assists) in the last four games, upping his point total to seven on the year.

On Friday, he had the primary assist on Oksanen’s second-period strike on a pass set up from behind the goal line and to the slot.

“Well he’s getting older, he’s getting more mature, he’s starting to understand how to play the game at this level,” Quinn said after the game Friday. “And I thought that line was really good tonight, that line really possessed the puck and had some great chances. And I really liked the way Jordan played tonight.”

End of penalty kill

Playing down a skater is never easy, but when it’s even more difficult when it’s for five minutes.

But BU, despite giving up one power-play goal on the major penalty, clamped down for the final 4:23 of the penalty, and didn’t allow Yale to again find the back of the net while on the man advantage.

Judy has you covered on this part of the game in her sidebar.