The Boston University men’s hockey team snagged three of a possible four points against Providence College this past weekend. Friday night’s clash was a 2-1 win at Schneider Arena, while Saturday’s game unfolded as a 2-2 overtime tie.
From the good, the bad and the ugly, we offer several takes on what unfolded. As a bit of foreshadowing, it wasn’t the prettiest weekend of Terrier hockey, even if the results were largely favorable.
1.) Bellows struggles – As much as we don’t want to admit it, it may be time for Kieffer Bellows to sit a game or so. After getting two penalties in the first period on Saturday, including one in the offensive zone, Bellows now leads all Terriers in total penalties with 16. For comparison, Jordan Greenway is second in penalties with 10. Quinn made the decision to bench Bellows for pretty much the rest of Saturday’s contest, and he can’t be blamed. It’s been a tough stretch for the freshman, as he has just one point in his last seven contests. With BU not as deep as it would like to be, hopefully he can get more comfortable in the college game soon. – Nick
2.) Penalties – If you thought the Terriers’ penalty problem had subsided, last weekend seemed to prove you wrong. After averaging 9.6 penalty minutes in their previous six contests, Quinn’s squad logged 47 minutes in the box in the two games versus the Friars. BU still secured three points despite having to kill the power play so much, but it’s obvious that Quinn will be stressing cutting down penalties in practice this week. – Nick
3.) Who’s out – It will be interesting to see which forward gets bumped out of the lineup once Clayton Keller returns from injury (which could be before the winter break, FYI). Pat Curry has stepped up to replace Keller on the second line, and he’s performed well the last few games. Does he stay somewhere on that second line, especially with Bellows’ recent struggles? And where does Ryan Cloonan fit in when Keller and Tommy Kelley are back on the ice? Who on the fourth line gets the boot? If BU can get all of their playmakers back to full health, keep an eye out for what Quinn does with the bottom three lines. – Nick
The Small Five
a.) Oettinger – For anyone claiming that Jake Oettinger can’t handle the starting spot for these Terriers, it’s time to hold your horses. The kid is just fine. Actually scratch that – he’s more than fine. He made a combined 68 saves across both games with the Friars, including 38 on Friday night. The 17-year-old also now has a 1.92 goals against average and .930 save percentage. – Jonathan
b.) D pairings – Coach Quinn tossed a small curveball this past weekend when he switched up the top two defensive pairings. He partnered Charlie McAvoy with Brandon Hickey, and also put Chad Krys with Dante Fabbro. Normally it’d be McAvoy-Krys and Hickey-Fabbro, so perhaps a small point. Meanwhile, John MacLeod and Doyle Somerby stayed together on the third pairing. – Jonathan
c.) McAvoy – Speaking of McAvoy, we’re starting to see some serious offensive production from this past summer’s first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins. He has one goal and 11 assists, including a helper in each of his last three games. That should come as no surprise, though, as he had three goals and 22 assists in his freshman season. Either way, it’s nice to see McAvoy contributing on the offensive end consistently. – Jonathan
d.) Harper – Is it possible that Patrick Harper is regressing to the mean? He still leads BU with 17 points, but he was kept off the scoreboard in both tilts with the Friars. Many of the team’s top forwards were as well, so it’s hardly a slight. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Harper returns to his scoring ways or balances out some. – Jonathan
e.) Power play – The Terriers’ power play isn’t up to snuff right now, of that there is no doubt. BU has the 43rd-best success rate in the country, as it scores on 14.29 percent of its man advantages. With copious talent – Keller, Harper, Bellows, Fabbro, McAvoy and Greenway, to name a few – something has to click soon, right? On the contrary, BU’s penalty-kill unit is the nation’s third best, as it clocks in at a 91.1 percent success rate. – Jonathan