Three Thoughts: BU, with shorthanded roster, beats Union in OT

Freshman Gabriel Chabot centered BU's third line. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SIGAL/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman Gabriel Chabot centered BU’s third line. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SIGAL/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

In case you missed it, Thursday night was a special one at Agganis Arena.

With seven Terriers off competing in the gold medal game of the World Junior Championships, the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team hosted No. 10 Union in a high-stakes clash. The game would have massive implications on the Pairwise Rankings, and it was hard not to wonder if BU truly stood a chance without so many of it’s top players – Clayton Keller, Jordan Greenway, Charlie McAvoy, Dante Fabbro, Jake Oettinger, Patrick Harper and Kieffer Bellows.

However, doubters were proved wrong, as BU stormed back from two different deficits to win, 5-4, in overtime. Now that the dust has settled, we offer several thoughts on the crucial victory.

1.) History –  It’s hard to think of a more satisfying regular season win in the last two years that this one for head coach David Quinn’s side. The 2016-17 season has brought about some great ones, including ones on Nov. 22 over now-No. 4 Harvard University and on Oct. 22 over now-No. 15 Quinnipiac University. Stretch back to the 2015-16 campaign, and the only ones that come to mind are an overtime win over Denver and an away stomping of Quinnipiac that snapped its unbeaten run. Sure, the debate can rage on either side here, but every player and coach had an ear-to-ear grin after this one vs. Union. Quinn even went as far as to say it felt like a playoff game, and that speaks volumes to the collective belief in the locker room.

“It feels like a playoff win in a lot of ways. I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. They believed, all week in practice you could kind of feel it, it was an excitement to play. I don’t want to say [we] shocked the world, but it was more, not only the coaches but I’m sure the players were being asked, ‘How are you going to play a game with all these guys gone?’ I think they felt a little bit slighted, and it was a great win. A great, great win for us.” – Quinn

2.) JFK – Wow. What a night it was from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, BU’s first-line center and sophomore assistant captain. He figuratively carried the Terriers on his back throughout the contest, doing so many of the little things right. It’s sometimes jaw-dropping how fast he crosses the blueline, using his body to protect the puck and create space for himself to operate. He even won 17 of his 27 draws and logged crucial minutes on the penalty kill. Oh yeah, the Swede netted a hat trick, too, with one tally in the first period, another to tie it up late in the third and then an overtime game-winner. It was a performance for the ages.

His first goal:

His second goal:

His third goal:

3.) LaCouvee – It got lost in the shuffle a bit last night, but Connor LaCouvee had another solid outing in what marked his third start of the 2016-17 season. He of course let up four goals, but that was with a depleted defensive corps in front of him, with two strikes coming on broken plays and two more on power plays for Union. By the night’s end, he stopped 35 of the Dutchmen’s 39 shots, and did his part in largely quieting Mike Vecchione and Spencer Foo, the nation’s top two scorers.

The Small Five

a.) Switzer – Shane Switzer, BU’s sophomore defenseman who’s honestly been lost in the thicket of immense talent on the blueline, had himself another positive outing. He scored BU’s opener on the power play, giving him three goals in his last two games. Then he spent the better part of the game in the locker room, with Quinn saying he suffered a concussion. He’ll likely be out for a couple weeks.

b.) Hickey – Another game, another outing in which Brandon Hickey keeps doing so much right for BU. The junior defenseman snagged an assist on JFK’s second goal of the night, but he was everywhere from start to finish. Due to Switzer’s concussion, the Terriers spent most of the game with five blueliners, and Hickey filled the gap and then some.

c.) PK – For long stretches of the 2016-17 season, BU has thrived itself on its penalty kill. Union seemed to finally crack the code so to speak, as it beat LaCouvee on two of its four extra-man opportunities. Quinn said in his post-game press conference that the problem will be remedied, but it goes to show that even one of the nation’s best units isn’t always perfect.

d.) JFK part 2 – When JFK walked in for his post-game interview, he was wearing a walking boot and linemate Bobo Carpenter helped him along at some points. JFK gave us the thumbs up and said he’ll be OK, so I wouldn’t take too much stock into it for the time being. After all, he played the whole game, so it’s likely a precautionary measure.

e.) Role players – Guys like a Gabriel Chabot or a Brien Diffley logged far more ice time than they normally would, as the aforementioned seven missing players normally eat up minutes for BU. In other words, role players stepped up and the Terriers are showing they’re a selfless bunch. These quotes from my 1-on-1 interview last with Doyle Somerby speak volumes to that phenomenon.

“There was some guys that weren’t used to playing in roles that they were about to play in, so you never know how someone is going to step up. We kind of did something like this my freshman year when guys had to sit, and we battled. That’s something you can come together with and use it as a positive.” – Somerby


“I think everyone has accepted their roles at this point. Everyone wants to be scoring goals and do big things, but it shows a lot of maturity and a lot of positives that guys are willing to sacrifice their own benefit for the better success of the team.” – Somerby

Three Thoughts: BU’s split with Vermont

Charlie McAvoy has a team-best 11 assists, but was held off the scoreboard this past weekend against Vermont. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Charlie McAvoy has a team-best 11 assists, but was held off the scoreboard this past weekend against Vermont. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team traveled to Gutterson Fieldhouse for a pair of games against No. 12 Vermont last weekend, falling 4-2 in Friday’s tilt before cruising to a 4-0 win on Saturday. A lot happened in the last series of 2016. Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives from the Terriers versus the Catamounts.

1.) Keller’s return – Man, it’s good to have Clayton Keller back. After missing seven games, the star freshman forward returned to the ice Friday night, slotting back into his center spot on the second line. He didn’t miss a beat, as he won 12-of-14 faceoffs and notched a helper on Pat Harper’s goal in the second period. It was more of the same on Saturday, as Keller went bar down for his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third period. The Terriers may have gone 4-2-1 in Keller’s absence, but it’s obvious that BU is a much more dangerous team with Keller patrolling the ice. – Nick

2.) Power Play – BU came into this weekend having gone 1-for-24 on power plays in conference play. They really flipped the script on that one, going an impressive 3-for-8 on PP opportunities against Vermont. Bobo Carpenter and Pat Harper scored two on Friday, with Keller’s coming on Saturday. The Catamounts’ penalty kill was ranked 9th in the nation heading into Friday’s contest, so a very positive sign from a Terrier offense that has gone silent at times. – Nick

3.) Jake Oettinger – Sixteen games into the 2016-17 season, BU’s freshman netminder has recorded three shutouts and taken the starting job by storm. He posted 24 saves in Friday’s 4-2 loss, then bounced back on Saturday night and stopped 28 shots for his first goose egg on the road. Looking at the national picture, Oettinger is a top-five goaltender, at least according to USCHO’s statistics. Boasting .932 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average will do that for ya. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to point out that Oettinger soon heads to the U.S. Hockey World Junior Championship preliminary camp, so his stock should continue to rise.  – Jonathan

The Small Five

a.) Carpenter – I thought Bobo had a really strong weekend, especially on Saturday. On Friday, the sophomore kicked things off with a power play goal off a rebound, another case of him being around the puck at all times. On Saturday, Bobo was second on the team with four shots taken and was consistently chasing after the puck behind the Catamount net. He’s not going to get on the score sheet a whole lot this season, but he works his you know what off every night, and that was evident this weekend. – Nick

b.) Bellows sits – We mentioned in our Three Thoughts last week that we thought Bellows should sit a game, and that finally happened during Saturday’s win. He did have an assist on Friday, but he also was called for another penalty and finished the loss with a plus-minus of -2. It just hasn’t been the season we hoped the talented freshman would have, at least not yet. Hopefully he’ll turn it around in the second half of the season. – Nick

c.) Hockey East update – BU now sits tied for sixth in the Hockey East standings with 10 points in eight games. The University of New Hampshire, Notre Dame and Vemrmont are in front of the Terriers with 11 points each. Boston College may have a strong grip on the conference standings, but BU is right on the heels of the other frontrunners. Keep in mind, four of the five teams in front of the Terriers have played more games. – Nick

d.) Switzer and Diffley – Shane Switzer and Brien Diffley were pencilled into the lineup on Saturday night – Switzer alongside Brandon Hickey and Diffley with Somerby – and impressed. The moves were prompted by choice and necessity, as Dante Fabbro jetted off to Team Canada’s camp for World Juniors, while John MacLeod didn’t play. Nevertheless, these two blueliners seized their chance, contributing in notable ways to BU’s 4-0 shutout of the Catamounts. Furthermore, it was Switzer’s first appearance since Nov. 12’s 4-2 win over Michigan, while Diffley hadn’t skated since the 4-0 loss to UConn on Nov. 19. – Jonathan

e.) Team Defense –  For all the talk about how “stacked” BU’s offense is, it’s team defense is firmly entrenched in the country’s upper echelon. Its 2.06 goals against average is tied for the fourth fewest in Division 1 college hockey, while its 90.8 success rate on the penalty kill is third best nationally. One worrisome trend is the magic number number for opponents seems to be four – as in four goals allowed. BU has surrendered four strikes five times this fall semester, losing four times (t0 UConn, Michigan, Denver and Vermont) and drawing once (to Northeastern). – Jonathan

Three Thoughts: BU’s weekend series with Providence

BU celebrates its second goal in Saturday's 2-2 overtime draw with Providence College. PHOTO BY JOHN KAVOURIS/DAILY FREE PRESS
BU celebrates its second goal in Saturday’s 2-2 overtime draw with Providence College. PHOTO BY JOHN KAVOURIS/DAILY FREE PRESS

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

Three Thoughts: BU splits weekend series with Michigan

The Boston University men’s hockey team served up a mixed bag this past weekend, splitting a Friday-Saturday series with the University of Michigan.

The first clash was about as ugly as it gets, as head coach David Quinn’s side fell, 4-0, to the Wolverines. After a changed lineup and renewed energy, the Terriers bounced back, winning the second encounter, 4-2.

In light of those seesaw-like performances, we offer up some thoughts on BU’s current run of form. Hint: There was some good, some bad and some ugly.

Three Thoughts

  1. Penalties: BU surely wishes it came home with more points from its trip to Michigan, but the brightest takeaway was reduced penalties. After totaling six penalties in Friday’s loss, the Terriers spent only six minutes in the box on Saturday. The young Terriers have had difficulty limiting careless penalties to start the season, but last weekend was a positive sign for Quinn’s squad. Quinn’s goal for his team is no more than four penalties per game, and Saturday’s win was the first time that the Terriers were under the limit. If BU can continue this trend and keep five guys on the ice more consistently, they’ll be just fine. – Nick
  2. Patrick Curry: He didn’t total a point in the two games at Michigan, but Curry is making his presence felt on the third line. With so many forwards struggling with injuries, the freshman has relied on his physicality and smart play to surpass expectations. He scored his first collegiate goal Nov. 4 at Northeastern, and if Curry keeps it up, we’ll likely see his name on the score sheet a lot more. – Nick
  3. Road games: After splitting a pair of games with Michigan last weekend, the Terriers are now 2-3-1 on the road, as opposed to 3-0 at Agganis Arena. This is definitely a bit troubling considering how talented this team is from top to bottom. There’s no doubt that BU won’t get very far come springtime if they can’t figure out how to win away from Comm. Ave. BU next plays on the road this Friday at UConn, and doesn’t travel again until a conference matchup with Providence on Dec. 2. Still, something to keep an eye on. – Nick

The Small Five

  1. Jake Oettinger: The freshman netminder possesses enormous talent, and his 6-foot-4 frame boosts his NHL potential. But fans sometimes forget Oettinger is only 17 years old, an age that’s typical associated with peaks and valleys, with highs and lows. Friday’s game was definitely a low, as Oettinger let in three of the 20 shots he faced, only to rebound on Saturday and make 27 saves. The fact the former U.S. NTDP ‘tender didn’t wilt in the face of adversity is an encouraging sign, and he now boasts a 1.79 goals against average and .932 save percentage. – Jonathan
  2. Jordan Greenway: Last weekend’s series against Northeastern was a tough one for the sophomore forward, who received a 10-minute misconduct in the 4-4 overtime tie and was benched during the first period of the 3-0 win. But his showing on Saturday was immense, as he registered a goal and two assists, all in the third period. Even when BU was blanked in Friday’s 4-0 loss, Greenway was leading the charge, firing three shots on goal.– Jonathan
  3. Injuries: While the Terriers will shy away from excuses, the absence of freshman forward Clayton Keller, sophomore forward Ryan Cloonan and junior forward Nik Olsson was tangible. All three bring a little something extra – Keller the top-end skill, Cloonan the simple things and Olsson a physical presence – that BU would have benefited from. They’re top-nine forwards, too, so anyone discounting their injuries is misguided. – Jonathan
  4. Lineup change: Perhaps the most surprising part of Saturday’s tilt was that junior Brien Diffley and sophomore Shane Switzer didn’t play defense. That’s right, they played as forwards, respectively earning their second and first appearances of the year. This shift likely isn’t a long-term solution, but it’s an interesting development nonetheless. – Jonathan
  5. Skill vs. grit: We had an interesting discussion in Friday’s live blog about how NHL-level skill translates to college hockey. In other words, is silky-smooth hands and a high hockey IQ more valuable than veteran savvy and grit? BU definitely has a surplus of the later with 11 NHL Draft picks, but the former category isn’t nearly as present. Is that a problem? We’re not entirely sure, but it’s surely something Quinn’s staff has discussed at some point. – Jonathan

Three Thoughts: BU beats Colgate

In case you missed it, BU won its regular season opener on Saturday night, beating Colgate 6-1. There’s a lot to unpack from the game, so we offer three thoughts on how David Quinn’s team performed.

1.) Does Jake Oettinger have the starting job? – Not quite yet, but he made a strong case for Quinn to ride the hot hand in the coming weeks. He made 29 saves against the Raiders, and stopped a penalty shot in the second period.

As one could expect, he was humble as ever in his postgame interview, saying Connor LaCouvee and Max Prawdzik push him week in and week out. But there’s a larger elephant in the room: Oettinger is likely a high selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. That certainly helps his cause.

2.) The Curry line is for real – While so much attention falls on BU’s top two lines, it’s easy to forget the intensity and grit the third line brings. Freshman Patrick Curry serves as the center and senior Nick Roberto and junior Nikolas Olsson the wingers, forming a threesome that plays full tilt full time.

Of note, Roberto scored BU’s second goal against Colgate, and Quinn’s remarks are the most telling of all. He has so much respect for the effort they bring:

“I thought the Curry line played really well. Curry, Olsson and Roberto played really well, but all four lines played well. I thought McDermott’s line played well, and obviously our top two lines were productive as well.” – Quinn

3.) Tougher tests await – Last night’s win was impressive, but Colgate doesn’t quite represent an intimidating foe. For example, next weekend’s tilts are against the University of Denver, the very same team that bounced BU from the NCAA Tournament last year. Then there’s Hockey East play starting in November, and there’s no easy wins in that conference.

It’s easy to bask in the Terriers’ success right now – perspective is more important, though.

The Small Five

  • Brandon Hickey was nursing a small injury, Quinn confirmed in his postgame presser. That explains why he didn’t play against the U.S. NTDP last week, but he’s back at full health now.

“He was dinged up a bit, so we held him out and didn’t want to take a chance. So we just held him out for the U.S. game.” – Quinn

  • Speaking of injuries, Quinn confirmed that Ryan Cloonan, Nick Roberto and Oskar Andrén are all nursing injuries.

“Hopefully they’ll be back sooner than later, but they’re all dinged up. [They’re] day to day. Aren’t we all?” – Quinn

  • Penalties still a problem for the Terriers, who are adjusting to tighter refereeing. Sure, Colgate didn’t score on one, but a stronger team likely will. Quinn expects that area to improve soon, though.

“It’s early and we have nine freshmen, and it seems like every year I’m trying to figure out who the returning players are who kill penalties, and we’ve only got about three of them. We’ve got a lot of young guys who are learning what we’re trying to accomplish from a penalty kill standpoint, so we’ll work on it again this week.” – Quinn

  • One of the media members in attendance last night was ESPN’s Corey Pronman, who specializes in the NHL and prospects. Pronman and Quinn talked a bit after his postgame presser, causing the former to tweet out an interesting tidbit.  As Pronman alludes to, Fabbro and McAvoy essentially give BU two quarterbacks on the power play.


  • Speaking of Fabbro, it’s astounding how much he shoots the puck. He threw five pucks towards goal last night, finished with a +3 rating and controlled the offensive zone. It’s slowly becoming apparent why the freshman is so highly touted, and even more so why the Nashville Predators drafted him in the first round.

Three thoughts from Saturday’s win over Prince Edward Island

Now that the dust has settled on the Boston University men’s hockey team’s 10-2 win over the University of Prince Edward Island on Saturday night, let’s revisit some reactions. To be exact, we offer three takeaways from a contest in which penalties took over the narrative and fans got a glimpse into the well-oiled machine the Terriers could be in 2016-17.

Without further ado, here we go. Feel free to share your thoughts below, too:

1.) The goaltender battle – When people think of BU’s roster, odds are they aren’t jumping to the goaltender position. After all, there’s so much on-the-puck talent that it’s easy to forget Coach Quinn has three viable netminders who are all capable of stepping into the crease on any given night. That was exactly the case against PEI.

The veteran, Connor LaCouvee, got the nod in the first period, and was bested twice in a 5-on-3 scenarios. Quinn conceded in his postgame press conference that BU hasn’t even practiced 5-on-3 hockey yet, and senior captain Doyle Somerby assured LaCouvee was hardly at fault. The Canadian also made 11 saves, and looked assured from the start.

When the second period rolled around, freshman Jake Oettinger got the nod, and he didn’t disappoint, turning aside all seven shots he faced. The U.S. National Team Development Program product never look flustered, and that’s a positive sign. Then came the third period, giving sophomore Max Prawdzik an extended period of live action. Like Oettinger, Prawdzik posted a shutout, stopping the puck 10 times.

All things considered, Quinn has an intriguing goaltender proposition on his hands: Who gets the start? Is it the known commodity in LaCouvee? How about Oettinger, who has high NHL Draft potential? What about Prawdzik? As Quinn likes to say, playing goalie is just about stopping the puck. You stop it, you play. Will it all be that simple?

2.) The freshmen – Leading up to BU’s season, I spoke with John Gardner, Avon Old Farms’ head coach, for a New England Hockey Journal article. Gardner has been around the block once or twice, and he spoke glowingly about Patrick Harper, suggesting he could be BU’s sparkplug on offense. Now we all understand why.

Harper demonstrated incredible instinct in front of goal and an eye for a pass, finishing with a whopping five goals and two assists against the Panthers. The kid is legit. But let’s not forget that center Clayton Keller put up a hat trick of his own, defenseman Chad Krys tossed out three assists and blueliner Dante Fabbro finished with a goal and an assist.

A perhaps unnoticed bit was that winger Kieffer Bellows, the New York Islanders’ first round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, finished without a point. It’s not that Bellows played poorly, it’s just more that a solid night paled in comparison to his classmates. That’s how productive this nine-member freshmen group can be.

3.) The penalties – Holy cow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many penalties in a hockey game in my entire life. To be exact, PEI and BU combined for 122 minutes in the penalty box, and the refs called the game incredibly tightly.

That’s why it’s important to revisit this telling quote from Quinn’s postgame presser. He might have taken exception to the Panthers’ physical style, but he definitely wants BU to clean its game up:

“I thought college hockey had gotten away from calling penalties. I thought it was starting to morph into 1995, ‘85, and I just thought there was too much hooking, holding and grabbing, and we’ve got to get back to calling the penalties that are penalties. To me, we have to do a better job of staying out of the box. I’m not blaming the referees in any way shape or form. We’ve got to adapt to the way they’re going to call it, and we’re going to watch every penalty we took tonight and they have to have a better understanding of what a penalty is. You can’t hit people high, you can’t go over the top and hook somebody, and we just have to adapt. We will, we’ll adapt.” – David Quinn

Will this trend continue? Only time will tell.

The Small Five:

  • Shane Switzer, normally a defenseman, saw some time at forward. It’s likely not a long-term solution, but intriguing nonetheless.
  • Four forwards – Oskar Andren, Ryan Cloonan, Johnny McDermott and Chase Phelps – didn’t dress last night. We’ll follow up and see if there are any injury updates.
  • BU fans had to love seeing Nikolas Olsson and Nick Roberto back on the ice. Neither made huge contributions, but odds are that won’t be their role this year.
  • The Terriers could have one of the nation’s best power plays. Few teams can roll out two five-man units as skilled as BU’s.
  • Take this result with a major grain of salt. PEI is no Hockey East or NCAA team, and greater tests await. Namely the U.S. NTDP visits Agganis on Thursday night, and BU visits Colgate University on Oct. 8. Those will serve as far more accurate gauges of BU’s standing.