BU visits UMass Lowell on Friday night to close out Hockey East series

A stern test awaits the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team, as it’ll visit No. 9 University of Massachusetts Lowell on Friday night.

Rumor is the Tsongas Center has been sold out for weeks, and rightly so with two of the NCAA’s elite teams duking it out. For context, they met back on Jan. 28, with BU earning a 4-2 win over the River Hawks.

Ahead of this game, Jonathan wrote his usual preview, so be sure to check that out over on The Daily Free Press.

As tough as Lowell will be, it’s hard not to look ahead to Monday night’s Beanpot title game vs. No. 4 Harvard University. Despite that, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger stressed that the Terriers are staying in the moment.

“We have a chance to win a championship on Monday, but we also have a chance to move towards another championship Friday night. It’s trying to focus on one game at a time, because the biggest game ahead of us is Lowell. Just focus on that and … play a full 60. It’s going to be a really good test for us.” – Oettinger

For more from Oettinger and head coach David Quinn, click the link above.

The Look Back: BU returns to win column against UMass Lowell


Set aside frustrations, as the sky is not falling in the land of Terrier hockey.

Pegged against No. 7 University of Massachusetts Lowell, the No. 1 Boston University’s men’s hockey team grinded its way to a 4-2 win Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

While it’s impressive enough that BU knocked off Lowell, the main storyline is that it nipped its two-game skid in the bud. The Terriers were previously swept by Merrimack College, and head coach David Quinn was visibly frustrated with his player’s mental approach.

However, thanks to 33 saves from freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, two goals from sophomore forward Bobo Carpenter and two points from freshman forward Clayton Keller, BU returned to form. The most impressive part, arguably, was that the Terriers opted for a blue-collar approach, saying sayonara to fancy stickhandling and cute passes.

For a full recap of the game, check out Shelby’s story over on The Daily Free Press. Oettinger was stellar, too, and Jonathan wrote about his performance.


Pres Conferences

Tweets of the Game

Live Blog: BU hosts UMass Lowell

Fresh off being swept by Merrimack College, the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team is right back in action tonight.

It’ll take on No. 7 University of Massachusetts Lowell at Agganis Arena, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. A stream of the game can be found by clicking here.

We’re on site for all the action, so follow along via our live blog below!

Live Blog BU vs. UMass Lowell

BU searches for form, swagger against Merrimack, UMass Lowell

When the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team takes to the ice at Agganis Arena this weekend, it will be in a somewhat foreign spot: looking to recover from a loss.

In fact, when Merrimack College snapped the Terriers’ eight-game win streak on Tuesday, 46 days had passed since the scarlet and white left the rink with anything less than a full two points.

“I think it’s an eye-opener,” said sophomore forward Bobo Carpenter. “[The loss] didn’t need to happen, but now that it happened, I think everyone is that much more focused. You never want to lose. I think everyone is just ready to get going again and get another streak going.”

Unfamiliar feelings aside, BU (16-6-2, 9-3-2 Hockey East) made it crystal clear that Friday night’s rematch with Merrimack (9-13-3, 3-7-3 Hockey East) and Saturday evening’s clash with No. 7 University of Massachusetts Lowell are about getting back to business.

For a full version of this story, check out Jonathan’s preview over on The Daily Free Press.

Pluses and Minuses: Plenty falters for BU men’s hockey as team’s quest for Hockey East title ends

LOWELL — At the Tsongas Center on Saturday, things got bad quickly, and then they got even worse. The No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team needed a win to advance in the Hockey East Tournament, after losing the first game of the best-of-three series on Friday to the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell.

It was never really a contest. Lowell took a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period, and added two more goals in the final frame for a 5-0 final result, sweeping BU and ending the Terriers’ chances at a Hockey East Tournament run.

Usually we say we have some things we like, things we didn’t like — but tonight, there really wasn’t much to like. So really, here’s a breakdown of a whole lot of things we didn’t like — and here’s another take of just how wrong things went, brought to you by Judy.


Boyle was good…but then there’s also BU’s offense
Credit to Lowell’s goaltender, Kevin Boyle, who secured a new school record for shutouts in a single season when he got his seventh of the year on Saturday.

Boyle attributed his teammates for blocking shots — BU had 70 shot attempts, but only 24 of them went on net, the lowest total for BU since a 4-2 loss to Michigan on Nov. 21. For the most part, save for “a pretty good flurry right before they made it 3-0” that BU head coach David Quinn noted, it never felt like BU was ever threatening.

Only one player had more than four shots — freshman forward Ryan Cloonan, who hasn’t had more than two shots on goal since January — and BU’s usual suspects shooting-wise, seniors Ahti Oksanen (one shot on goal Saturday), Danny O’Regan (three SOG) and Matt Lane (three SOG), were kept relatively quiet.

BU’s goaltending decision
After Lowell’s second goal, Quinn decided to pull starting goaltender Sean Maguire and replace him with sophomore Connor LaCouvee, which had all three of us sort of scratching our heads — and a lot of the BU fans near where we were sitting were scratching their heads, too.

Quinn referred to the decision as a “gut feeling.” While neither of the goals was exactly the most difficult test Maguire has had to face this year, it seemed a bit odd at the time. But it’s not like BU had any goals by the end of it, so it didn’t really matter by game’s end whether the goalies combined to give up only two goals or five goals.

And it’s not on us really to say whether Maguire would have given up the three subsequent goals that LaCouvee did once he took over, or if Maguire would have settled down after that. There’s no real reasonable way to predict that. But at the time, it was a questionable move, at least to me, that you’d pull the guy who’s been the one to overwhelmingly keep you in games all season long. 2-0 isn’t an insurmountable deficit to overcome — BU’s done it before — so it still seemed pretty premature, gut feeling or not.

The team mentality — missing?
Something the three of us have admired in our time covering college hockey is how well UMass Lowell always seems to do for having, relatively speaking, not a whole lot of “star power,” at least in the traditional sense.

And a pretty interesting point was brought up Saturday, so I think it’s worth discussing in terms of comparing BU to Lowell. Quinn noted that the River Hawks “may not have stars other than their goalie, but a lot of good players.” Which, if you’re looking at awards, recognition, et cetera, is true — just one of Lowell’s players is drafted, and he, Evan Campbell, a fifth-round draft pick by the Edmonton Oilers, hasn’t played since Feb. 12.

Otherwise, you’re looking at a team that has made the NCAA Tournament three times in the last four years — just barely missing out last season after losing the Hockey East Championship in 2015 — and Norm Bazin has a career 122-55-18 record through now his fifth season with the River Hawks.

Bazin seems to have it figured out. His teams play hard and earn every bit of success they’ve attained. They’ve built success over the years, without that “one guy” — save for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck a few years back and Boyle this year — leading the charge.

BU has good players, but they haven’t gotten the consistent, top-to-bottom effort that they need in order to succeed. O’Regan, Oksanen, Grzelcyk — all good players, obviously, but they’re not going to change the game for BU that a guy like Jack Eichel did.

And that’s what successful teams do — when they don’t have that star, they compensate for it with well-rounded, motivated, solid production from all four lines. While early in the year it seemed like the scoring might be spread out a bit for BU, that hasn’t been the case as of late. There are a few pretty good guys leading the way, but none that break through, and significantly more guys lower on the lines that have yet to step up.

You can have all the good players you can recruit — all the draft picks or projected picks, all the former national team players — but if that doesn’t translate to a full-team mentality, then it’s just meaningless talk. No one’s stepped up as a star to carry this team, and they haven’t played as enough of a team to compensate for that.

Another trophy out of reach
BU is, essentially, mathematically in the NCAA Tournament, per College Hockey News’s Pairwise Probability Matrix. So it’s not as if the loss Saturday was season-ending, but it’s certainly a gut punch to the extent that the Terriers don’t have a shot at some form of hardware, beyond an improbable run to the national title game.

Though, as Quinn pointed out in his presser, Providence got knocked out in the quarterfinals of last year’s Hockey East Tournament, and…well, we all know how that turned out. So theoretically, it’s not impossible for BU to pull off some sort of deep championship run.

But this entire weekend, nothing felt within BU’s reach. If you want to look back to the University of Massachusetts  Amherst series, too, that wasn’t exactly pretty, either. This team, frankly, has done very little in recent weeks to instill much confidence going forward.


We’re lucky to have a great photographer
Our go-to photographer, Maddie Malhotra, got some really awesome pictures from tonight, which you can check out in the gallery here.

Otherwise, it’s quite difficult to take any positives from this game. That was really, really, really ugly.

Pluses and Minuses: BU misses opportunities, falls at Lowell in Game 1 of quarterfinals


LOWELL — Both head coaches after Game 1 of the Hockey East Quarterfinals agreed that the contest came down to one thing — special teams.

But as Boston University head coach David Quinn noted, the other team executed and his team didn’t.

In what was a tight game throughout the full 60 minutes, No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell pulled ahead to stay with two third-period goals, defeating No. 8 BU, 3-2, at the Tsongas Center on Friday night.

The decisive goal for Lowell (22-8-5) came off the stick of forward Adam Chapie, a power-play strike with 4:38 left in the final period.

Bounces one way or the other could have changed the outcome of this one, as things tend to happen in playoff games. Puck luck remained mostly on the side of Lowell on Friday, but we’ll explore the negatives and positives a little further in this Pluses and Minuses.


Special teams fail

It’s noted early in the piece, and for good reason, as the respective power plays were the difference. To briefly summarize, BU (21-11-5) went 0-for-2 with a man up, while the River Hawks did their part on the power play, finishing at a 50 percent clip (2-for-4).

“If you’re going to have a successful power play, you’ve got to be alert, you’ve got to be ready to do a few things,” Quinn said, “and both their goals, we just blew our responsibility.”

We could probably break this down for hours, but, in short, BU’s effort on special teams was just not good enough to win a hockey game, especially one of this magnitude.

But, if you want to read more about the issues on special teams, Sarah has your back in her sidebar.

Lowell’s second goal 

Quinn said after the game that he liked the way his team played 5-on-5, and for the majority of the game, BU did indeed play well at even strength. One mishap in the neutral zone, however, proved costly halfway through the third period.

The Terriers pressed in Lowell’s end for most of the third, but the River Hawks took advantage with space in neutral ice, converting on forward Michael Louria’s goal at 11:35.

Louria got the puck through the neutral zone and into the high slot uninhibited, allowing him to wrist a shot in the low corner of the net, under senior goaltender Sean Maguire‘s blocker. Louria said his shot hit a stick in front of him, which helped him score, but any way you put it, a well-placed shot in open space is a tough matchup for any goaltender.

Chances pile up, results don’t

The shots were there but the goals were not. BU racked up 35 shots, including 18 in the final 20 minutes of play, as compared to Lowell’s game total of 19. BU outshot Lowell by six in the first, but skated to the dressing room in a scoreless tie, which Quinn noted was frustrating.

Yet, even as BU pressured goaltender Kevin Boyle in the final minutes, he continued to make all of the necessary stops to prevail in the series opener. In two of the three games that BU has faced Lowell this season, Boyle has limited the Terriers’ to three or fewer goals.

“Sometimes shots can be deceiving but we held a team to 19 shots and we get 35, you might think you’ve got a better chance to win” Quinn said. “But again, it comes back to special teams. And you can’t go 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.”

It could very well be a product of playing good defenses (and strong goaltenders), but BU has scored more than three goals in a game only twice since February, both against last-place University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Scoring three goals should be enough to win you most hockey games, but for a team that scored at a good pace in the first half, goals have been harder to come by over the last two months.


JFK — the good streak 

In such a fickle game like hockey, scoring can come and go in bunches. Example — freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. 

BU’s first-line center proved early in the year to not only have adept passing skills, but he had some scoring touch, with seven goals through Jan. 22. But good streaks can lead to empty ones, and Forsbacka Karlsson felt that through much of February and into early March. The freshman had no goals and just five points in a 12-game stretch lasting from that Jan. 22 game through March 4.

Finally, in the second game of BU’s first-round series with UMass (8-24-4) he broke through with two goals. He continued that scoring against Lowell, tallying BU’s first of the night early in the second period, walking in from the left circle and beating Boyle five-hole on a quick wrister to open up the scoring at 6:22.

“Obviously when you’ve got your first-line center scoring goals, it’s certainly a great sign,” Quinn said. “He’s had a great year, and as we all know, sometimes scoring can be streaky, and he went through a stretch where he was a little bit snakebitten, but obviously two goals in the last game we played and a goal tonight — hopefully that trend continues.”

The silver lining 

Moral victories mean almost nothing when it comes down to the postseason, but there is something that BU can at least take some solace in after Friday’s loss.

If there’s one thing Quinn’s bunch has done exceptionally well the past two seasons, it’s that it hasn’t lost two games in a row very often. In fact, since last year, the Terriers have only lost back-t0-back games just once, and that came early on in this campaign on Oct. 27 and 30 in games against the University of Connecticut and Merrimack College.

“It’s been a resilient group, we’re going to have to be very resilient tomorrow night, that’s for sure,” Quinn said. “I liked a lot of the things we did tonight, we’re just going to have to clean up obviously the penalty kill and a few other areas to create offense, we’ve got to go to the net more consistently.”

Pluses and Minuses: No. 7 Terriers routed by No. 11 Lowell, settle for series split

LOWELL — You’ve probably seen the score by now, but on Saturday night, the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team fell to the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell by a score of 6-3 at the Tsongas Center.

It was not pretty. At all.

The Terriers (17-9-4, 10-5-3 Hockey East) made mistake after mistake, and the River Hawks (18-7-5, 11-5-4 Hockey East) made them pay for basically every one of them.

“Certainly disappointed with obviously the outcome and some of the reasons why we’re in the situation we’re in tonight …” said BU head coach David Quinn. “Disappointed in the outcome, disappointed in why we lost the way we did.”

Here’s what particularly caught our eye in the rout:



Teams and players are going to make mistakes during games. Obviously. No one plays a perfect game, but generally those mistakes don’t always find their way into the back of the net. On Saturday, Quinn said, that’s what it felt like happened.

The River Hawks struck first on defenseman Dylan Zink’s first of three goals on the night 11:26 into the first period, and the Terriers responded fairly quickly. Freshman center Bobo Carpenter knotted things up 1:36 later.

From there, though, it wasn’t so close.

The second goal?

“We give up a faceoff goal, completely blown coverage, as simple as coverage you can have in hockey,” Quinn said.

And the third?

“A horrible goalie-D exchange,” he said.


“A bad turnover.”

The fifth one?

“We blow coverage on a backcheck,” he said. “Looked like we got rattled after they made it four, we just completely abandoned our responsibilities on their fifth goal.”

And then the sixth was the fruits of a solid netfront, batted-out-of-midair tally from Lowell captain A.J. White.

Though the final result and score are definitely not ideal, Quinn noted they aren’t necessarily symptomatic of the overall defensive play.

“We hadn’t given up a lot of goals lately,” he said. “We’ve been playing some pretty good D zone, we did a good job last night, so I mean if this happens again I’ll be concerned, but we’ve done a pretty good job of moving past performances like this, so we’ll get back to work on Monday and anxious to play again on Friday.”

Andrew has an additional perspective on this in his sidebar.

Power play woes continue

It was another 0-fer night for BU’s power play as the Terriers failed to convert on a trio of opportunities with the man advantage Saturday night. While the team began the year with a relatively prolific power play, things have certainly dropped off in the last handful of games.

Since they went 3-for-6 on the power play during Jan. 15th’s loss to No. 3 Boston College, the Terriers are an anemic 3-for-30 with the man advantage over their last nine games. One of those goals came in the form of Friday’s overtime winner, but not much has been doing for BU.

The Terriers have been slow while operating in the attacking zone with the extra skater and aren’t doing enough to get the penalty killers out of sorts. Excessive stickhandling and messy entries have allowed opposing units to set up and adjust to each move BU makes, preventing the Terriers from getting anywhere close to capitalizing.


Keep battling

Quinn said he liked the way his squad continued to battle throughout the game, and an 87-46 shot attempt differential in favor of the Terriers certainly backs that up. However, Quinn made sure to mention that “it’s easy to battle when you’re down by three.”

Typically, teams that are trailing are going to play more aggressively because, well, they’re trying to score goals. On the other hand, a team with a fairly safe lead like Lowell’s four-goal edge, can afford to play more conservatively. The objective would be to maintain the lead, not necessarily to add another goal.

“I thought we played well as the game went on, but tough to gauge because, like I said, when it’s 5-2, they’re playing a little bit different,” Quinn said.

Ahti Oksanen

I’ll admit I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but I wanted to give credit to Ahti Oksanen, who had a pair of primary assists in BU’s loss Saturday. The two helpers served as the senior’s sixth multi-point game in the second half, and he is now tied for 20th in the country in scoring with 33 points.

Since the Terriers have returned from break, Oksanen has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in a dozen games.