BU was slated as No. 2 behind University of Denver in the preseason poll, and kept this standing as it beat Union 4-1 during its home-opener and Quinnipiac University 4-3 in overtime. However, a sweep by Minnesota State University caused the Terriers to drop to No. 7. The following weekend, BU split its series against UConn and moved up a spot.
After losing to both the Denver and Providence College, the Terriers went to No. 12. The following weekend, BU split its Hockey East matchups after a win against Providence, but a loss to Northeastern, causing it to drop to No. 15. Finally, despite beating UNH, the Terriers were swept by Northeastern giving them a No. 18 spot in the polls.
Record: 5-6-1, 3-3-1 Hockey East during the Terriers’ first 12 games
Power Play: 20.4 percent
Junior forward Bobo Carpenter has scored four of his seven goals while BU was on a power play.
Penalty Kill: 70.6 percent
Carpenter scored two short-handed goals against UConn on Oct. 20.
“At the end of the day, this is a game about scoring goals. We can talk about forechecking, d-zone coverage, we can talk about power plays and penalty kills, but you got to score goals.” — Coach Quinn after 1-6 loss to then-No. 13 Northeastern University
After this weekend’s series against the University of Maine, the Terriers will only have five more games left before the end of the semester.
Cornell University at Madison Square Garden for Red Hot Hockey, 8 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 25
Boston College at Conte Forum, 7 p.m. on Friday Dec. 1
Boston College at Agganis Arena, 7 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 2
University of Massachusetts Lowell at Tsongas Center, 7:15 p.m. on Friday Dec. 8
University of Massachusetts Lowell at Agganis Arena, 7 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 9
The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team fell to both of its opponents, the No. 1 University of Denver and No. 11 Providence College, over the weekend.
On Friday at Agganis Arena, Denver proved its dominance early with two tallies in the first four minutes of the game. Freshman forward Ty Amonte’s first goal of the season and another power-play goal from junior forward and assistant captain Bobo Carpenter in the same period tied the score.
However, another strike late in the 1st period from Pioneers forward Colin Staub gave them a 3-2 lead Denver would keep until sophomore defenseman Dante Fabbro evened the score more than halfway through the final period. As the game appeared like it would go into overtime, Pioneers forward Troy Terry squashed those quells by finding the back of the net with 16.1 seconds remaining.
The following night, the Terriers were unable to match Providence’s pace and physicality for the 60-minute matchup, but kept the Friars off the board in the first frame and neither players from each team were sent to the penalty box. Much of this changed in the second period, as Providence got on the board three times and BU’s performance began to decrease as they searched for a goal.
Quinn said, in the post-game press conference after the Terriers’ loss to the Friars, that his young team was likely still feeling the previous night’s defeat and carried it into the following matchup. Although, BU has a chance to redeem itself as it hosts Providence again next Friday at Agganis and will see its crosstown competitor No. 20 Northeastern University there the following night.
After a tough 4-3 loss to the No. 1 University of Denver last night at Agganis Arena, the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team will take on No. 11 Providence College at 7 p.m. at Schneider Arena for another Hockey East matchup. Read our preview here to see who to look out for during this game and follow along on our live blog.
The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team hosts the No. 1 University of Denver tonight at 7:30 at Agganis Arena. In case you missed it, read our preview here on tonight’s game and tomorrow night’s game against No. 11 Providence College. Follow along on the live blog below for what should be a very exciting and fun night.
The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team split its first Hockey East home-and-home series against the University of Connecticut. On both nights, junior forward and assistant captain Bobo Carpenter, who came into the series with no goals, scored for the Terriers first.
On Friday, Carpenter found the back of the net twice during the second period, both on a pair of BU penalty kills. However, the stellar performance was not enough and UConn’s two power-play goals kept the contest at a 2-2 draw after 65 minutes.
On Saturday at the XL Center in Hartford, Carpenter continued his success with a hat-trick while sophomore forward Patrick Curry, and senior defenseman and captain Brandon Hickey each got their first goals of the season.
The Terriers’ next matchup will be against the No. 1 University of Denver on Friday night at Agganis Arena and then they will travel to play No. 11 Providence College on Saturday night.
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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
ST. PAUL, Minnesota — The last seconds of the game meant virtually nothing in the final decision for the Boston University men’s hockey team, but senior forward Mike Moran skated hard to the net to try and make something happen.
Down by six goals with under 20 seconds to play, a goal, even two, would not get BU to the next game of the NCAA Tournament.
But still, in those waning ticks of the clock, Moran looked to create a play for the Terriers. Camped in front of University of Denver goaltender Tanner Jaillet with 14.7 seconds left to play, he did just that, redirecting a pass from senior assistant captain Matt Grzelyck into the back of the net for BU’s (21-13-5) second goal in a 7-2 defeat to Denver (24-9-6) at the Xcel Energy Center.
Cutting the lead from six goals to five, by the time the goal was scored, was just mere bookkeeping for most. But Moran’s classmate, assistant captain Matt Lane, said after the game that the Terriers could have trailed by even more, but the tally would never just be a simple statistic for Moran.
As Lane skated over to Moran after the goal and put his hand on Moran’s scarlet helmet, Lane realized the goal was emblematic of the way his teammate had played during his four years with BU.
“I just kind of put my hand on his head after he got it,” Lane said after the season-ending loss. “I couldn’t be happier for him. Guys like him play until the finish no matter what the score is — that’s the way you gotta do it.”