Thoughts from the Beanpot luncheon

The 65th annual Beanpot Tournament is less than a week away. Tickets are selling, fans are rejoicing and the teams are preparing. The Boston Hockey Blog got thoughts from head coach David Quinn and senior players about the Feb. 6 faceoff between No. 3 Boston University and No. 6 Boston College.


Senior forward Nick Roberto said his biggest fear going into the tournament is beating BC a third time, as the Terriers already defeated them twice this season.

NR: “Beating them a third time is going to be extremely hard. Hopefully we’re focused for that game, and come out and work hard just like we did the first two games.”

“Oettinger for sure,” Roberto immediately answered when asked what he considered his teams secret weapon. “Ah no, secret weapon … I think our compete level is probably our secret weapon. When we out compete teams, we’re very good. When we play down to teams or let teams hang in with us it’s a close game.”


Senior Captain Doyle Somerby wants his team to have fun with it, but knows how difficult the game will be on Monday.

DS: “I don’t think you realize how special [the Beanpot] is until you actually take the ice for it. Local guys understand it because they grew up coming to it but when you’re not from around here it definitely takes the first 10 minutes or so of the game to grasp the full concept of it. It’s really unique and special because no one else has this.”

What do you tell your team to get them in the right mindset for such a big game?

DS: “Honestly, just have fun with it as much as you can. If you grip the stick too tight, you’re too nervous and thinking too much about it, it’s going to be a long night. Especially playing BC. We already have that rivalry. People comprehend that and understand how special that is to play against them. They just need to enjoy it as much as they can on Monday night.”

This could be one of the last big games of your college hockey career. What’s going through your head as your senior season winds down?

DS: “Just trying to enjoy it as much as I can. Being a local kid – I’m about 35 minutes away – so this is something I grew up coming too every single year since I was 4 or 5. With this one you just need to enjoy it. This might be the last time I ever play BC, so on top of the big games you got your last rivalry game. I’m just trying to have fun with it, hoping to come out on top and play for the championship the next Monday.”

How hard will it be to beat BC a third time this season?

DS:  “It’s really hard. When you play a rival like that it doesn’t matter what the stat sheet says. It doesn’t matter what your record is. Especially in the Beanpot. It’s going to be a one-goal game no matter what. It’s going to be a lot of fun to play them but it’s also going to be pretty interesting. It’s going to be a tight game.”


Head coach David Quinn agrees it’s going to be a close game.

DQ: “Obviously anytime BU and BC get together, in any situation it’s an exciting game. It draws a little extra attention from both fan bases, and usually the college hockey world pays a little extra attention to it. But when you put that game in the Beanpot it’s even more special. Usually you get great competitive games. Someone has a goalie pulled at the end of the game. Both teams have talent. Both teams compete hard. Both teams are at the top of the league and in the national rankings. It’s going to make for an exciting Beanpot, as it usually does.”

How hard will it be to beat BC a third time this season?

DQ: “It’s always hard to beat BC. I don’t care whether you’ve beaten twice or not. I’ve got an awful lot of respect for them. It’s been such a great rivalry for so long. We still understand what’s ahead of us. We’re not thinking about the two games that happened three weeks ago. We’re going to focus on Monday night.”


Quinn, Somerby and Roberto all agree that although the Terriers are the youngest team in college hockey, they won’t appear to be on the ice.

NR: “Maybe for the first five minutes the crowd will get into it, the atmosphere will be good. We’ve played in some hostile environments out in Denver, Michigan and at BC, so [the freshman] will be all set. And a lot of them played in the World Juniors as well. Especially USA-Canada. That was a loud game for them.”

DS: “I think Christmas break definitely helped [the freshman], playing in the World Juniors. Playing in Canada against Canada is a pretty chaotic place to play. They definitely learned a lot from there. We learned a couple lessons last week. Definitely I’ll just tell them to enjoy as much as they can because you don’t get this experience too often.”

DQ: “We’ve been fortunate this year, whether it be at Denver or Michigan or up in Vermont or up in Maine, we’ve played in some very very big atmospheres. The guys who played at the World Juniors certainly played for 20,000 people up in Canada so we can draw from experiences. I don’t think nerves will be an issue for us.”

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

BU, with seven skaters at World Juniors, hosts Union

Sophomore Bobo Carpenter will look to lead the charge against Union. PHOTO BY JOHN KAVOURIS/ DFP FILE PHOTO
Sophomore Bobo Carpenter will look to lead the charge against Union. PHOTO BY JOHN KAVOURIS/ DFP FILE PHOTO

The wait is over, Terrier fans. After 23 days without a game, the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team returns to action when it hosts No. 10 Union College on Thursday. It will be the Terriers’ (10-5-2, 4-2-2 Hockey East) last non-conference home game of the regular season.

The main storyline heading into tomorrow’s contest isn’t who will be taking the ice for BU; rather, it’s who won’t be.

Seven Terriers – freshman forwards Patrick Harper, Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows, freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro, sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway and freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger – are playing in the World Junior Championships in Canada and will miss the game against the Dutchmen (14-4-2). They represent four of BU’s top-five point scorers, while Oettinger has started all but two games between the pipes.

This means that BU head coach David Quinn has some difficult line decisions to make, as he’ll have just 11 forwards and six defensemen in uniform Thursday. Quinn said he wants to keep the line of senior Nick Roberto, freshman Patrick Curry and junior Nikolas Olsson together, as the trio has thrived as of late. The rest, however, is uncertain.

“We’ve only got 11 [forwards], so we’ve been trying a lot of different things,” Quinn said. “We’re not really sure what the D pairings are going to be yet, we haven’t really talked about that. It’s going to be a hodgepodge of lines and D pairings trying to find out what the right combination is.”

You can catch the rest of the story over on The Daily Free Press.

Fabbro, McAvoy shine for Canada, USA in second games of World Juniors

17action_online_maddiemalhotra-1-400x271With two games of Group B play wrapped up, representatives of the Boston University men’s hockey team have continued to shine at the 2017 World Junior Championships.

On Tuesday night, freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro helped Canada to a 5-0 win over Slovakia. He didn’t register a goal or assist, but was a steadying presence along the blueline during 18:07 of time on ice, the second highest total for the Canadians.

The Americans, fresh off a convincing win over Latvia, then played the same Slovakian side on Wednesday evening, beating them 5-2. And, as was the case against the Latvians, Terriers stole the show at time, chipping in on three of the red, white and blue’s five goals.

Freshman forward Clayton Keller turned generous on USA’s second tally, flipping a saucer pass to Colin White, a Boston College forward, for a backdoor finish. Then, to make it a 3-1 game, freshman forward Kieffer Bellows found Tage Thompson of UConn on the doorstep, who deposited with grace atop the crease.

The grandest moment of the game, from a BU perspective, came midway through the second period when sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy fired a howitzer of a one-timer. McAvoy, who is serving as an assistant captain for the Americans, beat netminder Matej Tomek, normally of North Dakota.

Skating as USA’s 13th forward, Patrick Harper registered two shots in 10:06 of ice time, the side’s lowest total. Meanwhile, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger was the sole healthy scratch, with Joseph Woll of Boston College receiving the start between the pipes. Lastly, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway was stymied on his three shots on goal.

Looking ahead, Fabbro and the Canadians next take on Latvia at 8 p.m. on Thursday. On the same day, the Americans will look to beat Russia when it faces the nation at 3:30 p.m.

Highlights

1.) Canada beats Slovakia

2.) USA beats Slovakia

Tweets

BU’s Keller, Greenway shine on first day of World Junior Championships

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Freshman forward Clayton Keller.

Great hype and anticipation has manifested about the imprint the Boston University men’s hockey team could leave on the 2017 World Junior Championships, and its contingent certainly did not disappoint in Monday’s opening clashes.

Team Canada, which boasts freshman Dante Fabbro along the blueline, swept aside Team Russia, 5-3. The Nashville Predators first rounder in the 2016 NHL Draft did not register a point, but largely held his own against a heavy-skating Russian side.

 

While the Canadians impressed inside the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the same building treated Team USA well. More specifically, its members of the Terriers stole the show, accounting for two thirds of the scoring in a 6-1 win over Team Latvia.

Skating as the 13th forward, freshman Patrick Harper opened up the proceedings with a quick wrister in the first period that flew past Mareks Mitens, the Latvian netminder. With just 75 ticks remaining in the second frame, freshman Clayton Keller gave the Americans a 3-1 advantage, potting a loose puck in front of goal.

Keller didn’t stopped there, though, as he made it a 4-1 game for Team USA when he flung a wrist shot past Mitens midway through the third period. Cushioning the red, white and blue’s lead even further, sophomore Jordan Greenway cleaned up a rebound with 40 seconds remaining to seal the 6-1 scoreline.

As for BU’s other players on Team USA, freshman forward Kieffer Bellows skated on the fourth line alongside Tanner Laczynski of Ohio State and Joey Anderson of Minnesota Duluth. Next, sophomore Charlie McAvoy, who is serving as an assistant captain, anchored the defensive unit. Lastly, Jake Oettinger, one of the three American goalies, was the team’s sole scratch.

The Terrier faithful hardly have to wait to see their young stars in action yet again, as Team Canada takes on Team Slovakia on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, Team USA’s next faces off on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., also against the Slovaks. Both games will be streamed on the NHL Network.

7 BU hockey players make World Junior Championships

Sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The 2017 World Junior Championships will feature talent aplenty of the Boston University variety.

Seven members of the Terriers’ men’s hockey team will play in late December and early January’s collection of the world’s best junior hockey talent, which will take place in Montreal and Toronto. Team Canada will feature freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro, while Team USA boasts freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway and freshmen forwards Patrick Harper, Kieffer Bellows and Clayton Keller.

Freshman defenseman Chad Krys, who played in 2016’s World Junior tournament, was the last cut for Team USA. McAvoy also made last year’s competition, which was held in Finland, and will serve as an alternate captain for the 2017 group.

These seven members of head coach David Quinn’s squad have long featured for their respective national teams, with Keller arguably being the most notable. The former member of the U.S. National Team Development Program broke the career record for points with 189 on 71 goals and 118 assists. In a similar vein, Bellows’ 50 goals led the U.S. National Under-18 Team in 2015-16.

Oettinger, in also playing for the NTDP last year, posted a 2.38 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. As for the sophomore contingent, McAvoy and Greenway both claimed a gold medal at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championships. Harper has the least national team experience, as he had a brief stint with the U.S. National Under-17 Team in 2014-15. Lastly, Fabbro starred for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship.

All that talent will first be on display when the tournament opens on Dec. 26. It will wrap up on Jan. 5 with medal games.


Here is Team USA’s schedule for the tournament’s group stage:

  1. Dec. 26 vs. Latvia; 3:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre
  2. Dec. 28 vs. Slovakia; 7:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre
  3. Dec. 29 vs. Russia; 3:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre
  4. Dec. 31 vs. Canada; 3:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre

Here is Team Canada’s schedule for the tournament’s group stage:

  1. Dec. 26 vs. Russia; 8 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre
  2. Dec. 28 vs. Latvia; 8 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre
  3. Dec. 29 vs. Slovakia; 8 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre
  4. Dec. 31 vs. USA; 3:30 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre

Click here for Team USA’s full roster, and here for Team Canada’s full roster.

From The FreeP: McAvoy and Keller excited for World Juniors opportunity

A whopping eight members of the Boston University men’s hockey team recently made preliminary rosters for the 2017 World Juniors Championship in Canada.

Two in particular, however, seem like sure bets to showcase their talents on the world’s biggest youth hockey stage come late December and early January. Freshman forward Clayton Keller and sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy, two staples of U.S. Hockey’s youth setups, touched based with us after BU’s 5-2 win over Yale on Dec. 13.

The duo can’t wait to soak in the experience and represent their country. For full thoughts from McAvoy, Keller and head coach David Quinn, check out Jonathan’s story.

It’s also worth taking a gander at this quote from Keller about his first semester as a Terrier.

McAvoy’s thoughts on his personal growth were a tad shorter, but intriguing nonetheless.

“I think personally I’ve taken some strides, but most mostly as a team we’ve gotten a lot better in a lot of aspects over the first half here.” – McAvoy

The full Terrier contingent

1.) Team USA: Freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, freshman defenseman Chad Krys, freshman forward Patrick Harper, freshman forward Kieffer Bellows, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, Keller and McAvoy

2.) Team Canada: Freshman Dante Fabbro, who made the final cut on Dec. 14.

Seven Terriers make U.S. National Junior team; Fabbro joins Canadian squad

Chad Krys joined BU's cohort of draftees on Saturday morning. PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey
Chad Krys has been named to the USNJT preliminary roster for the second consecutive year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey)

As if we needed anymore evidence that the young guys on the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team are crazy talented.

On Monday, USA Hockey announced the preliminary roster for the 2017 United States National Junior Team. Seven of the 27 athletes are current Terriers. Freshman defenseman Chad Krys and sophomore blue-liner Charlie McAvoy got the invite after leading last year’s U.S. NJT squad to a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

Along with Krys and McAvoy, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, and freshman forwards Pat Harper, Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows made the first cut.

Four of the 27 players will be cut before this year’s IIHF WJC starts Dec. 26 in Canada. The final roster cuts are expected to be made Dec. 24.

Playing for the U.S. National Team is nothing new for most of the Terriers named to the preliminary roster. McAvoy, Oettinger, Keller, and Krys won gold with Team USA at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, while Bellows joined Oettinger, Keller, and Krys to snatch bronze in the same tournament last year.

Training camp will be from Dec. 16-20 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, then Dec. 20-24 in Ontario. There will also be two pre-tournament games on the 21st and 23rd.

Not to be outdone, freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro was named to the Canadian WJC selection camp. He joins North Dakota’s Tyler Jost as the only NCAA athletes to make the cut. Camp will be held from Dec. 10th to the 14th.

As a reminder, the Terriers host Yale University on Dec. 13th, then take on Union College Jan. 5th.

For the complete schedule for this year’s tournament, click here.

VIDEO: Day 2 of U.S. World Junior Camp at Walter Brown Arena

Here are a few video clips following the second day of the U.S. World Junior Camp at Walter Brown Arena. Boston University is set to face off against the U.S. National Junior Team Friday night at Walter Brown Arena.

U.S. National Junior Team coach Mark Osiecki (Part 1)

(My phone’s camera shorted out halfway through this interview, so it’s presented in two separate parts. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

U.S. National Junior Team coach Mark Osiecki (Part 2)

Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin

University of Michigan forward Dylan Larkin

Boston College forward Alex Tuch