Tag Archives: BU

Preview Huskies vs. #4 BU

March 2, 2012

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Here it is folks, your final weekend. The season is almost over, and Northeastern has the chance to split with BU and watch UMass get swept. This most likely means going into Chestnut Hill and being shown the door in two games, but we’re okay with that. We have real fans at Northeastern, who have realistic expectations, and act accordingly. Many people in college hockey have explained the scenarios ad nauseum. , but again when it comes down to brass tax, it means going all out in one game against BU. They’ll have one chance tonight at Agganis, and end the regular season at home just when the student body is going home for spring break.

BU continues to stymie the hockey world with its ability to either move on from its off the ice issues, or ignore them. They’ve lost  players Corey Trivino and Max Nicastro to dismissal for rape charges, and former first rounder Charlie Coyle to the QMJHL. BU really knows how to cut guys off and replace them as evidenced by no signs of stopping and going 10-5 in 2012. They’ve been just .500 in their past six games though, and can be beaten if a somewhat talented Northeastern team brings the energy. In order to do this, the Huskies need to look past their inconsistencies and play some confident hockey. Mike McLaughlin is the only player leaving due to graduation, so one can imagine that more players will return to Northeastern than others, right? Well if this is the case, they have a chance to set the pace for next year. And who knows, maybe things will work out this weekend. All they have to do is muster something up possibly without Vrolyk, McLaughlin, and Tuckerman, three guys who won’t exactly put the team over the top but are much better than their replacements. So here’s to another hopeful weekend, hoping Northeastern will prove this guy wrong.

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Hockey East Recap: 1/30

January 30, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Those looking for clarity in the Hockey East playoff picture found everything but this weekend.  There were 4 series this weekend and all 4 ended in sweeps.

  • Northeastern took care of business and got all 4 points on the road against Vermont in a must win series.
  • Maine put themselves firmly into the title race by taking both games from BU at Agganis.  Not only did the Terriers lose both games, but they also suffered some big injuries that will test their depth in the coming weeks.
  • Elsewhere, BC got back to winning ways as they swept UNH in a home and home.
  • And finally, Lowell kept the pressure on the top of the league by sweeping UMass Amherst, giving them  a season sweep of their rivals.
  • Then on Sunday, Merrimack took care of PC at home to keep themselves in the race.

So now its the final stretch of the Hockey East race, but not much has been decided yet.  Here is a very in-depth mathematical breakdown of the Hockey East race.  That thread is constantly updated and probably one you want to keep an eye on.  But here is a simpler breakdown of the standings.

Title Contenders/Home Ice

Boston University: 25 Points; 8 games: @MC, UMA, @UML, UML, @UVM, @UVM, NU, @NU    (TB over BC)

Boston College: 25 Points; 7 games: @UVM, MC, @MC, @PC, PC, UVM, UVM     (TB over UML)

Maine: 24 Points; 7 games: @PC, @UML, UMA, UMA, @NU, @NU, UNH  (TB over BC, BU)

Merrimack: 23 points; 10 games: BU, @UMA, @UML, UNH, @BC, BC, UML, @UML, @UMA, UMA  (TB over ME)

Lowell: 22 points; 10 games: UVM, UVM, MC, ME, BU, @BU, @MC, MC, @PC, PC  (TB over UML)

A week ago everyone wanted to crown BU, but then Maine came in and reopened the argument.   These 5 are the only ones with a shot at the title and barring a miracle, the only 5 with a shot at home ice.   BC probably has the easiest schedule, but Merrimack and Lowell both have the benefit of having multiple games in hand on everyone else.   The BU/Lowell series in a couple weeks will be a big one.  As will the BC/Merrimack one.  Both of those series are 3 weeks from now.  We probably won’t know a ton until after that weekend.  Unless one of these teams really fall off, the battle for home ice is going to come right down to the wire.  This is Hockey East we are talking about so in all likelihood, the battle for the title and for home ice aren’t going to be decided until the final weekend.

The Final Three Spots

Providence: 17 points; 10 games: @UNH, UNH, ME, @UMA, @NU, @NU, BC, @BC, UML, @UML

Amherst: 14 points; 10 games: @NU, MC, @BU, PC, @ME, @ME, UNH, UNH, MC, @MC

Northeastern: 14 points; 8 games: UMA, @UNH, PC, PC, ME, ME, @BU, BU

New Hampshire: 13 points; 9 games: PC, @PC, NU, @MC, UVM, UVM, @UMA, @UMA, ME

4 teams for 3 spots.   PC and UMass have the advantage with the most games left to be played.   New Hampshire gets to face everyone they are chasing which means they basically control their own destiny.  And NU gets the benefit of having plenty of home games, though their schedule is a bit challenging.  The biggest thing to note is that none of the tiebreakers have been decided between these teams, so when they face it each other head to head, both valuable points and as well as the potentially crucial tiebreaker will be on the line.     Another interesting note is that they all play each other in the next couple weeks but finish with teams from the top half.   So there will most likely be a lot of scoreboard watching during that final weekend.  This weekend is huge as NU and Amherst faceoff in a game that could give Amherst the tiebreaker.  UNH/PC play a home and home and if PC can get 3 points, they will be very close to assuring themselves a playoff spot.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

So Hockey East is a mess, just like always.  And every time it looks like the picture is clearing up, you can be sure someone is going to do something unexpected and make it even cloudier.   Its should be a great final month though.

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Final: BU 4, Huskies 3

January 16, 2012

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Northeastern’s streak came to an end on Friday when they lost a tough one to BU.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Ludwig Karlsson had 2 goals for Northeastern, Alex Tuckerman had the other.
  • Justin Daniels, Steve Qualier, Garrett Vermeersch (2) and Vinny Saponari picked up assists.
  • Chris Rawlings allowed 4 goals on 30 shots.
  • The Huskies outshot BU 34-30
  • NU was 1-5 on the PP.  BU was 2-6.
What You Need to Know
  • NU entered the game without two of their best forwards because Cody Ferriero and Braden Pimm were suspended due to a rules violation.
  • Despite that, the Huskies were able to score 2 goals late in the first and they finished the period with a 2-0 lead and an advantage in shots.
  • BU would get on back on a shot through the traffic midway through the second.
  • Just about a minute later, BU would clear the zone after an aggressive forecheck led to a turnover behind the Northeastern net.  The puck was won by BU and played out in front of the net to a wide open Terrier.  Rawlings had no chance.
  • With the score still tied at 2, Josh Manson was given a 5 minute major and ejection for contact to the head and the wheels started to come off for the Huskies.
  • BU would go ahead for good on this Power Play.
  • The rest of the game was filled with selfish play, bad penalties, dumb penalties, some poor officiating, and some of the most embarrassing power plays of all time by the Huskies.
  • A 2 minute 5 on 3 yielded just one shot before it was ended by Steve Quailer’s 3rd penalty of the night.
  • NU would get a 6 on 4 goal with about 3 minutes left, but they couldn’t get another one to force overtime.
Lines:
Karlsson-Vermeersch-Saponari
Tuckerman-Daniels-Quailer
Manno-McLaughlin-Dongara
Reid-Stone-Vrolyk
D:
Bitetto-Cornell
Eibler-Manson
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
At times, this game was just embarrassing.  First, in the middle of an 8 game unbeaten streak, two of the guys most responsible for the success decide the rules dont apply to them and hurt the team in the process.   BU has the team that was supposed to be hurt by off ice issues headed into this game, but I think it affected the Huskies more.  When Alex Tuckerman is playing second line and Dong, Vrolyk, McLaughlin and Stone are all in the lineup on one night, its going to be tough to beat a top team in the country.
Much like the Princeton game, the team reverted to its old way and played with a me vs everyone attitude.  The only time anyone wanted to pass was on the Power Play.  And then thats all they did.  There has to be somebody on this team that they can get to shoot on the power play.  Find that person and get them out there.  Shake it up and get some new faces out there, because right now special teams is the biggest difference between NU and the premier teams in the country.  Guys like Manno and Karlsson should be PP regulars At least they know how to shoot.
The win streak was great for the team and the fans, but it came crashing down hard with this loss.  The reality is that this team is buried in the Hockey East standings and thats what counts, not big nonconference wins.  Those were all well and good, but they won’t even be remembered if this team fails to pick up crucial Hockey East points.
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Preview: Huskies vs BU

January 13, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Huskies return to Hockey East play tonight when the host Boston University.   The Huskies are on an 8 game unbeaten streak (2nd longest in the nation), but they need to make up serious ground in the Hockey East Standings.

BU comes in tied for first Hockey East after beating Merrimack last weekend.  But the real story is the depatures.  Over break BU lost leading scorer Corey Trivino and another talented forward in Charlie Coyle.    They have played just two games since that; losing to Notre Dame and beating Merrimack.  It remains to be seen how they will deal with these losses, but if last game is any indication, they are still a good hockey team.

Matt Nieto and Wade Megan are the go to guys for the Terriers now.  They also have Alex Chiasson, but if this matchup is anything like last year, Anthony Bitetto will be out against him on every shift.  It was very effective when done last year.  On defense, Adam Clendening and Garrett Noonan are the ones to watch.   Clendening, who just returned from the World Juniors, was the one who got into it with Greg Cronin after the playoff series last year.  Noonan, a local product out of Norfolk, is a fan favorite on Comm Ave, but he could have been a Husky.  His brother played here and he was interested in coming here, but BU came in with an offer that had him arrive early.    Noonan was a teammate of Braden Pimm in Juniors.

The Huskies last saw BU in the playoffs when NU eliminated them on their ice.  That moment will not soon be forgotten in either locker room.    And to add more fuel to the fire, Vinny Saponari faces BU for the first time since getting kicked off the team two years ago.   It will certainly be an emotional night for him.

Garrett Vermeersch leads all Huskies with a 1-5-6 line against BU.  Pimm and Cody Ferriero both have 2 goals and 2 assists in just 6 games against the Terriers.   Steve Quailer (1-4-5 vs BU) will look to extend his 9 game point streak.

BU has some good numbers, but without Corey Trivino and Charlie Coyle, its hard to say what they will be.   We should find out tonight.   Its a huge game for the Huskies.  Despite the unbeaten streak, their Hockey East record is still poor.   What better time to fix that than at a sold out Matthews in front of the NESN cameras.   It should be a great game.

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Hockey East Holiday Plans

December 28, 2011

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The second half begins tomorrow for Hockey East with some big non-conference games for some and tournaments for others.   Many of these games will have big Pairwise implications down the road, so Hockey East will need some wins if they want to get 3-4 teams into the NCAA’s.

Boston College: The Eagles head out to Detroit for the Great Lakes Invitational.  They open up Thursday against Michigan.  The Wolverines are somehow ranked #20 despite being just 9-8-1.   The Eagles will then play either Michigan Tech or Michigan State in their final game.   All 4 teams in this tournament are TUC’s as of right now.  So this might be one of the bigger chances for Hockey East to gain, but it wont be easy.   The last time the non-Michigan Invitee won the tournament was when Colorado College did in 2005.  The last time BC played in this tournament, they won it back in 2003.   BC will be missing Bill Arnold, who is at the WJC’s, but Patrick Wey could be making his return from a foot injury that has kept him out since October.

Boston University:  BU has gone over a week without losing a player, so they are feeling good.  No Holiday Tournament for them this year, but they do have a marquee game.  The Terriers head to South Bend for a nationally televised game on New Year’s Eve against Notre Dame.  Its battle of 4th vs 5th in the Pairwise and all eyes will be on BU to see how they respond after a tumultuous break.  In addition to the two departures, they will also be without Adam Clendening, who is at WJC’s.

Maine and UMass Amherst: Hockey East sends two teams down to Florida this year for the Florida College Hockey Classic.  The tournament, which is hosted annually by Maine and Cornell, has been around since 2000.  Maine has won it 4 times in 11 chances, with the last victory coming in 2009.  This year they open up with an ECAC opponent, Clarkson.  UMass returns to this tournament for the second time.  In 2002, they lost in the final to Maine.   They open with a big matchup against Cornell.  UMass has already taken down a big ECAC team in Yale this season, a win over Cornell would be huge for the Minutemen and Hockey East.

Lowell: Lowell is easily in the worst Holiday Tournament of all time.  Lowell opens up the tournament with Rensselaer (ranked 54 out 58 in RPI).  Their second game will be against either Army (55) or UConn (52).  Lowell will be hoping to avenge an early season loss to UConn which left everyone confused.   If Lowell does not win this tournament, that is very very bad for them.

Merrimack: Not to be outdone, Merrimack found their own awful Holiday Tournament.  The Warriors head up to New Hampshire for the Ledyard National Bank Classic.  The Classic has had some memorable moments in the last 3 years.  Who could forget BC taking down Mercyhurst for the title in 2010, Northeastern overcoming Lowell in 2009, or Dartmouth pulling it out over Bemijdi State in 2008.   This year should be no different.  Merrimack opens up with St. Lawrence.  Then they will either get the host, Dartmouth, or Holy Cross. You don’t want to miss this one.

New Hampshire and Providence: These two join BU in skipping the Holiday Tournament scene this winter.  They both have just one game against Brown before they get back into their Hockey East schedule.  For PC, its the battle for the Mayor’s Cup.  PC had won three straight before the teams tied last season.

Northeastern: The Huskies, like seemingly every Hockey East team, open up their tournament with a rather weak ECAC team.  For NU, that team will be Princeton in the Mariucci Classic.  Should the Huskies take care of business they will meet Minnesota in the finals (or possibly Niagara).  Minnesota is ranked 2nd in the country but their two best players are away with the WJC team, so it is not a given they win the tournament, despite having home ice advantage.

Vermont: The Catamounts stay home and host some western opponents in the Catamount Cup.   Vermont, who is facing a bit of an injury crisis, has games against Lake Superior State and Ferris State.  Both teams are in the Top 15 of the RPI.  Vermont is 50th in the RPI and an addition to the injury problems, they are missing Conor Brickley who is with the WJC team.

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Hockey East at the Break

December 16, 2011

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With the first half of the season in the books, we can see how the Hockey East picture is developing.  As usual, the top of the conference is well represented on the national scale.  And they are already breaking away from the bottom half.  Some teams look ready for a big second half, while a few others could be in for a long year.  Here is a recap of the first half and an outlook on the second half for the entire conference.  We will have more on Northeastern specifically next week.

Boston College: 9-4-0, 18 Points, 14 games left

BC sits in 1st after a typical BC first half. Losses to Lowell and UMass Amherst raised some eyebrows, but the biggest surprise of the season so far for them was dropping 2 out of 3 to BU.  Defenseman Patrick Wey’s return form injury should help the Eagles, as will freshman Brian Billet’s play in net.  They have some big games left: 3 with Merrimack, Frozen Fenway and the Beanpot, but for the most part there schedule is pretty easy: 3 with Vermont, 2 with PC, UNH, and Maine.

Prediction: The Eagles do what they always do and go on a tear in the second half that takes them deep into the NCAA’s.

Boston University Terriers: 8-4-1, 17 points, 14 games left

The Terriers had to feel good about themselves going into the break.  They had overcome some early season inconsistency to turn things around and be in really good position.  1 day into that break things began to unravel and the drama hasn’t stopped all week.  Corey Trivino, Hockey East’s leading scorer is gone.  Charlie Coyle is gone.  And now their are reports some of the players are unhappy with Parker’s handling of things.  Their USCHO thread is both hilarious and just downright sad.  It is a rough time to be a Fanboy.  The players could rally around this and put together a good second half, but an outright collapse is much more likely.

Prediction: We haven’t seen the last midseason exit on Comm Ave this season.

Merrimack College Warriors: 7-2-1, 15 points, 17 games remaining

Merrimack took advantage of an easy schedule in the 1st half and earned the #1 ranking in the country for the first time in school history.  They have struggled a bit heading into the break, but with 3 games in hand on the teams ahead of them, they have to like their chances at a league title.  The Warriors have allowed the fewest goals in the conference, but they have also scored the second fewest.  Joe Canatta is the only reason they are where they are and he has been amazing this season.  Merrimack has yet to play BC, UNH, Lowell, and UMass Amherst so far.  And they still have 2 games against BU and Maine.

Prediction: The Warriors cool down a bit in the second half and get upset in the 1st round of the Hockey East playoffs.

UMass Lowell River Hawks: 7-4-0, 14 points, 16 games remaining

First year coach Norm Bazin has really turned this team around.  After missing the playoff last year, the River Hawks have already surpassed last season’s point toal thanks to some talented freshman and great play in net from sophomore Doug Carr.  Lowell seems like a good bet for home ice, which no one would have said preseason.  They have wins against BC and BU already, but they still have all 3 games to play against Merrimack.  This team culd very easily be making its first appearance at the Garden since 08/09.

Prediction:  Lowell continues to play well, but ends up on the wrong side of the bubble come tournament time.

Providence Friars: 6-4-0, 12 points, 17 games remaining

Another first year coach who has found success.  The Friars got off to a great start, but looked to be slowing down a bit.   They then proceeded to sweep Merrimack and put themselves firmly in the race for home ice.  They haven’t made the playoffs since 07/08.  They haven’t had a winning record since 05/06.  So whether they get home ice or not, this will probably be a good season for them.

Prediction: PC makes the playoffs for the first time since 07/08, and then gets sewpt just like they did in 07/08.

Maine Black Bears: 5-6-1, 11 points, 15 games remaining

The days of Maine being a national power are long gone.  But this season has them headed for a new low.  They don’t have much on defense or in net and they don’t score enough to make up for that. Its no longer impossible to win away at Alfond.  There has been a demonstration and a petition in an effort to get Tim Whitehead to step down from the head coaching position.  If it werent for a sweep of Vermont, things might look even worse up in Orono.  Either way its going to be a very long second half for them.

Prediction: Maine misses the playoffs, the state of Maine goes beserk and Whitehead is fired.

Northeastern Huskies: 4-7-2, 10 points, 14 games remaining

Jim Madigan’s return to coaching couldn’t have got off to  a worst start.  But since starting 1-7-2, the Huskies have ripped off 6 straight wins.  Unfortunately 3 of those were nonconference, so the Huskies have some work to do in conference.   3 games against BU, and 2 against Maine, Vermont and PC should help with that though.  They have been playing really well lately, but their poor start has given them almost no margin for error going forward.

Prediction: Northeastern wins the Beanpot.  The Huskies manage to grab home ice…barely.

New Hampshire Wildcats: 4-7-1, 9 points, 15 games remaining

The Wildcats have been awful this season.  And they just lost one of their big recruits for next season.  The last time UNH didn’t get home ice was 1996.  That streak is a good as gone.  Their main concern is just making the playoffs at this point.  With 2 games against Maine, Vermont, UMass Amherst, plus 3 with PC, they will get every chance to save themselves.

Prediction: UNH turns it on late and surprise everybody be making it to the Garden.

UMass Amherst Minuteman: 2-6-3, 7 points, 16 games remaining

The Minuteman picked up right where they left off last year: sucking.  But as they head into break, there is a bit more hope for them.  There have been some positive signs as of late and their schedule gives them the chance to pick up some spots in the standings: 2 with Maine, UNH, PC, Vermont.  Goalie and defense have been issues at times, but they do have some talent.  They made it into the playoffs last year and they will be hoping to again this year.

Prediction: Just like last year, UMass Amherst sneaks into the playoffs and then gets booted real quick.

Vermont Catamounts: 1-9-2, 3 points, 15 games remaining

The Catamounts are running away with last place.  They can’t do much of anything and there isn’t any chance of a turnaround up there.

Prediction: UVM finishes in the single digit in terms of points and Kevin Sneddon is fired.

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Hockey East Weekend Preview: 12/9

December 9, 2011

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Hockey East

 

Overall

GP

W

L

T

Pts

 

       W

L

T

1 Boston College

12

9

3

0

18

 

       12

5

0

2 Merrimack

10

7

2

1

15

 

       10

2

1

Boston University

12

7

4

1

15

 

        9

5

1

4 UMass Lowell

9

6

3

0

12

 

        9

4

0

Providence

10

6

4

0

12

 

        8

7

1

6 Maine

11

5

5

1

11

 

        6

6

2

7 New Hampshire

12

4

7

1

9

 

        6

9

2

8 Northeastern

12

3

7

2

8

 

        6

7

2

9 Massachusetts

11

2

6

3

7

 

        5

7

4

10 Vermont

11

1

9

1

3

 

        3

11

1

 


Its a light schedule for Hockey East as we see the final 3 conference games of the fall semester.  But first lets take a look back at the midweek games from this week.
  • On Tuesday, BC beat PC 4-1.  Jerry York was true to his word and started the “hot” goalie, Brian Billett.  The freshman is now 3-0 for the Eagles and you have to imagine he will see the majority of the playing time going forward.  Despite the loss, PC find themselves in very good position.  After picking up just 15 points last season, they have 12 this year in a third of the games.
  • Merrimack got back to their winning ways on Wednesday, whipping Vermont 5-2.   Vermont seems to have 10th place locked up pretty tight.  They have reached a level of sucking that cannot and will not be matched in Hockey East this season.    How the hell did they beat Minnesota?
  • Also on Wednesday, UMass continued their quest to be the most confusing team in the league by beating Yale 3-1 to end their up and down  first half.  A quick look at the numbers show that there is nothing confusing about their wildlyfluctuating play.  The Minuteman are 5-0-3 at home and 0-7-1 on the road.
  • Speaking of teams that are awful on the road, UNH finished up their disappointing first half by losing to BU at home last night. The Wildcats enter the break on a 3 game losing streak.  An 0-6-2 record on the road shows just how rough of a half they have had.  If you can’t remember the Wildcats sucking this bad, its probably because they never do.The last time UNH didn’t finish in the top 4 of Hockey East was 1996.  Thats the longest streak in Hockey East by far (BU has finished top 4 since 2005), but it looks to be ending this year.

Now for this weekend’s games:

  • Merrimack has a big non conference game on the road at Colgate.  This matchup has big Pairwise implications for not only Merrimack, but all Hockey East teams hoping to make the NCAA tournament.   Its good to see Merrimack going on the road and testing themselves.   Their previous OOC games have been at home vs Army, UConn and Alabama Huntsville.
  • Lowell is coming off a sweep of UNH and starting to work themselves into  a potential at-large spot.  They will have their hands full this weekend.  They host BC on Friday before coming to Matthews to play the Huskies on Saturday.  Lowell currently finds themselves tied for 4th despite playing the fewest amount of Hockey East games.  They will be looking to finish their excellent first half strong.
  • And lastly on Saturday, BU travels up to Orono to take on the struggling Black Bears.  Yawn.  This game is on TV!? somehow.  BU has just one loss at Alfond since 2006.  With these teams going in complete opposite directions, its pretty easy to guess what will happen.  I mean there is absolutely no way that the Terriers could possibly lose this game.  None. Its just not possible.

This is basically the last weekend of the first half.  Merrimack and Vermont each a have a home game against ECAC teams next Saturday, and then its off to the Holiday tournaments for most teams or a couple weeks off for the rest.

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