the chicken-or-egg question at Boston University right now,
as the Terriers are riding a wave of increased confidence
and goal production. They carry a three-game winning streak
into Friday night’s game against New Hampshire in
aren’t breaking offensive records – in fact,
head coach Jack Parker’s team is last in Hockey East
with 2.40 goals per game – but the goals seem to be
coming much more often, and in timelier situations, than
they did a year ago.
Terriers slogged their way to a 12-17-9 season, Parker often
found himself praising his team’s effort, but noting
that they were gripping their sticks too tightly. They just
didn’t seem to have the poise or confidence needed
to turn chances into goals.
came first, there’s no doubt that the Terriers have
a spring in their step and goals in their sticks.
think this team has a little more swagger, a little more
confidence than last year,” said Parker, who is looking
for his first four-game winning streak since February of
2003. “We’re more capable than last year of
putting the puck in the net. We played real well at times
last year, but we were tentative around the net and couldn’t
score. Although we’re not getting seven goals a game
or anything like that, we are scoring, and I like the way
we’re playing poise-wise.”
part of the improvement on Babcock Street comes from a talented
freshman class. Chris Bourque has an incredible amount of
poise and has been BU’s best player in several outings
so far. And while Bourque (0-3—3) hasn’t scored
himself yet, his classmate and linemate, Pete MacArthur,
leads the team with four goals and six points. Bourque and
MacArthur rank 1-2 on the team in shots on goal (29 and
17, respectively) and have combined for more than a quarter
of the Terriers shots.
combined on a great goal in Sunday’s BU win over Maine
that demonstrated what each one has brought to the team.
Bourque made a nifty play to chip a puck past Black Bear
goaltender Jimmy Howard, but it hit the post. MacArthur
was there to finish the play.
knew what Chris Bourque was going to do, and he’s
been tremendous but that wasn’t a surprise,”
Parker said. “Pete MacArthur has been good as well.
He’s always been a player who’s been in the
right place at the right time.”
knack around the net is precisely what the Terriers needed
after last year, and has given them good reason to carry
their heads high.
AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
700 – Nobody gets to 700 victories alone,
and Jerry York was quick to praise those who have played
for and coached with him when he became just the third coach
to reach that milestone Friday night against North Dakota.
also something to be said for a head coach putting that
supporting cast in roles where they can succeed. Speaking
to Father Tony Penna, who works closely with the Eagles
team, this summer, he said a key to York’s success
was not just his own excellence as a coach, but also the
trust he has in – and the responsibilities he gives
to – his assistants.
to his credit, is quick to heap praise on all of his assistants,
past and present. At the Frozen Four last year, for example,
he went out of his way to cite the role of Bowling Green
head coach Scott Paluch in recruiting some of the players
who had led BC to that point.
are, down the road, York will take as much pride in watching
the success of Paluch, former BC assistant Ron Rolston,
and current assistants Mike Cavanaugh and Greg Brown as
he does in his own incredible resume. But regardless of
whether it’s measured in his record or the people
he’s influenced, it’s clear that York leaves
a remarkable legacy in college hockey.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
University vs. New Hampshire (Fri. at Manchester) The
Terriers have enjoyed some success at the Whittemore
Center, but this game heads to Manchester where a
packed house should be waiting. There are two potentially
great games at Maine this weekend (Boston College
and New Hampshire visit), but BU-UNH is the most intriguing
on the docket. Both teams had goaltending questions
before the season that have largely been answered,
and the offense has been there thus far.
You’re There: We had good luck tracking down
out-of-town games at Billy’s Sports Bar, a short
drive from the rink, during the Northeast Regional
last year. There won’t be a chance to catch
any other games Friday night, but the grub is worth
Kudos to Boston College Director of Hockey Operations
John Hegarty and his staff for lending
a hand to North Dakota after Friday's game. BC provided
two of their own vans, and Hegarty and two of his
assistants volunteered their time to help take all
of the Fighting Sioux's equipment to Northeastern's
Matthews Arena late Friday night. This saved North
Dakota from fighting through the 3.2 million Red Sox
fans in the city on Saturday morning for the parade.
Northeastern’s penalty kill has
allowed at least a goal in every game thus far and
checks in at 69.0 percent, good for 56th in the country.
The good news: last weekend the Huskies allowed only
three power-play goals on the weekend, snapping a
string of three straight games in which they gave
up three PPGs in each contest.
Coaches often point to the jump between freshman and sophomore
year as the biggest opportunity for improvement. We touched
on Matt Byrnes’ jump in production at Merrimack
last week, and Brett Hemingway is making similar strides
reason for optimism in Providence is the
play of three sophomores who, at least to this point, have
made that leap. Chase Watson (2-4—6), Colin McDonald
(5-0—5) and Bill McCreary (4-1—5) are all averaging
a point per game through five games and are among the top
four Friars in scoring; last season that trio finished seventh,
eighth and ninth on the team in points, respectively.
Boston College has played the fewest games
of any Hockey East team (four), and yet Patrick Eaves leads
the conference with 11 points.
BU found a gem in freshman Bryan Ewing,
but the Terriers will miss him over the next six weeks due
to a shoulder injury. “We knew he was going to be
good,” head coach Jack Parker said, “but we
didn’t think he’d be this good.”
Can Connecticut make it two in a row? The Atlantic Hockey
Huskies visit the Hockey East Huskies – Northeastern
– Friday night and hope to duplicate their 3-2 overtime
win at Massachusetts two weeks ago.
There’s no need to panic yet at Maine,
but there is room for improvement. The Black Bears (5-4-0)
have only won two games in a weekend once in four tries
(against Niagara), and have a tall order ahead this weekend
with Boston College and New Hampshire
in Orono. The Black Bear defensemen have had difficulty
with aggressive forechecks, and the offense generated only
one goal at BU Sunday with playmaker Michel Leveille injured
and out of the lineup. The good news: Jimmy Howard, who
had mononucleosis and a sprained ankle in the off-season,
is back at the top of his game.
Ben Walter’s four-goal performance at Rensselaer was
the first time a UMass Lowell player scored
four goals since 1995 (Neil Donovan, at Massachusetts).
Perhaps more significant for the River Hawks, Andrew Martin’s
goal in that game was their first at even-strength all season.
All three UMass Lowell goaltenders saw
action in the two victories in ECACHL country, including
freshman Peter Vetri’s first career start in the 3-2
win at Union.
He’s only 1-2-0 and lost 6-2 Friday night at Providence,
but Tim Warner has played well along with Gabe Winer in
the Massachusetts goal. “He worked
hard over the summer and has played well,” head coach
Don Cahoon said of Warner prior to the Providence game,
when he was victimized by three power-play goals. “He
gained confidence late last year, but it’s been more
than that. He’s played really well.”
Winer, meanwhile, has been spectacular,
with a 3-1-0 record, a 1.75 goals-against average and a
.931 save percentage, numbers that are second only to Boston
University’s John Curry in the conference.
New Hampshire will have played one game
in the 18 days before its faceoff with Boston University
UMass, Northeastern and
Providence all unveiled new sweaters this
season, and we’ve got to give Providence the nod for
the UMass Lowell Award – named after
the River Hawks jerseys introduced last year – for
the league’s best new threads. That’s impressive,
considering that we welcome Providence uniform changes like
dentist’s visits, but they got this one right.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this