February 2, 2006
Boston's Big Show

By Jeff Howe

 Hockey East Notebook

John Curry and Boston University enter the weekend in the midst of a seven-game unbeaten streak.

National TV Schedule

There’s the whole hatred thing. The two legendary coaches. Eighty-eight years of competition. Stir around some red and white with some maroon and gold. Don’t forget that they’re only separated by about three miles from each other on Commonwealth Ave. That’s right, it’s BC and BU, the most storied rivalry in all of college hockey; blah blah blah, right? Well, not exactly.

Just to make sure that nothing about this showdown could have possibly gotten boring before their game last Friday, the Eagles were the new No. 1 team in the country and Cory Schneider seemingly hadn’t allowed a puck to get past him since goalies wore those Jason-like Halloween masks.

Add the fact that these two teams had split their home-and-home series on Dec. 2-3 to make last Friday's event the rubber match, and that this could serve to be a preview to the Beanpot championship a little more than two weeks from then, and it’s safe to say that a few people were looking forward to this game.

With a 2-0 lead in the second period and Schneider looking solid between the pipes, it appeared the Eagles weren’t going to receive much of a challenge on their home ice, but things changed in a hurry.

Defenseman Kevin Schaeffer, who had a grand total of two goals this year and just four goals in the team’s 63 games since the start of last season, was leading the BU charge down the right side of the ice and flipped the puck towards Schneider on a tough, low-angle shot. The puck made it through Schneider’s five-hole, and he ended up kicking it into the net with his right skate, effectively getting BU on the board and ending his shutout streak at 242:19. It was a fluky goal, but don’t look for any complaints from the Terriers.

After not allowing a goal for over four hours of hockey, Schneider was just 12:04 from tying BC alum Scott Clemmensen’s national record of 254:23.

The Terriers then went on to score the game’s next three goals to take a 4-2 lead, and BC’s comeback bid fell short, giving BU a 4-3 win. With the fall of Schneider and the recent play of Boston University goalie John Curry, it appears there may be a new top dog in Beantown. Curry commented on the duel he had with Schneider and the nearly unprecedented run he was on.

“To have a shutout streak going that long, not just the fact that you’re not letting goals in, but it gets in your head. You start thinking of shutouts and that is when it gets hard,” Curry said. “It’s unbelievable that he was able to keep it going as long as he did. He’s obviously a great goaltender, and he’s a good kid. It’s really fun to play against him, and to get a win against a goalie like that and a team like that is even sweeter.”

After ending BC’s seven-game winning streak and 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1), BU accomplished what may have been an equally tougher task by refocusing for its game the next night with UMass. Curry made another 25 saves in the Terriers’ 3-1 win to extend their winning streak to seven games.

“It was a huge weekend,” Curry said. “Obviously, it’s an intimidating week of practice, and the hardest part was after getting that emotional win [against BC]. You have to refocus [for UMass]. That was hard for me during the day because I kept thinking about [the BC game] and how big of a win that was and how cool it was for the seniors.”

Boston University’s turnaround has coincided with the return of captain David Van der Gulik, who missed the first 15 games of the season with an abdominal injury. His presence has allowed Jack Parker to create more line depth, and his “White Line” of Kenny Roche, Peter MacArthur and Bryan Ewing have led the offensive charge. The Terriers have scored 29 goals over the win streak but only scored 47 goals in their first 17 games, an increase of more than a goal per game.

“We’ve been having a lot more confidence in terms of putting the puck in the net,” Curry said. “Through the streak, I don’t think I’m playing much better, and the defense has been strong all year. But the puck is going in for us and Van der Gulik has added the extra depth to the lineup. We’ve got the chemistry going on the White Line and the other lines are contributing as well.

“The main thing is that we’ve been able to get goals and even when we’re down like we were at BC, the game isn’t over. Earlier in the year, we weren’t sure if we were going to score goals and that gets in your head. We’re a confident team right now.”


Seven UNH Skaters Suspended: Each side of the UNH and Maine rivalry has been involved in some sort of scandal this season, most recently in Durham. UNH coach Dick Umile has suspended seven players, including two-thirds of one of the top scoring lines in college hockey, for the first clip of this weekend’s double-dip in Orono. They were suspended for violating team rules.

All seven players are forwards and all seven have played in at least 24 of the team’s 26 games this season. Brett Hemingway (12-14–26) and Daniel Winnik (11-19–30) are the two first-liners who won’t play Friday, meaning the Wildcats will count on Jacob Micflikier to pick up some of the slack. Also suspended are Josh Ciocco (2-9–11), Greg Collins (2-0–2), Jerry Pollastrone (3-4–7), Mike Radja (6-5–11) and Trevor Smith (3-8–11).

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

New Hampshire at Maine
It’s not exactly BC and BU, but these two fan bases hate each other every bit the same. While Maine has gotten back on track of late by winning three in a row, the Wildcats have stumbled to back-to-back losses and UNH is now just a single point ahead of the Black Bears for home ice. This series will go a long way to determining where each of these teams play in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. In the pair’s only other meeting this season, UNH skated to a 4-2 victory at the Whitt on Nov. 12.

While You’re There: Pay your respects to the popular Orono nightspot Ushuaia, which is reportedly closing down by the end of the month. Sing and dance, but make sure you take it all in because when it’s gone for good, Ushuaia will be sorely missed.

Stick Salute

Raise your sticks for Mark Dennehy, who led Merrimack to its first Hockey East road victory in more than two years with a 4-2 triumph at Vermont on Friday night. The last time the Warriors walked out of an opponent’s doors with a "W" under their belt was on Jan. 17, 2004, after taking down UMass Lowell, 3-0.

Bench Minor

When you’re an upperclassman and you play for one of the most successful programs in Division I athletics, regardless of the sport, it’s your responsibility to set a good example for the younger guys in your locker room, especially late in the season when your team is struggling and you’re about to play two of the biggest games of the year. Brett Hemingway and Daniel Winnik – among others – failed to do that this week for the Wildcats and they are now at a serious disadvantage, not just for the first game of the series, but both games at Alfond this weekend.

“We’ve done something wrong, and we have to be punished for it,” Winnik said to Roger Brown in the Portsmouth Herald. “We’re just kind of disappointed in ourselves. We’re looking forward to getting back to it and repay our team Saturday with a win. I really want to pay my team back for what I did.”

In November, Black Bears Wes Clark and Mike Hamilton were suspended indefinitely after being charged with assault and aggravated criminal trespass for an off-campus fight that involved several other members of the hockey team. The other players were Travis Wright, Brent Shepheard, Bret Tyler and Rob Bellamy were charged with criminal trespass and suspended by the team for just one game – an exhibition contest against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Nov. 19. Umile, however, has suspended his players during one of the most important weekends of his team’s entire season.

“It makes no difference if we’re going to play Maine on Friday night or we’re playing a non-league game,” Umile said to the Herald. “That’s how we’ve done it, regardless of who we’re playing, what it means, whether we’re on TV or not.”

Pair(not-so)Wise Rankings: In this day in age, you’d be hard pressed to find a coach at any level in any sport who would comment on his team’s postseason chances, media polls or anything that isn’t related to the next game on the schedule. So when Jack Parker was asked in the press conference following BU’s 3-1 win over UMass on Saturday night about the Terriers’ jump from No. 14 all the way up to No. 4 in the PairWise Rankings as a result of BU’s 4-3 win over BC the night before, this was his take on the system.

“The system is no good until the last game is played,” Parker said. “I liked the old RPI anyways. In my mind, they made a big mistake going to the PairWise. It’s not dissimilar. They both have the same problem. People look at it during the year and think it’s important. It’s absolutely useless. It doesn’t mean a thing.

“The polls don’t mean a thing, either, because they don’t count. But at least they are indicative of what people are thinking. The PairWise poll has nothing to do with anything until all of the games are played, and that is what people don’t understand. Then, it’s reality. Then, it’s judging all the teams, the way they played, how their strength of schedule was, and bonus points. But all of that doesn’t mean a thing because we could lose a game tomorrow and go back to 14th. It’s topsy-turvy all the time.

“I know that people in Hockey East are a little bit concerned about not having a lot of teams in the top 10 in PairWise, but the season isn’t over yet. When the regular season is over, I’m sure that we’ll have good representation in Hockey East teams.”


Boston College forward Chris Collins has been on fire of late, posting four goals and nine assists in his last four games and he is now head and shoulders above the rest of the league for the scoring title as a result. But even more importantly, he has just been named Hockey East Player of the Month for the second time in a row, which could serve as a precurson for conference Player of the Year honors.

• UMass freshman forward Chris Davis’ short-handed, third-period breakaway goal on Terrier goalie John Curry caught BU Nation a bit off guard, but his quick backhanded move also got his coach’s jaw to drop, too.

“I didn't expect to see that move from Chris to be honest with you. It was a nifty, backhand, five-hole dribble. I hope he's got a few more tricks up his sleeve,” Don Cahoon said.

• Friday marked the first time since Dec. 17 that Vermont and netminder Joe Fallon allowed an opponent to score a goal at The Gut. Merrimack’s Hank Carisio lit the lamp at 1:57 of the second period to end the streak at 266:03, nearly four-and-a-half hours of shutout hockey. The Warriors went on to score three more goals that game and came away with a 4-2 win.

• Northeastern, the most highly penalized team in the league, set season-lows with five penalties and 10 penalty minutes on Saturday night. It was also just the fourth time all season the Huskies were penalized less than their opponent.

• UMass senior Gabe Winer broke the school’s all-time record for appearances by a goaltender over the weekend. He surpassed Brian Regan’s mark of 108 games played on Friday night and then extended his personal record to 110 games with his start at BU on Saturday.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.