December 6, 2007
It's Not Always Easy

By Jeff Howe

Pete MacArthur has seen this before.

It hasn't been easy for Boston University early in the season, but that's been a growing trend in recent years for the Terriers.

Hockey East Notebook

BU's Peter MacArthur — shown in action earlier this year at the Red Hot Hockey game against Cornell at Madison Square Garden — will have a different look the next time the Terriers take the ice, as a "C" will be added to the front of his sweater.

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BU is 4-9-2, tied for eighth with Merrimack and fresh off the wrong end of a sweep by Boston College last weekend.

"Just inconsistency, I think, coming out hard one night and not playing hard the next," MacArthur said of the team's troubles. "That's the main problem. You could say that we have young guys in whatever positions here and there. But, I think the main thing is we all as a collective unit have to come out and just work as hard as we can every night, and our record will definitely start to turn around.

"I don't think we're a 4-9-2 team. I don't think our record should be that way. I think a couple games we got unlucky where we did deserve to win the game. But, it's inevitable that we are 4-9-2, so hard work is the only thing that is going to change that."

MacArthur's claims of inconsistent effort sounded similar to those heard out of the Terrier locker room last season when they started 2-2-4.

"Pretty much the same exact thing," MacArthur agreed. "On a night-to-night basis, we're just wondering what team is going to show up. Is it going to be the team that everybody legitimately hates to play against, or is going to be the team that lets you do whatever you want against them and you kind of go through the motions like you're playing pond hockey? We've got to get that through everybody's heads that it's a battle, and anybody can win on any given night. If we don't show up to play when they drop the puck, it's going to be a long year. It was pretty much the same thing last year."

The Terriers still parlayed that slow start into a 20-10-9 record by season's end and the No. 3 seed in the Hockey East playoffs. It's a familiar tune for Jack Parker's squad — start sluggish, win the Beanpot, carry the momentum to a strong finish, rinse, repeat.

Boston University began 2005-06 with a 6-7-2 record. Later, the team ripped off a 19-1-2 streak, one of the all-time best stretches under Parker. The year before that, when MacArthur was a freshman, the Terriers were a modest 7-6-0 before finishing 23-14-4. BU has won the Beanpot and appeared in the NCAA tournament in each of those seasons.

As a senior, MacArthur knows he needs to put the team on his back to turn the ship around. But he knows there could come a time when he asks some of his old teammates how to get that done.

"We're trying to handle it in house [first]," said MacArthur, the Hockey East Player of the Month in November. "Us seniors, as leaders of the team, are trying to straighten it out. If it keeps going on, we'll talk to them about some of the things they maybe did last year. Maybe even guys like [Brad] Zancanaro, [Brian] McConnell, [David] Van der Gulik, talk to them about what they did to make the team so successful."

MacArthur especially drew back to the 2005-06 team.

"That was just an unbelievably tight-knit group of guys, and the biggest thing with that team is everybody held everybody else accountable for their actions," MacArthur recalled. "If you weren't doing the right thing, you heard about it. On the other hand, if you were doing the right thing, you heard about it and you were encouraged to keep doing it. Van der Gulik and Zancanaro were great captains that year. They really kept us in check.

"The biggest thing with us is sometimes we have a tough time believing we can be good, and that year, we really believed that we could be good. That was a big thing. We had the belief that no matter who we were playing, no matter what the scenario was during the game, there was a sense on that bench and in the locker room that we were going to win the game no matter what."

Despite the current state of the Terriers — who are allowing 3.67 goals per game (ninth in Hockey East), killing 77.2 percent of their penalties (ninth), and are 0-7-0 against ranked opponents — they could still look at their situation as a glass-half-full scenario.

They're second in the league with 3.53 goals per game and third in power-play percentage (23.1). Plus, they're only six points behind first-place Northeastern with a game in hand, and BU is just three points out of the running for home ice.

"We know we're in the thick of things," MacArthur said. "We know we can still win this league. We've played two less games than most of the teams in front of us, and I think we're three or four points behind them. We need to string together some wins in the league for sure, but we know that there's definitely time to get ourselves in position for home ice. That's really what we're working for."


In the doghouse: Things didn't get much easier for the Terriers earlier this week, however, when the team announced the suspension of four players for violating team rules.

Three seniors — captain Brian McGuirk, Bryan Ewing and Dan McGoff — and junior Brandon Yip are suspended indefinitely.

"I'm disappointed that these four chose to break one of our team rules," BU coach Jack Parker said in a statement released by the team. "This is strictly a team matter."

As a result, Pete MacArthur has been named captain, while senior Ryan Weston and junior Matt Gilroy have been named assistant captains.

"I'm just going to go about my business the same way I have the last four years, MacArthur said. "Just be a leader by example, work as hard as I can every shift, help out the young guys who have questions and whatnot. I think I'm pretty similar to [David] Van der Gulik. He didn't really take any crap from people, and that's kind of my personality. We'll see where it goes. Just because I have a letter on my jersey doesn't mean that I'm a completely different person."

Ewing leads the Terriers with 11 assists and 17 points this season. Yip is tied for third with five goals to go along with three assists. McGuirk, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift BU over Boston College in last year's Beanpot championship, has two goals and four assists. McGoff has a goal and an assist.

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New Hampshire at UMass (Sat.)
The Wildcats visit the Minutemen Saturday night in the teams' first meeting since last year's double-overtime thriller in the Hockey East semifinals at the TD Banknorth Garden. Bobby Butler scored the game-winner for the Wildcats in their 3-2 win in one of the most exciting games of the season. UMass took last year's regular-season series, 2-1-0.

What To Do While You’re There: UMass fans were once hopeful they could double-dip with a football game before the puck dropped, but if you're sticking around for an extra day, you can check out some futbol. The UMass men's soccer team, which knocked out No. 1 Boston College in the second round, hosts Illinois-Chicago Sunday at noon at Rudd Field in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Stick Salute

Three players from Hockey East — BU sophomore defenseman Brian Strait, BU freshman forward Colin Wilson and UNH freshman forward James vanRiemsdyk — were named Wednesday to the 2008 United States National Junior Team.

Bench Minor

Maine has scored 2.17 goals per game (last in Hockey East), allowed 2.75 goals per game (seventh), converted 4-of-57 power plays (last) and killed 76.8 percent of penalties (last).


• Former UMass goalie Jon Quick was called up to the Los Angeles Kings this week.

• BC forward Nathan Gerbe earned Hockey East Player of the Week honors after recording four goals and three assists in the team's sweep of BU over the weekend. Gerbe scored his first career hat trick Friday and tied a career high with four points on Saturday. Ben Smith also registered his first career hat trick in part of a five-point night on Saturday.

• The Terriers have scored 16 first-period goals this season after posting 24 last year.

• Maine is in the middle of a stretch in which it plays just one game in four straight weekends.

• UMass and Cornell skated to a scoreless tie Friday night, the first time UMass has played in a scoreless draw since Jan. 22, 2000, at Merrimack.

• Of the 22 skaters who have dressed for the Minutemen this year, 21 have scored a point.

• UMass Lowell split the season series with UNH (1-1-1) for the first time in three years.

• Merrimack will attempt to sweep the season series against Maine for the first time in program history when the Warriors visit Orono Saturday. MC earned a home sweep of the Black Bears on Nov. 16-17, the last time the Warriors have won this season.

• UNH is 7-0-0 when Matt Fornataro scores a point this season.

• The Wildcats have scored at least two points in all five Hockey East weekends this season.

• Northeastern's seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) is tied with Notre Dame for the longest current streak in the country. This is the longest such streak for the Huskies since Nov. 22-Dec. 28, 1997, when they went 6-0-2 over an eight-game stretch. Since Hockey East went to its current regular-season format in 1989-90, this is the first time Northeastern has won six conference games by December.

• Providence goalie Tyler Sims recorded his sixth career shutout when the Friars won at Vermont on Saturday, breaking Mario Proulx's school record.

• Vermont hosts Harvard Saturday in one of the better reunions in New England college hockey. UVM coach Kevin Sneddon and Harvard bench boss (and former Boston Bruin) Ted Donato carried the Crimson to the 1989 national championship. Donato was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1989 Frozen Four, while Sneddon was selected to the All-Tournament Team.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Jeff Howe can be reached at