March 19, 2008
BU's MacArthur Unquestioned Leader of Team

By Jeff Howe

Pete MacArthur has quietly been the most dominant offensive player in Hockey East over the last four years. The Boston University senior forward has recorded 147 points throughout his career, 30 more than anyone else in the league in that span. MacArthur has also won three Beanpots, a Hockey East championship and advanced to three NCAA tournaments. And his Terriers have gone 88-50-21 during his tenure on Comm. Ave.

Second-seeded Boston University will take on Vermont in the second semifinal game at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston on Friday night. The first game features regular-season champion New Hampshire and the reawakened Boston College.

Hockey East

Boston University senior forward Pete MacArthur has been the Terriers' leader on and off the ice, and no player in Hockey East has more points in the last four seasons.

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The Terriers have battled through plenty just to reach this point, and MacArthur has been the leader through it all. After BU coach Jack Parker suspended four players earlier this season, including captain Brian McGuirk, MacArthur was appointed the new captain and helped right a sinking ship. Now, the co-captain – he asked Parker to reinstate McGuirk's captaincy before the Beanpot – MacArthur knows there's still work to be done if BU plans to reach the NCAA tournament.

MacArthur talked with INCH earlier this week and addressed the state of the Terriers, Parker's superstitions and this weekend's showdown with the Catamounts.

Inside College Hockey: Take me through the Lowell series from your perspective.

Pete MacArthur: The first game, we fell behind, obviously, then took a 2-1 lead. We didn't look back from there as far as the score was concerned, but we didn't play our best game. Lowell did a good job fighting back, and they outplayed us. Brett Bennett, our goalie, kept us in that one. That was probably our worst effort of the series. The next night, we got down. We didn't play the first 10 minutes of the game at all. We just sat back and watched. And from that point on, we really outplayed them pretty much the entire game, but they played a smart road game, didn't let us get any rebound chances and did a good job in the defensive zone. Even though we got 42 shots, a lot of them were from the outside. Even though we lost, we actually played better in that second game. And somehow, we ended up going down 2-0 the next night, and right as soon as we went down 2-0, we started playing our best hockey of the weekend. As soon as we got that first goal, the game was pretty much over in our mind.

INCH: What was different between Game 2 and Game 3? It seemed like you could crack through in the second game, but Carter Hutton stopped a few chances to cut it to one goal. Was he the difference?

PM: I think you just hit the nail on the head. Their goalie played absolutely unbelievable. He probably had the best game he played in his career. He played great, had 42 saves. We probably attempted like 60 shots, but they blocked a lot of shots. We didn't seem to get enough bodies to the net and creating a lot traffic in front of him. I think he was seeing a lot of shots. On Sunday night, we got the puck to the net, made a couple nice plays to beat the goalie and we just did a better job of finishing our opportunities. That was pretty much the only difference between the two games. The Saturday game, we were all over them. Same thing Sunday. We just found a way to get it past him.

INCH: How do you feel about your NCAA tournament chances?

PM: Well, we know we have to win our tournament. Right now, we're focused on Vermont. We're 1-1-1 with them this year, and we were pretty much even with them all last year, so it's turning into a nice rivalry. It's going to be a really hard-fought game Friday. Hopefully, we can get by that one and give ourselves a chance to win another Hockey East title, second in the last three years, and get a chance in the national tournament. But in the position we're in right now, we know we're out of the PairWise. We have to win our tournament, so we can't look by Friday's game.

Hockey East
Semifinal Capsules
No. 1 New Hampshire
Record: 25-8-3 (19-5-3 HEA)
Wildcat Note: They are playing in their league-best seventh straight Hockey East semifinal. And senior goalie Kevin Regan finished his career 6-0-0 in the HEA quarterfinals with a 0.66 goals-against average and .981 save percentage.
How UNH Wins: Do what’s worked. UNH went 8-1-0 against this weekend’s remaining teams (the one loss was to Vermont) and outscored those teams a combined 36-15. The Wildcats showed no signs of slowing down last weekend, blitzing UMass, 4-1 and 7-2. There’s no need for UNH to change anything now.
No. 2 Boston University
Record: 19-16-4 (15-9-3 HEA)
Terrier Note: They have won their last best-of-three quarterfinal series that have gone to a decisive third game, and they have also won at least one Hockey East playoff game for a league-record 16 straight years.
How BU Wins: The Terriers could easily win the title this weekend, but they’ll have to earn it. They’ve had bouts of inconsistency, due in part to their admittance of just going through the motions. They got better as the Lowell series went on last weekend, and they’ll need to maintain that intensity.
No. 3 Vermont
Record: 16-14-7 (13-9-5 HEA)
Catamount Note: Vermont is playing at the Boston Garden for the first time since 1989 – when it was the original Garden – in the ECAC championship game.
How UVM Wins: Vermont’s offense isn’t anywhere as capable as the other three remaining teams, so UVM needs to jump on top early and sit on the lead. Goalie Joe Fallon has been good for that lately, going 11-4-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and three shutouts in his last 16 starts. And the Catamounts are 60-3-10 when leading after two periods in their last 73 games.
No. 4 Boston College
Record: 19-11-8 (11-9-7 HEA)
Eagle Note: Boston College is 51-15 in the postseason since the 1997-98 season, and its .773 winning percentage is tops in the nation in that stretch.
How BC Wins: Nathan Gerbe needs to pick up where he left off last weekend, when the BC junior had three goals and an assist in the sweep of Providence. Gerbe is the biggest game changer in the league, but he only registered a combined one goal and two assists in BC losses this season (compared to 26 goals and 23 assists in wins and ties). Even more, he never recorded a point in the two games he played against UNH. If Gerbe gets on the scoring sheet, the Eagles will have a shot.

INCH: You haven't played Vermont for two months and not since you've turned the season around. Is there anything you can learn from your previous three matchups?

PM: They're always going to bring you an honest effort. Ever since I played against them my freshman year, they just work really hard. They've got a great coach who has a great system. They play strong defensive hockey, and [Joe] Fallon has always been a good goalie. Right now, he's playing the best hockey of his career. It looks like he gave up three goals in three games last weekend in the playoffs. That's pretty impressive. They've got some big forwards that can move. They've got a good defensive system, and they can put the puck in the net, too. They present some serious challenges. It's really a pretty even matchup between the two teams, especially early in the year when neither one of us were playing our best hockey. Now, it seems like we've both turned our seasons around, and it should be a really, really good game.

INCH: You play the second game on Friday night, which could start as early as 8 or as late as midnight if the first goes into overtime. How does a team prepare and stay sane for something like that?

PM: Well, the seniors, the juniors and even the sophomores now have all had to deal with that. Last year, UNH and UMass played a double-overtime game. And the year before that, I forget who it was, but we were waiting around for awhile to play. And last year in the national tournament, Notre Dame and Alabama Huntsville played for awhile. So a bunch of us have the experience having to wait around, and we know that's definitely a possibility with a couple good teams in BC and UNH going at it. The thing is, like always, you've got to stay focused. Don't let your mind wander if something like that happens. Keep your mind on the job you have to do and the task at hand, and understand that we've got business to take care of. Whether it starts at 8, 9, 10 or 11, we've got a job to do. And that's win that game and give ourselves a chance to get a championship.

INCH: Will you pay any attention to that first game?

PM: No, doesn't matter. Either way, it's the playoffs, and you've got to play good teams and you have to go through good teams to win something big at the end. Whoever wins will win, but we have to focus on what we have to do.

INCH: You were named a captain earlier this season due to the suspensions and kept the 'C' afterwards. How have you grown as a person through that ordeal?

PM: Definitely, it makes you take a closer look into things. You choose your words more carefully, and you really pay attention to how you treat people. You really see in how you carry yourself and how you act in and around the rink and outside the rink, other people follow that. And they follow that more than you even realize. It's just made me a stronger person inside and out. I'm thankful that Coach gave me the opportunity. It's bittersweet how it came about. But [co-captain] Brian [McGuirk] and I were always really good friends before it happened, and we're even better friends now. We've had a great time growing together and being captains together of this team. So far, it's been a pretty good story that we've been able to turn it around. We'd like to add another chapter to that book together.

INCH: Do you think about your individual place in BU history?

PM: I haven't yet. A lot of people have mentioned it to me. It's hard for me to answer. I'm sure when I'm all done when the season is over, I'll look back and think about all of the good things that we've been able to accomplish as a senior class and that I've been fortunate enough to be able to accomplish individually. But right now, it's hard to answer. I don't mean to sidestep your question. I've just got – Vermont's on my mind right now. I don't want to lose yet. My season will be over, and my career will be over. When it's all said and done, though, there's been some pretty nice moments. I'll definitely give you that.

INCH: How close-knit is the BU alumni and your team now? Do you hear much from the older players?

PM: We hear from [Jack] O'Callahan every now and then, and [Mike] Eruzione, and Scotty Young has been here. Scotty Lachance has been around, so there's been some guys here. It's not so much that they'll come and speak to us as a whole, but they're really approachable. You can go up to them with one or two guys or just by yourself and ask them for tips or old stories. It's nice to hear their insight.

INCH: Can you tell me something about Jack Parker that people wouldn't already know?

PM: Oh, man. He's the most superstitious guy I've ever met. He takes a nap every day before the games, and he wears these awful Saucony sneakers for every game on the bench. He'll wear a nice suit with these 1970-something Saucony sneakers. I don't know how many people know about that.

INCH: Do you guys get on him for that at all?

PM: No, we don't mess with him about his superstitions.

INCH: Yeah, I can understand that. If I had told you last September that BU would score more goals than anyone in Hockey East and surrender more goals than anyone in Hockey East, what would you have said?

PM: I would have believed that we were going to score more goals than anybody else, but I wouldn't have believed that we were going to surrender as many as we did. We switched our defensive plan at the beginning of the year because we thought it would give us a little bit more offense, which it did. But it also made us suffer on the defensive end just because we were leaving our defensemen and our goalies out to dry. It wasn't really a reflection of how they were playing. It was collective. We weren't understanding the system we were trying to put in. Once we switched it back to the man on man like we've always been doing for the past – however long, 30 years that Parker has been here – it's been a lot better. It's been a huge difference.

INCH: Did that switch have anything to do with the departure of John Curry?

PM: No, I think it was more so along the lines of we just couldn't score goals last year, and Coach knew we had some great freshmen in the [Joe] Pereiras and the [Colin] Wilsons and the [Nick] Boninos coming in. He wanted to utilize that talent. And while that worked, it also kind of maybe had a mental approach where our psyche was like, “All right, we're just going to try and score goals and outscore teams now.” That's just not the way that we're going to win hockey games. That's now how we're built. We scored more goals, and we gave up a ton more, too. I don't think it had anything, maybe a little bit to do with [Curry], but [Bennett] is playing real well, Karson [Gillespie] is playing real well.

INCH: With that said, how much credit does Brett Bennett deserve for your team's turnaround?

PM: He deserves a lot of it. He's grown both as a person and as a player just from the beginning of the year. He really took the rains when [Gillespie] went down and got hurt. He played solid hockey. He made the saves that he needed to make, and he also came up with a lot of big saves and a lot of timely saves for us when we really needed them. He handles the puck pretty well, and he's a pretty confident kid back in goal. A lot of credit needs to be shot his way for the turnaround.

INCH: I'm sure you won't give me a score prediction for this weekend, but any predictions or thoughts for what's going to happen on Friday night?

PM: I promise you it's going to be a hard-hitting game between us. I'm not going to give any predictions. I've already done that and gotten myself in trouble, but I would like to say good luck to the Waterloo boys on UNH.

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