BU Preview; More Honors For Boyle; Around Hockey East

 

Boston University Terriers
0-0, Hockey East 0-0

at

Massachusetts Minutemen
1-0, Hockey East 0-0

Official BU hockey website
Terrier hockey fan blog

So much for easing into the conference schedule.  Just a couple weeks after first hitting the ice as a team to practice the Minutemen must take last year’s Hockey East champions on the heels of them raising their fifth national title banner.  Certainly it’s not a make or break game for UMass but it will provide a measuring stick for the team as well as let the freshmen work out some big game butterflies early in the season.

Usually when a team loses over half of their goal scoring to graduation and early departures you can pretty much chalk up their season to the dreaded “rebuilding year”.  But I wouldn’t say that about this year’s BU team.  First of all the loss of goalscoring is a little misleading.  Sure, they’ll miss the production of players like Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip, and Jason Lawrence, but considering that the team’s goal average of 3.92 last year was almost a full goal more than the next team they obviously can score a little less and still win a good number of games.  Plus with the tremendous depth and skill of last year’s team it’s likely that a number of players will significantly increase their production with more ice time.  Add in a strong freshman class and it’s clear that this BU team is reloading, not rebuilding.

It’s obvious the offense will start with Nick Bonino, the second leading scorer for Hockey East in total games last year. Look for guys like Zach Cohen and Chris Connolly to push into the upper echelon of conference scoring.  The Terrier freshman I’m looking forward to seeing most is Alex Chiasson, one of the leading scorers in the USHL last season and a 2nd round NHL draft pick this past spring.

The defense has a few players gone from last year’s stellar group but they’re returning enough to still be one of the best defenses in the conference.  Captain Kevin Shattenkirk will be looked upon to lead the defense in the absence of Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy.  He’ll be joined by defensive stalwart Eric Gryba and offensive threat Colby Cohen.  Many are calling for a breakout year for balanced blueliner David Warsofsky.

In net BU returns Hockey East rookie of the year Kieran Millan, who led Hockey East with a sub-2.00 goals against last year.  Despite those lofty numbers there is still a question of whether they’re the product of Millan’s skill or the skill of those playing in front of him.  Given the strength again at defense Millan won’t have to stand on his head for BU to be successful, he’ll only have to be ready for the shots that actually are able to get through to him.

For UMass to win tomorrow they’ll have to crack through that tough defense and challenge Millan.  I don’t think this will happen if they try to rely on generating offense from the point, they’ll have to try to cycle the puck down low.  In terms of speed UMass should equal or perhaps even surpass the BU players.  It’s also important that the Minutemen control the puck.  With guys like Mike Marcou and Mike Donnellan still working their way into everyday roles on defense the more time that’s spent in the offensive zone the better.  Keep an eye on Matt Irwin, with a goal tonight that will be the 5th straight game with a tally dating back to last season.  Hopefully UMass is going into the game in a good mental state.  The last two games these teams played last season were pretty ugly.  The first came at home when UMass chased Millan and took a 3-0 lead only to give up 6 goals the rest of the way.  The second night was perhaps the ugliest game of the season as they lost 7-2 on Comm Ave.  But that was last year.  This is a different team and so is BU.  Their championship was for last year, not this one.  Starting tonight the Hockey East title is up for grabs once again.

Δ

The Republican has a Syner-centric preview of tonight’s game.  T.J. says the key will be keeping BU out of the slot.

Here’s a preview from BU’s Daily Free Press.

USCHO has UMass losing the game 4-2.

Δ

Kevin Boyle was named the AJHL Goaltender of the Week for his two win weekend.  This is the second time he has won the award this season.

Δ

Boston College’s quest to rebound from last season’s disappointing result just got a little harder as one of their top freshmen, Kenny Ryan, left to play in the OHL.  Oh well, leaving BC before playing in even one game worked out pretty well for Jeremy Roenick, right?

While BC has lost a key freshman, Merrimack has gained one.  Warrior Rink Rat is reporting that the NCAA has cleared Stephane De Costa to play.

Δ

Providence travelled out to the land of Touchdown Jesus and knocked off #7 Notre Dame last night.  Does that mean Providence is better than expected or Notre Dame was ranked way too high to start the season?  Considering that the Domers have already dropped a game to UAH as well, I’m going to go with the latter.

Next Post
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: