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#15 Massachusetts Minutemen 11-6-0, (Hockey East 6-4-0 4th)
at
Boston University 4-9-3, (Hockey East 2-7-2 9th)

Boston University Terriers Official Site
Boston Hockey Blog

When the Minutemen met and defeated the defending champion Terriers in the second week of the season the win was seen as probably a greater achievement at the time than it does now.  To say BU is struggling this season is an understatement.  It’s amazing to think as we turn the calendar to a new year that they’ve only won four games total and find themselves just a point out of the Hockey East basement.  With graduations and early defections it was expected that BU would likely take a step back this year, but I don’t think many people predicted a freefall towards the bottom of college hockey.

BU is struggling most on defense where they’re giving up 3.50 goals per game, a goal and a half more than they allowed last year.  Obviously they’ve been unable to make up for the loss of the NHL-caliber defensemen lost from last year and Kieran Millan’s numbers have come back to Earth and then some without that experienced blueline in front of him.  They have found adequate scoring however, even without having one specific goto player for that role.  Currently Zach Cohen leads the team with 6 goals but 10 other players have contributed 3 or more on the season so UMass will not be able to zero in on one guy or even one line and expect to keep them off the board.  Defenseman Keven Shattenkirk is leading the Terriers in points with 14.  They’re also getting good production from freshman star Alex Chaisson who scored two goals when these teams met back in October.

BU will be without the services of their key defenseman David Warsofsky, who is off representing the US at the World Juniors as well as Joe Pereira (older brother to UMass recruit Mike), who is recovering from hernia surgery.  Hopefully this will help give the Minutemen the edge at Agganis, a place where the team has not fared well going 1-7-1 there all-time.  UMass will also have the advantage of having played more recently as the Terriers haven’t played since they dropped a contest to RPI three weeks ago.  While the Bentley game was disappointing it was good to see that the team came out with a strong effort right from the start and remained consistent through most of the game until penalties derailed thing in the third.  That effort with sharper execution, perhaps some better bounces, combined with BU missing key players and not playing in so long gives UMass an important opportunity to gain two points in a challenging venue.

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Here are the game notes from UMass Athletics.

The Boston Hockey Blog has a good preview of the game from the Terriers’ perspective.

Toot talks about BU’s sweat equity in the Republican’s preview.

Andrew Merritt sizes up the Hockey East race for the New England Hockey Journal.

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Casey Wellman moves back into the top 10 in this week’s Hobey Watch from Inside Hockey.

Doug Carr who committed to Lowell last month says his decision between there and UMass came down to a better opportunity for playing time.  It seems likely that Kevin Boyle will be pegged to be the #1 goalie when he arrives on campus with Randy Wolcott as backup.

This recap of yesterday’s Winter Classic at Fenway mentions how Flyers President and UMass alum Peter Luukko used to skate on the campus pond.

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