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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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13 Comments

  1. Steve

     /  January 2, 2010

    Good write-up. BU also will be without Joe Pereira, who is recovering from hernia surgery. BU has been largely terrible all season long so UMass looks to be the clear favorite. However, there is no lack of ability on BU’s side, so who knows. Though the venue likely won’t be of any difficulty for anyone – BU is on break so virtually no students, faculty, or staff will be there, plus with a 4pm start time and the team being horrendous so far, the crowd will be thin.

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  2. Ryan

     /  January 2, 2010

    I know BU is struggling, and certainly having Warsofsky out of the lineup will slow down their defensive game, but they still have some pretty good players like Chiasson and Nick Bonino who are always dangerous. Millan has struggled and Rollheiser has played pretty well so I think we might see him in net. And although this might favor UMass a bit, I tend to like BU in this game just because we already beat them once, and Agganis has truly been a house of horrors for UMass. As we saw the other day, any team is dangerous..even Bentley….

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  3. If UMass wants to be considered a serious contender this is exactly the type of game they have to win. BU is underperforming, without their best defenseman, and will be rusty since they haven’t played in three weeks. These are the games that the Minutemen must jump on.

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  4. Alan

     /  January 2, 2010

    I am very close to being on the “Fire Toot” bandwagon, and I have been a huge Toot apologist. I am pissed.

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    • If this season results in another finish at the bottom of the standings, I think it would be time to look for a coaching change. However, given the current/perpetual budget crisis at the the school I doubt very much they’d buy out his contract which ends after next season.

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  5. I try to keep my opinions to myself on UMass sports so I don’t anger any part of our fan base but today was an absolute gutless performance by this hockey team which the players must take accountability for but the coaches are most to blame. First Bentley and now this…and all the PP we had too. There better be a quick turn around or it’s back to 7th place and a loss in the first round of HE playoffs.

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  6. This sucks.

    Sorry for the lack of contribution. I just had to vent.

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  7. Adam

     /  January 3, 2010

    Two good things to come out of the game:
    Will Ortiz’s open ice hit.
    The fact that T.J. Syner is still standing. They were going after him like crazy. In my opinion, the second, and most brutal hit on him should have been a five minute boarding major and maybe a 10 minute misconduct.
    not to say this was the ref’s fault. they just didnt come to play.

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    • Ben (FlagGuy)

       /  January 3, 2010

      I have heard that Jack Parker is on the board that actually chooses which refs do which games (esp. playoffs) and so refs are scared to make calls against BU because they want to get the playoff games etc. I’m assuming that if this is true, that BU also has biased refs for every game.

      TJ did take a pretty serious hit then, and it looked like he could have broken his neck. But no matter what calls we had or didnt have, we went 3/12 on the PP and we needed to use the power play to our advantage more

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      • Ryan

         /  January 3, 2010

        I actually thought the officiating was pretty good today for both sides. They made some very good calls that often times are not called. Even when UMass was called for penalties I agreed, especially the Ortiz holding of the neck. The one that really got me going was Wellman for charging as I don’t see how a guy driving to the net hard with the puck can be called for that.

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  8. George

     /  January 3, 2010

    Ryan, because when you go to the net, you can’t plow into the goaltender unless you’re pushed. No one touched Casey

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    • Ryan

       /  January 3, 2010

      Please, we all know that the only time that penalty would ever be called if it was against one of Hockey East’s golden children (BU or BC). It looked like he made an attempt to stop, but of course anything against BC or BU is getting called.

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  9. Ben (FlagGuy)

     /  January 3, 2010

    And the too many men on the ice penalty that resulted in a goal was so frustrating. I also like how Jack Parker thought it was bad officiating after winning by 4 goals. Like he can’t even take a blowout?

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