Thursday, October 18, 2007

Skills Competition Results

Blog contributor buoldtimer and the missus took in Monday's skills competition at Agganis Arena and provides us this report:

I attended the BU Terrier preseason event that was held at Agganis Arena this past Monday. The event was entertaining, but was shorter than I expected. It was advertised as lasting from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Actually, the activities commenced at approximately 4:15 PM and concluded around 4:50. Given that the team spent Sunday returning from Alaska, the brevity of the event was understandable. Also, let’s face it, there’s only so much you can do unless a full-scale practice is on the agenda.

The only player absent from the proceedings was Ryan Monaghan. There was no explanation provided for his absence. Otherwise, all players participated in the drills; however each drill was limited to a subset of the roster.

After the team was introduced, by class, sets of three forwards were selected to simulate a 3 on 0 break-in from the offensive blueline against one of the goalies. The first few iterations were a little slow to say the least. My wife asked me if the drill was intended to make the goalies look good. I think Jack Parker advised the boys to pick up the pace since the second set of reps was played out at a faster clip.

Next up was the hardest shot competition. A fellow crouched behind the net with a speed gun as each contestant skated to mid slot for a slap shot. Each competitor had two shots. Brandon Yip won the competition with a 92 MPH shot, edging Brian Strait whose best slapper was clocked at 90 MPH.

One on one followed; one skater breaking in on a goalie. The competition was whittled down to Nick Bonino and Jason Lawrence. Bonino (photo) beat the goalie on three attempts and eventually defeated Lawrence to emerge as the champion of the breakaways. Two of his goals came on moves on which he drew the goaltender off the short side post while moving from right to left across the goal crease and tucking a one hander behind the goalie to the short side. Bonino’s third goal was a quick release to the top right corner.

The event concluded with hockey’s version of short track speed skating. Each net was moved up to mid-slot. Each race was between two skaters who started in opposite directions from the redline around the shortened rink. Parker was the arbiter of which skater crossed the redline as the winner of the heat. Steve Smolinsky and Brian McGuirk skated their ways to the final, although John McCarthy gave Smolinsky all he could handle in one of the semifinals. McGuirk earned the title as the Apolo Ohno of BU Hockey as he barely defeated Smolinsky in the final.

At this point, Jack Parker concluded the session by thanking everyone for attending. He apologized that the trip to Alaska precluded Midnight Madness this season, and stated that the popular event will return next season.

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