Friday, February 29, 2008

Terriers to honor former Coach Jack Kelley tonight

Former BU Coach Jack Kelley will be honored prior to and during tonight’s game against UMass (gamenotes, links). A bust of the legendary “Terrier Mentor” will be dedicated and located on the main concourse of Agganis Arena and Coach Kelley will appear on the ice between the second and third periods. Funding for the bust was raised almost entirely by former Terrier players and team managers. Many of Kelley's former players will join him for the celebration, including UMass Coach Don Cahoon, a winger on the two national title teams. A large group of family members, including his wife, Ginny, his children, David, Nancy, Mark and Paul, and numerous grandchildren, also will attend.
We'll try to post later a list of the former Terrier players at the event and a link to video of the dedication which will be shown between the second and third periods.

An all-East defenseman who played on BU's first two NCAA tournament teams ('50, '51), Kelley was name BU head coach in 1962 and quickly restored the program to national prominence. His ten years (206-80-8, .720 winning %) concluded with back-to-back NCAA titles in 1971 and 1972 and the opening of Walter Brown Arena. His 1972 team was first team to win the Beanpot, ECAC title and national title in one season. The following year, he led the New England Whalers to the first WHA AVCO Cup Championship, for a hattrick of three consecutive titles.

The Terrier Hockey Fan Blog recently caught up with and interviewed Coach Kelley, who now divides his time betwen homes in Maine and Florida.

Q. Let’s start by updating fans on your career after you left BU in 1972 to be coach and general manager of the New England Whalers. How long were you with the Whalers and what did you do in hockey since then?
A. I spent 10 years with the Whalers, same as BU. After that I joined the Detroit Redwings AHL franchise in Adirondick. In 1992, Howard Baldwin, who was the Whalers first owner, convinced me to rejoin him in Pittsburgh where I was team president through 1998. All together, nearly 30 years in professional hockey.

Q. What are the biggest changes you see in the college game since your days coaching at BU?
A. The facemask has really changed the style of the game. In fact, it’s hard for me to relate to the game I coached. Today, everyone is a potential pro player, but back then, the pros rarely looked at college players; there was a mindset was against it. My first year with Whalers, we had five or six players from college who excelled. That showed these guys could compete at the professional level.

Q. After assuming the Terrier helm in 1962, it took you two seasons of rebuilding for BU to again be a winning program. Was there a single turning point in that process or several?
A. In the second year, we were losing games just by a goal or two. A very hard 1-0 win against BC at McHugh gave us lots of confidence moving forward. That second year, my first full recruiting class produced an undefeated freshman team. That group made a big impact and really helped the program to progress. Pete McLachlan, Jim Quinn, Mike Sobeski, Wayne Ryan, Fred Bassi—all leaders of team that eventually played for the NCAA title in 1967—won their first ten games as varsity players in 1964-67.

Q. During your first five or six years at BU, you relied heavily on recruits from Canada. How difficult was it to recruit local players against BC and Harvard?
A. During that entire period, BU awarded financial aid was on a need basis only. BC offered full scholarships as did many other Eastern teams. So, it was very hard to recruit local kids, especially those whose parents had some financial success. Even still, we recruited some outstanding local kids like Dennis O’Connell, Tom Ross, Steve Dolloff, Paul Giandomenico, Toot Cahoon, and Tim Regan. Eventually, the scholarship situation has changed.

Q. Can you single out two or three most memorable games as the Terriers' coach?
A. In those first years, besides the 1-0 win at BC, we knocked of Harvard 3-2 in double overtime in the first round of the Beanpot. That began a long streak of reaching the Beanpot finals (1964-1979) Of course, our first national title in 1971 stands out, along with the repeat in 1972, beating Wisconsin and Cornell. I’m still trying to forget the 4-1 loss to Cornell in the 1967 title game. Our goalie, Wayne Ryan had injured a knee ligament, but he was a tough competitor who didn’t want to come out of the game.

Q. Many people don’t realize that during 1970-71, BU was supposed to be playing in its new arena, but delays meant one more season at Boston Arena. How much of an added challenge did that present to a team that eventually went 28-2-1 and won the NCAA title?
A. That was a disappointment our team went through. We had severed our relationship with Boston Arena (BU’s home since 1917). A construction strike that lasted five or six months prevented Walter Brown from being ready for the 70-71 season. I talked with Bill Cleary at Harvard and they really came through for us. Harvard produced ice for us to practice every night from 6:30 to 8 PM.

Perhaps that experience (having to shuttle to Harvard to practice) made us tougher, but that team was going to be very good no matter where we practiced or played. Ironically, it was Harvard that upset BU in the ECAC semifinals that season. They played a perfect game against us and didn’t draw a penalty so we couldn't use our powerful (40%) powerplay. But thanks to the committee that looked at our entire season and not just that one loss, we went to the NCAAs and, once there, justified their confidence in us.

Q. We won’t ask about a favorite team, but was that 1970-71 team the most dominant, if not the best, of your BU teams?
A. Every team was my favorite. Every team was special and unique and part of our tradition. I always felt the 1971-72 team would win any game they put their minds to. They were so talented that it almost became impossible to keep them focused, But whenever they put their minds to it, they were able to win, as they showed in the post-season [winning five straight by a combined 23-5 margin].

Q. The standout players of your tenure, the Wakabayashis, Hyndmans, Gilmours, Ferrerias, Stirlings and Danbys, are well known to longtime BU fans. Which players greatly exceeded expectations as Matt Gilroy has done for the current Terriers?
A. One would be Larry Davenport who became an outstanding scorer and a truly great player, but was overlooked because of Herb Wakabayashi and Mike Hyndman. Another was Paul Giandomenico, a walk-on who I learned about through a friend. Bob Murray was part of our very talented 1968-69 freshman class. He was a forward, but with so much talent at that position, Bob Crocker and I moved him to defense where he became the very solid and steady defensive-minded defenseman we needed. He was overlooked due to [higher-scoring] defensemen Bob Brown and Ric Jordan, but Bob had great hockey sense and was very smart. He came on like gangbusters for us.

Q. Earlier this year, BU played Cornell at Madison Square Garden for the sold out Red Hot Hockey event. What are your recollections of the 1966 Holiday Festival at MSG when BU put some big numbers up against some top-ranked teams?
A. That was the senior year of my first full recruiting class. We also had added Jack Parker, John Cooke, and Billy Riley and our dynamic sophomore line of Herb Wakabayashi, Serge Boily and Mickey Gray was making a big impact, too. Everyone began to realize we were a team to be reckoned with. Just before the three games at MSG, our Sports Information Director Art Dunphy called well-known New York sportswriter Red Smith to tell him about an amazing trio of first-year players who handled the puck remarkably well and were having a great season. He convinced Smith to attend the tournament and, after seeing Herb, Serge and Mickey in action, he came up with the name “Pinball Line” because of the way they threw the puck around. And the name stuck.

Q. Recently, Al Arbour came out of retirement to coach the Islanders (and won!), making it an even 1500 games behind the bench. Would you like to coach a college or pro team just one more time?
A. I think I’d be more comfortable coaching a pro team now. It’s not too far away from what the college game was when I coached. I’m glad I coached when I did, but the college game is still a great and exciting game, just different.

Q. Can you tell us about any offbeat occurrences that took place during your Terrier coaching days?
A. Once between periods in a game at Brown, I was very disturbed with the team’s efforts and was letting them know about it. I kicked a box of oranges to show my displeasure and my foot got stuck in the box. Every player in the room was fighting back the urge to laugh.

This isn’t really offbeat, but in the 1971 ECAC consolation game against Cornell, goalie Dan Brady suffered an eye injury with 14 seconds to go in the second period. I didn’t want to take Brady out and suggested tacking the extra time onto the third period, so Dan could rest for a while. Dick Bertrand, the Cornell coach said no, so our team warmed up Tim Regan for a few minutes and we finished the second period. Tim shut down Cornell in the final period and we won 6-5. That win helped us receive the bid for the NCAA tournament. Making Regan play those 14 seconds after the warm-up period backfired on Cornell. It enabled us to hold on for what would prove to be an important win. The next year, of course, Tim was on the U.S. Olympics team and then came back to help us win a second NCAA championship with the first ever shut out in a title game. Those back-to-back titles sum up how powerful and deep those two teams were.

By the Numbers: Breaking Ties

With things this close for the playoffs, it's important to know how ties will be broken. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head (H2H) record among the tied teams. The second tie-breaker is league wins. After that, tied teams are compared by their records against specific opponents starting from the top seed and working down until the tie is broken. If that still doesn't settle matters, we go to a coin flip.

Some examples:

BU and UVM are tied at 2nd with 27 points. They split their season series 1-1-1. BU's 12-8-3 league record has one more win than UVM's 11-7-5, so BU would be the 2nd seed and UVM 3rd.

To settle the current 5th place tie, NU does have one more win than PC, but the first tie-breaker is H2H and PC won the season 2-1-0 over NU, so PC would take the higher seed.

If BU were to finish the season 2-0-2 and UVM went 3-1-0, both teams would end up at 33 points with identical 14-8-5 records. At that point, they would compare records against UNH, the top seed. BU went 0-3 vs the Wildcats. UVM visits UNH next weekend and would have taken some points in this scenario (only one loss), so they would then get the 2 seed.

If UVM were to get swept by UNH (going 0-3 for the year) and end up matching BU at, say, 13-9-5, the tie would then be broken by looking at results against the next highest seed, whether BC, PC or NU.

For a handy reference of H2H records, Hockey East's website has a standings page that has up-to-date results.

By the Numbers: Who's In, Who's Out, Who's Home

With two weekends left in the regular season, let's take a look at where we are and peek ahead to where we might all be come playoff time.

With more top-to-bottom consistency in the standings this year than some recent seasons, going into last weekend not one team had even clinched home ice and no one had been eliminated. After the weekend was over, not only had UNH clinched home ice, but they locked up the regular season title and number one seed. That differs from recent seasons where the regular season title has been in contention among as many as four teams going into the final weekend - and ultimately still undecided until the final whistle of the final game on the final night.

At the other end of the spectrum, the two teams on the outside looking in at the party (ME, MC) both swept - moving from lonely faces pressed against the window to standing on the Welcome mat and knocking on the door. They are now two and three points, respectively, out of the final slot.

After UNH, the next five teams are separated by three points. That was also true last weekend before BU and UVM swept and leapfrogged the got-swept BC, PC and NU to jump from tied-for-5th to tied-for-2nd. BU, UVM and BC could all still finish anywhere from 2nd to 7th. PC and NU could finish 2nd-8th. Muddying the waters further, BC's two-point lead for the 4th seed and final home ice slot will be directly challenged by first PC, then NU who are tied at 5th. After playing BC, PC will then face BU, who just tussled with NU. In any event, all five teams will be joining UNH in the playoffs.

The final two slots will go to two of UMass-Lowell, UMass-Amherst, Maine and Merrimack. ME and MC can get no higher than 7th, but they could finish 7-8 and both be in. In fact, if they can survive this weekend playing the top of the standings in UVM and UNH, they will be pulling for each other as they match up against UML and UMA in hand-to-hand combat to make the playoffs. UMA can't reach home ice, but could end up 5th. With four games to go, UML isn't even guaranteed a playoff spot yet, but could finish as high as 3rd.

By the Numbers: Hockey East Scheduling Oddities

The Hockey East schedule of late looks like someone has been setting up the match-ups a few days ahead after looking at the standings, rather than prior to the season.

Two weeks ago, if one removed the UNH-PC series (then 1st and 3rd in HE) from the equation, the remaining eight teams were paired up with each series being between teams four seeds apart in the standings (1 v 5, 2 v 6, 3 v 7, 4 v 8).

Last week, with the exception of the PC-MC series (3 v 10), all series were between neighbors in the standings (1 v 2, 4 v 5, 6 v 7, 8 v 9). All five series ended in sweeps.

This week, the schedule sets up almost perfectly like a 10-team playoff bracket: 1 v 10, 2t v 9, 2t v 8, 4 v 5t, 5t v 7. If the two series among the four middle teams switched lower seeds, it would fit perfectly. Who knows, maybe by the end of the weekend, it will.

By the Numbers: Statistical Oddities

Anyone taking a quick glance at their record could see that the Terriers are at an even .500 (14-14-4) at this point in the season. What many might not realize is just how even the results have been.

Going into this weekend, they are:
.500 at home (6-6-1)
.500 away (6-6-3)
.500 at neutral sites (2-2-0)
.500 in OT (2-2-4)

What some fans considered to be the low-point of the season was the team's 4-10-2 record heading into winter break at the bottom of the league standings. Since then, the Terriers have earned a mirror of that record with a 10-4-2 effort, lifting them to second in the league, 16th in the polls and 16th in the Pairwise, which models the method used to determine the entrants for the 16-team national tournament.

They are also coming off a one-game winning streak for the sixth time in six games, the longest such active skein in the country.

The journey from "off the radar" to "on the bubble" has certainly been fun to watch. At this rate, the next step could be "in the tourney". But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's another one-game streak to shoot for.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kevin Gilroy commits for 2008

With much speculation in the media and on the Web that All-American defenseman Matt Gilroy will sign a pro contract at the end of the season ( see previous post; scroll down), it’s likely that uniform #97 will go out of circulation. But the Gilroy nameplate will still appear on a set of Terrier jerseys next season. Matt’s younger brother, Kevin Gilroy, has given BU a verbal commitment for next season. Kevin, a 6’1" right wing now in his second year with the EJHL South Shore Kings, finished the regular season with a 32-26-58 line, fourth in the league in scoring and first in goals scored. Two years ago, playing at Brewster Academy, he led the Division 2 prep team in scoring (31-17-48).

If there are no defections, BU’s forward corps for 2008-09 will be:
Seniors: Chris Higgins, Jason Lawrence, John McCarthy, Steve Smolinsky, Brandon Yip
Juniors: Zack Cohen, Luke Popko
Sophs: Nick Bonino, Joe Pereira, Victor Sapnari, Colin Wilson
Freshmen: Chris Connolly, Ross Gaudet, Kevin Gilroy, Andrew Glass, Vinny Saponari, Corey Trivino.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rollie The Goalie Commits to BU

The Terrier have received a verbal commitment from one of the BCHL’s top goalies, Grant Rollheiser. The 6’4”, 195-lb. goalie from Chilliwack, B.C., is a first-year netminder for the Trail Smoke Eaters. Rollheiser's commitment was reported last night on Shawn’s Smoke Eaters Blog by Shawn Mullin, radio play-by-play voice of the Smokies. The blog also posted a link to an audio interview Mullin conducted with Rollheiser to discuss his decision. Some excerpts from the blog report:

Just talked with Grant Rollheiser who confirmed that he has committed to Boston University for next season. Congratulations to Grant who has worked his butt off to become one of the elite goaltenders in this league. Smokies fans should now take advantage of their last chance to see him in the Orange and Black during this playoff run. He's played incredible hockey in 2008, and Trail will try to ride that great goaltending and their veteran leaders to playoff succes this year.

I thought he was a model of consistency for most of this season while the whole team battled to find their identity. In the new year he's taken his game to the next level.

Rollheiser is a big, positional goaltender who makes the job look easy. That doesn't mean he's not making spectacular saves, but they just don't look that way because he's so poised and reads the play so well. In my opinion he's got the mental make-up of a top goalie.

Rollheiser says he has been told he'll compete for the starting job next season. Seems he fell in love with the city and the school on his fly down. There have been a ton of schools after Grant lately. Schools and NHL scouts as well. This is a special player. All the best to him, and lets hope his final games as a Smokie are successful.

Rollheiser currently is fourth among league goalies in save percentage and has a 3.19 GAA in 46 games for the fifth-place (Interior Division) Smoke Eaters, who earned a spot in the BCHL playoffs, largely due to Rollheiser’s recent efforts.

Two weekends ago, with numerous college and pro scouts watching, he stopped 74 of 75 shots in a pair of wins over Prince George (including a 46 save effort), earning BCHL Player of the Week honors. This past weekend, in Trail’s regular season finale, he made 44 saves in a 6-1 win over Salmon Arm.

A list of BU’s recruits for 2008 and 2009 is available on Chris Heisenberg’s Hockey Recruit site.
Check back later as one more verbal commitment will be posted as soon as it is confirmed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Looking Ahead: Glass named All New England

2008 recruit Andrew Glass finished his final prep season at Noble & Greenough with a 27-23-50 line. The 5'11" left wing's 27 goals were third best in the New England prep ranks, tied with Joe Pereira’s younger brother, Mike, who plays for South Kent. Glass also was named to the 2008 NEIPSHA’s Division 1 All New England East team.

Incoming goalie Kieran Millan stopped 24 shots in Spruce Grove’s 7-3 win over St. Albert on Saturday. The previous night, the 2008 recruit made 35 saves in a 4-2 win over Bonnyeville and now has six victories in his past seven starts. The one loss was to league leader Camrose, in which he made 21 saves on 22 shots. Millan’s GAA has dropped to 3.04 and his save percentage improved to .904

Remember the Robert Morris squad that stunned BU in the season opener? The Colonials didn’t fare so well again the NTDP U18s, who posted a 5-2 win. 2008 recruit Vinny Saponari registered his 11th and 12th goals of the season, while David Warsofsky added two assists to remain second in team scoring, with 29, a point ahead of Saponari.

Ethan Werek assisted on both goals in Stouffviille’s goals in the Spirit’s win over Huntsville in the first game of the OPJHL conference semifinals. Stouffville lost the next game and returns to the ice tonight for the first of three games in four nights.

In the USHL, 2009 recruit defenseman Max Nicastro has 16 points while 2008 recruit Chris Connolly remains among the league leaders with 49.

Looking Back: Davenport, McEachern named to BU Athletics Hall of Fame

Announced today by BU Athletic Communications:

BOSTON - Former Terrier student-athletes Larry Davenport, Deidre Enos, Shawn McEachern and Andre Maksimow will be inducted into the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame, Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike Lynch announced today. The 48th annual induction banquet will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2008, in the Trustees’ Ballroom on the ninth floor of the Boston University School of Management. In addition, four additional annual awards will be presented at that event.

Davenport was a standout for the men’s ice hockey team from
1967-70, totaling 144 career points (67g, 87a), which ranks 18th all-time in program history. He was team MVP and captain his senior year, helping the Terriers post a 20-7 record and capture the Beanpot title. As a rookie in 1967-68, Davenport broke out onto the scene with 59 points, including a team-best 24 goals.

A standout in the collegiate, professional and international ranks, McEachern was a first-team All-American for the men’s ice
hockey program in 1990-91. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award that season after putting up 82 points - the second- highest single- season total in BU history. The following year, he joined the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and was also a member of the U.S. National Team for the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, before helping the Penguins
capture the 1992 Stanley Cup title. McEachern finished his BU career with 186 points in three seasons, good for eighth all-time, and he retired from the NHL following the 2005-06 season.

McEachern is currently an assistant coach at Northeastern. Davenport is an executive with a sports equipment company.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Terriers & Huskies Tangle Again

BU and Northeastern face off tonight for the fourth time this season and the final meeting in Hockey East regular season play. Gamenotes contain links to listen online, watch online, and access the gametracker. With last night's 7-4 Terrier win, BU has moved a point ahead of both the Huskies and Providence into a third place tie with Vermont in the very tight race for the second, third and fourth home ice slots.

A win or tie tonight would clinch the season series with Northeastern, which would factor in if the teams finish the season tied. A win also would bring BU's record to .500 for the first time this season.

With three points last night, senior Boomer Ewing (photo) has a career high 34 points for the season. His four-season total of 99 puts him on the brink of joining classmate and linemate Pete MacArthur in the 100-point club.

During tonight's game, BU will honor two recently retired Terriers who went on to long and productive NHL careers: Tony Amonte and Scott Young. Amonte, who played on the 1990 and 1991 Frozen Four team at BU, played 16 seasons in the NHL, scoring 900 points during 16 NHL seasons. His best year was 1999-2000 when he posted 84 points for the Blackhawks. He played on two U.S. Olympic teams. Young scored 756 points during 17 NHL seasons and won the Stanley Cup twice, with Pittsburgh in 1991 and with Colorado in 1996. One of only 16 players to represent the U.S. three times in the World Junior Championships, he also played for two U.S. Olympic teams. Both Amonte and Young were members of the gold-medal winning U.S. squad in the 1996 Hockey World Cup, along with Shawn McEachern and Keith Tkachuk.

Around the rinks:

2009 recruit Ethan Werek helped Stouffville get off to a good start in its conference semifinal round with Huntsville, assisting on both goals in a 2-1 win.

2008 recruit Chris Connolly collected his 49th point of the season in Omaha's 3-2 win OT win over Sioux City.

The NTDP U18 Weekly reports: "WARSOFSKY DYNAMIC FROM THE BLUE LINE: In addition to leading Team USA's defensive corps with 27 points (9-18), [2008 recruit] David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass.) ranks second behind Schroeder on his squad's over points list. The blueliner has filed six points (1-5) in his last six games, including five points (1-4) at the the Five Nations Tournament (Feb. 6-10) in Varkaus, Finland. " Warsofsky moved past fellow Terrier recruit Vinny Saponari.

Harvard goalie Kyle Richter was credited with a goal last night when Yale, having pulled its goalie for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty, put the puck in its own net. The last Crimson player to touch the puck was Richter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

One more

Yesterday's post focused on game-winning goals by current, past and future Terriers over the long weekend. But we missed one. On Sunday, 2008 recruit Ross Gaudet broke a 2-2 tie with his 12th goal of the season for the EJHL/Bridgewater Bandits in a win over Apple Core.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Game-winning goals galore!

Wilson delivers in overtime

Freshman Colin Wilson shared Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors (with BC’s Nick Petrecki) after assisting on Luke Popko’s overtime winner Friday night and then potting the winner himself in Saturday’s extra session as BU swept Maine.

Wilson’s game-winner on Saturday was combination of skill and smarts. The freshman center explained in his post-game interview he'd told linemate Brandon Yip he'd get the draw to him and that Yip should put in on net while he drove the net. After easily controlling the draw, Wilson let Maine's Tanner House think he'd tied him up, then spun away to be unmarked right where Bishop was likely to put the rebound and able to cash it in for the only goal in BU's 1-0 win. Wilson and Nick Bonino won key draws all night and together were a combined 14-5 on faceoffs.

BU hockey historian Sean Pickett noted that “the only previous time BU won overtime games on back-to-back days was during the 1985-86 season when the Terriers defeated Northern Michigan at Walter Brown Arena on 17 January 1986, 5-4, and again on 18 January, 8-7."

With three weekends left in the regular season, BU is tied with Vermont for fifth place in Hockey East, just one point out of third place and three points out of second.

Goalie Brett Bennett, who along with Popko was named a Hockey East top performer for the week, has posted a 0.99 goals against average and a .951 save percentage in his past four starts.

The Boston Globe reported Sunday on the strong interest in free agent defenseman Matt Gilroy:

Look for Boston University defenseman Matt Gilroy, a junior, to turn pro within days, if not hours, after the Terriers wrap up their season. Much like ex-UMass defenseman Thomas Pock, who signed with the Rangers in March 2004 after four seasons with the Minutemen, Gilroy is considered the hottest college free agent on the market.

"No question," said one league GM, "he'll have 30 offers on the table when he's ready." Gilroy, who grew up on Long Island, originally joined the Terriers program as a walk-on, agreeing to switch from forward to defenseman for a shot at making the club.

Over the holiday weekend:

Kieran Millan, whom we profiled on Saturday, picked up another win for Spruce Grove in AJHL play.

In the USHL, Chris Connolly rang up three goals—one on a powerplay, one shorthander and one at even strength—and two assists in a pair of Omaha wins. Chicago Steel blueliner Max Nicastro, a 2009 recruit, picked up his fourth goal of the year in a win over Sioux City.

Vinny Saponari's two goals included the game-winner in the NTDP U18s' 8-2 win over the NAHL South All-Stars. The 2008 recruit class right wing has 11 goals and 16 assists.

Stouffville began its playoffs by sweeping Couchiching in three games. As they’ve done all season, Corey Trivino and Ethan Werek led the way, scoring eight and seven points respectively. In the final game of the series, according to , "Trivino had a four-point outing, including a pair of highlight-reel goals, in front of NHL scouts. The Etobicoke resident is expected to go in the first three rounds of June’s NHL draft in Ottawa. The Spirit will meet first-place Huntsville in the second round of the OPJHL playoffs." Werek had the game-winner and an ENG in the second game of the series, assisted on both by Trivino.

In the NHL, Chris Drury faced off with his former BU and Sabres teammate Mike Grier on Sunday and scored the game-winner in the Rangers' win over the Sharks. The goal was his fifth game-winner of the season and the 57th of his pro career.

Grier and the Sharks weren't treated any better today by the Islanders' BU alums, Freddy Meyer and Rick DiPietro. Meyer scored the game-winner (his second in three games) in the Isles' 3-2 victory, while DiPietro stopped 28 shots for his 23rd win.

Jay Pandolfo's goal wasn't the game-winner for New Jersey in its 5-1 win over Carolina, but it was Pando's 11th goal in just 32 games as he looks to surpass his NHL career high of 13 goals. He missed 27 games with a bruised pelvis.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008 Recruit Profile: Kieran Millan

With the unsettled situation in the Terriers' goal, BU fans are wondering what incoming recruit Kieran Millan, now is his second season with Spruce Grove (AJHL), will bring to the table. His stats only tell part of the story, so we’ve asked Gord Montgomery, sports editor of the Spruce Grove Examiner, to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the future Terrier netminder:

Kieran started the year slowly, which seems to be a common trait among players who have signed a Letter of Intent with a U.S. Division I school, but stay to play one more year in the AJHL. He suffered an early-season upper body injury that hampered his effectiveness in net at the start of the season. In all, he ended up missing about six weeks of playing time, which set his development back a bit. Since returning however, he has again established himself as the Saints No. 1 tender, although he has had moments he'd probably like to forget. As of late, he's been sharp and his play has helped the club regain the momentum they had in the middle part of the year. The Saints have freed up the defencemen to go up ice in pursuit of the puck, meaning they have total confidence in Kieran as their last line of defence should one of the blue line corps get caught up ice.

Kieran's main strength is his play recognition. He's able to read what is about to happen and make the correct move when required, most often in time. He has quick feet and covers the net from side-to-side extremely well and his glove hand is fast. If he has one weakness, it's perhaps his penchant to go down too quickly at times on shots, leaving the top of the net empty. Since he's not an overly big goalie, dropping too fast can cause problems but he more than makes up for that with his other skills. As for him handling the puck outside of the crease, in all honesty he's better off letting the defence play it instead, but given some time to work on that part of the game I'm sure he can improve.

He came in as a rookie last year and played well and has continued to improve, so that process will continue at BU. Kieran has loads of potential and BU should be thrilled to have this young man, who is well-spoken and not afraid of facing tough tests, coming to their team next year.

Millan, who is 5'11" and turns 19 next August, had a fourth consecutive strong outing on Thursday, in Spruce Grove’s 4-3 win over Bonneyville. In the four games, he yielded just seven goals. Of the four games, the only loss was 2-0 to league powerhouse Camrose, in which Millan stopped 23 of 24 shots. In 2006-07, he was named to the AJHL North All-Rookie team.

Game of firsts

Last night’s 2-1 win against Maine was BU’s first overtime victory of the year and put the Terriers over the .500 mark in conference play for the first time this season. Chris Higgins' shorthanded goal in the first period, BU’s first of the year while a man down, also was the team’s 100th goal, surpassing the 2006-07 season total of 99. Game highlights can be seen on the HockeyEastOnline Web site. The weekend series continues tonight when BU and Maine meet in a 7 p.m. start with coverage on CN8 and WWZN.
  • In a recent game, 2008 recruit Andrew Glass had three goals and four assists as Nobles & Greenough rallied from a 5-3 deficit for a wild, 8-6 win over Milton Academy. At that point Glass had 22 goals and 20 assists on the season. He added another goal this week in a win against BBN.
  • Another 2008 class forward, Chris Connolly, had a powerplay goal and a shorthander, too, in Omaha’s 7-2 win against Tri-City. Connolly’s 22 goals lead the Lancers and are third best in the USHL. He has logged 15 just penalty minutes this year, nine of which came in the season’s first game.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Pair with the Bears

Game notes for this weekend's crucial pair of Hockey East games with Maine at Agganis Arena are now available along with links to the game tracker and audio broadcasts. Tonight's game (7:30 p.m.) is being telecast on NESN while tomorrow's tilt (7:00 p.m.) is on Comcast's CN8 in both the New England and MidAtlantic regions. In addition, the BU All-Access radio program airs at 6:30 tonight on WWZN with Jack Parker and Colin Wilson among the scheduled guests. Daily Free Press preview.

This weekend we'll report on recruits Corey Trivino and Ethan Werek in their first round playoff games for Stouffville and have updated stats on other recruits. We'll also post some insights on incoming goalie Kieran Millan from a local observer in Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Coach's Mailbag: The First Batch

A while back, THFB announced a "Coach's Mailbag" feature in which Jack Parker would answer your submitted questions. It took longer than expected to get this feature going but we now have the first batch of questions and responses. If you would like to submit a question for the next mailbag, send it

Q. My question has to do with evaluating recruits. After judging a player for his purely physical skills, how to do assess his grit and determination? I'm thinking of how he'll react when he realizes that it's not so easy to do the things that have carried him to the success he's had to date. That is, the skills that have always been necessary and sufficient, are now necessary, but maybe not sufficient. John
The toughest question to answer is how will he face adversity – does he have the competitive make up to try harder, adjust to a new role, etc.?

Q. I once listened to an away game on B.C.’s radio station. Before the game, the broadcasters were discussing their thoughts relative to the probable outcome. One of them suggested that the “U” would win, because, though he believed that B.C. had the better personnel, “Ricky Meagher would not let a B.C. team beat a B.U. team.” The other announcers agreed. What in your opinion made Ricky Meagher so much the quintessential Terrier, so much so that even fans of other teams understood it? Spencerslaw
JP: Ricky was the rare combination of pure skill coupled with a fierce competitive nature. Arguably, the best player ever to play here – the only three-time All American.

Q. Given the team’s struggles on defense this year, how much could be attributed to a change in system—that is from man-to-man coverage to zone? Or is it simply the change in personnel ? Mal
JP: No question we made a big mistake changing from man to man to what is known as the “layered look”. After the break at Christmas, we went back to man to man – my bad.

Q. What is this year’s team greatest strength and what is its biggest weakness?” Chris

JP: Biggest strength is offensive capabilities – we can create scoring opportunities off the rush and on the power play. Biggest weakness – goaltending. We have not been as solid as we need to be in this area.

Q. On a 2-on-1, from the attacking perspective, what should the player without the puck do to make the play successful? Terrier Blogger
JP: Create a good passing lane for the puck carrier to use him if necessary. He must be a threat without the puck so that the defenseman must worry about him.

Q. Over the years, the age spread among players on the squad has grown. While many players coming in after one or two years of junior might be 20 or 21 as freshmen, the recruiting successes through the USNDTP have ensured we still have younger first-year players, such as Colin Wilson. Can you comment on any challenges this creates (team unity, etc.) and what you, your staff, and perhaps your captain(s) do to overcome them? Doug
JP: It’s not really a problem re: team unity or chemistry in the dressing room. However it presents problems in recruiting. We are constantly trying to get “older” but at the same time we can’t pass on a Wilson or a (David) Warsofsky.

Q. Do you recall ever going this deep into a season without settling on a number one goal or an established rotation? Mark.
: Yes, similar situation in 2001 with Jason Tapp and freshman Sean Fields – Fields didn’t establish himself as our #1 until the playoffs. We lost at Providence in three games but Fields was great and I remember saying to my assistants that it was a tough year but at least we found our goalie. Sean had three great years after that for us.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Injury Update

Contrary yesterday's post and an article in the Daily Free Press, we've learned that defenseman Matt Gilroy is expected to be in the lineup tonight for the game against UMass Lowell. A report in College Hockey News and the DFP article both had suggested Gilroy would miss three weeks due to an injury suffered in practice.

Links to gamenotes, gametracker, the WWZN broadcast and a Webcast on B2B Networks are now posted. In conjunction with the game at Tsongas Arena, MassMutual is hosting Disabilities Awareness Night which will feature motivational speaker and former Terrier Travis Roy.

Look for the first batch of replies from Jack Parker to our "Coach's Mailbag" feature to be posted this weekend.


College Hockey News reports that All-American defenseman Matt Gilroy suffered a high ankle sprain in practice and will miss the next three weeks, putting added strain on the Terrier defense. We’ve been following Matt’s brother Kevin who’s enjoying a stellar season in the EJHL with the South Shore Kings. The younger Gilroy has rung up 27 goals and 25 assists, currently good for second in league scoring.

A blog reader requsted an update on 2008 recruit Andrew Glass. The left winger, a senior at Nobles, is tied for 10th in New England prep school scoring with 19 goals and 16 assists. He had a powerplay goal in Wednesday’s win over The Governor’s Academy. A veteran talent evaluator says “Glass is a very good prospect and because he’s playing on a team not endowed with many veteran players, has to carry much of the load offensively. His skating is very good as are his hockey sense, hands and puck skills.”

The NTDP U18, in Finland for the Five Nations Tournament, came from behind to edge Sweden, 4-3 in overtime in the opening game. Terrier recruits had a hand in three third-period goals with Vinny Saponari assisting on the first, David Warsofsky assisting on the second and Warsofsky potting the tying goal with just 15 seconds left in regulation.

Sorry, if this sounds like a broken record, but Corey Trivino and Ethan Werek were all over the scoresheet for Stouffville (OPJHL) tonight in its 10-4 win over Villanova. Trivno’s goal and two assists were eclipsed by Werek’s hattrick plus two helpers, giving the 2009 recruit a team-leading 68 points in just 36 games.

The perfect gift for the ultimate hockey fan? For just $5,495, you can spend five days doing Herbies for Mike Eruzione, Jack O’Callahan and other members of the 1980 Olympic goal medal team at “Miracle Fantasy Camp."

Finally, a pre-Super Bowl piece we’ve just come across relates Mike Grier’s connections to pro football through his father, Bobby, now in the Houston Texans’ front office. There’s a link to some video highlights of the ex-Terrier All-American, now in his 11th pro season.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Monday

If yesterday was Super Sunday and tomorrow's primary-election bonanza is Super Tuesday, then today is certainly Super Monday in the world of college hockey.

In an 8 pm start, the defending champion Terriers take on arch-rival BC in the 56th annual Beanpot Tournament. We have some pregame articles from The Boston Globe and The Daily Free Press, along with gamenotes from the BU Athletics Web site. The Globe also looks back 30 years to the Beanpot opener played the night of the Blizzard of '78, which left many, including the author, stranded in the Old Garden for days.

Former Terrier All-American netminder Dan Brady, (photo) who was co-MVP of the 1972 tournament, will be inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame during this year's event. He is the 12th former BU player or coach to be so honored.

Another often-honored ex-Terrier reached a career milestone over the weekend. With two goals in Friday night's Ranger's 3-1 win over the Devils, Chris Drury hit the 500 mark in NHL career points. His first goal was the game-winner, but the one that put him at 500 was an ENG, sort of ironic for one of the NHL's top clutch performers. Drury reverted to form in the third period yesterday afternoon with another game-winner in New York's 5-3 come from behind win in Montreal.

John Curry continues to lead all AHL goalies in GAA, as he gained his 10th win for the Baby Pens on Saturday, 5-3, over Bridgeport. A feature article on traces Curry's first pro season that has taken him from the ECHL in Las Vegas to playing for Team USA in the Deutschland Cup and now to the starting goalie spot in WilkesBarre/Scranton.

Both Corey Trivno and Ethan Werek continue to wield hot sticks as Stouffville looks to solidify its playoff position in the OPJHL. The play are now co-scoring leaders of the Spirit with 63 points apiece after some productive games last week.

Chris Connolly, whose was in a mild scoring slump recently, came out of it on Saturday with a pair of goals in Omaha's 6-2 win over Des Moines. After 39 games, his line reads 18-21-39.

Vinny Saponari scored the NTDP U18s only goal in a 2-1 OT loss to Notre Dame. His 9th goal of the season along with 14 assists make him the second leading scorer on the team. David Warsofsky is the top scoring defenseman--and third leading scorer--with 21 points.

One Man's Opinion: It's the last one that counts

When this season began, there was an oddity in the schedule. The Terriers were going to play the Eagles once each month in November, December, January and February. Given recent history, extending that streak into March was a strong possibility. If things went well for both teams, they could even do it again in April.

Before the first match-up, while discussing this peculiarity, I told a fellow fan, “I don’t care so much how we do in the other games, as long as we win the last one – whenever that is.” Well, here we are…maybe.

Despite the disappointing results to-date this season, there is still precedent for successfully meeting my goal.

In 1985-86, the Terriers lost their first two regular season games to BC and tied the third – just like this season – yet beat BC both in the Beanpot and later, in the Providence Civic Center, for their first Hockey East championship. The following year, when league opponents faced each other four times during the season, BC swept BU on two separate weekends, only to fall in the first round of the Beanpot at the hands of the Terriers. In 1990-91, BU was 0-3 in Hockey East play against BC, but, again, beat them in the Beanpot.

Perhaps the ultimate was the 2003-04 season. Not only did BC sweep BU in Hockey East play, but even a 50-save performance from Sean Fields couldn’t hold up in the Beanpot final. BC matched BU’s goal 3:30 into the game by tying it up with 3:30 left in regulation then potted the winner in OT. However, thanks to David Van der Gulik’s OT game winner at UNH in the regular season finale, BU squeaked into the final playoff spot to face the top- seeded Eagles. At Conte, BU shocked BC by winning the first and third games to take the series.

Of course, the reverse has also happened. In 2005-06, after losing the first game, BU beat BC four straight, including the Beanpot final and the Hockey East final. Unfortunately for the Terriers, they matched up again in the NCAA Regional final, with the Eagles prevailing.

Which brings us to this Beanpot Monday and their first-round meeting. Truth be told, I hope this isn’t the last time BU plays BC this season, but that’s based on where that meeting would likely take place, either the Garden or the NCAAs, and I’d like to see BU make it that far, regardless of the opponent.

However, just in case, it couldn’t hurt to win what might be the last game between the two for the season.
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