Monday, January 23, 2012

Terriers top pairwise rankings; Millan honored --UPDATED

Following its sweep of Providence College by a combined 14-1 margin, BU finds itself atop the PairWise Ranking. In the two college hockey polls, BU remained in second place in the USCHO poll . BU also is ranked second in the USA Today poll, which had BU ranked 3rd last week. Four of the top 11 in the USCHO poll are Hockey East teams. Besides the #2 Terriers, Merrimack is #5, BC #7 and UMass-Lowell #11.

The double-drubbing of the Friars was BU’s first weekend sweep of a Hockey East opponent this season. Saturday night’s 8-0 shutout provided the biggest margin of victory BU has had in a shutout since beating Northeastern 8-0 on Feb. 14, 1994.

Terriers are currently tops in scoring in conference games with 3.88 goals per game and second in goals against with a 2.47 GAA. In their past 15 games (12-3-0) Terriers have outscored opponents by a 58-33 margin.

In Hockey East’s Weekly Release, Kieran Millan’s .984 save percentage --along with his eighth career shutout--during the Providence series earned him conference Defensive Player of the Week honors. Making the Top Performers list were Sahir Gill, Wade Megan, Matt Nieto, Garrett Noonan and Alexx Privitera. Millan (photo) leads the conference’s Army ROTC Three Stars Award competition while Megan is tied for second. Adam Clendening’s 12 points during his current six-game point streak and Coach Jack Parker’s 400th Hockey East win were among the milestones recognized.

As of January 1, the Terriers ranked 35th in the country in power-play percentage, but they’ve leaped up to fifth thanks to a 13-of-33 (.394) effort thus far in the month of January and 8 for 15 (.533) in the two games with Providence.

●Daily Free Press feature on BU’s revitalized power play
●WTBU Sports recap of PC series
●USCHO’s Dave Hendrickson looks at Hockey East teams going in different directions
●NBC Sports “Back to Class”

Looking back
Brian Strait’s shorthanded goal was the game-winner in Wilkes Barre/Scranton’s 4-3 win against Syracuse.

Looking ahead
Defending Mass. Super 8 champs Malden Catholic remains in first place in the Boston Globe schoolboy hockey poll following an 8-3 win against Xaverian in which 2013 recruit and Lancers captain Brendan Collier registered four assists.

Fellow 2013 recruit Sam Kurker scored a goal and added two assists as St. John’s Prep beat BC High, 3-1. Kurker, recently ranked #41 among North Americans for the 2012 NHL draft, has 12 goals in his first 11 games this season, after scoring 15 goals as a junior. He joined ESPN’s Scott Barboza for a Q&A interview.

Yet another 2013 recruit, Kevin Duane of The Brunswick School is off to a strong start and along with Luke Esposito, a nephew of Mark Messier, leads the Bruins in scoring. Early in the season, the 6-4, 214 forward scored a hattrick in a 5-1 win against Millbrook. In the recent rematch with Millbrook, Duane scored top shelf to knot the score at 2-2, but the Bruins fell in overtime. Duane will hone his skills in the USHL with Des Moines next season.

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