Saturday, October 28, 2017

Game Day: Terriers visit Providence

#6 Terriers will look for a split to their weekend against ranked teams when they head South to Providence to take on the #11 Friars in an important Hockey East match-up. BU and Providence each received two first-place votes in the pre-season Hockey East coaches poll and were picked to finish first and third respectively. Providence, which has a 4-2-0 record, is coming off a 2-1 win against BC last night on home ice.

Josh Wilkens is the Friars’ top scorer with five points, while Kasper Bjorkqvist leads in goals with four, including a hat trick against St. Lawrence last weekend. Junior Hayden Hawkey has played all six games in goal and has a 2.48 GAA and a .912 save percentage.

Last season, BU won a hard-fought 2-1 contest at Schneider Arena on a Nikolas Olsson goal, and then tied Providence the next night, 2-2, at Agganis Arena.

● Boston Hockey Blog Live In-Game Blog
● Daily Free Press Game Preview
● CHN Tale of the Tape
Providence College Live Stream (PayPerView)



Terrier Takeaway from blog contributor Neal Boudette

The bad news from last night, of course, is the Terriers gave up a goal with 16 seconds left and lost at home to Denver. It spoiled what had been an impressive effort, twice battling back against the No. 1 team in the nation, once from a two-goal deficit in the first and then while trailing 3-2 in the third.

You can't walk away from a loss like that feeling good.

The good news is that they showed some real fire, and showed they can play, and even outplay, the No. 1 team in the nation.

In a six minute stretch in the third that culminated with Dante Fabbro's goal to knot the game at 3, BU dominated Denver. So this team can play at a high level. We saw that in the second game against Minn. St. when they dominated and controlled the entire first period.

And they were able to do it against Denver - for stretches - when they played with passion and speed and intensity.

The problem is they fade in and out. It takes a while for the team to ramp up to maximum intensity. In how many games has BU given up the first goal?

And even when they get going, they tend lose their edge after a while. I think part of that is maturity, or lack of it. Young players have to learn how hard they have to play to be successful in college, and have to learn to sustain their intensity over a 60 minute game. And these Terriers aren't there yet.

They may very well get there. That's Dave Quinn's challenge as coach. To get them to play their very best hockey from the drop of the puck to the final horn. If they learn to do that over the course of the season, they could be a very dangerous team at tournament time.

It's ironic that maturity is an issue. That was a challenge with last year's team and it seemed that this year's squad, a year older and bolstered by players like Drew Melanson, would be a more mature group.

But the fact is that the players who have been dressing each night are as young as last year's team. The starting roster is filled out with a lot of freshmen while some veterans have played little or not at all.

The average age of this year's team is higher than last year's group, but I'd bet the average age of those actually playing in games is pretty much the same – young.

I'm not saying Quinn should change the line-up. Not at all. I think he's putting his most skilled players on the ice. I'm just saying BU isn't playing with as much maturity as we expected, and part of the reason may be that some of the older guys we have - Chabot, Switzer, Diffley - haven't cracked the line-up to add maturity to the 18 skaters who dress for games.

Last night every line had at least one teenager. The goalie (Oettinger) doesn't turn 19 until December.

Fabbro tied the game with about five minutes left. With about 2:30 left, there was a face-off in the BU zone and Quinn called a time-out. When play resumed, Denver was the more energetic team, BU struggled to get the puck out of the D zone and Denver's Troy Terry got enough room to pick a top corner over Oettinger's glove.

Seems like the time out helped Denver more than BU. Bottom line is Denver, the older, more mature team, was able to lift its game at the critical time.

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