Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's Beanpot Party Time

If you can't be in Boston for next week's Beanpot opening round, there are sixteen Beanpot parties scheduled in cities across the U.S. Details are available at the BU alumni Web site.

The Washington, D.C. alumni club has asked that we post an invitation to its Beanpot Party, which follows below.

D.C. readers of the The Terrier Hockey Fan Blog are welcome to join other BU alumni at their annual Beanpot Viewing Party at Regional Food and Drink on Feb 4th for the opening round games. Alumni from the metro D.C. area will take over the entire bar, turning it to a sea of Scarlet and White, although alumni from any of the four schools (or any college hockey fan, for that matter) are welcome to come.

Tickets are $15 in advance (or $20 at the door) and are available at the Club’s website. Not only will you get to watch the game with others who actually know what a Beanpot is, but extended drink specials, discount on food, raffles, free snacks, a commemorative pint glass and admittance to the Championship game viewing party on Feb 11th are included in the ticket price. This is one of our biggest alumni events of the year and supports events throughout the year.
Questions can be sent to Chelsey at beanpot@dcbualum.org .

Friday, January 25, 2008

One Man's Opinion: One at a time

Here's another opinion piece, compliments of our newest blog contributor, Todd. It's one man's opinon about changing focus to follow what has been a difficult season for the Terriers and their fans.

There are a lot of cliches out there and the world of sports has more than its share. That said, there are times when an idea, no matter how time worn, rings true. Beyond that, there are times when this idea is more appropriate, more “true” than at others.

One such concept in heavy rotation in New England of late is “One at a time”.

With the Red Sox down 3-0 to the hated Yankees in the ALCS in 2004, they couldn’t worry about winning four games to win the series. There is no swing of the bat, no pitch, no throw from the outfield, no double-play turned that would dig them out of that hole. They could only take care of the game in front of them. This batter. This at-bat. This pitch. This swing. This catch. This throw. Slowly but surely, small successes built, transferring the psychological pressure from the trailing team that needs to succeed to the front-runner now charged with not failing.

The Patriots have been dealing with this kind of pressure all season. Reporters started asking the question about running the table after the second week of the season. The second week? Before the NFL expanded the regular season from 14 to 16 games, what is now Week Two would have been the final preseason contest. And yet, the idea was out there and needed to be dealt with. The only way to handle it is to take one game at a time - and Belichick and the players have beaten that drum all season. You can’t go 16-0, or 19-0 all at once. You can only go 1-0 in a given game and then, with preparation, skill and luck, do it again.

In a sense, appreciating that kind of streak is like figuring the odds on the results of flipping a coin. If you asked someone to contemplate the odds of getting “heads” 19 times in a row, it would seem overwhelming. (If you asked a stats geek, they would say 2^19, assuming a fair coin.) But if you look at each coin as its own flip, the odds after 18 successful flips are the same as each of the others. 50-50.

The same basic concept applies to moving a brick wall, eating an elephant or taking a journey of a thousand miles. One brick at a time. One bite at a time. One step at a time.

Which brings us to this year’s Terriers.

Their early season results put them in an unfamiliar position. Normally a resident of the nation’s Top Teams polls, the Terriers dropped from sight – not even among those receiving votes. To be fair, their early play didn’t warrant inclusion.

At the winter break, instead of jockeying for home-ice position in the league playoffs, they were tied for last place and in danger of missing the post-season altogether.

Add in the prospect of players missing games due to injuries, to suspension and to international play and things looked bleak. It would have been easy for players, coaches and fans to write off the season and start thinking about next year.

As I’m not in the locker room, I can’t speak for the players or coaches, and I won’t presume to speak for other fans. For me, as a fan, at some point in December, I made the choice to handle the situation the best way I knew how - one game at a time.

So instead of my normal preoccupation with relative ranking and post-season positioning, with PWR and TUC and RPI (I’ve been known to calculate projected RPI manually based on hypothetical outcomes late in the season), I simply watch the game in front of me and appreciate it for its own merit. Then I let it go.

I don’t care what other leagues are doing, because it has no bearing on saving the next shot. I don’t know who next week’s opponent is because it doesn’t finish checking that puck-carrier into the boards. I don’t know what other games are going on in the league because it doesn’t put the puck in our opponent’s net. I don’t dwell on the fact that we went winless in our first five games and I don’t get too excited that we’re unbeaten in our last five league games. Win, lose or draw, there’s no point in “coulda-woulda-shoulda”.

I enjoy the simple things again - the things that don’t show up in the box score. Seeing third line players come off the bench with a purpose is appreciated as much as the first line burying a one-timer from the other side of the crease. Watching a defender tap the puck from an onrushing forward and take the body at the same time is as satisfying as a solid save with the rebound directed to the corner.

Since my change in perspective, I’ve also been rewarded by a team that seems to have adopted the same viewpoint. Maybe it’s my own bias, but they seem to be taking care of the little things with more focus, and better results, than earlier in the season.

So from now until the last whistle blows and the team clears out their lockers, whenever that might be – from March 7th to April 12th – that’s how I’ll watch, and hopefully how they’ll play.

One game at a time. One period at a time. One shift at a time. One check at a time. One shot at a time. One save at a time. One goal at a time. Hopefully, one win at a time.

Then on to the next game to do it again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Looking ahead: Stouffville duo collects honors

It’s been a memorable week for the pair of future Terriers who spearhead the Stouffville Spirit’s offense. 2008 recruit Corey Trivino and 2009 recruit Ethan Werek racked up points and honors.

In the Spirit’s two weekend games, each put up eight points—2+6 for Trivino and 3+5 for Werek. Trivino added a shootout goal in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to Couchiching that was followed by a blowout 12-5 win over Seguin. Werek now is the team scoring leader with 56 points, just one ahead of his current and future teammate.

Recognized as OPJHL North Division Player of the Month in December, Werek also was named the division’s Rookie of the Year for this season (even though the season is far from over), the same honor Trivino won last year. Meanwhile, Trivino, who was ranked 46th among N. American skaters for the 2008 NHL draft, played in Wednesday night’s OPJHL all-star game.

Vinny Saponari scored his 8th goal of the season and 14th assist in the NTDP U18s loss to D3 Adrian College. Saponari is tied for the team lead in scoring with Jordan Schroeder who was Colin Wilson’s linemate at the World Junior Championships. David Warsofsky remains the U18s top scoring defenseman.

As posted recently both, 2008 recruit Chris Connolly and his brother Jack were selected for the USHL all-star game. An Omaha World-Herald feature examines the paths taken by the college-bound siblings.

In other Terrier news:

Last week we reported John Laliberte’s first goal since signing with the AHL Milwaukee Admirals. Thanks to a blog reader, we now have video of that goal.

There was good news and bad news for another former Terrier. Defenseman Bryan Miller’s strong season for the Alaska Aces earned him a spot in the ECHL all-star game, but a shoulder injury has now ended his season. Miller will be a free agent this summer and will look to sign with an AHL club.

Colin Wilson’s five-point weekend, including a goal and three assists against Merrimack earned the freshman center Hockey East’s Rookie of the Week award. He added an assist in the 2-2 tie with BC. Meanwhile, College Hockey News and The Daily Free Press checked in with Colin on his return to the Terriers after leading the US Junior National Team in goals. Projected as an early first round draft choice next June, Wilson knows the scouts are watching. Here’s how one scout sized him up:

"Colin has a tremendous skill set. The thing about Colin is that he can play a number of roles. He can setup a linemate because he sees the ice really well and can find passing lanes, even if they sometimes don't exist. But recently, he's also been finding the net more himself."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jack Kelley: "The Mentor"

Before Jack Parker became the face of BU hockey, that position was held for ten seasons by another coaching legend, Jack Kelley. A former All-East defenseman for BU and team MVP in 1952, Kelley returned to his alma mater in 1962, and soon returned the Terriers to a spot among the elite of college hockey. His 206-80-8 record translates to a .714 winning percentage, the best of any BU coach. Kelley's decade behind the Terrier bench was capped by back-to-back NCAA championships in 1971 and 1972. He also was the driving force behind the construction of BU's first on-campus hockey rink, Walter Brown Arena.

New recognition of Coach Kelley's many contributions to the Terrier program will take place this season on February 29 just prior to the game against UMass. A statue of “The Mentor” will be unveiled at Agganis Arena. Funding for the statue was raised entirely by former Terrier players, managers, and friends. We’ll post more details about this event as they become available and also will soon post a Q&A interview with Coach Kelley.

A recent post about the recognition paid to longtime New England amateur scout Bob Crocker during the Dec. 1 game led to some critical feedback from several sources. As a result, we feel the need to make some clarifications.

The post—which included an article from U.S. Hockey Report—incorrectly gave the impression that Coach Crocker was responsible for all Terrier recruiting during Jack Kelley’s tenure as BU head coach. While Bob was an integral part of the process of bringing talented players to Commonwealth Avenue, Coach Kelley led the effort, building upon the recruiting network and contacts—particularly in Canada, but also throughout New England—he developed initially when he was Colby College’s head coach. His keen eye for talent and matchless coaching skills enabled him to revive the Terrier program in just two years after taking the helm in 1962.

More than just a recruiter and coach, Kelley was a teacher whose knowledge and skills were imparted to many of his players who later assumed coaching positions on a variety of levels. Among them:

Jack Parker–BU; Bill Riley Jr.-Lowell; Eddie Wright- SUNY Buffalo; Dick Toomey-Brown; Wayne Gowing-Wilfred Laurier; Don"Toot" Cahoon- Princeton, UMass; Ron Anderson-Merrimack (NHL scout); Steve Stirling-Providence, Babson, N.Y. Islanders, Norfolk (AHL); Don Lumley-Kent State; Jim Higgins-Princeton; Rich Green-Colby College; Andy Fila, Boston University, Jack Ferriera-Army, (NHL executive); John Danby-high school; Paul Giandomenico-high school; Peter Yetten- Waltham High school; Bob Sylvia-Quincy High school; Bob Martell-Quincy High school; Bill Flynn-Germany, Italy. [Note: if you know someone we omitted, please add a comment below]

One of Kelley’s top players at Colby, Ron Ryan, went on to coach at Penn, Merrimack, Colgate and the New England Whalers, before becoming an NHL executive. And Bob Crocker, who assisted Kelley at BU, coached at Penn and later was assistant GM of the Whalers, prior to his long career in scouting.

Coach Kelley remains one of the legends of BU and college hockey. Following the 1971 and 1972 national titles, he stretched his championship streak to three seasons by leading the New England Whalers to the AVCO Cup title in the World Hockey Association’s first season.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gameday: BU-Dartmouth

The rescheduled BU-Dartmouth game is on tap at Agganis Arena tonight. The Big Green have dropped four of their past five games, but the one win was an upset of 12th-ranked Clarkson last Friday. Dartmouth is led by senior forwards JT Wyman and Nick Johnson, with 20 and 16 points respectively, and senior goalie Mike Devine (2.862, .913)

A pregame article on the BU athletics Web site provides links to game notes, gametracker and game broadcasts. CN8 is broadcasting the game only in the New England region, but the broadcast can be accessed online at CN8 Live.

Senior Brian McGuirk has regained a captain's "C" and will be co-captain with Pete MacArthur. Ryan Weston and Matt Gilroy continue as assistants. Coach Jack Parker noted that ""Brian has handled everything very well," said Parker. "He has shown a great deal of maturity since returning and has continued to be an important leader for this team. He has earned the `C' back and then some."


Freddy vs. Jason? No, not that Freddy & Jason. It was former Terrier All-American defenseman Freddy Meyer punctuating Sunday night’s Islander win over Ottawa by tattooing the Senators’ Jason Spezza on an open ice hit. (video)

Now in his 16th NHL season, Keith Tkachuk is closing in on 500 goals. Now in his second go-around with the St. Louis Blue, the power forward from Melrose, Mass., is just 15 goals shy of the milestone. (video)

Last month, we posted about John Laliberte’s four goal, two assist game for the Augusta (ECHL). His steady scoring for the Lynx earned Laliberte a contract with the AHL Milwaukee Admirals, just prior to New Year’s. Saturday he scored his first goal for the Admirals.

Former Terrier goalie, Bob Deraney, head coach of the Providence College women’s team, was on the coaching staff of the gold-medal winning U.S. Women’s U18 squad.

2008 recruit Chris Connolly, an Omaha Lancers left wing, was selected for the Western Division team in the USHL All-Star Game, set for Jan. 29. Connolly’s brother Jack, a Minnesota-Duluth recruit, also is on the Western Division roster.

  • Some of the usual sources of game recaps didn't provide reports on BU's Saturday night win at Maine, so here's a recap from the Bangor Daily News. Coach Jack Parker termed the victory as one of BU's best efforts of the season.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gillespie injury puts Bennett back in net

Senior goalie Karson Gillespie’s high ankle sprain, suffered in practice this week, means sophomore Brett Bennett will be between the pipes tonight when BU invades Maine’s Alfond Arena tonight. World Junior Championship tournament returnees Colin Wilson and Brian Strait also rejoin the lineup, following Team USA’s fourth-place finish. Wilson is expected to center BU’s top line, while Strait will be paired with Matt Gilroy. Game notes for tonight’s 7 p.m. start are available on the BU Web site with links for gametracker and the WWZN radio broadcast.

Comcast in telecasting the game in both its New England and MidAtlantic regions.

In a Winnipeg Free Press story last week, Wilson discussed Team USA's disappointing performance in the WJC medal round.

NHL Central Scouting has announced its midterm rankings for 2008 draft eligible players. Wilson is ranked #9 on the list of North Americans. Among Terrier recruits, Stouffville (OPJHL) center Corey Trivino is #46, NTDP defenseman David Warsofsky is #103, Chicago Steel (USHL) defenseman Max Nicastro is #117 and NTDP right wing Vinny Saponari is #122.

Our colleague Chris at the Western College Hockey blog has posted a list of of ranked players who are currently in college, committed for next season or potential college players. Two defensemen who have been on BU’s radar for 2008 are Camrose’s Andrew MacWilliam (#59) and Shattuck’s David Carle (#74)

Saponari is tied for the NTDP U18 scoring lead with 20 points (7-13), while Warsofsky, who had a four-point game (1+3) last weekend against Geneseo State, is the team's top-scoring defenseman (7-11-18)

2009 recruit Ethan Werek, back from playing with gold-medal-winning Ontario in the World U17 Challenge, celebrated with a hattrick Thursday night in a 6-3 win as Stouffville ran its win streak to five games. A 6-2 left wing, Werek now has an 18-28-46 line in 25 games.

2008 recruit Chris Connolly bagged his 15th goal of the season and added an assist in Omaha’s (USHL) 7-1 win against Des Moines last night. Connolly is second on the Lancers in scoring with 32 points.

While the current BU goaltending situation remains unsettled, two former Terrier netminders are having standout seasons. We’ve already reported on John Curry’s success with the Baby Penguins in Wilkes Barre/Scranton. Last night he earned his 8th win in 11 decisions in a 3-1 win over Hershey. Ex-Terrier Chris Bourque had the goal for lone goal for the Bears. Curry currently leads all AHL goalies in GAA with 1.82. Now, Rick DiPietro has been named to the NHL all-star game for the first time in his career. DiPietro earned his 17th win of the season last night in Calgary in the Islander’s 5-4 shootout win.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Curry takes his act to Scranton

Former Terrier John Curry is treating fans of the Penguins' AHL affiliate, Wilkes Barre-Scranton, to the same kind of goaltending excellence that made him an All-American at BU. Last night, Curry earned his sixth win in nine starts for the Baby Pens since being recalled from Las Vegas in the ECHL.

Curry was particularly stingy in December, winning four of five starts, including his first pro shutout while putting up gaudy stats--a 1.48 GAA and a .939 save percentage.

Another former Terrier, Carl Corazzini, not only leads the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) in scoring, he also is authoring a blog on the on the team’s Web site. Corazzini joined the Red Wings organization this past summer after playing for two other Original Six clubs, Boston and Chicago.

Team USA and Team Canada will reprise their 2007 World Junior Championship semi-final matchup (won by Canada) on Friday. Game time is 2:00 p.m. ET and it will be televised on the NHL Network and on TSN. The other semi-final matches Russia and Sweden.

USA has tournament’s top three scorers in the preliminary round in Colin Wilson, James Van Riemsdyk (UNH) and Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota 2008 recruit), as well as the second best powerplay. Canada has given up the fewest goals and has the best penalty kill in the tournament. Team stats.

Wilson led Team USA to its fourth preliminary round win, 5-3 over Finland, registering a natural hattrick to send his team to an early 3-0 lead.

USA Hockey's WJC Web site includes Video highlights , articles and a WJC blog . Earlier this week, preparing for the semifinal, Coach John Hynes and team captain Brian Strait spoke with USA Hockey's Cameron Eickmeyer for a blog report. With its four preliminary round wins, Team USA has now won 10 consecutive IIHF championship games with Strait as its captain. He also wore the "C" when USA ran the table in the 2006 World U18 Championships.

The Terriers return to the ice Saturday eveining against Vermont, having won their first game following the the Christmas break, a 5-2 win against Merrimack. Boomer Ewing scored a pair and added an assist, while Karson Gillespie picked up his first win in goal. Ewing, Brandon Yip, Brian McGuirk and Dan McGoff all returned to the lineup following their suspensions for violating team rules, while Colby Cohen and Jason Lawrence returned following injuries.

BU, now in seventh place in Hockey East, has a one point lead over the Catamounts in the standings.

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