Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The 1989-90 Terriers: Rebuilding The Foundation

By mh82

Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring out the false, ring in the true

George Harrison  

Under the steady guidance of coaches Jack Kelley and Jack Parker (a player on three of Kelley's 1960s teams), the Boston University hockey team produced winning records in 14 of 15 seasons between 1964-65 and 1978-79. The Terriers would've had 15 straight winning seasons over that time frame, but were forced to forfeit 11 victories during the 1972-73 campaign for the use of an ineligible player. That flipped a 22-6-1 record (which included a 7-3 upset loss to the University of Pennsylvania in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, with the Quakers being coached by former BU assistant coach Bob Crocker) into an 11-17-1 mark in Leon Abbott's only full season behind the bench, after being selected as Kelley's successor.

During the aforementioned 15-season stretch, BU and Cornell were the unquestioned kingpins of Eastern college hockey, with the Terriers winning five ECAC and three NCAA championships and the Big Red capturing five ECAC crowns and a pair of NCAA titles.

With talent, tradition and coaching, there was no reason to think that BU couldn't sustain its momentum and success as one of the premier programs in college hockey.

Then came the 1980s.

It actually started with the bridge season of 1979-80, when the Terriers, just two seasons removed from winning the school's third NCAA championship, finished with an 11-17 record and out of the ECAC playoff picture for the first time since 1964. BU followed that rare disappointing season up with a 14-15 record in 1980-81, dropping consecutive overtime games to Princeton and UNH at season's end to remain out of the ECAC postseason picture and securing a second straight losing record for the first time since the early 1960s. Things improved somewhat in 1981-82, when the Terriers—captained by Paul Fenton, the current assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators and a former NHL player who had 100 goals and 83 assists in 411 games—finished with a final mark of 14-11-3, but their 9-10-3 ECAC record kept them outside of the league playoffs for an incredible third straight year.

Over the next two seasons the results finally improved, with an 18-11-1 record (but a first round exit in the playoffs against UNH) in 1982-83, and a lofty 28-11-1 mark—including tying for first place in the ECAC East division with Boston College at 15-6—in 1983-84, in the Terriers' 23rd and final season as a member of the ECAC. That BU squad, which featured all-time leading scorer John Cullen, All-American Second Team defenseman T.J. Connolly and All-American First Team goalie Cleon Daskalakis, played in the school's final ECAC championship game at Boston Garden on March 10, 1984 but fell to a talented and top-seeded RPI club, 5-2. The following weekend, in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament, the Terriers were beaten by Jerry York's Bowling Green Falcons at Walter Brown Arena 8-7 in a two-game total-goals series that went to overtime before being decided. BU had taken a three-goal lead in the series after the first game, but it surrendered the lead the next night and then gave up the agonizing season-ending goal in OT. The Falcons went on to capture the NCAA title in Lake Placid the following weekend with a marathon four-overtime victory over Minnesota-Duluth. [continue reading]

Looking back
Charlie Coyle scored his seventh goal in Minnesota's 5-3 win against Edmonton and now has 10 points in 32 games.

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