By: Dan Shulman
BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Northeastern (Hockey East) November 6-7, 2015
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Location – Boston, Massachusetts; Mascot – Huskies; This Year’s Record – 1-5-1 (0-1-1 HEA), 0-3-1 on the road, 1-2-0 at home; Fun Fact – 225th & 226th all-time meeting, BU leads series 158-58-8…BU beat NU in the Beanpot Final last season 4-3 (OT)
Senior captain and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will look to make his season debut after being sidelined for the start of the 2015-16 campaign with a knee injury.
“I think you’re going to see him tomorrow night,” said Terrier Head Coach David Quinn after practice on Thursday.
In a rematch of last year’s Beanpot Final and a preview of a 2016 Beanpot Semifinal, the Boston University Terriers will face off against city rivals Northeastern in a weekend home-and-home series.
The final week of February, 2015, saw the Terriers and the Huskies play three times at three different venues.
The teams had their first meeting of the season on Monday, February 23rd at TD Garden, as Matt Grzelcyk scored a game-winning, power play goal just 51 seconds into overtime to give the Terriers their 30th Beanpot Championship.
The ensuing weekend, the teams played a home-and-home series to wrap up their regular seasons.
Friday, February 27th, saw the teams score five times in the final six minutes of the first period before Northeastern took a 6-2 lead halfway through the second period. The Terriers mounted a comeback, but couldn’t complete it, falling 6-5 at Agganis Arena.
The teams met the next night at Matthews Arena, again combining for five goals in the first twenty minutes. This time, it was the Terriers scoring six times on the night, including three power play tallies and a short-handed marker.
Northeastern is led by junior forward John Stevens with five points (4G, 1A) on the season. Younger brother Nolan Stevens has collected three goals and an assist, ranking third on the team in points.
The Huskies’ roster is highlighted by Anaheim Ducks draft pick Kevin Roy. Regarded as “one of the most dynamic players in college hockey” by BU coach David Quinn, Roy has yet to score this season, but has registered four assists. In his 108 career games, Roy has scored 53 goals and recorded 73 assists, averaging more than a point per game through his three plus years with the Huskies.
“We’re expecting a good team that’s skilled, that’s physical, and that’s going to bring out the best in us,” said Quinn.
Northeastern is one of many teams across the NCAA who, like BU, have yet to determine a full-time starting goalie. Junior Derick Roy has started five of seven games this season, but has been chased twice, giving way to freshman Ryan Ruck.
Ruck has yet to collect his first collegiate win, but has only allowed 8 goals in just over 180 minutes of action.
The Terriers are coming off a three game week, winning the final game on Saturday against fifth-ranked Denver, in overtime.
Ahti Oksanen opened his scoring tab for the season, netting two goals including the game-winner just 21 seconds into overtime.
“It’s certainly nice to get [Oksanen] on the scoreboard,” said Quinn. “For him, [goals] come in bunches so hopefully it’s the beginning of a nice streak here.”
In net for BU, Connor LaCouvee seems to be the emerging front-runner for starter, appearing in all three games last week.
“I haven’t decided who is going to play,” said Coach Quinn. “But I liked what I saw out of Connor [LaCouvee] against Denver…Our goaltending is going to be fine. I really believe that.”
Northeastern, like BU, has gotten off to slow starts in almost every game this season. BU needs to score early and often against the Huskies, who have not yet found their form, and the Terriers should sweep the weekend.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Test Huskies’ Goaltending
- Northeastern goalies have combined for a .862 save percentage and a 3.11 goals against average.
- NO PENALTIES
- Northeastern’s power play has not been good so far this season, but the Huskies are good at drawing penalties, with opponents averaging 5 per game.
- Stop Huskies from Shooting
- Northeastern averages 34.3 shots on goal per game while only allowing 22.7 shots per game. Keeping NU’s shot total low would give the Terriers a better chance.