By: Dan Shulman
BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Vermont (Hockey East) December 4-5, 2015
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Location – Burlington, Vermont; Mascot – Catamounts; This Year’s Record – 3-9-2 (2-4-2 Hockey East), 2-2-0 on the road, in 74 all-time meetings, BU leads 44-22-8; Fun Fact – UVM Sr. Defenseman Alexx Privitera is a transfer from BU and the last Terrier to wear the #6 jersey before it was retired for Jack Parker
After a two-week hiatus from Hockey East play, the Boston University Terriers will host conference foe Vermont for a two-game weekend series.
The Terriers played in Red Hot Hockey against Cornell on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, tying the Big Red 3-3. BU would win in a shootout to claim the Kelly-Harkness Cup for the fifth time.
“It’s our last two Hockey East games before the break,” said BU Head Coach David Quinn. “If you look at the standings, we’ve got some work to do. Our guys understand what’s at stake. Every point is so valuable in our league. We just want to continue on the trend we’re going.”
Vermont is coming off three straight losses, two at previously winless Maine and one last weekend against Penn State in Philadelphia.
The Terriers and Catamounts met for two games last season at Gutterson Fieldhouse on the weekend of January 23-24, 2015. BU swept Vermont, 4-2, and 2-1 with the second game going to overtime.
In game one, the Terriers jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the third period before Vermont scored twice to cut the deficit to one. Jack Eichel added an empty-net goal to preserve the victory. Game two saw the Terriers behind 1-0 with just under three minutes to play, when Evan Rodrigues tied the game. Eichel would score in overtime to give the Terriers a victory.
For Vermont, this weekend will mark their first trip to Agganis Arena since early 2014, when they split a weekend series with the struggling Terriers. BU won the first game 4-2 before dropping a tough 6-2 result the next night.
This season, Vermont is led by forward Mario Puskarich. The junior has registered a team-high 12 points (5G, 7A) and leads the Catamounts with 52 shots on goal. Sophomore teammate Jarrid Privitera has also scored five goals this season, and holds a team-leading +3 rating.
Defensively, the Catamounts are paced by Alexx Privitera. The former Terrier is second on the team with seven points (2G, 5A). He has also amassed 16 PIM so far this year.
In goal for Vermont will be Mike Santaguida. The junior has played in all fourteen games this season, and bolsters a .908 save percentage and a 2.72 goals against average.
On the other side, the Terriers are starting to find a more balanced offensive approach, as the second and third lines helped BU earn a hard-fought tie on Saturday. A.J. Greer and Jordan Greenway both scored their first goals of the season, and Bobo Carpenter, snake-bitten as of late, also remastered his scoring touch.
“Hopefully the floodgates are open for [Greer and Greenway] because they played well,” said Coach Quinn. “I couldn’t believe neither one hadn’t scored a goal heading into last week. They’re both good players and they’ve got a lot of ability.”
The Terrier defense will again be without the services of Captain Matt Grzelcyk who has missed two games due to a knee injury. Picking up the slack in Grzelcyk’s absence has been Doyle Somerby. The junior has scored three goals and added five assists this season and is tied for the team lead with a +7 rating.
In goal for Friday night’s game will be Sean Maguire. The senior is fresh off a shutout of Bentley last Tuesday and bolsters a .870 SV% and a 2.82 GAA. Saturday’s goaltender is still to be determined.
“I was very happy for [Maguire] the way he played against Bentley,” said Coach Quinn. “The way he’s looked in practice, he’s earned the opportunity to play Friday night.”
Faceoff on Friday is set for 7:00 while Saturday’s game will begin at 4:05. Both games can be heard live on WTBU.
Vermont is coming off three straight losses, and going on the road against BU, already vulnerable, it will be a rough weekend for the Catamounts. Look for BU to run away with both games, taking a crucial four points in Hockey East
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Score First
- The Catamounts are 0-8-0 this season when scored on first. The Terriers have to set the tone both nights and they will skate away winners
- Capitalize on Power Play
- The Vermont penalty kill operates at a lowly 76.8%. For a team averaging 10.6 PIM per game, the Terriers need to take advantage of their power play chance.
- “We’ve got to be better on the power play,” said Coach Quinn.
- Third Period Shots
- Vermont is +47 in third period shots on goal and have scored 11 times, more than any other period. The Terriers need to minimize Vermont’s chances during the last twenty minutes, something at which BU has excelled this season.