Men’s Ice Hockey: Terriers Back in Action Against Harvard

BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Harvard (Non-Conference) – January 7, 2016

ABOUT THE OPPONENT

Location – Cambridge, Massachusetts; Mascot – Crimson; This Year’s Record – 8-1-3 (4-1-3 ECAC), 2-0-1 at home, 152nd all-time meeting, BU leads 77-68-6; Fun Fact – Harvard has already won two trophies this season: The Shillelagh Tournament and the Mariucci Classic

PREVIEW

In a rematch of last year’s thrilling Beanpot first round matchup, the Harvard Crimson seek revenge as they host the Boston University Terriers.

Perhaps an the most memorable game of the snow-delayed 2015 Beanpot, the Crimson stormed ahead to a 3-1 lead early in the second before BU tied it up in the waning minute of the middle frame. The game would go to double overtime where Danny O’Regan would give the Terriers a victory, scoring off a turnover in the defensive zone.

Harvard goaltender Steve Michalek had 63 saves in the losing effort for Harvard. Alex Kerfoot and Kyle Criscuolo factored in the scoring for Harvard. Ahti Oksanen and Nikolas Olsson also scored for BU.

This season, Harvard has lost just once, a 4-1 defeat to the Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Crimson are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over Minnesota in the Mariucci Championship.

The Crimson are led on offense by 2015 Hobey Baker finalist Jimmy Vesey. The Predators draft choice has scored nine goals and added 11 assists this season for Harvard. Criscuolo and Kerfoot have also been dynamic for Harvard this season, with each recording 15 points on the year.

Defensively, Clay Anderson has been one of Harvard’s best defenders on the season. Anderson has recorded a +9 rating and taken 22 shots on goal in all 12 games this season.

In net for Harvard will be Merrick Madsen. The sophomore goalie is second in the nation with both a 0.956 SV% and a 1.32 GAA. Madsen has yet to record a loss this year, going 7-0-2 thus far.

Meanwhile, Boston University has not seen the ice since becoming the first team to knock-off Quinnipiac. Over the break, BU saw forward A.J. Greer depart for the QMJHL and forward Nick Roberto suspended for the remainder of the season.

There are also lingering health issues as Nikolas Olsson and Matt Grzelcyk were injured prior to the break, along with Ahti Oksanen who suffered an upper-body injury in the Quinnipiac game. All three look set to return to the ice for Thursday.

Two new faces have been adorned in scarlet. Forwards Erik Udahl and Oskar Andren have been added to the roster and have been practicing with the team in anticipation of Thursday’s game.

This season, the Terriers are led by Danny O’Regan, who has scored five goals along with his 14 assists through 19 games this season. Line mates Oksanen and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson have also been mainstays on the stat sheet, combining for 30 points this season.

Defensively, Brandon Fortunato has been stellar, leading all Hockey East defensemen with 15 points this season. The sophomore has yet to record a penalty minute in his BU career, and has earned a +6 rating this season.

In net for BU will be Sean Maguire. The senior net-minder earned Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week Honors for his play against Quinnipiac. Maguire has improved since the early portion of the season, posting a 2.54 GAA this season.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and can be heard live on WTBU.

PREDICTION

With two defenseman likely out because of the World Junior tournament, a tough task just got tougher for the Terriers. And with a league game coming on Saturday, the Harvard game takes an immediate back seat. Seeing as BU is coming off a month of being idle, the Terriers will likely have a slow start, which could cost them against a strong Crimson defense.

BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME

  1. Control the tempo

A month off can sometimes be a bad thing for a hockey team. It takes a while to get back into the swing of things. For BU, it will be crucial to control the tempo from the start of the game.

  1. Stay out of the penalty box

Harvard’s power play operates at 28.9%, the fourth best in the country. Although BU’s penalty kill has been successful lately, the Terriers should avoid playing with fire and stay out of the penalty box.

  1. Draw first blood

Harvard is a lethal team when scoring first. For the Terriers, making Harvard play from behind early will help dictate the game.

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