By: Dan Shulman
BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Massachusetts (Hockey East) – January 9, 2016
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Location – Amherst, Massachusetts; Mascot – Minutemen; This Year’s Record – 7-9-4, 4-4-3 on the road, 72 all-time meetings, BU leads 55-11-6; Fun Fact – UMass has won just one of its last 12 games dating back to November 13.
PREGAME PODCAST: Listen HERE
The Boston University Terriers look to stick to their winning ways in the second half as they host the UMass-Amherst Minutemen in their first meeting of the season.
The Terriers carry momentum into the game following a 6-5 comeback victory over Harvard on Thursday. BU trailed 5-3 with four minutes to play and scored three times over the final minutes to win.
UMass is coming off a tough overtime loss at the hands of Yale on Tuesday. The Minutemen scored twice in the third period to tie the game before losing the game at the end of a penalty kill in overtime.
The Terriers and Minutemen last met at Agganis Arena on January 30, 2015 as BU skated to a 9-5 victory. The teams combined for nine goals in third period alone, as BU trailed 5-4 with ten minutes remaining.
Ahti Oksanen scored a hat-trick as the teams recorded a collective 49 minutes in penalties for a total of 16 power plays in what was a physical affair.
This season, UMass is led by senior Shane Walsh and sophomore Dennis Kravchenko. The two have each registered 18 points on the season and totaled 127 shots on goal this season.
Kravchenko was sidelined earlier in the week with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day.
On defense, Marc Hetnik and Carmine Buono also remained sidelined with undisclosed injury and are also day-to-day.
In net, the uncertainty continues for UMass as all three goalies have seen time this season, with Nic Renyard getting the lion’s share of the playing time.
For the Terriers, Nikolas Olsson and Ahti Oksanen returned from injury on Thursday, providing a spark to the BU offense. Olsson used his physicality to make plays while Oksanen recorded six shots and had three points.
Newcomer Oskar Andren made his debut on the fourth line Thursday, filling in for the departed A.J. Greer. Andren finished with an even rating and showed signs of skill with his stick-work.
Defensively, Matt Grzelcyk returned to the lineup as well after sustaining a high-ankle sprain against Michigan back on November 21. Grzelcyk had a power play goal, an assist, and two PIMs Thursday in the victory.
In net for BU will likely be Connor LaCouvee. After Sean Maguire played all sixty minutes in net Thursday, LaCouvee looks to get his first start of the second half, posting a .911 SV% and a 2.71 GAA in 13 games this season.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday and can be heard live on WTBU.
The Terriers are riding some momentum coming off a comeback win over Harvard. With a day to rest and prepare, the Terriers will not be welcoming hosts for UMass, and should take a convincing victory over the Minutemen.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Take an early lead
UMass is -16 in the first period, and has struggled playing from behind this season.
- Power Play
UMass kills penalties at 81.9 %, giving the Terriers potent power play a chance to pile on the goals
- Get pucks on net
UMass is -115 in shots this season, and with an uncertainty at the goaltender position, BU will be more successful with the larger amount of shots on goal