By: Dan Shulman
BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. UMass-Amherst (Hockey East) February 5, 2016
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: All-Time Series – BU leads 56-11-5
Location – Amherst, Massachusetts; Mascot – Minutemen; This Year’s Record – 7-16-4 (2-11-4), 2-9-1 at home, 1-13-0 in last 14 games; Fun Fact – UMass has been selected for next season’s Friendship Four in Belfast.
In what could be a potential preview for a Hockey East first round playoff matchup, the Boston University Terriers will travel to Amherst to face the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Friday night.
The teams have met once this season already, that game taking place just under a month ago at Agganis Arena. After being tied 2-2 in the second period, the Terriers tacked on five unanswered goals to rout UMass 7-2.
UMass is coming off a series sweep at home against Maine, allowing ten goals in two games against the struggling Black Bears.
“Obviously they’re struggling,” said Terrier Head Coach David Quinn. “We always realize we’ve got a target on our back. They’ve got skill, a lot of talent up front. We are going to have to manage the game.”
Boston University reserved a spot in the Beanpot Final last Monday by defeating Northeastern 3-1, the third time the Terriers defeated the Huskies.
This season, UMass is led offensively by Hobey Baker nominee Shane Walsh. The senior has scored 15 goals and added eight assists to lead the Minutemen. He has also fired a team-high 90 shots on goal in 27 games.
On defense, William Lagesson looks to be finding a niche at UMass. With six points, the Swede has also blocked 22 shots and is a -3 this season.
In net, freshman Nic Renyard has seen most of the minutes for UMass this season, posting a .897 SV% and a 3.70 GAA in 20 games. It is likely that Henry Dill or Alex Wakaluk could also start in the blue paint against the Terriers on Friday.
For BU, Jordan Greenway has been dominant in the offensive zone this season. With 15 points, Greenway is one of the best in college hockey at possessing the puck deep in the offensive zone. He is a +15 this season and has also taken 50 shots.
Oskar Andren has also sparked the Terrier offense since his insertion into the lineup in January. The freshman from Sweden has made an unbelievable contribution to the first forward line as of late.
“He’s a good player,” said Coach Quinn. “I think people are starting to appreciate him more. He does the subtle things. He’s not flashy but he works hard and creates space for people. There’s different ways to help create offense and he’s contributing in a variety of ways.”
Nikolas Olsson, who has been plagued by shoulder injuries this season, is out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.
BU has seen an impressive showing from Brandon Fortunato this season on defense. The sophomore has recorded 18 points, ten of which have come on the power play. He has also blocked 25 shots this season.
One big name not in the lineup tomorrow will be Charlie McAvoy. The freshman defender suffered a lower body injury and remains day-to-day. John MacLeod will be playing on Friday for the injured McAvoy.
In net for BU will be Sean Maguire. The senior has had himself quite the run, starting every game since the winter break, and currently posts a .923 SV% and a 2.23 GAA.
With a big game against BC coming up, Coach Quinn is making sure his players stay focused on the task at hand Friday night.
“Our guys realize where we’re at in the standings,” said Coach Quinn. “These points are valuable and we have to make sure we are taking care of business. This game’s enormous. You can’t be giving points away.”
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and can be heard live on WTBU. Jake Reiser and Chris Lynch will have the call.
UMass has already packed it in for the season. Projected twelfth at the start of the year and likely to finish there, the Minutemen have struggled mightily since November, and will not find any relief on Friday night when the Terriers come to town. The final score-line won’t be a pretty one, either.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- First Two Periods
UMass is -46 through the first forty minutes of play this season. BU needs to make sure this margin extends by jumping out to a quick lead.
- Special Teams
The Minutemen feature a 78.8% penalty kill and a 16.8% power play. This weekend should be a chance for both the Terrier PP and PK units to get back on track.
- Test the Goalie
Whoever is in net on Friday for UMass, the Terriers need to make sure they get shots on goal, as the Minutemen are -222 in shots on goal this season.