Boston University Men’s Ice Hockey vs. UMass-Amherst
Hockey East Tournament First Round – March 4-6, 2016
ABOUT THE OPPONENT – All-Time Series: BU leads 57-11-6
Location – Amherst, Massachusetts; Mascot – Minutemen; This Year’s Record – 8-22-4 (2-16-4), 5-9-3 on the road; Fun Fact – The last time BU and UMass met in the Hockey East Tournament came back in 2006, BU won the series 2-0.
The Boston University Terriers open Hockey East Tournament play this upcoming weekend as they host the UMass-Amherst Minutemen at Agganis Arena in a best-of-three series.
The Terriers failed to earn a top four spot in Hockey East after falling 1-0 at Notre Dame last Saturday. Coupled with UMass-Lowell’s victory over Boston College, the Terriers fell to fifth in the standings and must host the twelfth-seeded Minutemen.
BU swept the season series from UMass-Amherst, outscoring the Minutemen 13-5 in two games. UMass has also been outscored 23-5 in its last five Hockey East games, and 203-103 over the last two seasons in league play.
“[UMass] played very well on Friday against Providence,” said BU Head Coach David Quinn. “Their power play is dangerous. They’ve got some skilled forwards that can really hurt you if you don’t take away time and space.”
UMass is led by Shane Walsh and Ray Pigozzi. The two have each amassed 28 points this season, with Walsh scoring 17 goals and Pigozzi adding 20 assists.
Defensively, UMass has struggled this season. The team is -50 in scoring, and has struggled with injuries to key players. Ben Gallacher is the team-leader among defensemen in points with a goal and nine assists along with 70 shots on goal.
In net for UMass will likely be Nic Renyard. The freshman has been the number one goalie for the Minutemen, making 24 appearances and posting a .895 SV% and a 3.68 GAA.
On the other side, BU is led by forward Danny O’Regan, who has scored 14 goals and recorded 24 assists this season. The senior is one of the highest active career scorers in the nation with 148 points in 149 games.
“We’re fortunate in the fact that we’ve played in some big games,” said Quinn. “Playing in front of big crowds, some of these guys are ready to play in pressure games.”
At defense, senior Matt Grzelcyk has registered 19 points this season in 22 games and leads all defenseman with a +12 rating.
In net for BU will be Sean Maguire. The senior boasts a .928 SV% and a 2.17 GAA in 20 games this season.
“[Maguire’s] in a good spot,” said Quinn. “He played well all weekend and as every day passes he keeps getting better and better.”
Faceoff on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday for Game 2. Game 3 if necessary will be played on Sunday at a time to be determined.
BU downed UMass emphatically both times the teams faced each other. This series is BU’s to lose, and the Terriers will have a slow start to game one before winning in a close game. The next night will be all BU and the Terriers will take game two and the series in blowout fashion.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Shots on Net
UMass is -262 in shots on goal this season while BU is +157. With all three Minutemen goalies having sub-.900 SV%, BU should get the puck on net as much as possible to test whoever is in net.
- Score Early and Often
UMass has only scored first seven times this season and has had little success when falling behind.
- Power Play
The BU power play had a rough weekend at Notre Dame, and will look to carry that momentum over to the conference tournament against a weak UMass penalty kill.