BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Denver University (non-conference), October 14-15, 2016
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Location – Denver, Colorado; Mascot – Pioneers; This Year’s Record – 0-2-0 (0-0-0 NCHC), 0-2-0 at home, BU leads all-time series 15-14-2; Fun Fact – rematch of last season’s NCAA Tournament First Round game in which Denver beat BU, 7-2.
The Boston University Terriers look to stick to their goal-scoring ways with a road-trip to the Rocky Mountains for a two-game series with the Denver Pioneers.
The Terriers got the regular season started with a dominant, 6-1 victory over Colgate last weekend. Freshman phenom Patrick Harper picked up where he left off in preseason with a pair of goals, while freshman standout Clayton Keller also notched his first collegiate goal.
It was a different story for Denver, meanwhile, dropping a pair of games at home in the IceBreaker Tournament. The Pioneers were overwhelmed by Ohio State’s offense, conceding only 29 seconds into the game and losing 3-2. The following night saw Boston College’s freshman goalie Joseph Woll shut-down Denver in a 3-1 win for the Eagles.
BU and Denver met twice last season. The first came on Halloween when Denver paid a visit to Agganis Arena in Boston. The Pioneers erased a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime, and the Terriers needed less than a minute for Ahti Oksanen to give BU the 5-4 victory. The Pioneers exacted revenge in the NCAA Tournament, knocking off the Terriers in commanding fashion, 7-2, in Minneapolis.
The Pioneers are led on offense by the lone remaining member of the “Pacific Rim” line, Dylan Gambrell. The Hobey Baker-hopeful, who had 47 points last season, recorded an assist last weekend against BC. Gambrell, however, picked up an injury and will be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks.
The top forward for Denver this weekend will be Jared Lukosevicius. The sophomore only recorded ten points in his first year with Pioneers, but already tallied his first assist of the season against Ohio State.
Defensively, Will Butcher is coming off an impressive 2015-16 season in which he amassed 32 points (9G, 23A). The Colorado Avalanche draftee only had 19 PIM last year and led the Pioneers with a +19 rating. Butcher scored his first goal of the year against BC on Saturday.
In net, both Tanner Jaillet and Evan Cowley saw action last weekend. Jaillet is a junior who saw the lion’s share of playing time last season, posting a .922 save percentage. Cowley, in half as many game as Jaillet, recorded a .929 SV%.
For the Terriers, Bobo Carpenter has proven to be quite the silent assassin as the top-line winger recorded a pair of assists in his season opener. Carpenter showed stellar stick skills and puck-possession in the final preseason game against the U.S. Under-18 team. His distribution and play-making abilities make him a huge offensive threat for BU.
On defense, junior Brandon Hickey looks to be on pace for a career-season, also recording two assists against Colgate. Hickey was a +2 last Saturday and took one shot on goal as well.
In net, freshman Jake Oettinger turned aside 29 of 30 shots in his collegiate debut. The 17-year-old looked solid, making some quick-reaction saves while using his 6’4” frame to his advantage. The Colgate offense had no answer for beating Oettinger on the night. Look for Oettinger and junior Connor LaCouvee to each see action this weekend.
Puck drop on Friday is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. EST and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday.
PREDICTION – Series Split
After beginning the season with a pair of defeats, it is unlikely Denver will drop to 0-4-0 against BU. Look for the Terriers to take game one of the series by a wide margin followed by a desperate Denver team stealing a late win on Saturday.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Stay out of the penalty box
The officials will be calling games much tighter this season. It is important for BU, especially away from home, to keep the game 5-on-5 for as much as possible.
- Control the Neutral Zone
BU’s Achilles heel against Denver last year was play in the neutral zone. The Pioneers dominated in the middle of the ice, forcing BU to make desperate, sloppy passes resulting in turnovers. This year, BU has he speed and skill advantage in the middle to control the all-important neutral zone.
BU is a young team playing far away from home. The weekend will serve as a maturity test more than anything for the Terriers while also seeing where BU will fair with the nation’s best teams.