By: Dan Shulman
BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Harvard (Non-Conference) November 22, 2016
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Location – Cambridge, Massachusetts; Mascot – Crimson; This Year’s Record – 5-1-1 (2-1-1 ECAC), 3-1-0 on the road, BU leads all-time series 78-68-6; Fun Fact – Harvard is the youngest team in the ECAC with an average age of 21 years and two months.
The Boston University Terriers will end their November slate with a Tuesday night match-up against ECAC heavyweight Harvard Crimson.
Harvard played once this past weekend, knocking off Boston College in convincing fashion, 5-2. Senior forward Tyler Moy scored twice and the Crimson tallied three power play goals in a rout of the Eagles.
Boston University took on Connecticut in a two-game series this past weekend. Following a hard-fought, 2-1 victory on Friday, BU was on the wrong end of a 4-0 thumping at home on Saturday. UConn goalie Adam Huska earned his first career shutout as the Huskies outclassed the Terriers.
Harvard and BU met once last season in Cambridge, with the Terriers earning a dramatic, 6-5 win over the hosts. With four minutes to go in regulation and a two-goal deficit, the Terriers came alive scoring thrice in a matter of 2:09 to capture the victory.
This season, Harvard has shown its offensive depth, with all four lines contributing to the scoring. Moy and Lewis Zerter-Gossage are tied for the team lead in goals with five. Freshman Adam Fox leads the team with eight assists.
Defensively, freshman John Marino leads the Crimson with a +8 rating this season. Marino has only taken three penalties this season and has been one of the top defensemen for Harvard this season.
In goal, Merrick Madsen has been the rock for Harvard since the start of last season. His career numbers are impressive, with a 1.98 goals against average. This season, Madsen boasts a 1.85 GAA with a .924 save percentage.
On the other side, BU has seen a real offensive boost from its top line. Patrick Harper, Jordan Greenway, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson have combined for 13 goals and 25 assists this season.
At the blue line, Charlie McAvoy leads all defensemen with nine points this season. However, McAvoy is last among defenders with a -1 rating. The sophomore has only taken three penalties and is a mainstay on a potent yet struggling BU power play.
In net, Jake Oettinger has looked shaky as of late, allowing 10 goals in his last three games. Junior Connor LaCouvee had an impressive game on Friday night, turning aside 28 of 29 shots in what Coach Quinn dubbed “his best game since coming to BU.” As to who will be standing between the pipes on Tuesday, that will likely be a game-time decision.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and can be heard live on mixlr.com/wtbusports. Jarrett Leonard and Jordan Thibault will be on the call.
PREDICTION – Harvard wins
The Terriers got shut out on Saturday night and clearly lacked creativity and urgency for much of the game. And against a goalie like Merrick Madsen, it’s likely that happens again. While health has been a major issue for BU lately a win on Tuesday doesn’t seem possible and it will make the Terriers especially hungry heading into December.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
- Limit Penalties
Harvard has had one of the nation’s best power play units for years now and this season has been no different. At 28.1%, the Crimson have been prolific on the man advantage and draw an average of 16.4 PIM per game.
- Solid Defensive Posture
Something BU certainly lacked on Saturday, the Terriers will need to finish checks, win puck battles, and make smart plays on defense in order to get the victory. Harvard has shown it is a fast and physical team that is capable of playing sixty minutes – something BU has yet to live up to this season.
- Net-front Presence
The Terriers weren’t able to get bodies in front of the net on Saturday. And against a goaltender like Madsen, BU will need to get bodies to the net and take advantage of second opportunities.