By: Matt Dresens
BOSTON — In a rare Sunday matinée, BU travels to Hamden, Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac in the Bobcats home opener at High Point Solutions Arena.
This last week, BU finally had some real practice time to prepare for this weekend’s game. Last week’s win against Union was the earliest scheduled game in the 96-year history of the Terrier hockey program.
“This is the first week we had enough time to work on the things we want to work on,” mentioned sophomore defenseman Chad Krys. “Five-on-five, PK, PP, pretty much all aspects of the game is what we’ve been doing this week.”
A net-front presence was a key to BU’s success last weekend, most notably from Jordan Greenway and Brady Tkachuk, who found themselves in the thick a number of scrums in front of the net. Patrick Harper’s power-play goal was also a direct result of a battle being won at the net.
“We got guys who will go there [the front of the net] and need to go there,” added Coach Quinn. “I love when there’s big scrums in front of the opposing team’s net. That means we’re pissing people off, and that’s what we need to do.”
Last night, Quinnipiac opened their season at Boston College. The two teams skated to a 1-1 draw at Conte Forum as BC tied things up late in the third period on the power play.
A year ago, BU blanked the Bobcats, 3-0, at home. Jordan Greenway, Bobo Carpenter and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson registered the goals, while Jake Oettinger turned aside 22 shots for the shutout.
In December 2015, BU toppled the then-unbeaten Bobcats, 4-1, in Hamden, handing QU their first loss of the season.
“Every year is different,” said Quinn. “Every team’s different, but their identity will be the same. They have good skill, they are big and strong, well coached and they’ll have a good goalie. It certainly will be a challenge, especially going into our first road game. It will be interesting to see how we react in a hostile environment.”
Scouting the Bobcats
Quinnipiac lost a lot of firepower off of last year’s roster with the departure of Sam Anas, Devon Towes, and brothers Tim and Connor Clifton. The Bobcats do return their top three scorers from last year in Landon Smith, Craig Martin and Chase Priskie.
Smith notched 11 goals and 18 assists in 40 games played to lead QU with 29 points. Bo Pieper is the top returning goal scorer for Quinnipiac. The senior forward amassed 13 goals a season ago and also added 12 assists.
In goal, Andrew Shortridge made 25 saves against Boston College last night. A season ago, the sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska saw time in 26 games and recorded a .920 save percentage to go along with a 2.08 goals against average. The Terriers faced Shortbridge last season, scoring twice on the then-freshman netminder, who was making just his second collegiate start.
BU will also face two familiar faces this weekend. Although the two never played together at BU, Kevin Duane and Brandon Fortunato both transferred from Comm. Ave. to Quinnipiac.
Duane has been at QU since the Fall of 2015, but due to transfer rules, could not play until the Fall of 2016. Last year he played in 29 games, scoring 4 goals and adding 9 assists.
Fortunato, on the other hand, sat out all of last year. The now senior defenseman departed BU after the 2016 season and played in his first game as a Bobcat last night against BC.