By: Matt Dresens
The Terriers return to the ice tomorrow night for their first game of the second semester, as they welcome Maine to Agganis Arena in the third and final regular-season meeting between the two schools.
Prior to the break, Maine was on a roll, going 6-0-1 to close out 2017 with three wins over RPI and a pair over both Vermont and Quinnipiac. Saturday’s game will be both team’s first game of the new year after the NTDP couldn’t get a flight to Boston for an exhibition tilt against BU Friday night.
The two teams have already met twice this season in a mid-November series in the 207. Friday night saw an opportunistic Maine team walk away with a 5-2 win in Orono. The Black Bears stymied the Terrier power play, blanking BU (0-6) on the man advantage and that played into the overall Terrier struggle to find the back of the net. At 3-2, BU had a chance to tie the game on a Kasper Kotkansalo shot that rang the post. Maine broke it out and eventually set Patrick Holway up with a point shot that found twine making it 4-2 in the third.
“I thought we had so many chances to make it 3-3,” BU Coach David Quinn said. “They come down and their first chance is in the back of the net.”
The next night, the two teams headed down I-95 and played at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. The result was much different. BU throttled the Black Bears 7-0 behind a pair of goals from Shane Bowers, and Brady Tkachuk and Hank Crone’s first collegiate tallies.
“I thought we played pretty well the first night,” Quinn said. “We ran into a very hot goalie and made some costly mistakes and they ended up in the back of our net. We have to avoid those back-breaking mistakes that have hurt us through the first semester.
Scouting the Black Bears
Sophomores Tim Doherty and Mitchell Fossier both lead the team in scoring with 15 points in 17 games played. Doherty has notched a team-high seven goals and added eight assists, while Fossier has registered six goals and nine helpers. Along with Doherty, Eduards Tralmaks has also amassed seven goals. Other players to watch include Nolan Vesey, Patrick Holway, and Canon Pieper, who had a two-point night against the Terriers earlier this season.
In goal, BU will most likely see Rob McGovern. The Weymouth native is 3-4-0 and has a .894 save percentage to go along with a 4.23 goals against average. McGovern was in net for BU’s 7-0 beatdown back in November but is 2-0-0 in his last two starts.
“To me, its a contrast in styles,” added Quinn. “They are a bigger, stronger team. We are a faster team. Whichever team plays their game more consistently is going to have a chance to win.”
In or out?
It will be interesting to see whether BU’s Patrick Harper, Brady Tkachuk, and Jake Oettinger, along with Maine’s Jeremy Swayman will be in action Saturday night. All four players competed in the Bronze Medal Game against the Czech Republic at the World Juniors in Buffalo on Friday night.
In theory, they could be back in time but historically those in the WJC don’t rush back. Using Jack Eichel as the comparison, he sat out in BU’s January 3rd, 2015 contest against Union, despite the US being eliminated in the Quarterfinals in Montreal days before.
Dante Fabbro, a member of Team Canada playing in the Gold Medal game against Sweden is almost a lock to miss the game. Kasper Kotkansalo is the one WJC player who could make an appearance. Finland was eliminated by the Czechs in a shootout Tuesday night.
The most glaring hole for BU will be in net. Max Prawdzik will more than likely step between the pipe, having already faced Maine this year. In that game, Prawdzik allowed four goals on 27 shots, one being a power-play goal and the other by way of the breakaway.