By: Matt Dresens
Looking to continue its current six-game unbeaten streak, BU travels to Amherst Friday night to take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen in a one-game set at the Mullins Center.
“I think we’ve got better goaltending, our D-core has played better and our forwards have played better,” mentioned BU Head Coach David Quinn as to why his team has been playing better as of late. “We weren’t that far away when we were 8-11-1. We played some good hockey, we just didn’t play enough winning hockey. I think there’s a little bit more of a feel to our team and we have improved just enough in certain areas to win these tight games.”
Last weekend, the Terriers powered past Arizona State in the program’s first ever trip to the desert, winning Friday night 8-0 and squeezing out a 4-3 decision on Saturday. The two wins came at a cost though. Chad Krys suffered an upper-body injury Saturday night and Patrick Harper still has yet to play since coming down with the flu prior to the UNH game back on January 12th.
Quinn noted that Krys is definitely out for the weekend while Harper will be a game-time decision.
As for UMass, the Minutemen are 2-7-1 since the semester break and dropped three games last week. First, on Tuesday, Boston College edged UMass 2-1 before Maine swept a weekend series with a pair of 3-2 wins.
A quick glance at the league standings shows BU is currently slotted in fourth place, tied with Lowell at 20 points. Boston College continues to pace the field, holding a two-point lead on second place Northeastern with 26 total points. The top five teams have all played the same amount of games.
BU is unbeaten (9-0-1) in their last ten games against UMass. That includes the 2016 Hockey East First Round series sweep by the Terriers and a pair of games last season, one of which was at Fenway Park. The last time BU lost to UMass was all the way back in February of 2013, a 5-1 UMass victory at Mullins Center.
Scouting the Minutemen
The young UMass attack is highlighted by freshman, five of whom have carried the offense thus far. First up, Oliver Chau is the overall leading scorer, posting 20 points by way of eight goals and 12 assists. Mitchell Chaffee is just two points behind and leads UMass in goals scored with 10. John Leonard and Mario Ferraro both have notched 17 points.
Then there is Cale Makar. The dynamic Canadian defenseman, who played a pivotal role in Team Canada’s success at the World Juniors this past December and January, was the fourth overall pick in the NHL draft last summer by Colorado but has missed the past three games with an injury. His status for tonight is unknown.
Between the pipes, Matt Murray and Ryan Wischow have both seen equal time. Murray in 4-9-1 with a .898 save percentage and a 3.09 goals against. Wischow, on the other hand, has a winning record at 7-5-0 and holds an identical .898 save percentage to go along with a slightly better 3.03 GAA.
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