Before Beanpot, BU Faces UMass at Home

Jake Oettinger denies a Mitchell Chaffee breakaway for one of 16 saves during the first period at Mullins Center on Feb. 2. (Matt Dresens/2018)

By: Matt Dresens

Before Monday night’s Beanpot championship game with Northeastern, BU still has work to do Friday night, as two important league points are on the line with UMass coming to town.

Last Friday, BU one-upped the Minutemen in Amherst 3-2 behind goals from Brandon Hickey, Jordan Greenway, and Shane Bowers. Jake Oettinger made 20 saves in his 13th win of the season.

“We knew they had a lineup full of speed,” BU Head Coach David Quinn said. “That game could have gone either way. I thought we got better and better as the night wore on, which our best period was the third period and you knew it was going to be a one-goal game with the goalie pulled, like most Hockey East games are and we expect the same thing Friday.”

A few things have changed since these team played just a week ago. For one, Jordan Greenway has departed for Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2018 Winter Olympics. Patrick Harper is still listed as “day to day,” but seems unlikely to play tonight.

“It’s tough to make up for a 6-foot-5, 230-pound first-line center,” Quinn said. “We have to make sure everyone picks up the slack and that’s what’s happened over the last month with Harper. Everyone has assumed a little more responsibility and that’s what’s going to have to happen the rest of the way. We feel like we’ve got the guys to do it.”

Senior Captain Brandon Hickey echoed some of the same comments, saying, “Everyone is waiting for the opportunity to show the team what they can do. It’s a ‘next man up’ mentality where, he’s gone, but we have a bunch of other great players that can play together and pick up the slack for what we are missing with him.”

Outside of Harper, Quinn mentioned that the remaining injury report should be clean. Chad Krys has missed two games since the Arizona State weekend and Bobo Carpenter was injured late Monday night in the Beanpot but did finish the game. Both Krys and Carpenter practiced yesterday.

Scouting the Minutemen
Since playing BU, UMass is 1-1-0 with a loss at New Hampshire on Feb. 3 and a win against Merrimack last weekend.

Five freshmen continue to pace the Minutemen offensive attack, with Oliver Chau, Mitchell Chaffee, and John Leonard all above 20 points on the year. Chau leads the team with 21 points by way of eight goals and 13 assists, while Chaffee has a team-high 11 goals on the year.

Defenseman Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro, two of UMass’ three draft picks, are among the best defenseman in the league. Makar was a member of Team Canada at World Juniors this year, and Ferraro was among the finals cuts for the Canadians.

“They have two of the better D in the league,” said Quinn. “They have another good D back there as well. We are going to have to be ready to go. Our guys are smart enough to know we can’t look past them.”

In goal, BU saw Matt Murray last Friday night. Murray is 5-10-1 on the year and holds a .903 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average. His netminding partner Ryan Wischow has a slightly better record at 7-6-0, but a slightly worse save percentage at .895 and a 3.04 goals against.

Trap game?
Not exactly. Since 2000, in years that BU has advanced to the championship game, they are 10-4-0 in the game between Beanpot matches, but BU did lose 3-2 to Lowell in this spot last year. This does not count the five games that were played between Beanpot games in 2015 while Boston was slammed with snow, delaying the Beanpot final until February 23rd.

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