By: Matt Dresens
With just four games left in the regular season, this weekend BU will be on the road for a pair of games against Hockey East foes. First up, a trip back down to Hartford to face the University of Connecticut Huskies, before a Saturday night tilt at Merrimack College.
BU has fared well against both opponents thus far. Back in November, the Terriers took three of four points in a weekend series with UConn. Patrick Curry and Bobo Carpenter combined for seven goals in two games, as the two team teams tied in game one and BU rolled to a 6-3 win the following night.
As for Merrimack, BU swept the Warriors in a home and home series back in January. Dante Fabbro notched a hat trick at Lawler Rink the first night, propelling the Terriers to a 4-3 victory. The next night, BU won 3-1 on home ice.
“There’s a familiarity,” said BU Head Coach David Quinn. “In preparation, you are almost reiterating the things you did in first two games that allowed us to have success.”
Despite the loss Monday night in the Beanpot final, a disappointing tie against UMass last Friday, and the temporary departure of Jordan Greenway, the team is still in good spirits.
“[The] guys feel optimistic,” said Quinn. “There’s a lot of good to take out of those two games. I think there was some uncertainty on how we were going to be without Greenway and [Patrick] Harper and I think we have proven we can play well without them. Now we just have to win without them.”
Speaking of Harper, he is still out with an illness that has sidelined him since before the UNH game on January 12th. Quinn again said there will more information to come next week on his status.
Scouting the Huskies
This semester has been a tale of two streaks for UConn. They are currently riding a six-game winning streak entering the weekend. Prior to the hot spell, UConn had lost five consecutive games dating back to December 30th. Overall, the Huskies are 14-16-2 and 10-11-1 in Hockey East on the year.
Last weekend they managed to do what BU could not against Northeastern: slow down the NU power play. UConn shutout their fellow Husky foe on the man advantage, forcing NU to go 0-4. UConn won the game 4-2 at home.
Offensively, UConn is lead by former BU commit Max Letunov. The Moscow, Russia native has posted 24 points on 10 goals and 14 assists in 32 games. Despite missing almost all of November and only appearing in 23 games, Alexander Payusov leads the team in goals scored with 11. He has also added seven assists to put him at 19 points on the year, good for third on the roster. Sandwiched between Letunov and Payusov in the scoring race is Spencer Nass. Nass has 19 points by way of nine goals and 10 assists. Other players to watch include Benjamin Freeman, Karl El-Mir, and Kasperi Ojantakanen.
Since January 18th when Adam Huska went down with a wrist injury, senior Tanner Creel has stepped into the cage and performed admirably. Creel is 6-2-0 in 11 appearances and is the owner of a .896 save percentage to go along with a 3.14 goals against average.
Scouting the Warriors
Moving on to Merrimack. BU’s 4-3 win at Lawler rink was their first win in North Andover since January of 2013, a 4-1 decision that saw four different Terriers find the back of the net.
Merrimack comes into the weekend winner of just two of their last nine games dating back to January 6th. That includes being swept at the hands of both BU and Vermont in back-to-back weekends. The Warriors last played on Tuesday, February 6th, losing 5-2 at UMass. MC currently sits three points behind New Hampshire for last place in Hockey East.
Leading the charge in the scoring department is Brett Seney. The senior from London, Ontario potted a pair of goals against the Terriers in their first meeting of the year. In total, Seney has 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points. Ludvig Larsson has also recorded 11 goals thus far and added eight assists for 19 points. Other players to watch: Jace Hennig, Jared Kolquist and Derek Petti.
In goal, Craig Pantano has seen the majority of the action, going 7-10-2 in 20 appearances. In that time, Pantano has racked up a .914 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average.