By: Brady Gardner
The Boston University men’s hockey team (2-4-1, 2-2-1 HE) will play host in a back-to-back Hockey East series against the University of Maine (3-4-1, 1-2-1 HE) this weekend at Agganis Arena.
The Terriers have been able to right the ship since falling in their first four fixtures in competitive play, the team’s worst start to the season since skating to the same opening record in 1999.
“It was a tough schedule to start. Three of the four teams we ended up losing to will be playing at the end. [Providence and Minnesota State] are national tournament teams. We played good games but just didn’t end up with results.” said BU first year head coach Albie O’Connell.
A tie and a win in a weekend series against rival Northeastern got the ball rolling for BU, and last week’s overtime victory over the University of New Hampshire made it two wins in a row for O’Connell and his men.
“I think we’ve simplified the game and shot the puck more.” said O’Connell. “You get five goals in a game and all of a sudden guys feel good about themselves. Some of it is confidence, some of it is team confidence so hopefully we can keep it going.”
BU sophomore Shane Bowers was the hero against the Wildcats a week ago, potting a short-handed goal in overtime to send the Terriers home victorious. Bowers also converted on the power play earlier in the contest, and his two tallies brought him tied for second in goals on the squad with three, right behind senior captain Bobo Carpenter’s team-leading four.
While BU’s start to the season left much to be desired, they were not alone in their early frustration. Maine too went winless in their first four competitive games this season, with their lone point coming from a 2-2 tie with the University of Connecticut. Since then, the Black Bears appear to be heading in the right direction after splitting a weekend series with the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Despite their relative lack of positive results through the first month of the 2018-19 campaign, Maine have proven to be dangerous offensively, scoring two goals or more in all but one of their fixtures this season.
First-year Black Bear Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup has impressed since joining the squad, claiming three goals, three assists, and a Rookie of the Week award in his first few weeks with the team. The only player with more points than the freshman (6) is junior Chase Pearson (7), who also leads the team with five goals.
Both teams should be chomping at the bit ahead of this pair weekend matchups, with BU looking to continue their win streak, and having only played one game in the last thirteen days. Meanwhile, Maine has not played since a Nov. 3 loss against UMass Lowell, making them well-rested and hungry for victory.
The games will be played at Boston University’s Agganis Arena on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.