By: Joe Pohoryles
After 10 consecutive Hockey East matchups, the Boston University Terriers (4-4-5, 3-3-4 HE) will kick off Thanksgiving weekend by hosting the Sacred Heart University Pioneers (7-6-1, 7-4-0 AHA) of the Atlantic Hockey Association tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.
The Terriers are coming off a weekend homestand against the University of Vermont Catamounts in which they won the first game, then tied the second. The major theme of the weekend was discipline, or lack thereof, as the Terriers received not one, not two, but three five-minute major penalties across the two games.
The Catamounts, who entered the weekend with the second-worst power play unit in the nation, were gift-wrapped two power play goals by the Terriers in the Saturday game that ultimately allowed them to walk away with a tie. While the Terriers still managed to earn three out of four possible points in the Hockey East standings, spending that much time in the sin bin could spell a different outcome against this Sacred Heart team that enters this matchup boasting a 25.0% on the power play, the 10th-best percentage in the nation.
The Pioneers are not too shabby in five-on-five play either, scoring 3.64 goals per game while allowing 2.79. Sacred Heart boasts a lot of depth scoring as well. Four players are tied for the team lead with 14 points, and four more have totals in the double-digits.
As far as double-digit scoring goes for the Terriers, only the top line of senior captain Patrick Curry, freshman Trevor Zegras and assistant captain Patrick Harper as well as top-pairing blue liner junior David Farrance fit that bill.
While the Terriers do have a couple players who have the chance to add their names to that list, plus the added input of freshman forward Sam Stevens, who made his long-awaited return from injury to post four points in three games, Sacred Heart comes in not only as the deeper team, but the hotter one as well. The Pioneers are 4-1-0 in their last five games, scoring no less than three goals in any of them, and peaking with a 9-5 victory in a goal-fest against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers on Nov. 15.
The Terriers do hold home ice advantage, and all three of their victories since the season-opener at Union College were in Agganis Arena, but Sacred Heart is 6-2-0 on the road. So. the Terriers will have to fight hard – and more importantly, play cleanly – to pull off one last win before the Thanksgiving break and their Red Hot Hockey matchup with the Cornell Big Red at Madison Square Garden this Saturday.