How much can a bunch of college hockey fans actually take?
It’s been a rough couple of months for fans of the Men’s Ice Hockey team. Red Hot Hockey, the bi-annual showdown against the Big Red of Cornell University, proved to be a stellar performance by the boys from Boston back on Thanksgiving weekend, but that has sadly been the last win for the Terriers this season.
The BU men’s team is notorious for having mid-season slumps, but it’s beginning to seem like this may extend a little further than that this year with the sheer number of injuries the Terriers are facing. The last game at UMASS Lowell had the team down to only 4 defensemen with an undisclosed injury to Ahti Oksanen. The team had already been playing with only 16 players with several players are out with injuries including Evan Rodrigues, Jake Moscatel, and star defenseman and Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk who just recently returned from playing on the USA World Junior’s team where he served as assistant captain. Also, forward Sam Kurker left the team last week to play USHL hockey for the Indiana Ice.
Despite these several losses, however, the team played surprisingly well tallying up 4 goals against Brian Billet and the Boston College Eagles. The penalty kill unit and defense definitely weren’t at top form, but the Terriers managed to create opportunities and get the puck into the net, a skill they have been severely lacking the past few months.
Unfortunately it was back to much of the same on Saturday night against the Lowell Riverhawks. While the defense definitely looked a lot better, Sean Maguire still carried the team on his back for the second night in a row to bring his save total to a whopping 77 for the weekend. The offense really struggled to get anything going, barely maintaining possession in their own zone for any amount of time. The Terriers registered only 2 shots on goal during the entire first period. Kevin Duane did, however, manage to net a goal in the third to avoid the shutout.
The road ahead isn’t going to be much easier for the Terriers who are facing the Vermont Catamounts twice this weekend in Agganis Arena. The Catamounts are only a few spots above BU in the Hockey East standings, however, they have been playing much better as of late compared to the plummeting Terriers. The possible turnout at Agganis this weekend is worrisome, especially for a 4 o’clock start on Saturday afternoon. Pessimism has been spreading like the plague throughout the Dog Pound and a lot of students are just plain giving up hope.
The following weekend it’s on the road again to Amherst, Massachusetts to battle the also struggling UMASS Minutemen.
I know I’ll be there with about 30 other friends in our Dog Pound community who haven’t missed a single away game this season, no matter how rough it looks. It’s even about time for us to start counting down the days until we fly out to South Bend, Indiana for a double-header against the University of Notre Dame at the end of next month.
Before that excitement though, we will start getting hyped up for the Beanpot which begins the first Monday of February at TD Garden in a first round match-up with Boston College. And by hyped up, I do mean hyped up. I know far too many people who are dreading this first round match-up, but I’ve embraced it. We couldn’t beat Northeastern in the first round last year so we might as well get the most difficult team out of the way first. I’ll have more to say about the Beanpot as we get closer, but I’m very optimistic. After watching how the Terriers played against BC in Conte Forum a week ago with the damaged team they had, I have no doubt that this team can play with the Eagles and beat them on a stage as big as the Beanpot in a location as big as the TD Garden with fans as dedicated as the Boston University Dog Pound standing and cheering behind them.