BU Terriers: They’re baaack

Before the season started, Boston University looked on paper like the prototypical young team that would take a lump or two in the early going but be a far better team in the second half.

So much for that idea.

The Terriers are undefeated (4-0-1), atop Hockey East, and ranked sixth in the country.

“We’re a young team and we’re in first place in the league,” coach Jack Parker says. “Last year in January, we were in tenth place. We had to really scramble [to finish in third place]. So it’s nice to get off to a good start.”

Which is not to say the Terriers are blowing everyone out. In fact, the results have been exactly the opposite. Each game has been either a one-goal win or the 2-2 tie with Massachusetts.

Parker thinks that has its advantages.

“Winning games like this is better than [blowouts],” he says. “Players would like to win them easier and maybe my heart would like to win them easier but winning [close] games pays off. It’s good for a young team to know they can do that.”

Goaltender Kieran Millan is playing once again at the top of his game. As a freshman on the 2009 national championship team, he posted unconscious numbers: 29-2-3, 1.94 GAA, and a .921 Sv%. Last year, at least in the first half, he suffered from some of the championship hangover that afflicted the team all year long.

Not anymore.

“There’s a difference in our entire team this year from last year,” Parker says. “Last year’s team was full of themselves and I’m pretty sure Millan thought it was going to be pretty easy for him after the year he had his freshman year. He’s the first to tell you he feels much better mentally the way he’s approaching this season.

“I think he’s playing better than he’s ever played. He played great his freshman year and had some fabulous games, but he’s rock-solid right now.”

Perceptive fans will see a new look in BU’s defensive zone coverage this year. In the past, the Terriers played “man-for-man,” which included chasing opponents into the corners even if they didn’t have the puck. Not anymore.

The new approach concedes more time in the defensive zone but achieves better coverage in the quality scoring areas. A side effect is more blocked shots from the perimeter.

“We knew we’d [spend] more time in our zone because of the way we changed [our coverage], but we
 also knew we’d have more people to defend in the grade A [area],” Parker says. “It’s paying off that way coupled with the fact that we do have the chance to block more shots. You’re not blocking shots from grade A, you’re blocking shots from 40 or 50 feet. Most of the blocked shots are from the points.”

The early results look awfully good.

* * *

A belated thanks to Scott Weighart for his assistance.

68 COMMENTS

  1. Le’ts see–BC, BU, BC…I guess it’s BU’s turn to crown yet ANOTHER Boston team as national champs. Maybe that’s why the Midwest and West play so many early games. That is unless any of the easy earlies are against real teams like the 2 above and, in any given year, Maine or NH. Long live the East.

  2. I guess its to much to ask for the Hockey East blog to be about Hockey East and not a Boston team. Two weeks in a row that we’ve heard nothing about the other teams in HE. I mean, not taking anything away from BU’s start but who did they beat over the weekend? “Their Back” might be a more appropriate title for an article about Maine’s sweep, , , yes, sweep, of #2 North Dakota. Not only did they sweep but they dominated. This writter seems to have a fascination with BC and BU. Its unfortunate because the national champion may very well come out of HE again this year and it might not be either of those teams. I guess the good news is that nobody will see them coming because nobody want’s to talk about them.

  3. yeah I definitely agree with HE Fan, I think the Boston biased in Hockey East needs to ease just a bit. I would be willing to wager Maine takes it to both schools this year. afterall, they added some scoring punch to the already potent lineup and have shown more consistancy in net, compared to last year already. Did BU lose to Maine and Maine took BC into OT in HE finals last year??? Thats what I thought. Stop with the bias already!!

    • there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to these HE articles in regard to when they come out or what the subject will be. in years past, the HE blog would cover a few different areas and not just one team.

      as for whoever willing to bet that maine takes it to BC this year? maine has the potential to be a very good team, hopefully an NCAA team, and i also think they’re better than BU. but take it to BC? slow down.

      • In past years, USCHO had one Hockey East column a week, which would come out late Thursday night. The new schedule for the D-I conferences is: a Monday blog post recapping events from the weekend; a Tuesday blog post highlighting some topic from the conference; a weekly column which publishes on Thursday morning; and a Friday blog post with picks for the upcoming weekend. Those are the minimum — a conference columnist might add other posts more frequently. USCHO did this so that there would be fresh content from the writers throughout the week, rather than just on late Thursday night/Friday morning.

  4. Wow…and I thought just UNH fans noticed that everything was all about the two Boston Teams. Good for Maine – nice sweep. Lets see how they fare when they take on HE teams other than Lowell. As for BU…back…by beating UMass? Wow, kind of a stretch isn’t it? And didn’t BC LOSE to a mediocre Notre Dame team? Seems that NESN and the “unbiased” HE writers on this site are on the same sheet of music…one that the other HE teams don’t know the tune to.

    • So at 4-1, you’re ready to declare Notre Dame mediocre? There’s a lot of talent on that roster and they have a very good coach. As for BC, they went 3-1 on a tough four game road trip…I don’t see a problem with that.

  5. How is BU back by barely beating two teams they should beat? How bout Henderickson writes the Boston blog and they get someone else to write about HE? Until BU plays the likes of UNH, Maine and BC and win they are NOT Back!

  6. With the last three national championships, I think BC and BU has earned the press. Win something other than a regular season weekend series and maybe they will write about your team.

  7. Well, as a Miami fan I am pumped that all these teams are being over-hyped because if and when we face them (this year), the fact that we destroy them will make the RedHawks look like gods. So there!!!

    ps: So Denver beating and tying Wisconsin got them to fall a spot. What the fudge???? Really???

  8. Please look at Ed Trefzger’s explanation. This blog post isn’t the weekly column of year’s past. It isn’t even this week’s column.

    We’re breaking things up more so an individual blog post may mention only one team. This one covered BU. The quick weekend recap made note of Maine’s sweep as well as BC’s loss, which was a no-brainer since the Eagles were number one in the country. Last week, Jim discussed Maine and Northeastern. This week, Vermont.

    You’re getting as much coverage as in past years, it just isn’t located all in one column.

  9. Enough of the ECAC getting multiple bids to the tourney. They haven’t been relavant for 20 years. Another putrid showing & Duluth will beat Yale–count on it. ECAC should get one bid only, like Atlantic Hockey. I don’t care how many wins they pile up in the regular season. They are beating sub-par teams in their own conference. Get teams in that deserve it and play in a legitimate conference, like BU & Maine.

    • The only reason the ECAC gets three bids is so that players in other conferences get a chance to meet some of the players that they will one day work for.

      • LOL…is this all you can say? Wait, if I rooted for the ECAC I think I would very quickly turn this into something other than hockey…lol…lol. Do you think Matt Frattin was trying to see if any of the RPI kids would talk to him today about future employment? LOL….you are too funny…..I actually feel sorry for you…you don’t have much to work with when it comes to defending your conference….lol…you poor lilttle boy….:)

        • Geez, you guys are difficult to argue against. One says the conference has etiquette, the other says Matt Frattin is in the conference.

          • Easy there 1520. With a score like that you’re not very smart and probably went to a safety school like Dartmouth. You’re going to end up pumping gas with some of the Sioux so you might as well be nicer to them.

  10. That game was set up for Miami to lose. They’re supposedly the 1-seed, but they’re forced to play 15 hours away from home against a 4 seed who’s playing in their home state, only 1 hour from their campus. Miami got screwed by the refs in the second period… they called bogus penalties against Miami and didn’t call legitimate penalties against New Hampshire. Penalties should at least be called both ways.

    Not that Miami played great, because they didn’t… but all teams deserve a fair match-up, especially 1-seeds, and Miami didn’t get anything fair. BC and Miami should have traded regional locations and the games would have been much more fair.

    • The rules have been in place for a while now regarding host teams playing at their regional and the committee avoiding intra-conference games. Get over it.

      • Well, maybe the rules need to change. What’s wrong with campaigning for a change in the rules? I think a lot of fans would agree. The WCHA has 2 of their 3 teams playing in the same regional. The CCHA has a #1 playing in the home of the #4. The CCHA also has 2 of their teams playing at the same regional. Hockey East has a #1 playing in the wrong regional.

        Maybe the rules suck and if no one takes a stand, they’ll never change.

        • Maybe your team had an off night. Is it possible they could have had an off night if game was in Cleveland or Columbus or Cincy? They lost. Deal with it.

        • But you are using the same argument that has been used for years and plenty have complained. Guess what??? It hasn’t changed!
          The NCAA wants $$$$$.
          And in reply to your other post, there was a definite phantom trip against UNH late and both teams were just superb on the power play anyways, a combined 0-7!

    • KN — game wasn’t as close as the score (Miami had calls go their way also, such as a phantom “trip”). Don’t take my word for it, check Check Dave Hendrickson’s appraisal above. They played great for the first 40 seconds or so… just like they played great for the first 59 minutes in last year’d final.

    • Miami played in slow motion. That is on nobody but Miami. They had the right of last line change which is actually more valuable in that game because the UNH crowd was FAAAAAAR from a home crowd at a Wisconsin or UND game. You play sluggish…….you lose….doesn’t matter when or where.

    • Don’t forget to sleep with your blankey tonight…the whining is pathetic. Ask Blasi and he will tell you they got bet. End of story.

  11. really can not believe that unh got such a good draw much have paid of the ncaa the way they paid the hockey east officials this year. hope they play merrimack and get crushed

    • Paying off officials? Wow. Do you know anything about hockey? UNH advances…beats Miami 3-1. Period. Who’s your team Gken?

    • Good luck next year. Do you really think the fact UNH is only an hour away had that much impact on Miami not playing well. You don’t anything about hockey I guess.

    • Hmmmm, Merrimack huh? Guess not…
      This is not a post against Merrimack fans, just the disgruntled Gken. Congrats on a GREAT season and a tough way to lose it tonight.

  12. Folks: Just a note about the venues in the NE Regionals. At the game last night, I was speaking with a well connected individual that stated this was going to be the last year that the Verizon Arena in Manchester hosts the NE Regionals. Some issues with he management of the arena.

    Now take that with a “grain of salt” but I for one do NOT like the Worcester DCU Center to watch hockey. Maybe Portland ME or Hartford CT will be future venues. If this comes to pass, all arguments about home rink advantages go KAPUT. Too bad because the Verizon Arena has the best sight lines of the New England venues I have attended.

    Another thing fans living outside of New England must remember is that it does not take hours and hours to drive to various places within our six states — as compared to the driving times in the Midwest for example. So it really does not matter where the Northeast Regional is held – hockey fans from the Bostons, UNH, Merrimack, Northeatern, Lowell etc will be there. So my point is that if any Hockey East Team happens to be seeded in the Northeast Regional, it will be a “home rink” for them.

    • If that is true, that’s too bad. And no, not because I want UNH to host, but because it is a great place to watch a game!

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