Hockey East: Frozen Fenway recap

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Photo: Kirby Paulson

Photo: Kirby Paulson

BOSTON – On a bitter cold Sunday in the aftermath of a snowstorm that walloped the state of Massachusetts the day before, a doubleheader was played at Fenway Park. However, the sound of skates cutting ice and dasher boards replaced the usual and familiar crack of the bat and smell of fresh sod. One of the major headlining weekends of the Capital One Frozen Fenway 2017 event, the games stood as the first of two doubleheader sets in which Hockey East teams are participating in the shallow outfield of America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.

 

JFK nets two, Boston University defeats UMass 5-3

It was a return to the lineup for some and a strong on-ice presence for Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson on Sunday as the No. 5 Boston University Terriers (12-5-2, 5-2-2 HEA) defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (5-15-2, 2-8-1 HEA) by a score of 5-3 at Fenway Park. Each of the six skaters absent from the team during the World Juniors tournament found the box score and they combined for one goal and six assists.

The Minutemen struggled to keep up with the quick and potent Terrier offense, though head coach Greg Carvel was proud of his team’s style of play in the spectacle.

“I thought our guys played hard the whole way,” Carvel said. “It’s a different game out there, the ice, I thought the ice was good but the puck’s just kind of out of control. I thought BU did a better job of getting pucks to the front of the net and it was just which way the puck bounced. They’re obviously a very good team, but I was very proud of the way our guys played today.”

Boston University head coach David Quinn was pleased with his team’s performance but praising of UMass’ effort.

“It’s been an uncharacteristic week for us but, really proud of our team. We played a UMass team that I know record wise, I know it hasn’t been a great year for them but they continue to compete and make it difficult for you,” Quinn said. “Certainly, you get up 3-0 and then come back and battle back and make it 3-2 and our goalie has to make some big saves to keep it at 3-2. I know the score can be deceiving when you win 5-3, but our goalie played a big part in that.”

Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger, fresh off of his trip with team USA, made 26 saves in the effort. Quinn mentioned the attributes beyond the physical category when speaking of the freshman goaltender.

“He makes timely saves, he makes it look easy, he’s big, he’s composed,” Quinn said. “One of the things that makes him special is not only does he have the physical tools to be successful but he’s mentally tough and composed and I thought he was all of that tonight.”

The Terriers were able to take a 1-0 lead just before the end of the first period and open the game’s scoring up. With just 28.7 seconds remaining in the period, Forsbacka Karlsson carried a puck up the near side boards and went straight to the net. Moving the puck from his backhand to his forehand, Forsbacka Karlsson beat UMass goaltender Ryan Whischow for his seventh of the season.

UMass continued its power play woes in the second period going 0-3 on the advantage during the frame. The Minutemen would finish the night scoreless on the power play going 0-4.

During that second period, Forsbacka Karlsson continued his impressive performance netting his second of the game 11:33 into the frame. Kiefer Bellows fed a bullet no-look pass to the front of the net where Forsbacka Karlsson received it and put it through the five-hole of Wischow to make it a 2-0 game in favor of the Terriers.

Later in that same stanza, Ryan Badger was called for a trip giving Boston University another power play opportunity. This time it was McAvoy, World Junior Classic championship player of the game, who added his name to the scoresheet by blasting a shot off of a rebound past the blocker of Wischow with 6:08 remaining in the frame. The goal was McAvoy’s third of the season and was assisted by Clayton Keller and Patrick Harper.

McAvoy reflected on what has been a larger staked hockey filled week on a big international stage.

“It’s been crazy, I feel like I’ve aged a little bit here over that whole thing,” McAvoy said. “It’s just something that I don’t think you could have drew it up like that at all.”

Just over three minutes later, UMass was finally able to find the back of the net. After an ensuing turnover, Griff Jeszka picked up his sixth of the season on an off angle shot that skirted its way past Terriers’ goaltender Jake Oettinger to make it a 3-1 game.

UMass would cut the lead down to a goal over eight minutes into the period on a shorthanded effort from Ray Pigozzi. Pigozzi skated directly towards the net and picked up a feed from Minutemen captain Steven Iacobellis before burying it with a backhand.

The Terriers went on to score two insurance goals 48 seconds apart late in the frame with the puck coming from the sticks of freshmen Chad Krys and Gabriel Chabot. Iacobellis was able to register a late goal for the Minutemen in the dwindling moments of the game, but it was not enough to mount a comeback as the Terriers would head back down Commonwealth Avenue the victors.

On Thursday evening the Terriers defeated Union 5-4 in overtime even without the presence of seven players due to World Juniors. Quinn, in terms of Krys and Chabot finding the scoresheet tonight, spoke of the importance of having depth on a team like the Terriers in order to succeed at many points of the season.

“If you’re going to have success and win championships which we want to do you need 26 guys pulling the same direction and having the ability to contribute whether it be today, February, March or April,” Quinn said. “Those guys are key parts to our team, the guys who weren’t dressed tonight are key parts to our team, and we all know it; I’m not surprised when anyone on our roster contributes.”

The Terriers will be back in action this weekend as they take on storied rival Boston College in the Battle of Commonwealth Ave. while the Minutemen have a date against the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks at home on Saturday.

 

Boston College exits Fenway Park the victor over Providence College

Boston College head coach Jerry York and players address the media. (Photo: Kirby Paulson)

Boston College head coach Jerry York and players address the media. (Photo: Kirby Paulson)

While the earlier game was played during the in-between of afternoon and evening, this Catholic college match up was played under the lights. The nightcap of the first of two Hockey East weekends saw the Boston College Eagles (14-7-2, 9-1-1 HEA) defeat the Friars of Providence College (8-7-4, 1-5-2) by a score of 3-1.

A late goal from the stick of freshman forward David Cotton ended up giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead and sealing the deal for a victory.

“The goal is more of a broken play,” Cotton said. “They were putting pressure on the penalty kill, kind of just moved them around and Joey (JD Dudek) did a good job of getting it out in front; ice is kind of chippy so I just tried to get it out net and luckily it hung on there and went short side high.”

Boston College head coach Jerry York was happy with the result and made mention of player improvement during a stretch in which key players were absent.

“I think the players that played valued their minutes while they were gone really helped us also because they improved during that stretch,” York said. “I feel very good about the win; Hockey East, two points, it’s January but we’re just trying to get better as a team moving forward; I feel good about tonight for sure.

After one period of play, the Eagles dominated the Friars in shots by a margin of 16-4. During the period, Providence College had a power play opportunity but was unable to convert in order to open up the scoring.

The second period proved to be quite different however, as both teams were able to jump up on the scoreboard. Exactly four minutes into the frame and while on the power play, Friar Brandon Duhaime brought the puck behind the net and sent a pass out front. Josh Wilkins made quick work of the feed, burying it Boston College goaltender Joe Woll to give Providence a 1-0 lead.

Just under two minutes later, Woll made a beautiful glove save on a shot coming from the slot to avoid allowing the Friars to cushion their lead. York praised the goalie’s efforts after playing in the World Junior Championship.

“Joe Woll was stellar in goal for us, you know coming back from a three-week tour with the World Junior team,” York said.

That second period however was the only time in which the Friars would find the scoreboard. Friar head coach Nate Leaman was disappointed with the lack of scoring opportunities his team had.

“I thought on our scoring chances we missed the net too much,” Leaman said. “We had some great chances that never got to the net including a two on one in the third period and I think we have to do a better job; you’re not going to win many games scoring one goal so it was a focus of ours coming into the game and I thought we just missed the net too often tonight.”

Leaman added that a lack of discipline had to do with the result as the Friars allowed Boston College four power play opportunities, one of which the Eagles converted on.

“It was a fore-checking breakout hockey game,” Leaman said. “There weren’t going to be a lot of scoring chances because of the ice and that’s why they had a 1-1 game in the third period mostly and what opens the door for that, well power plays and we opened the door for that with the lack of discipline in the third; two by captains.”

Later in the period, the Eagles were able to knot things up at one. With a face off to the right of Providence goaltender Hayden Hawkey, Austin Cangelosi was able to win the puck back to defenseman Michael Kim. Kim wasted no time and immediately shot the puck past Hawkey for his third of the campaign.

In the dwindling minutes of the third, Austin Cangelosi buried an empty net goal to seal the win and two big Hockey East points. He was assisted on the goal by Ryan Fitzgerald who had returned from injury and hadn’t played since the end of November.

Cotton emphasized the importance of having a full lineup in terms of moving forward into the second half.

“I think getting our full lineup back is a really big factor,” Cotton said. “We’ve been short I think four or five guys and still Colin’s (White) not feeling too well but once we get them back, getting back our full lineup I think that’s going to be a key part of our game coming down the stretch.”

With the victory, the Eagles maintain sole possession of first place in Hockey East. They’ll have a two game set with rival Boston University this coming long weekend while the Friars will play Yale in New Haven on Tuesday and Vermont over the weekend at home.