March 25, 2009

A take on the Terriers part II

At the beginning of the season, I had a BU fan write a take on the upcoming season for BU. I had her do another one, this time recapping everything and kind of a preview of the weekend. Thanks to Sarah Gutherz for the write-up.

The Terrier faithful have cautiously started to become hopeful again after a long drought between sustained NCAA successes. This year’s team, while posting a strong 31-6-4 record, has struggled down the stretch of the season and has their freshman phenom, Kieran Millan, to thank for much of their recent success. Millan currently has a GAA of .184 and a .923 save percentage. He was recently named Hockey East’s Player of the Week and was named MVP of the Hockey East Tournament after holding the University of Massachusetts Lowell to a shutout and stopping 53 of 55 shots on the weekend.

On offense, there has been much talk about Hobey Top 10 Finalist Colin Wilson, who is expected to depart for Nashville after this season. After coming back from the World Junior Tournament with a renewed energy, Colin seems to have slowed a bit and has taken a backseat to several other members of the team. Senior (and co-captain) John McCarthy has surprised many Terrier fans with not only his production this season, but also with his speed. Junior Zach Cohen, who at the beginning of the season was fighting for playing time, has solidified his place on the ice and contributed 10 goals (up from 2 last season) this season and gained significant speed. Both Chris Higgins and Brandon Yip now boast over 100 career points, 125 and 104 respectively.

Defensively, the positive impact of Matt Gilroy’s decision to stay at Boston University can’t be overstated. Both on and off the ice, Gilroy, who is also a Hobey Top 10 Finalist, has shown that he is capable of leading the team. An offensive defenseman, he has been paired with several different defensemen due to injuries and healthy scratches and has adjusted well each time. Junior Eric “SMASH” Gryba, BU’s Goon from Saskatoon, has started to come into his own on the ice. Taking advantage of his size in a positive way, Gryba delivers brutal hits and has started to take better control of the puck. Unfortunately, sophomore Colby Cohen has been a bit of a defensive liability of late, but expect him to play as BU does not feel comfortable with their only other defensive option, senior forward-turned-defenseman Steve Smolinsky.

As a team, the Terriers seem to play down their opponents. Since the Beanpot (the first two Mondays in February for you out-of-towners), the Terriers blew out a struggling the University of Maine 7-2, only to struggle to a 2-2 tie the following evening. Following the tie at Maine came two overtime ties against a sliding Northeastern team. Convincing wins against the University of Massachusetts and Providence were followed by a dreadful three game series against the 8 seeded University of Maine in the Quarterfinals and uninspired play by much of the team in the rest of the Hockey East Tournament.

Heavy hitters for this team are Gryba and Yip, PIM leaders on the team at 98 and 110 minutes. Wilson and Bonino are considered the two best puck handlers on the team. Like most teams in this post-season, injuries have started to wear down the team. Sophomore Joe Pereira, a hard hitting and hard skating forward, sustained a ruptured spleen in the Hockey East Finals and is out for the remainder of the reason. Senior Chris Higgins is playing with a broken hand.

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