Frozen Four: Boston University’s O’Regan Lifts Terriers Past Yale In OT

Boston University junior Danny O'Regan (Needham, Mass.) netted the game-winning goal on Friday that lifted the Terriers past Yale in the Northeast Region Semifinal. (Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

Boston University junior Danny O’Regan (Needham, Mass.) netted the game-winning goal on Friday that lifted the Terriers past Yale in the Northeast Region Semifinal. (Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

By Matt Noonan 

Boston University’s Danny O’Regan lifted the Terriers past the Yale University Bulldogs in the Northeast Regional Semifinal on Friday afternoon in Manchester, New Hampshire with an overtime goal – his 22nd of the season – that extended the Red and White’s campaign for an additional day.

BU will face the winner of Minnesota/Minnesota-Duluth tomorrow (Mar. 28) at the Verizon Wireless Center, face-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

O’Regan’s game-clinching tally occurred 7:27 into the extra session as he buried a rebound over Yale’s netminder Alex Lyon following assists from Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues.

BU trailed, 1-0, after two sessions as Nate Repensky provided the Bulldogs with a one-goal advantage – a power play strike – at 13:19 in the second period. Ahti Oksanen evened the score with an even-strength goal at 8:21 before Rodrigues provided the Terriers with their initial lead at 11:20, scoring off a pass from O’Regan.

Yale tied the game at 2-2 as Frankie DiChiara sailed the puck past Matt O’Connor at 13:12.

O’Connor, who improved to 23-3-4 between the pipes for the Terriers, blocked 21 shots, including 12 in the second period. Lyon, who concluded his team’s season with a 17-10-5 mark in net, turned away 39 shots – 11 in the opening period, 11 in the second stanza and 12 in the third session.

Rodrigues and O’Regan paced BU with two points (one goal, one assist) and Yale’s DiChiara ended his season with one goal and one assist.

BU entered the Frozen Four following back-to-back wins last weekend in the Hockey East Tournament, downing University of New Hampshire and University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the semifinal and finals. The Terriers earned the top seed in the Northeast Regional. This is the 33rd year in program history that the Terriers have competed in the NCAA Tournament with their last championship occurring in 2009 – their fifth in program history.

62nd Boston Beanpot: BC 3, BU 1 (Game Summary)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, Mass. – Boston College punched its ticket to its fifth straight Boston Beanpot championship as the Eagles defeated archrival Boston University, 3-1, in the tournament’s semifinal on Monday evening at the TD Garden.

With the win, the Eagles advance to next Monday’s championship against Northeastern, a squad they defeated last season, 6-3. BC also defeated Northeastern in the 2011 championship, 7-6 (OT).

Ryan Fitzgerald, Kevin Hayes and Johnny Gaudreau each netted goals for the Eagles, while Thatcher Demko deflected 27 of 28 shots between the pipes.

“He’s been a good goaltender for a lot of years,” Boston College head coach Jerry York said of his team’s netminder. “I don’t think it was a surprise that he could handle something like this (game).”

The shot Demko was unable to defend, though, was a strike from the top of the slot by BU’s Robbie Baillargeon at 6:43 in the third period, which was assisted by Danny O’Regan. That tally sliced the deficit and brought the Terriers within one point, but it didn’t spark any additional strikes as the Eagles defense turned away potential scoring chances before Gaudreau sealed the win by flipping the puck into an empty net with 30 seconds remaining.

Gaudreau, who entered the contest with a 21 game point-streak, extended it the streak to 22 games. He currently leads the Hockey East in point scoring with 53 points (24 goals and 29 assists), as well as all Division 1 hockey players in goals and points.

“It’s fun to watch Johnny G.,” said York with a big smile. “If you like hockey, see what he does with the puck, (especially by) the plays he makes.

“Sometimes he even shocks us with some of the things he does with the puck and he certainly was a catalyst for us tonight.”

BC, which has now defeated BU three times this season, will look to earn its third straight win over the Huskies this season. In their prior meetings, which took place in November, the Eagles defeated the Huskies, 4-2 and 4-3.

Yet, despite two early season victories, York knows Northeastern will provide challenges for the Eagles.

Jim (Madigan) has done a terrific job with his club,” said York. “There’s no surprise that they’ve won so many games this year. They’ve got a really good club.”

As for BU, they’ll look to bounce back in the consolation match next Monday, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. They’ll be facing Harvard, a squad that defeated them in the same game last season, 7-4.

“We certainly understood the challenge we had tonight and I can’t tell you how proud I am of our team. I thought we were ready to play from the get-go,” said Boston University head coach David Quinn. “We competed from the drop of the puck until the whistle blew.

“I said to them, ‘We’ve still got a lot of hockey left.’ There was nothing I was going to say that was going to make them feel better, but the season isn’t over, we need to build on this, we’ve got nine games left I think and we’ve set the bar a little bit higher than we’ve been playing lately, so we’ve got to make sure that we take this approach, not only during the Beanpot when we’re playing BC, but for the rest of this season. If we do that we’re going to crawl back into this thing and put ourselves in a good position.”

Mass. College Hockey: BU’s Postgame Reactions (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

After their team’s 6-3 win against Boston College on Friday in the Hockey East semifinals, Boston University’s Evan Rodrigues and Danny O’Regan, as well as coach Jack Parker, discussed their thoughts on the victory and what the Terriers need to do to earn a win this evening against UMass Lowell.

The interviews, which we’ve provided below, are courtesy of the Hockey East YouTube Channel.

 

  

Mass. College Hockey: BU Remains Focused On Winning A Championship

Boston University Logo

By Matt Noonan

BOSTON, MA – Jack Parker must have said something motivational to his troops during a media timeout last night during the Hockey East semifinals against Boston College.

The Eagles, who were leading the Terriers by two tallies midway through the second frame, appeared to have all the momentum on their side. Yet, something was different, especially about this particular match.

Boston College has always felt at home at the TD Garden. They’ve won four consecutive Boston Beanpot championships, as well as the last three conference crowns, too. And even though history appeared to be on their side with a two-goal advantage, their momentum vanished after two quick strikes from BU’s Evan Rodrigues and Matt Lane, which tied the game at 2.

Lane’s goal, his fourth of the season, was what really changed the contest as the first-year forward stole a pass off a face-off in his team’s zone and raced down the ice to net the equalizer.

“I don’t know if we got complacent, but they got a few lucky breaks, we didn’t catch those breaks and I think we kind of got away from what made us successful in the first 35 minutes,” said BC’s Pat Mullane, who watched Lane’s goal from the bench.

“I don’t think guys sat back, we still attacked, but maybe just the bounces didn’t go our way tonight.”

BU’s offensive onslaught continued with a go-ahead goal from Garrett Noonan, who didn’t appear in his team’s last three contests, late in the second, which pushed the Terriers ahead for good.

Danny O’Regan, a member of this year’s Hockey East 2013 Pro-Ambitions All-Rookie Team, tacked on two power play goals early in the third to seal the win for the Terriers and setup a rematch of the 2009 conference championship against UMass Lowell, who defeated Providence College in the first game on Friday.

The win was certainly an impressive performance for a BU team that had struggled in January and February, but entered the contest on a four-game winning streak, two of which came last weekend against Merrimack College in the first round of the tournament. And while the players know this is Parker’s last ride, they certainly don’t seem interested in concluding their season without some hardware.

“I think especially after the first period we kind of realized that he’s such a great coach that we weren’t going to let him lose to BC at the Garden,” said O’Regan. “We were willing to do whatever it took.”

BU appeared flat following the opening face-off and destined to skate off the ice with a loss, but whatever Parker said to his squad during that timeout provided the Terriers with the necessary spark to rally and beat the Eagles.

“We have our backs to the wall, we played pretty well down the stretch here, but buried ourselves earlier in January and February, (especially) early February and we have to win to continue the season,” said Parker.

“After the way we played in the Garden (during the Beanpot tournament), I didn’t think we were going to be here this time, but the way we fought back and got home ice and took advantage of home ice by beating a really good Merrimack team and then get by BC tonight (was good for our team). I’m very proud of these guys and very happy for them and they have a chance to play a championship, (so) we’ll see what happens.”

It certainly will be an emotional night for the Red and White, who will once again be the underdog against a River Hawks club that’s 6-1 in the current month. And even though they haven’t defeated UMass Lowell this season, don’t expect the Terriers to lie down. Friday’s game proved that BU is determined to extend their season for another week, as well as do whatever is necessary to pull out a win.

“It’s obviously good to beat BC in the Garden,” said Noonan. “I don’t know if we have yet in my career here, but the jobs not done yet and we need to win tomorrow and it was a good win tonight.”

Mass. College Hockey: Hockey East Championship Weekend Roundtable

By NoontimeSports.com 

In honor of the Hockey East semifinals and finals, which commence later today, we’ve decided to call upon the local college hockey gurus to breakdown each matchup and determine who’ll be skating around the TD Garden Saturday evening with some hardware.

Noontime Sports would like to thank Joshua Kummins (Associate Editor of BostonSportsU18.com & SB Nation College Hockey Contributor), Mike McMahon (Senior Writer/Recruiting Editor of College Hockey News), Josh Seguin (College Hockey News) and Rich Slate (Boston Metro) for their help with this particular post.

So, without further ado, here’s our breakdown:

Game No. 1: No. 1 UMass Lowell vs. No. 4 Providence College (Fri., 5 p.m.)

Who is one player to watch in this particular matchup? What can we expect from him? 

Mike McMahon: Has to be Jon Gillies. Quite frankly, the Friars have gone and will go as far as Gillies takes them. He hasn’t shown an indication that he’s wilt under the bright lights. That being said neither has Connor Hellebuyck. It’s definitely a showcase of goaltenders here and likely a 2-1 game. Goals will be at a premium.

Rich Slate: Providence’s freshman goaltender Jon Gillies, who was arguably the top player in Hockey East this season. He won’t give up many goals and was 1-2 against UMass Lowell this season.

Which line will make the biggest impact for Providence and UML?

Joshua Kummins: Each forward on the Friars’ top three lines are double-digit point scorers. Freshman Mark Jankowski and senior Tim Schaller start on the top line, while sophomore Ross Mauermann is a stalwart in the middle of the second unit.

McMahon: Getting Shane Luke back is a big plus for the Friars. He really helps solidify three lines for Providence. For UML it’s Riley Wetmore‘s line. They — and especially him — do a lot of things that go underappreciated. All three of those guys — Wetmore, Derek Arnold and Ryan McGrath — are solid two-way players.

How does UMass Lowell defeat PC and advance to Saturday? 

Kummins: This game will be about defense because after getting this far, I cannot expect either Gillies or Hellebuyck to have a “bad” game.

Josh Seguin: It will probably be a pretty defensive game, but they need to do what they do best, which is timely scoring and responding to everything the Friars send at them.

How does Providence College defeat UML and advance to Saturday? 

Seguin: Jon GIllies will have to take control of the game. The young guys have to stay composed, too.

Slate: Providence will have to find a way to score more goals against the River Hawks. In their two losses against them this season they had one goal in each contest.

Who wins this series and why? Score prediction? 

Seguin: UML wins, 3-1. Right now, they are playing some of the best hockey in the country. Providence is young and may struggle with the environment.

Slate: The River Hawks have been one of the hottest teams in college hockey for the second half of the season and they will be looking for revenge after getting upset in the Hockey East playoffs last season by PC. My pick: UMass Lowell wins 3-2.

Game No. 2: No. 2 Boston College vs. No. 3 Boston University (Fri., 8 p.m.)

Who is one player to watch in this particular matchup? What can we expect from him?

Kummins: Everybody knows how dynamic Johnny Gaudreau is for Boston College, but Steven Whitney is a senior that has kicked it up a notch in his final season in a Maroon and Gold sweater. The Reading, Mass. native and Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Walter Brown Award winner led all Hockey East players with 25 goals, but his 126 career points still trails his older brother Joe Whitney (2007-11), who is tied for 42nd in the all-time BC record books.

Seguin: Johnny Gaudreau has to be the go-to player for the Eagles. If the Terriers do not stop him, it will be a long night. Gaudreau has been a primetime player in his career and I would expect that to continue this weekend.

Which line will make the biggest impact for BC and BU? 

Kummins: Gaudreau-Pat Mullane-Whitney would have been the definite answer for the Eagles about six weeks ago, but head coach Jerry York has shuffled things up a bit after a dry spell that saw the Eagles go 2-4-1 in January. Even with Mullane and Whitney shifting down to join sophomore Quinn Smith on the second line, the trio is still potent in BC’s balanced attack.

For the Terriers, the answer is simple: Matt Nieto, Danny O’Regan, and Evan Rodrigues, who make up BU’s second line. They’ve combined for 33 goals and 40 assists this season. O’Regan, a St. Sebastian’s product, leads all Hockey East first-years with 36 points.

McMahon: The Gaudreau line for BC is the one to watch for, obviously. For BU, I’d keep an eye on Nieto’s line.

How does BC defeat BU and advance to Saturday? 

McMahon: They’re going to need their defense to really rise to the occasion. There’s no reason to believe they won’t, but at this time of year, you need to start from the back end.

Seguin: BC just has to be BC, quite simply. If they do the little things and don’t defeat themselves they will win this one. A steady dose of Johnny Gaudreau, Steven Whitney and Pat Mullane may be difficult to handle for the Terriers, so get them involved.

How does BU defeat BC and advance to Saturday? 

McMahon: They need to get a solid game out of Sean Maguire, who looked terrific vs. Merrimack last week. I also think they BU should try to keep the puck moving, especially in the offensive zone, cycle when they can. Make that BC defense work. BC’s dangerous with the puck, and the best defense is to make sure they don’t have possession.

Seguin: BU needs to play stout, defensive hockey. The defensive breakdowns that plagued them the better part of the second half cannot be present. BU needs to stop Gaudreau, Whitney and Mullane. If they can do those things they could easily pull the upset.

Prediction: Who wins this game and why? Score Prediction?  

Kummins: BC’s recent domination in the Hockey East Tournament (and its senior experience on the big stage) will prove to be the difference in this game. Over the last four years, the Eagles have won 14 conference tournament games and I see that streak continuing in a 5-3 win.

McMahon: It’s an interesting matchup because both of these teams aren’t nearly as deep as they typically are, but I was really impressed with BU last week and I think they upset the Eagles here. It’s a close game though, maybe even OT, but I’m going 4-3 BU. The Terriers need the win to stay alive in the Pairwise, where BC will make the NCAA tournament regardless of the result.

Game No. 3: Hockey East Championship (Sat., 7 p.m.)

Based off your predicted winners on Friday, who wins on Saturday and why? 

Kummins: My championship match of Boston College and UMass Lowell should be a great one, especially since both squads are headed to the NCAA tournament. Both teams are on strong streaks, but I think it is BC’s Garden experience that pays off in a close victory.

McMahon: Defense wins championships and there isn’t a better all-around defense than Lowell, who’ll win 3-2.

Seguin: UML right now is the most complete team of the four remaining. The River Hawks beat the Eagles about a month ago. They respond well and score in timely situations, which makes them dangerous.

Slate: BC will defeat UMass Lowell because of their experience in the Beanpot Finals, Hockey East playoffs and NCAA Tournament. BC beats UMass Lowell, 4-3.  

Early thoughts on the NCAA tourney: How far does the winner go in the Frozen Four? 

Kummins: I don’t think Boston College has quite enough to capture a second consecutive title, but UMass Lowell could certainly make some noise. With a pairing in Manchester or Providence likely, the River Hawks definitely have enough to break through with a trip to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh this year.

McMahon: Lowell has their best chance ever to make a Frozen Four. You look at their record — 20-3-1 in their last 24 games — and it’s so much about catching fire at the right time. Those BC teams that won national titles always went on runs to end their season.

Seguin: UML, BC and UNH are all in. The former two have the best chance of a deep run and if BU can get in they may be as well. UNH can make some noise if they get back to the defensive juggernaut they once were in the first half. Lowell is deep, while BC has a dangerous trio that can light up any team in the country. Lowell and BC both have the talent to earn a spot in the Frozen Four, but it’s all about matchups. Sometimes it’s the matchups and where teams play, which makes all the difference.

Slate: BC advances to the Frozen Four, but loses in the semifinals.