Sunday, October 7, 2012

University of Toronto Recap

The first game recap of the 2012-13 season comes to you from guest blogger and BSRS correspondent HatTrick Swayze. Enjoy...

Well, that was interesting. In a game that most will remember as an absolute circus that certainly got most of the Dog Pound riled up and chanting, there actually were some important things to take away from the 3 hour party that was held on the Agganis ice Sunday afternoon. Let’s break it down by pros, cons and a few words on the FNGs.

      Cason Hohmann. Hohmann showed consistently high levels of energy throughout the game, out-skating almost everyone on the ice and showcasing crisp, smart passes. For this effort he notched an assist and the fifth and final Terrier goal against frazzled Toronto goaltender Brett Willows.
      Putting five goals up on Willows seems to be indicative of standard effort by a solid hockey team but it’s nothing I would tout around the USCHO forums. Willows, who tweeted at BSRS that he was “excited...mostly to play in front of more then 100 fans who actually know what  hockey is...” probably ended up losing that enthusiasm after the first few goals. While he was rested coming into Agganis (his teammate Garrett Sheehan was netminding in yesterday’s 5-2 loss at UMass LOL), his defense and PK, probably tired after a loss yesterday to the What’sARiverhawks, were outmatched with excellent puck movement and cycling by the Terrier powerplay. Willows spent most of his 60 minutes scrambling to follow the puck and while he flashed the glove multiple times for some highlight reel saves, the pressure by BU proved to be too much to handle.
      Alexx Privitera and Evan Rodrigues. Privy stepped up similarly, standing out from the crowd consistently on his shifts. Digging hard for loose pucks, taking the body and forechecking effectively earned him a team-high three points, all assists. Dos Equis showed a caliber of playmaking ability, composure and raw effort expected of older upperclassmen. If he plays this way consistently throughout the season, put aside a letter for his jersey next year. E-Rod had a similarly strong game, notching a deflection goal in the slot and generally being tough on the puck and the forecheck.
      Shot totals. Wow. BU outshot the Varsity Whos by a final of 50-17. This looks great on paper but a significant amount of the BU shots were from poor scoring areas or otherwise not really dangerous, even against the Weeping Willow(s). Yes, I thought of that myself and the chant was awesome.
      The Powerplay. 50 penalties in total today. Holy shit. The Terriers for the most part took advantage of the canucks’ tempers, and the powerplay looked excellent. All five BU goals came on the powerplay. Comfortable and quick passing, effective scoring and lots of zone time. Lots of slot traffic and screens, multiple tipped pucks had Willows very uncomfortable on the man advantage. Let’s hope it stays that way against better teams.
      The Penalty Kill. When the Terriers were dumb enough to take matching penalties or otherwise give Toronto the man advantage, they were effective at preventing cycling. Toronto had lots of trouble gaining the zone and were limited in shots and grade-A’s.
      Chicken Fingers! Multiple Terriers scored 2 points or more today, which means everyone with a ticket gets free Canes! Hells yeah.

      Gongshow. This was probably the big story everyone’s talking about. Huge brawl in the third period after lots of chirping and scrums all game long. As much fun as it is screaming at your boys to murder those rat bastard Canadians, in reality we had some pretty stupid mistakes. You could write a dissertation on the slew of penalties handed out in this game. For returning Dog Pound members, this is nothing new. BU has been atop the national totals in penalty minutes consistently the last couple of years. Fortunately for us, today Toronto assumed that role, racking up a ridiculous 94 minutes in penalties including multiple game misconducts and ejections. Cisse, who finally looks healthy and very dangerous with the puck, ended up dodging fists from Toronto D-Man Tyler Turcotte, who actually seriously majors in Canadian Studies at his school. Obviously he’s not worth the energy to fight back but Cisse Puede, so Turcotte also took a few shots to the bucket in what ended up being a straight-up line-brawling donnybrook. This kind of crap will not fly over and over again this season. Luckily, Parker says that Cisse will not be suspended for Saturday’s regular season home opener against the Friars from Providence (cough cough 8-0 domination last year).
      Shaky, Sloppy, Stupid. Especially with the freshmen, we played a pretty sloppy first two periods. The third looked a little better as the boys settled down and apparently shook out the jitters. Early on, though, decision making with the puck was both sluggish and poor (I’m looking at you, Grizz). Guys were hanging onto the puck too long and getting jammed up with canuck forechecking, and trying to be a little too fancy and too cute with their passing. I think Parker sorted them out in the locker room by the end of the game.
      Shot Totals and 5v5. Yes, both a pro and a con. Only 17 shots on net doesn’t give us much information about the composure and ability of our two freshman goalies. Also in the “unknown” category is out 5 on 5 play. BU spent so little time at even strength with Toronto, it’s tough to grade their abilities in that department. Although the fact that every goal came on the PP is not a promising sign for the 5v5.


      In a word: physicality. The rooks were smashing bodies all over the place today. Lots of energy. You could tell they were pumped to be here. Wesley Myron especially was knocking canucks around like it was going out of style, and Matt Grzelcyk showed a lot of strength on his board play. Grz (“grizz”?) and Ahti Oksanen both snagged a couple of assists, too. Mostly good things from the new guys. Lane, Kurker and O’Reagan didn’t wow me or turn heads much, but none of them was a liability on the ice. They did their jobs and supported the new tenders.
      Goalies. Despite facing 17 shots between the two of them (5 for O’Connor and 12 for Maguire in 50/50 ice time), there were few grade-A scoring chances for Toronto. I didn’t see much from either tendy that scares me but I would have liked to see them tested a bit more before they have to face real opponents in non-exhibition games. Both looked comfortable coming out of the net to play the puck, and positioning was solid all game long. O’Connor seemed to enjoy the “SEXY GOALIE” chants coming from 118 when he lifted his mask for water. Moccia was slated to play the third period, but after an injury in Friday’s practice he sat this one out.
      Parker: “In general, I thought everybody played well. When it was obvious that we could control the puck, nobody got selfish and nobody tried to do too much or show off. That was the best part of it, I thought. We played like a team from the start to the end. And obviously we got a whole bunch of power-play goals. We were moving the puck pretty well there.” [quotes via WBTU and CHN Blog]

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