Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Merrimack Recap- Back on Track

                                                 Picture  from Hockey East Online-Walter Rossini

The BU Terriers recovered from a rough weekend sweep at the expense of the UMass Lowell Riverhawks to take down the Merrimack Warriors 5-2 last night at Agganis Arena. The Terriers took a commanding 3-0 lead after one period last night due to 19 shots on net. Merrimack goalie Sam Marrotta had been solid all year but struggled on the first goal as Evan Rodrigues got in on a break away and flipped a backhand through the junior goalie. Junior Sahir Gill made it 2-0 when he tipped a shot from captain Wade Megan past Marrotta less than two minutes later. The play was set up by a great pass from Garrett Noonan and great patience from Megan. The Terriers made it a 3 goal lead when Matt Nieto's rebound attempt bounced off Cason Hohmann into the net at the end of the first.This goal would chase Marrotta from the game in favor of Rasmus Tirronen. The Terriers' three goal  lead would not be relinquished as they added two more in the second on Matt Nieto goals and held on in the third despite a pair of Jordan Heywood goals. It was a great game that the Terriers needed to have, especially offensively. The penalty kill was excellent again and continues to improve. Matt O'Connor was huge in the second period and picked up his 8th win of the year, making 32 saves.

There was plenty to like from last night's win. Matt O'Connor looked like he did first semester and has been solid as of late, allowing 2.33 goals per game his last 3 starts.  The offense, which was stifled by Lowell, went off. It is huge for this team to get some confidence going into the last 4 regular season games of the season. With Nieto and Rodrigues heating up, along with contributions from Hohmann, Gill and Megan, the top two lines are playing quite well again. The third line also had one of it's better nights despite not scoring. I can't tell you how much I love Rosen and Lane on the PK. They just both get where they should be on the ice at any given time. The defense was also much improved as I though Ryan Ruikka and Pat MacGregor had some of their better moments of the year. The fourth line did it's job and certainly wasn't a weakness out there. That will be key going forward as you need 4 lines in this last stretch atleast for the first two periods of each game.

The Hockey East standings are now bunched as there are two points separating 1st from 6th place. The Terriers' schedule is in their favor as all 4 of their remaining games will be played in the greatest city in the world in Boston. Three home games(UVM X2, NU) and one away game against Northeastern. These games are crucial for both the pairwise rankings(BU currently 18) and the conference standings where only the top 4 get home ice.  Currently BU is most likely to land the 4 seed(32%) in the conference according to the odds but that can change with one stinker against UVM or NU. It is fun to look at all the possibilities but right now we're going to focus on Friday against UVM. In order to earn home ice, they need to win out and that is it. No help is needed. This team controls its own destiny at this point, and how far they want to go is up to them. It continues on Friday when the Catamounts arrive at Agganis Arena.

No comments:

Post a Comment