Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Weekend Recap: Terriers tie twice with PC, continue to improve

The BU Terriers continue to improve as the season rolls along battling to two ties with the #1 ranked Providence College Friars this past weekend. The Terriers fought back from deficits in the third periods of both games as they failed to score in either of the first two periods of either night. The Terriers knotted it up on a late Ahti Oksanen goal Friday night after trailing 1-0 for over a period of hockey with a majority of that spent short handed because the refs got a little whistle happy. BU freshman Charlie McAvoy was thrown out(and later suspended) for a hit on Brandon Tanev midway through the third. BU killed the two 5 on 3 powerplays though and gave themselves a chance to tie the game which Oksanen eventually did for them. They show an unbelievable amount of fight just to stay in the game down two skaters as Nik Olsson left the contest with an upper body injury. It was definitely a hard earned tie for the Terriers who even had chances to win OT as well.

On to the McAvoy hit, it was definitely a borderline hit and most likely a (minor)penalty. However, I do not think it was warranting of a major penalty. It appeared that Tanev dropped his head at the last moment, most likely when McAvoy was already committed to the hit. The major point of contact appeared to the be the shoulder and body but since Nate Leaman whined about it after the game, the conference felt obliged to respond and handed down the suspension. Leaman really is becoming more unlikeable the longer he is in the league.. Take the national championship game last season out of this and he is still creeping up there as whiny as all the other annoying coaches in the league(York, Dennehy, Sneddon etc). You aren't allowed to call a borderline hit "one of the worst I have seen" when your guys are taking cheap shot swings after the whistle all night long. Regardless of whether you are getting away with it or not, you are certainly not in a position to criticize a kid like McAvoy for trying to play hard and physical between the whistles while your goons are waiting to take their shots until after the play ends.

With that said, I felt like Quinn would have benched McAvoy on Saturday for a few reasons anyway. First, McAvoy is a 17 year old freshman and sometimes they can benefit from watching a game from the stands. I know AJ Greer said this just last year when he was a healthy scratch for a game. Second, he took a bad penalty before the hit that got him thrown out while responding to a cheap shot from a PC player(one of many). You still have to keep your cool there and can't take a penalty to go down 5 on 3 for a full two minutes even if it was referee assisted. Third, Brien Diffley definitely has earned the right to get some ice time with his play last year and earlier this season. There are going to be injuries throughout the year and Diffley needs to be ready to play.

The Terriers and Friars returned to the ice Saturday to play to another tie with a game that should have had a first star of referee Kevin Shea. First to the game before I go on a rant. The teams played to another fairly even tie as both teams two powerplay goals(assisted by Shea). The Terriers trailed by 2 goals heading into third this night but actually took the lead briefly on an Ahti Oksanen and two JFK goals. The Friars would later tie it on Jake Walman's second goal of the night that Connor Lacouvee probably wants another shot at but he was very good on the weekend raising his save % to .919 and lowering his GAA to 2.53 on the season. Saturday was JFK's most impressive game offensively thus far as he was generating chances and gelling well with senior linemates Ahti Oksanen and Danny O'Regan. Those three lead the team in points as they should but have certainly proven that they are a first line to worried about if you are the opposing team. I also thought the third line of Greer-Baillargeon- Phelps looked good at the end of the game Saturday night. I am not sure if that line will stick as it has been mostly Greer-Baillargeon- Carpenter as of late but I think it is worth a shote.

 Greer and second line left wing Jordan Greenway are in similar positions so far this year. They dominate guys down low at times due to their size and strength but don't necessarily have the stats to show that. The points will come for both if they keep playing the way they are playing and taking pucks to the net. The two power forwards actually caused PC coach Nate Leaman to make a lineup change Friday night as he inserted some 6'6" useless good dman which he said was in response to Greer and Greenway's size.They both certainly have the ability to take over a game physically as long as their skating is there and that threat is a huge asset to have.

Overall, it was a positive weekend for the Terriers. I would have taken a split going into the weekend but certainly two ties comes out the same in the standings and you especially take it trailing in both third periods and with the officiating on display. That gets me onto my final point which is about the refereeing in Saturday's game. Kevin Shea was terrible and made way too many calls because he thinks the game is all about him. This is not a new thing for Shea. He lead the league in average penalty minutes called for refs (who called over 10 games two years ago)30.4 pm's/game before improving last year down to 21.6pm's/game). He started off this year lower as well but it seems he is getting back to his old ways based on Saturday's performance. He refuses to not let the game become all about him and his calls. He even assessed a penalty to the BU bench for disagreement with his ticky tac calls against the Terriers. My biggest complaint with Shea is the amount of penalties he calls. There were 16 minors called on Saturday. 16 minors. That's over half of the game and Shea called atleast 75% of those penalties as Geoff Miller called just enough so everyone wouldn't forget that he was there too. How Shea responded to the complaining from the BU bench was typical Shea as he then turned his attention to calling makeup calls against PC which sent their bench into a tirade and rightfully so on some of the calls. The refs job is to call the blatant penalties and keep the game under control. Calling borderline interference calls as hooking all night isn't accomplishing either of those things. Fans don't pay money to watch this powerhungry idiot call penalties all night. He actually makes me wish Gravalese Benedetto, Hansen Keenan and Co got all the BU games. Atleast with them, you know what you are getting for the most part. Shea just decides as he goes what random plays he wants to call a penalty. I disagree with a lot of calls against BU throughout the year but this is more than that. It's the amount of penalties called. It goes against everything right with the game of hockey. You want to discourage diving? Stop calling bs tripping and hooking penalties.

The worst part of all of this is that Shea doesn't do BC games. He does not do them ever. Clearly there is some conflict of interest here so good for the league for making sure that doesn't come into play. I don't want to speculate what the conflict is(he is probably York's butler) but it is still a clear advantage to BC for not having to deal with his bullshit calls ever. That is ignoring the fact that "if" it is a pro BC bias, maybe he isn't a huge fan of BU? Maybe he isn't a fan of Notre Dame? If he is a fan of one team, how can he not favor certain other coaches? Mark Dennehy and Cav both have BC connections, is he not allowed to do their games as well? The answer is no.

All I know for sure is that I am just going to hope Shea doesn't do another BU game ever again because he sucks at his job and should not have one as a hockey referee at the collegiate level or any level for that matter. He is a garbage official(not an actual official of waste management but a terrible official). The second worst part of all of this is that I thought that he changed last year when he called less penalties by almost 10 penalty minutes a game. That one is on me. I'll take that blame. I should have known that deep down he still sucked and was an egomaniac of a ref. After this weekend, I won't make that mistake again. I may need to go boycott outside Dan Schacte's house in Wisconsin until Shea is fired since that is what all the cool kids are doing nowadays. Rant over.

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