Friday, October 21, 2016

Scouting the enemy: Boston University Terriers

In a match up between two top ten programs, the No. 4/3 Quinnipiac University Bobcats travel to Boston, MA to face off against the No. 8/8 Boston University Terriers at Agganis Arena. This is Quinnipiac's first ever trip to Agganis and its second ever meeting with the Terriers. A season ago, the Terriers gave the Bobcats their only loss in the first semester and only regular season loss at High Point Solutions Arena winning in Hamden 4-1.

One thing that has not changed is that the teams come into this game as highly ranked programs once again as both are coming off trips to the NCAA tournament with Quinnipiac being the national runner-up. Quinnipiac lost some talent to graduation and early departures while Boston University imported what many experts consider to be the number one recruiting class in the country. On paper no team in the country matches the high end talent that Boston University possesses.

Boosting a collection of eleven NHL draft picks including four first round picks and four second round picks, the Terriers are loaded on offense and defense. If there is one thing that is lacking with them, the word that comes to mind is experience. 17 of the 26 players on the Boston University roster are underclassmen with 9 freshman and 8 sophomores.

Patrick Harper (photo by Maddie Malhotra)
The Terriers bring some big time young talent up front. They are led offensively by Patrick Harper (2016 5th round, Nashville) who has 2 goals and 5 assists on the young season. Clayton Keller (2016 1st round, Arizona), Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (2015 2nd round, Boston), Kieffer Bellows (2016 1st round, New York Islanders), Jordan Greenway (2015 2nd round, Minnesota) and the undrafted Bobo Carpenter. They are pretty good size team up front with a lot of speed and play making ability. The Terriers have the ability to score goals in an instant, like they did against Colgate scoring 3 quick goals in the 3rd period to blow open the game. The BU power play has yet to fully get going scoring only 3 goals on 16 chances which is an 18.75% clip. (BU scored 3 power play goals on Friday night up them to 24% on the power play). They have the chance to be deadly on the power play once they get it going. Quinnipiac must use its speed on defense to clog up the neutral zone and limit the Terriers ability to get into the offensive zone. If they can do that they can limit BU's scoring chances and have a better chance
Clayton Keller (photo by U.S. National Development Team)
to win the game.

The Terriers boast a talented defense with a good mixture of size, speed, experience and youth. The six main stays on defense are all NHL draft picks. The leader of the defense is captain Doyle Somerby (2012 5th round, New York Islanders). He is the only senior of the group. Juniors Brandon Hickey (2014 3rd round, Calgary), John McLeod (2014 2nd round, Tampa Bay) and Brien Diffley round out the upperclassmen. Diffley has seen action in one game this season but has over the prior two seasons saw action in 68 games. Sophomore Charlie McAvoy was drafted by the Boston Bruins with their first round pick this past season had 25 points as a freshman. Rounding out the defensive core Dante Fabbro (2016 1st Round, Nashville) who was the British Columbia Hockey League's top defenseman in 2015-16 and Chad Krys (2016 2nd round, Chicago) who comes to BU from the United States National Program. Quinnipiac's offense will need to try to get some of the younger defenseman on BU to make mistakes along with taking penalties to create increased scoring opportunities.
Charlie McAvoy (photo by Steve McLaughlin/BU Athletics)

The Terriers have a freshman, but talented goaltender in Jake Oettinger who is almost surely to go in the first two rounds of the 2017 draft. The 6'4 goaltender came to BU from the United States National Program. He has played in all three of the Terriers games so far posting a 2-2 record with a 1.78 GAA and a .937 save percentage. Quinnipiac will need to get as many chances as they can get on him and hope his inexperience shows up like it did on the road a week ago against Denver.

BU has taken 31 penalties in its first four games, so for Quinnipiac to win a road contest against as good as a team as the Terriers, they will need to get onto the power play and to capitalize. Dave Quinn's team has been very good so far on the penalty kill as they have killed off 29 of 31 chances for a 93.5% clip. For Quinnipiac it must limit the penalties it takes because it is only a matter of time before the BU power play gets going with the talent they bring. The Bobcats have only killed off 82.4% of their penalty kills on the young season. Getting strong goal tending from likely starter Chris Truehl or freshman Andrew Shortridge is a must. I'd expect coach Pecknold to go with the experience that Chris Truehl brings in a game of this magnitude. Game like this go a long way in pairwise come March so a Quinnipiac win on the road could be key for them down the road if they can prevail against the Terriers.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer.

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