The No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey team has handled its first two weekends at home well, but the Terriers and head coach David Quinn will face their first road test of the season with a trip to Michigan. The Terriers will take on No. 4 University of Michigan Friday night in Ann Arbor before traveling to East Lansing for a game against Michigan State University.
For Quinn, taking a trip to face the Wolverines (3-0-1) in Yost Ice Arena will be an interesting challenge for a BU (3-1) team that relies heavily on underclassmen.
“It’s as loud and enthusiastic a venue as there is in college hockey and it will be a test for us,” Quinn said. “It is going to be interesting to see how our eight freshmen respond to this environment. They have never played in an environment like this before. It is going to be a true test for us.”
The Terriers are coming off of their first contest against a Big Ten team this season, and had plenty of success when they knocked off then-No. 2 University of Wisconsin 7-3. Seven different players scored goals for BU in the contest, including three defensemen.
With the win over the Badgers (2-2) in hand, Quinn said the team has a little more confidence entering a weekend against two more Big Ten teams.
“Any time you play well or keep playing better and you get rewarded — obviously we still have a long way to go — but I really thought in spurts that was the best hockey we played all year against Wisconsin,” Quinn said.
There was an injury concern for freshman forward Tommy Kelley after Saturday’s game, as he took he took a big hit to the head from forward Nic Kerdiles and left the game after the second period. However, the fear that he has a concussion has been put to rest, as he has been cleared by the team doctor and is expected to be back in the lineup Friday night.
Kelley will likely return to the top line with sophomore Danny O’Regan and junior Evan Rodrigues, while the second line of sophomore Matt Lane, junior Cason Hohmann and freshman Robbie Baillargeon will likely remain together as well. Each forward on the second line recorded at least two points Saturday night, with Hohmann leading the team with four points.
Friday night will be the third time the Wolverines have faced a Hockey East team this season, and they have had a lot of success against the conference. Michigan topped No. 5 Boston College 3-1 in the season opener in Michigan before tying and beating No. 13/14 University of New Hampshire in two overtime games last weekend.
It will be the first time Quinn has a chance to coach against coach Red Berenson, who has been at the head of Michigan for 30 years and got to know Quinn well while Quinn coached with the United States National Development Program.
“He and I have always had a great relationship,” Quinn said. “I’m kind of lucky that I get a chance to coach against him. Sometimes you don’t think this type of thing will happen, so anytime we play Michigan it’s special in itself.”
It has been a tougher start for the Spartans (0-2) this season, who were swept in their opening series at the University of Massachusetts last weekend. Michigan State is led by senior captain Greg Wolfe, who has two goals in the first two games of the season.
For the Terriers though, the first road trip of the year will be a time for the team to jell together with a long season ahead.
“It is always nice to have a road trip to kind of bond and to get to know each other and that stuff,” Quinn said. “Especially for eight new guys, eight freshmen who have never been on a road trip like this before. It will be fun to do that.”