If the Boston University men’s hockey team is going to revive its season, give itself a fighting chance of making any noise as the Hockey East prepares for the postseason, it will have to do it 800 miles from Boston.
This weekend the Terriers will visit South Bend, Ind., where they will play two games against No. 15 University of Notre Dame at Compton Family Ice Arena. Both games will be at 7 p.m., with Friday’s contest airing on NBC Sports Network.
Winning may prove to be easy compared to BU’s travel day Thursday. After taking off from Boston around 9 a.m., the team’s flight could not reach its destination of Chicago — from which they would bus to South Bend — due to heavy fog. The plane landed in Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis before finally settling on St. Louis. As of Thursday night, the Terriers were trying to find a way to get to Chicago to finally catch that bus.
As for the games — on ice, as opposed in the air — the Terriers (8-18-4, 3-10-3 Hockey East) are running out of time to turn around Quinn’s first season as head coach. After this trip, BU, which sits in 10th in the conference, will play a home-and-home series with Northeastern University next weekend to wrap up the regular season.
The team will need some help to sneak into the No. 6-8 slots to host the first round of the league tournament, but picking up some points against the Fighting Irish (17-12-2, 6-9-2 Hockey East), who are tied for seventh, would be a good start.
BU’s up-and-down play of late — playing well one game, hardly showing up the next — has not translated into wins. The Terriers have won once since the start of December, and they have not picked up a road victory all season.
Even when the Terriers do put forth a well-rounded effort, it’s often not enough, as in last Friday’s 4-3 loss at the University of New Hampshire.
Notre Dame is in its first season as a member of Hockey East, and has not been the top-tier team most expected them to be. The Fighting Irish are middle-of-the road when it comes to goals per game (fifth in the conference at 3.06), power play (fifth, 19 percent) and penalty kill (fourth, 86.5 percent).
Starting goaltender Steven Summerhays, a senior, owns a 2.04 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Summerhays’ only career game against BU came Dec. 31, 2011 when he made 30 saves and allowed two goals in a 5-2 Notre Dame win.
Four members of the Fighting Irish have more points than the Terriers’ leader, freshman center Robbie Baillargeon (23 points). Seniors T.J. Tynan and Bryan Rust have put up 31 and 25 points, respectively, while sophomore Mario Lucia (15 goals, 12 assists) and freshman Vince Hinostroza (six goals, 21 assists) each have 27.
While it sits just seventh in the conference, UND did take three out of four points in a two-game set with No. 12 Providence College last weekend. The Fighting Irish are 7-5-1 since entering 2014.