Ice Hockey, Sports

No. 6 Icedogs host yet another marquee foe

The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team welcomes the No. 5 University of Michigan to Agganis Arena tomorrow night looking to rebound from its first loss of the season.
With a week of practice distancing the Terriers (3-1-0) from their 2-1 loss against Hockey East rival the No. 4 University of New Hampshire last Sunday, this weekend will test the group’s resiliency against one of the nation’s top teams.
‘I thought we had a great week of practice,’ BU coach Jack Parker said. ‘It’s not like they were down because they lost [to UNH]. They know they played a pretty good game. It was a very weird game because of all the penalties.’
Believe it or not, the Terriers’ loss to UNH could prove to be in their favor.
Coming into tomorrow night, the Wolverines (3-1-0) boast much the same style of play BU faced against the Wildcats.
Both teams are fast off the break and quick moving the puck in the offensive zone. Essentially, the only thing separating Michigan’s attack through the neutral zone is its breakout scheme from behind the net, Parker said.
What benefits BU even more is the fact that, internally, it has competed against Michigan’s power play and penalty kill throughout the week in practice given that the Terriers run nearly identical sets.
‘The forechecking schemes are a little different,’ Parker said. ‘But other than that, their power plays and penalty kills are the same as ours, so it’s almost like we’re playing against each other.’
Getting the start in goal for the Terriers will be freshman Kieran Millan. Part of a two-man rotation with freshman Grant Rollheiser, Millan is 2-0-0 on the year with a 1.50 goals-against average.
A standup position goalie, Millan has shown poise uncharacteristic of a first-year starter. So, too, has Rollheiser.
‘The team is much more relaxed in front of them,’ Parker said of Millan and Rollheiser. ‘The coaching staff was cautiously optimistic, but the team was wondering. They didn’t go recruiting for us. They didn’t see any of these guys in the past.
‘I think after the first couple of games the team realized, ‘If I make a mistake here it’s not going to go into the back of the net.’ I think that’s the biggest sigh of relief. This looks OK. This looks better than OK right now.’
For the first time this year, the Terriers will be without freshman forward Corey Trivino, who left Sunday night’s game in the first period with a knee injury. After suffering a shoulder injury earlier this week, senior forward Chris Higgins might also be scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Still lingering in the Terrier locker room are memories of last year’s trip to Ann Arbor, Mich., where BU dropped a pair of contests to Michigan.
Tomorrow night will not only give the Terriers a chance to re-establish themselves as one of the nation’s top teams, but also to distinguish this year’s start from the futility of last season’s.
‘Not at all,’ Parker said when asked if the team had buried memories from last year’s trip. ‘We don’t want to wipe it out of our memory. It was not a good trip and it left a bad taste in our mouths. We’re anxious to see if we can play a lot better against a real good team.’

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