Ice Hockey, Sports

Icedogs look to avoid complacency vs. VT

The last time the No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team met the No. 15 University of Vermont, the Terriers blew through Burlington, Vt., by downing the Catamounts in a 7-2 rout to open its November schedule.

With a pair of games tonight and tomorrow against Vermont (5-3-2, 2-3-1 Hockey East) at Agganis Arena, BU (7-2-0, 4-2-0) coach Jack Parker knows the lopsided win up north does little to fuel his team’s momentum heading into tonight.

‘We can take a lot from that game, if it wasn’t for the score,’ Parker said about his team skating with a false sense of security. ‘I’m worried about my guys looking at the score and thinking they can take something from that. It was a 3-2 game with a minute to go in the second period. The score last time was not indicative of the type of game it was.’

As far as questions that remain unanswered so far this year, how well freshman goaltender Grant Rollheiser will rebound from his five-goal outing at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst last weekend is at the top of the list.

Despite a relatively consistent week of practice, this evening will be crucial in terms of testing Rollheiser’s poise and maturity.

‘You can’t tell in practice. He looked the same, sharp enough. It wasn’t a horrible game by him, but it wasn’t as good as he had played before. He knows it. He’ll be the first one to say ‘I had a bad night.’ I’m sure he’ll be more focused and ready to go. ‘

So far this season, the Terriers sit atop Hockey East in power-play conversion rate. Entering this weekend converting 13 goals off 55 man-up chances, BU’s special teams has been its strongest asset.

What gave the Terriers trouble against UMass, however, was their inability to transition the puck out of their end. BU somewhat righted the ship Sunday against Northeastern University, but the overall inability to clear the zone was still a point of emphasis this week.

‘We’ve got to be able to move from our zone to their zone smoothly,’ Parker said. ‘We didn’t fall out of the zone as well as we could have on Friday. We were getting the puck and turning it over. That’s what we worked on the next day and we talked about it all week. We can’t be casual with the puck.’

Like UMass, UVM has a tendency to vary its press coverage through the neutral zone. Taking care of the puck and establishing their own rhythm will be key for the Terriers if they want to put forward the same effort they did a month ago in Vermont.

‘They are a very solid team and they are a very physical team,’ Parker said of the Catamounts. ‘They can put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways. They can put a lot of pressure on you with a hard forecheck. They can put a lot of pressure on you by making you figure out how to get [the puck] through center ice on them on their power play, and they do a good job killing penalties.

‘Their best chance to win is to get up and play Katie-by-the-door. We would like to be comfortable that we get the puck out of our zone and, no matter which side we are on on the special teams, that we do well. Those are the keys to the game and the weekend for us.’

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