While it may not be mid-term time yet for the Boston University hockey team, they have a big test tonight.
The University of New Hampshire, which is ranked No. 9 in the nation and sports Hobey Baker Award candidates such as senior goalie Ty Conklin and junior forward Darren Haydar, comes to Walter Brown Arena tonight in a matchup between two teams with high, preseason expectations and low results thus far into the schedule.
BU has started off the season with a dismal 2-4-1 and an even worse 1-3-1 mark in Hockey East, while New Hampshire has started off well overall record-wise (6-3-1) but is only .500 in Hockey East (2-2-0). Last Saturday, the Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak with a convincing home win over Providence, 4-1.
The aforementioned Conklin has been sub-par this season and while the Terriers showed moderate success against him last season, a win over the Anchorage, Alaska, native will not come easy. Statistically, Conklin got off to a rocky start but has rebounded for a 5-3-1 record, 2.80 goals-against average and .879 save percentage.
“We just have to take our shots and crash the net and hope we can pick up the rebounds in time to score on him,” senior captain Carl Corazzini said.
The Wildcats’ line of Haydar (6-8-14), sophomore forward Lanny Gare (6-6-12) and senior forward Matt Swain (5-4-9) has combined for 35 points this season so far, making it one of the deadliest scoring lines in Hockey East. In comparison, the Terriers’ first line from Sunday’s game at Northeastern University — Corazzini, junior wing Jack Baker and senior forward Nick Gillis — has only 15 points this season.
“I actually didn’t know [Haydar’s line] was doing so well [offensively] this season,” Corazzini said. “For us, it’s a combination of improving our team play and improving on defense. If they get their points, they get them.”
For the Terriers, senior center Scott Perry and junior goalie Jason Tapp may not see playing time tonight against the Wildcats, according to Corazzini.
“It’s a shame when Perry, who one’s of our top offensive players is not playing,” Corazzini said.
The captain from Framingham, Mass., is tied with junior wing Mike Pandolfo for most points on the team with eight. Pandolfo has five goals and three assists, while Corazzini has accumulated four goals and four assists.
If freshman goalie Sean Fields does step into net against the Wildcats, it will be his first start since last Friday’s mediocre display in a 4-2 loss at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Fields, in two games, has compiled a 1-1 record, 2.02 GAA and .922 save percentage.