Columnists, NCAA, Sports

MAZUREK: All I want for Christmas? Success for BU athletics

A couple of weeks ago, as I stood in line at the bar of the Boston University Pub, one beer on tap instantly drew my attention.

This is nothing new for anyone who knows me, but I was a bit surprised to see that the Samuel Adams Octoberfest was no longer available, as the Winter Lager had taken its place. Since the weather had failed to convince me that winter was upon us, the beer selection admirably stepped up to this challenge.

At BU, winter is symbolized by a packed Mugar Library, all-nighters and those holiday flavored drinks that I wouldn’t dare buy at Starbucks.

Let’s not worry about those impending finals or papers that will keep us up for hours, but rather focus on the upcoming holidays.

As someone of the Jewish persuasion, I never had the opportunity to write a Christmas wish list that would be sent to Santa. But that is all about to change…well, sort of.

Behold! My BU athletics Christmas wish list that hopefully will be delivered to either Sasquatch or Jack Parker, whichever of the two is willing to wear a Santa costume.

For the BU women’s hockey team, I wish for a healthy Marie-Philip Poulin and Jenelle Kohanchuk. The sophomore sensation suffered an abdominal injury in the second game of the season against the University of North Dakota. Meanwhile, Kohanchuk was injured early in the season against St. Lawrence University. Both players have yet to return to the ice.

Poulin and Kohanchuk played huge roles last season, as they helped the Terriers reach the NCAA championship game. While BU has fought valiantly without two key offensive weapons, no one can deny that it is impossible to replace their talent. When they both return to play, BU will once again be able to compete for a Hockey East championship, not to mention an NCAA title.

I know that I am not alone when I ask Santa for an NCAA Tournament bid for the BU women’s basketball team. The team has only made the Big Dance once, in 2003, and has made appearances in the National Invitation Tournament in 2009 and 2010. However, an NIT bid is not the goal for coach Kelly Greenberg’s team.

In the past four years, BU has reached the America East Conference championship game twice, but both times have fallen just short. The 2008-09 team was a perfect 16-0 in conference play during the regular season, but dropped a heartbreaker against the University of Vermont in the championship game.

Last season, the Terriers again could not get over the hump as they fell at home to the University of Hartford.

BU returns four starters from last year’s team, including America East Player of the Year and All-Conference First Team member Chantell Alford, second-team honoree Mo Moran, third-team honoree Alex Young, and All-Rookie Team member Rashidat Agboola. With senior Caroline Stewart rounding out the starting lineup, the Terriers again have the pieces necessary to go dancing.

On the men’s hockey side, I wish for a consistent Kieran Millan. You never know which Kieran is going to show up and that can easily affect the outcome of the contest. Any BU fan knows that Kieran is as talented as any goaltender in Hockey East, let alone collegiate hockey. Just look back to Friday’s win at Boston College, where Kieran made 42 saves on 45 shots to steal a victory, even though the team was outshot 45-15.

No observer can, however, deny his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performances.

Must I go into detail on Saturday’s defeat? If Kieran can play at a consistently high level, then BU hockey will have no problem making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

If I weren’t greedy, I would say that BU men’s basketball had already given me a great gift by winning on the road against BC. A win against the Eagles in hockey is always nice, especially on the road, but it isn’t every day that an America East team defeats an Atlantic Coast Conference school in basketball.

In fact, the win broke BU’s losing streak against the Eagles that originated in 1974.

Alas, I am greedy, and there is one thing I want from the men’s basketball team this season: a victory against No. 24 Harvard University this Saturday.

It is not every day that BU hosts a nationally-ranked team. The Terriers look to get their first win against a top-25 team since 1959, when they advanced to the Elite 8.

With no hockey at home that day, BU students have no reason not to stop by Agganis Arena and support our men’s basketball team, as the team looks to write its own history and ruin Harvard’s first time ever as a ranked team.

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