Terriers ready to make noise
Coaches agree BU has look of winner
BUs Peter MacArthur pulled the winning goal out of thin air, knocking it past BC goalie Cory Schneider. (Globe Staff Photo / Matthew J. Lee)
After last night's 3-2 win over Boston College, Boston University coach Jack Parker was quick to remind his inquisitors that the 2004-05 Terrier club, which also won the Beanpot championship, was a pretty talented team.
Rookie Chris Bourque, who scored the Beanpot overtime winner last season, was one of Hockey East's most heralded freshmen. John Curry, the third-string goalie to start the season, emerged into one of the country's stingiest puckstoppers. Last year's team advanced to the semifinals of the Hockey East tournament as well as the East Regional, where the Terriers were blanked by a loaded North Dakota squad.
But this year's team, led by an all-senior top line, has scoring depth and a red-hot goaltender and could do even more damage late in the season.
''They've been a good team the last couple of years, but this team is the best Terrier team I've seen in the last four to five years," said BC coach Jerry York. ''They're quicker and more creative. They haven't had those qualities in the last four or five years, but they have them now and they used them tonight."
Parker pointed to the additions of first-year forwards Jason Lawrence, Chris Higgins, and Brandon Yip, who are skating on BU's third line and accounted for the Terriers' second goal last night, as giving his club necessary depth. He also highlighted freshman defenseman Matt Gilroy, a converted forward, for playing well in his own zone and leading the BU breakout.
''This is arguably one of the better teams we've had in the last four to five years," Parker said. ''We have skill up front, great goaltending, and solid D."
Yesterday morning, Harvard coach Ted Donato informed junior Justin Tobe that he'd be starting in place of weary No. 1 netminder John Daigneau against Northeastern in the consolation game. After the Crimson's 5-0 win, Tobe noted his excitement at drawing the assignment -- he hadn't started since Dec. 4 -- and credited his teammates for scoring a first-period goal to shoo away his butterflies.
Northeastern coach Greg Cronin wasn't familiar with Tobe, but assistant Gene Reilly, who was a Harvard assistant two seasons ago, gave his club a quick primer.
''He described him as a guy who challenged the shooter, came out of his net, and was very aggressive," Cronin said. ''A lot of pucks hit him. He didn't have to make acrobatic saves, but he had a pretty easy game for a goalie."
Tobe, playing in his fifth game of the season, stopped all 24 Northeastern shots, getting some help from his crossbar on several occasions, and recorded his first career shutout.
BU cocaptain David Van der Gulik, who has been hobbled by a groin injury, skated slowly off the ice during a power play to kick off the third period after crunching his knee into the boards. Van der Gulik retreated to the tunnel and returned to the BU bench.
He took a twirl during a stoppage at 2:38 of the third period, then returned for his first shift back -- albeit a quick one -- at approximately 5:50 of the final frame. After the abbreviated shift, Van der Gulik left for the dressing room but returned late in regulation.
After the win, Van der Gulik slowly skated toward the celebratory pileup.
''It felt really bad," he said. ''But I iced it and the trainer said it was OK to skate.
''It was just pain. If you can play, you want to be out there. But I also wanted to make sure I wasn't going to do damage on it for the rest of the year."
The Huskies arrived at the TD Banknorth Garden via the T last night, making the seven-stop trip on the Orange Line from Mass. Ave. to North Station. Team personnel transported their equipment earlier in the day. ''We can use the money we saved on recruiting," joked Northeastern assistant Brendan Walsh . . . Northeastern forward Ryan Clauson threw the hit of the night when he blasted Harvard's Nick Coskren in open ice in the third period, catching the forward with his head down. Clauson, however, was called for contact to the head/roughing on the play. The nightcap featured undersized combatants Stephen Gionta of BC and the Terriers' Brad Zancanaro, who squared off in a ferocious battle in the second period, with each trading whacks and cuffs . . . BC goalkeeper Cory Schneider won the Eberly Trophy as the goalie with the highest save percentage (.924) in the tournament.