Parker upfront on hitting from behind
Boston University coach Jack Parker, is sensitive to hitting-from-behind penalties, “especially after what happened to Travis [Roy] and what happened at Norwood,’’ he said, referring to the spinal injury suffered by Norwood hockey player Matt Brown and the concussion suffered by captain Chris O’Brien in back-to-back games last month.
But Parker said last night he believed it was time for Hockey East to redefine its “hitting from behind’’ penalty after the Terriers defeated Northeastern, 2-1, in the semifinal nightcap at TD Garden.
“I’m all for wanting to protect players,’’ Parker said. “We want to protect players but at the same time I think it’s getting to the point where we have to define when we use the term, ‘hitting from behind,’ ’’
Parker had no issue with the five-minute major and game misconduct referees doled out to NU’s Alex Tuckerman after he blasted Sean Escobedo from behind, sending him face-first into the boards at 2:46 of the third perios. But he did take issue with the call against Colby Cohen, who was whistled for hitting NU’s Greg Costa from behind 21 seconds after David Warsofsky was sent off for a high cross-check, giving the Huskies a two-man advantage for 1:39.
“The penalty that Colby took, he played it exactly the way we want to play it,’’ Parker said. “They like to rim it around the boards and just chip it out. We tell our defensemen to get right up on that guy. When you get right up in him, and he turned his back and fell. I thought it was the correct call. Colby was just doing exactly what we wanted him to do.’’
One combination he put together - left wing Joe Whitney, center Brian Gibbons, and right wing Cam Atkinson - has paid off in spades. In the last six contests, the trio has racked up 29 points. In last night’s Beanpot tournament at the Garden, Gibbons increased his point streak to nine games with a goal and an assist in BC’s 6-0 rout of Harvard.
In 24 contests, Gibbons leads the team with 30 points, 10 of them goals.
“He’s just a real good player,’’ said York. “He was MVP in 2008 [the last time the Eagles won it] but he continues to progress as a player. I think in any type of game that we play, he’s going to be a factor in it. I thought he was terrific with his quickness and his ability to distribute the puck. That’s something you can’t teach.’’
Gibbons, who is from Braintree, said he’s enjoying his junior year and he believes he and his line have terrific chemistry.
“We always know where each other is going to be,’’ he said. “We think the game the same way, so that always helps. We’re all fast and we’re kind of smaller players and we use our quickness and our speed to kind of get things going.’’
Before the switch, York had Whitney, a junior, playing with his younger brother, Steven. Gibbons said he thought it was smart to break up the siblings.
“I think it helped them, getting split up, because they’re always trying to get the puck to each other,’’ he said. “They’re both so good individually that they needed to shoot the puck more. They were trying to pass it to each other too much. So I think it helped them. They’ve both kind of been on fire ever since that so I think it was a good move by coach.’’
Joe Whitney was scoreless last night but Steven Whitney had a pair of assists.
“It’s obviously a great disappointment to our team, especially on such a national stage,’’ said Biega, who has two brothers on the team - Michael, a junior, and Danny, a freshman. “But I think for the most part, we will get better as time goes on. We have nine games left in the regular season so we want to be a team down the road that is a playoff team and [a team] that’s going to be dangerous.
“I have full optimism that we will be that team, we just have to keep working and sticking together as a team. Quite simply, we got outplayed by the better team tonight. We just didn’t stick to our game plan.’’
Boston University, which captured its 29th Beanpot championship last year with a 5-2 victory over Northeastern, advanced to its 25th appearance in the final in the last 27 years with its 2-1 win over the Huskies. Northeastern had been looking for a repeat trip to the finals. The Huskies have won four titles, but none since 1988. NU had hoped for an encore performance of its 1-0 triumph over the Terriers Nov. 6 at a sold-out Matthews Arena, but it didn’t quite happen. In that game, one Parker described as perhaps the best his team has played this season, NU freshman goaltender Chris Rawlings made 43 saves, helping to perserve the Huskies’ lone goal by junior Wade MacLeod at 12:37 of the third period . . . When Cohen broke a scoreless tie at 8:23 of the second period, it snapped Chris Rawlings’ shutout streak over the Terriers at 88 minutes 23 seconds. The NU freshman netminder made 43 saves in a 1-0 victory over BU at Matthews Arena Nov. 6 and last night added 33 more against BU. “We attempted 80 shots tonight and I think we attempted 86 the last time we played them over in their place,’’ Parker said. “So we have had some opportunities against this goaltender and he has played extremely well against us.’’ As for BU goalie, sophomore Kieran Millan, Parker said, “I thought our goalie played great and he made an unbelievable save at the end of the game. When you look at the scoresheet, there were a lot of opportunities and a lot of time of possession and good grade-A shots in the first period by both clubs.’’ . . . The 2010 Beanpot Hall of Fame additions were announced: Boston College’s Bob Sweeney, the 1983 MVP; former Northeastern goalie Tim Marshall, the 1984 MVP; and retired Harvard administrator Fran Toland.