May 20, 2008

BU Hockey 2007-2008: A Season In Review

Hmmmmm. How do I approach this? It really is a sensitive topic. There were so many unbelievable developments, arguments, events in this here season, that I don't really know what angle to approach it all in. I suppose I'll be brutally honest, and give my two sense in what I saw as BU's top sport really became something of a laughing stock.

Laughing stock? They finished 2nd in the Hockey East in the regular season.

Yes, but that is really all that this team did. That plus win a game at Madison Square Garden. There was a hell of a lot more negative things to talk about than any accomplishments by this team this season. So, let's start at the beginning.

The hockey season, for me, really began in June with the NHL draft. The Colorado Avalanche seemed to have this grand plan of developing their future defensemen at Boston University. With the 16th pick - Kevin Shattenkirk. With the 45th pick - Colby Cohen - both of whom were suiting up in Scarlet and White in the 2007/08 campaign.

These draftees got me excited. I wasn't looking forward to seeing the overall #1 pick inevitably dominate BU as a UNH Wildcat, but I was looking forward to seeing the 16/45 attempt to handle him 3 times during the season.

July, August, and September were pretty much dead. For me (and most I think) it was just waiting until October 12th and the Terriers season opener against Robert Morris in Alaska. BU was projected to finish anywhere between 2nd and 4th in the Hockey East and were preseason ranked 8/9. Things seemed to be decent even before anyone skated.

I was home the weekend of October 12/13 for my brothers wedding. So, when I checked goterriers.com and saw that BU dropped their first contest of the year 3-2 I was a bit disgusted and worried. Further investigation showed that the Terriers blew it. It went from 2-0 to 3-2, all in the third period. Talk about a mental breakdown. I attributed some of the loss to the absence of Eric Gryba. Gryba was diagnosed with the kissing disease (mono) I think a week before the trip to the other side of the country and didn't go. His physical force would've been a factor, as I assumed it would be the rest of the year.

I cried that night as I looked at the box score. Not because there was no shot at a perfect season this year. No, it's because the first goal of the year was scored by Jason Lawrence. Lawrence decided to switch his number from 22, which he had worn for two season, to 21, the number of the late, great Tom Morrow. This, to me, was a slap in the face (of Morrow). How dare Lawrence disrespect him like that. He was one of two players to switch numbers - the other - Zach Cohen who went from 14 to 11. Not even Zach can explain why he did that. I did later find out from Jason Lawrence himself why he switched numbers - he claimed he wore the number all the way until he got to BU. HE then consulted Morrow about changing and got permission. I didn't/don't care - you don't do that to a manchild like Tom Morrow.

Anyways, an 0-1-0 record after one wasn't so good. The next night BU took on Alaska Anchorage in the final game of the Nye Frontier Classic. It was a back and forth game the entire way - 3-3 entering the third period. BU scored with 7 and half minutes left and all they had to do was play DEFENSE. Yet, this is harder than it seems, and with 2 minutes left UAA evened the score and forced a scoreless overtime. BU would return from their opening road trip 0-1-1 and looking for answers as to how to play entire games.

Karson Gillespie started game one, Bennett game two. Neither looked very good. Little did anyone know the biggest thorn in BU's side the entire season would be the goaltending.

Instead of Midnight Mania/Madness (I still don't know which one is for hockey and which one is for basketball) BU held an afternoon with the team. It was basically the same type of thing as Midnight Mania/Madness except in Agganis Arena (where everyone could hear me yelling at Jason Lawrence to take off the honorable #21 jersey) and in the middle of the day. At least everyone in attendance got free T-Shirts. There was one freshman who really stuck out to me. It wasn't Colin Wilson, who everyone was proclaiming to be a God on Ice. It was Nick Bonino. He showed, during the shootout competition that he had the softest, most best hands on the team. He was like David Duchovny in Zoolander. I kid you not, I picked him to make the biggest difference on the Terrier team during the season, after the Midafternoon Mania/Madness.

The home opener hosted the UNH Wildcats. UNH was the favorite in the conference and they sure as hell played like it on that night. A 4-1 final left most of the students in HAA scratching their heads and wondering whether or not this team could be half as good as last years squad. I mean, it's tough without Tom Morrow. After the Alaska roadtrip BU had dipped to #18 in the National polls and getting blown out at home wouldn't really help the Terriers stick in the top 20.

This plus a roadtrip to UMichigan for 2 games didn't sit well in my stomach. UM was #3 in the country, and the Dog Pound trip that had been in the works for months fell apart when the leaders realized no one was providing buses. This was probably because not enough people were serious about going. Me included. At first I was like "yeah, I'll go to Michigan." Then I got to thinking about how much it would suck if it turned out to be a worthless L/L trip. Which it was.

The first game of the away/away was on CSTV so I could watch. And what I watched was a Wolverine domination. Kind of. The crowd at UMich was massive and even intimidating on TV. BU got it as close as 4-2 (with yet another Jason Lawrence goal). BU looked real bad at times, specifically their defense and Brett Bennett. Especially with this gem:

Geeez. That goal made it 4-2 and nothing changed. UMich didn't let up, not even into the second night of hockey against BU.

The second game was on CN8, which I didn't get, and to be honest, didn't really want to watch after the first game. BU had been alternating goalies and in the fifth game of the season it was back to Karson Gillespie. He clearly didn't want to play because he let in 6 goals. Lawrence tallied his team-leading 3rd goal and the Terriers lost 6-2. 10-4 on the weekend and a 0-4-1 record. This was the worst start the Terriers had had in years and in 4 nonconference games they had only been able to get 1 point. Sh*t was the only thing I could say. If there wasn't a drastic change in the play/style of it, it was going to be a very long and painful season.

BU's next game was a Thursday night game in Providence. It isn't that hard to get to Providence, just a 45 minute commuter rail and then finding a means of transport to the Arena, so Jesus and I went, hoping to see the first win of the season.

And boy, were we rewarded. Not only did we see BU win, we saw Eric Gryba score. And score on a slap shot from the point. That was really good enough for me. We could've lost and I still would've been content with just having a Gryba goal. It looked as though BU had gotten their act together. As they improved to 1-4-1. I was all smiles. Who was the goalie for that first win? Brett Bennett. At Providence, every time Bennett skated to the corner Jesus and I were standing (which happened every time there was a break in the action) Jesus would yell, "Yeah, Brett." If you ask me it worked, because a BU goalie actually got a win.

Two nights later, the BU goalie who started in net looked absolutely awful and scared. In 2006-07 BU had a lot of problems beating UMass-Lowell. As the first of three games against the Riverhawks reached the third period it looked as BU would have problems not losing to them in 07/08.

After two periods of play against a team with no Juniors or Seniors BU trailed 4-2. Apparently, Parker had had enough because Karson Gillespie (the starter) didn't reappear in the third. Instead our savior, Jesus' at least, Brett Bennett stepped in. In fairness, he stepped in in the second and let in one goal, but that really didn't matter. For whatever reason the Terriers decided to score when he was in net. One, then another, then another, then another, then how bout another? 5 unanswered goals in the third period. It was the most the Terriers had scored at Agganis and the most I had ever seen them score in a game. It was glorious. The only thing that didn't work out in the third period was how Ryan Weston scored the Empty Net Goal instead of the man who could've gotten free Qdoba chips and salsa for the entire crowd - 2 goaler Luke Popko.

Obviously, I had a lot of mixed feelings about these Terriers. 2-4-1, with a very butt-clenching 7-4 win over a UML, not expected to make much noise in the Hockey East, what does all this equal?

Six days later, BU seemed to be back to their usual routine. BU wasn't ranked, but their opponent, #20 UMass-Ahmerst was. Their ranking, and muscle, shined that Friday night. After 2 periods and Brett Bennett in net the entire game, the score was 2-2. Then 3-2 UMass, then 3-3 BU. Then the Terriers shut it down and headed to the locker room, with a full 10 minutes to play. With 6:46 left BU let in the game winning goal, followed by an empty netter. The theme of the season was clearly forming - BU didn't play full games.

Heading to Northeastern a week later, my confidence was pretty low. It's a good thing that I don't play for this team because they had something different to say.

They pretty much stole a game from the Huskies. 2 goals in the first by NU and 1 by Pete MacArthur left all the Dog Pound who made the trip to the dangerous part of Boston wanting something as the third period's time hit single digits. Thank God BU had a red head, because he was the answer. With 4:34 left Boomer Ewing put in a power play goal that would be the last. BU snuck out with a win after a scoreless overtime.

The highlight of the game, for me, was heckling the NU student above us who kept blowing a horn. She was doing it to annoy us, as she would target us, blow the horn, then flick us off. This is why we started an "ugly horn girl" chant (yes, it was a girl). I can see where this could sound like "ugly whore girl," and why sercurity was called on us. Nonetheless, BU improved (?) to 2-5-2 on the season. This wasn't really good enough to be ranked, not even in NCAA hockey.

If you had told me at the beginning of the season that BU would score 7 goals a team during the season I wouldn't have believed you. If you had told me they would score 9 on a team I would've slapped you right across the face for being illogical. Sure enough, both occurred.

I remember watching BU's 9 goal offensive domination of UVM on CN8. I didn't believe what I was seeing was actually happen. I didn't get CN8 at my apartment so I went to my friends house to watch. He didn't know much about BU hockey other than they were putting together a subpar season. He offered to bet me about on the spread. I said it was +2 for BU, which I thought was fair. He took the bet and after the second period I was $10 richer.

9-1 was the final. 9 f*cking goals. How? Jason Lawrence started it with easily the luckiest goal of hockey's existence - he was just trying to push the puck around the UVM net, but somehow it deflected off Joe Fallon and went in. Then with 17 seconds left in the period Colby Cohen shot a laser that blew past Fallon for a two goal lead. The second period nearly brought tears to my eyes - 31 seconds in C. Wilson scored. UVM responded 24 seconds later but that didn't really matter. It was all BU from there on out. Some might say that this was the high point in the season. I can't really disagree. Even Zach Cohen scored.

In typical BU fashion a day later, in the same building, against the same team, the Terriers played an entirely different game. Brett Bennett started his second game in a row with a completely different result from the previous night. BU struck first, but UVM's four unanswered goals starting in the second and going into the third led to the 5-4 Terrier loss. I remember, I was at a BU basketball game, getting updates from my friend who made the trip to Gutterson to watch the hockey game. It stated off so well. The last text I remember getting before I started throwing up when I received them was a 3-2 BU text. It went very downhill from tehre. This game left me scratching my head wondering which team would show up on a given night - what I had been saying the entire season thus far. BU fell to 3-6-2 overall and 3-3-1 in the Hockey East. It hurt to look at the overall record but dealing with a .500 HE record was bearable.

Next on BU's slate was the usual Thanksgiving break game against Harvard. It was especially special to me because it fell on my birthday. The only thing I wanted was a Terrier win - I even brought a sign saying this. Unfortunately BU hockey wasn't as kind to me as some of my friends/family. Not only did the Terriers lose, they lost in Overtime, with a minute and eight seconds remaining. Karson started in net and played a solid game until that last overtime faceoff. Parker called timeout right before it - Harvard won it, shot it off the boards behind the net, the puck came off hard to the opposite side and Harvard's Doug Rogers was right there to bury it. This one hurt. HU goalie Kyle Richter looked like a stud, or BU made him look like a stud, stopping 39/40 shots. I'd never seen anything like that. 3-7-2 entering Thanksgiving break and the MSG game. But hey, Jason Lawrence separated his shoulder that night. Wasn't that some sort of birthday present for me?

3 days after Thanksgiving I was in New York City. My break was cut to three days but in retrospect it was definitely worth it. It was called Red Hot Hockey, my only guess is because both BU and their opponent - Cornell (Big Red) had nearly identical jerseys and team colors - Red and White. It was my first game ever in Madison Square Garden and it was basically like an away game rather than a nuetral location game. I realized how many more Cornell fans there were when the National Anthem was being sung. When the line, "and the rockets red glare" the word "RED" overpowered me. I realized Cornell alumni and fans really love red.

Well, BU fans loved goal output, especially in the first period. BU tallied 3 in the first period. The first two goals - 18 seconds apart. It was BU's to lose from there on out but that didn't happen. 6-3 was the final, but it was never really that close. Brett Bennett played a solid game and made some saves that he hadn't been making the entire season. I really thought this could turn the season around. It was a nonconference win that this team desperately need.

Again, I was wrong. Once everyone returned from Thanksgiving break it was a home/home with BC. The way I saw it, it was the biggest weekend of hockey yet. Nate Gerbe seemed to see it the same way. First, on Friday night, I arrived at Conte Forum and the score was already 2-0 BC. Right as I sat down Nate Gerbe tallied his second of the night to make it 3-0. I had no reason to be there anymore and got thrown out of the game for standing once it was 4-1. Good thing I left because Gerbe got his hat trick and beat the Terriers alone. Gerbe had as many goals shorthanded as BU did altogether. The final was 6-2. Awful.

The next night was just as bad, if not worse. This game was the one and only shot BU had at BC at Agganis. It's typically the loudest most exciting game that I get to see at the Greek. Gerbe stated the game with another shorthanded goal, only 2 minutes into the game. BU got two back to take a 2-1 lead but with a minute and 23 seconds left Gerbe dished to Ben Smith for one of his eventual four goals. It was 2-2 at the end of one. From there it became a boring game that led to 2 more BC goals (both Smith's from Gerbe) and one Gilroy slapshot goal on a powerplay. With 1o minutes to go in the game nothing happened and it reminded me exactly of the first game at Agganis the year before. 2-1 with about 10 minutes left. The arena got beyond hyped up but nothing was produced - BU losses by one. Brett Bennett got back to back losses so it was now a question as to where the goalie that was at MSG had gone.

I was pretty pissed about what the season was becoming. In fact I was already beginning to write it off. I was praying for the ghost of Johnny Curry, or even better Tom Morrow.

Just when I thought that it couldn't get any worse, it did - I'm not sure of the exact date, but it was definitely the first week of December - Boomer Ewing, Dan McGoff, Brandon Yip, and captain Brian McGuirk all suspended for undisclosed reason for an undisclosed amount of time. The only explanation that most BU fans (on the USCHO message boards) could come up with was that they released a baby tiger on Commonwealth Avenue - an act blatantly illegal in Massachusetts. No one from anywhere involved with the school or BU athletics would give answers, but of course, the truth did surface. Word on the street is that the four players attended a funeral on a Sunday and then went to a bar for some football and beer. All four of the players were 21 but the team rule is no drinking except on Saturdays. Action was taken and the players were suspended for a month. The biggest loss was Boomer Ewing as he was 1 of like 4 players who actually seemed to be producing every game. The biggest disappointment, for me, was Brian McGuirk. He was supposed to be the captain but there he was breaking rules. He was supposed to be leading this team to a triumphant season, but all he was doing was taking this team into the cellar of the hockey east. I had wanted Pete MacArthur to be the captain the entire time. In fact I didn't know why he wasn't given the C. JackPa must've seen what a mistake he made and ripped that C from the 28 jersey and put it on the 16, as he should've. This didn't solve the fact that this team would be skating with like 2 reserves now that 4 players were out due to suspension.

On the 7th of December, it was clear, that BU had hit the rock bottom for the season - a road loss to UML. The goalie situation was becoming more of a headache than anything. Parker tried walk on Adam Kraus who played decent with a 23 save performance. It didn't help though - BU was not the same without the suspended players - 4-3 final. BU now 4-10-2 on the season. This was rock bottom of 07(/08).

The next night was an exhibition game, in the middle of the season, against the US Under-18 National Team. This was a game that I really did not want to go to at all. Nor did most of the students/season ticket holders. The arena seemed empty despite the alleged 4,564 that were in attendance. It was nice to actually see Kraus play goalie and two BU recruits - Vinny Saponari and David Warsofsky. Plus, this was the first game I had ever actually witnessed where two brothers scored for two different teams. In addition, Pete MacArthur was roughing up the kids on the U-18 team all night long. Like legitimately. BU won 3-2, but did it really matter?

Five days later, in a nonconference game against Dartmouth that would've counted, miserable conditions forced a postponement. I mean, this type of thing is common for baseball, but it's the first time I'd ever seen it in hockey. Nonetheless, this should've helped BU - it was another game that the 4 suspended players wouldn't have to miss. Unfortunately, it would've also been the last game that most students would've gotten to enjoy before winter break. However, due to the subpar season I don't believe many students lost much sleep over it.

The Terriers got the next two weeks off. I don't know what they did in that time, I don't really care to know. They did get time to go home for like 3 days from what I understand and then were back in Boston.

December 30th was the first of two games against Merrimack at Agganis. For those of you who don't know, Merrimack has never ever won, hell, or even tied, in that building. So it's the perennial win for BU. In fact, BU starts the season either 1-0-0 or 2-0-0 depending on what year it is and how many times the Warriors are coming to the city.

Of course BU won (5-2) and Karson Gillespie got the last win of 2007. The arena wasn't that full and the game was never really that close. Nick Bonino did score my favorite goal of the season - the first and only wrap around that I've witnessed live. I figured he would be the first to show me that.

BU started 2008 with a tie. I had seen the inconsistency earlier in 2007 that the Terriers had against UVM, so it was really no surprise that they skated to the same score in their final meeting. Karson got the start again and allowed the worst goal I have ever seen a goalie allow (live, I have seen 95 foot shots that have gone in, but I've never been there.) Anyone else who was in the arena probably felt the same way I did after watching UVM's game tying goal - disgusted. The Catamounts Jack Downy had the puck to the left of the goal near the BU blue line and was just dumping it towards the net. I don't know, and will never know, if Karson was not paying attention, was screened, I don't know, bu the puck flew right past him and into the back of the net. Thinking about it now, reliving the horror, I'm getting sick.

And then came the most random/strange occurence of the entire season. Karson Gillespie slipped on a puck during practice and sprained his ankle in early January. I was baffled, confused, and laughed a little bit. I've seen players slip on pucks before, but never a goalie, never in practice, and never resulting in injury. Regardless, any goalie dispute was settled. This team would have to ride Brett Bennett and try to develop him into the goalie of the future.

I went home after the UVM game, because it was break after all. I watched the Terriers next battle on CN8 against Maine, not really knowing what to expect (what's new?). 1-1 after one but 3-1 after three. BU got the job done. It wasn't a pretty game at all, but as I, and everyone else, would find out, that's just how the BU-Maine games would go this season.

The Terriers rescheduled game against Dartmouth took place three days later, on a Tuesday night, right as students got back from winter break. The team didn't seem to be back yet though. There weren't any positives from this game against the Big Green. Let me say that Dartmouth's mascot is really Keggy, the Keg, so, there really weren't any positives against the Kegs. This game should've been a nonconference win. Going into the third BU had a 2-1 lead, yet that changed about half way through the period, then with a minute and 38 seconds the tie game became a game where BU had to pull their goalie. They blew it, simple as that. Dartmouth left Boston with a win, BU left with even more goalie problems and nonconference losses. What the hell was wrong with this team?

BU headed to Merrimack on Friday night, a venue where they hadn't lost since 2004. Needless to say (even though I'm saying it) BU won. It was a six goal output by the Ice Dogs (I hate calling them that) which included 5 unanswered goals by the Terriers then 3 unanswered by the Warriors. BU was back to .500 in the conference, yet still sat with only one nonconference win. This wasn't near good enough for national recognition.

The next night it was back to Conte to take on the Eagles for the 3rd of 4 times during the season. This visit didn't feature a fog out, a win, or a lose. Instead the teams skated to 2-2 tie after BU jumped ahead with 2 unanswered halfway through the second. I was willing to accept the result. BC was hot and BU was, well, BU was playing like BU. With the tie the Terriers maintained that .500 record in conference which was good enough to make the playoffs at the time at least. It was also nice to play BC and have Nate Gerbe not score for once.

Next came a home/home with UNH. I would've been content with 2 points over the weekend (2 ties would've been great). That was definitely a lofty goal. UNH was playing like a team that could make it to the National Championship if it started that week, and they showed it. First in Durham the Wildcats whooped up on BU 4-2. Then the next night 5-2 at Agganis.

The one thing this team could look forward to was Merrimack rolling through town again the next Friday. Perennial win. And it was - basic domination - 4-1. Merrimack started the game off 1-0 then it was all BU from there. It was good to see that this team was beating the team(s) they should.

The following Monday was a big day. It always is. Beanpot Monday - the first Monday of February. It was unfortunate that BU had to play BC in the first round. I knew BC was the only team that could beat BU in the Beanpot. I don't know what it is/was that Parker says to the guys, but every year, traditional, the Terriers have gotten up for that first Monday. They hadn't lost in the first round since 94. If this team lost, they would be making history in a rather unfortunate way.

It was back and forth all game. Really, it was good competitive hockey. I was loving it, heading into the third BU was up 3-2. Then a minute into the last period, when all BU had to do was not let the Eagles score, the hockey east midget netted one. It was beginning to look like a repeat of the Beanpot final from a year before. Overtime came, yet McGuirk wasn't showing up around the 5 minute mark. I think that's what needed to happen - if BU wanted to win that game in overtime they needed to get it done early. They let it slip into the 7 minute mark and Nate Gerbe ended BU's Beanpot dreams. That was really painful, especially when he dove into the corner near the BU student section. I left immediately. I didn't want to see anyone or anything more associated with the Eagles. I'm pretty sure that was the one and only Monday night all year that I got drunk. It's the only thing that could numb the pain.

This game seemed to act like a wake up call to the Terriers. They realized that nothing was coming easy and the one trophy they typically play for every year couldn't be won. The only thing left was really the Hockey East/National Championship. And with a 8-14-4 record in February, an automatic bid to the 16 team tournament was kind of out of the question. The Hockey East had to be won. No doubt about it.

That Friday BU went back to Tsongas Arena to play the Riverhawks for UML for the last time of the regular season. BU DOMINATED. 6-2. They started out so good that UML had to switch goalies after the first period. Whatever Parker said or made the team do during practice after the BC Beanpot lost worked.

This success carried over the consolation Beanpot game against Northeastern that next Monday. I went, reluctantly. The Northeastern fans were there in huge numbers because they're used to that 5 pm time slot. BU fans, not so much. NU probably outnumbered BU 2:1. The Dog Pound looked more like the HU students than anything else. However, the number of fans in the stands don't win the games, it's the goals. And BU got one more than the Huskies. After one period it was 1-1. After the most awesome second period of hockey I'd ever seen the score was 4-3, Huskies. Then BU turned it on and didn't let up in the third, 5-4 final. Colin Wilson's goal, the 5th of the game for BU was easily the best slapshot I had ever seen. There was a clusterf*ck around the net - an NU players stick went flying up into the air and the puck somehow ended up on C.Wilson's stick. He just blasted it. I didn't have my radar gun handy, but I'm guesstimating that the shot was around 150 mph. Plus it got BU 3rd place in the Beanpot. Yay! I didn't stay for the Championship game, I couldn't bear to see BC win, which they eventually did, even though it took them overtime.

That Friday and Saturday the Maine Black Bears took to Agganis twice. BU played the best hockey they could've both nights. Both games were incredibly boring but they got the job done and that's really all that matters. Essentially BU was playing Ben Bishop, the Maine goalie, who had the weight of the entire team on his shoulders. Ben is good, but the entire Terrier team was a little better. Both games went into OT. The first night it only took 10 extra seconds for Luke Popko to bury a pass from Colin Wilson.

The next night it took a little longer - 3:30 seconds. Colin Wilson won a faceoff and then rebounded a Brandon Yip shot. For the second night in a row Bishop was the best player on the ice except for one play. And BAM! Brett Bennett gets his first collegiate shutout. Hey, things were beginning to look up.

When I got home that night I looked up Ben Bishop on Youtube and found something that made me respect the man even more. Despite him calling me a duster when he was being poked by the Facebook group T.O.C.O.T.H. - the poking group, I couldn't help but be impressed by the cajones on that man. Check it out:

Seriously, that commentator could single-handily save the NHL. If he was announcing games every night on Versus, people would watch. Damn, that'll be the day.

On a snowy night on the 22nd BU headed to the dangerous part of Boston for the 3rd of 4 games against Northeastern. What an offensive performance by both sides, for the second game in a row. Northeastern seemed to be stuck scoring 4 goals. BU added to their 5 with 2 extras with a 7-4 final. Northeastern did win one thing that night - the hot dog eating contest after the first period, only because I am not good at eating - competitively or otherwise. BU was riding high on a nice 5-game win streak. Could this season be turning around?

The next night it was the Terriers turn to host NU. The most painful part of the game, for me, was seeing Northeastern defenseman David Strathman score. I've had beef with him ever since last year when he got in a Facebook message war with Jesus. He's just had a bad attitude his entire college career, you know, failing not one, but two drug tests during his freshman year. His goal didn't really matter because BU netted 3 that night, 2 in the third period, and continued their hot streak. Things definitely were looking up, for the first time all season.

The hot streak continued that next Friday. BU was all of a sudden ranked again, which was good. The big thing was Nick Bonino announcing he would be a star for years to come with 2 goals and an assist for the Terriers 7th straight win. He dangled and dished and dominated UMass' Dainton. Everyone was smiles as with the win the Terriers climbed all the way to 2nd place in the Hockey East. Was losing the Beanpot just what this team needed?

Maybe. Maybe not. But the streak ended the next night. The College of Arts and Sciences did a great job getting 3 buses together to travel to Amherst for the Terriers game against UMass. Unfortunately one of the buses (the bus I was on) broke down resulting in people being hand picked to get on the third bus, which had room, and make it to UMass in time. I was fortunate enough to be one of those people. Even getting on a working bus got me there late as it was 1-0 Umass when we showed up. There was something positive though as with 15 seconds left in the first Brandon Yip scored. It really went downhill from there with 4 unanswered by the Minutemen. I'd rather not live the STD that are the UMass students, fans, and security. If you want to see what a disgrace they are to man kind you can read up here. They are disgusting humans and I don't have any plans of revisiting that awful, awful place any time soon. As I'm typing this up I see a Minuteman showed the class of Amherst in the comments. I'm not surprised - it's just their style to be the scum of the earth. The bus trip back to Boston did suck, but I slept the entire ride.

Parker whipped the team into shape between this abortion of a game and the Terriers game five days later in Providence. In recent memory, everytime the Terriers go to Providence they play awesome games. I couldn't make it to this one, but the final score of 6-0 shows that I should've. In addition, the BU flag that some BU students brought to PC was stolen by alleged high schoolers. I guess that's funny. If I were there I obviously would've done something about it. From what I understand no one chased this high schooler down. I wouldn't have stood for that and this klepto would've been speared as soon as I caught up to him.

The next night was the final game of the regular season - at Agganis - Senior Night. Karson Gillespie was healthy and was indeed a senior so he got the start. He decided to actually play like a stud. 33 saves on 33 shots. For once BU got outshot in a game and won! It was magical. Only thing was, on senior night, no senior got a point. The first start was Karson and he deserved it. His first, last, and only shut out of his collegiate career in his last regular season game ever. There you go Karson.

BU's late season push was good enough to secure 2nd place in the HE. They finished 17-15-4 which still wasn't really good enough for an automatic bid. Sure, if things played out perfectly between other teams around the nation then it could be, but that was asking a lot. BU drew UML in the first round, which was pretty much the best team to draw, however, all of a sudden, like in the beginning of the season, there was a goalie controversy again. Why?? There should've been a goalie who played solid the entire way, not two who both had ups and downs throughout the duration of the season.

My guess, before the playoffs began was that Bennett would start Game 1 and Karson would start Game 2. If a game 3 was necessary then there would be a big decision by Parker.

I was right - Bennett got the start and the W in game 1. Heading into the 3rd period BU was ahead 3-1. I figured they had locked it up - they had. Petey Mac was the star of the night. I have never been more happy to see him celebrate like he did after he scored his first goal. It was an easy put away for him, but as soon as he scored he pointed up toward the BU student section and pumped his fist, as if he were telling us that he had indeed guaranteed a National Championship in his career here, he was going to do all he could to deliver. 5-3 was the final and things were looking good heading into game 2.

Walking into Agganis that Saturday Jesus and I were talking about what we were going to do if there was a game 3. Our major dilemna was that if the hockey team lost they would play Sunday night. If the women's basketball team won their semifinal game in the America East basketball tournament they too would be playing on Sunday, in Hartford. Only one of the two games could be attended. We decided not to think about it because we convinced each other, the hockey team wasn't going to lose.

Yeah, right. We neglected the fact that Karson was in net. It was terrible hockey - a 4-1 BU loss. There really was nothing good about the game. I was absolutely disgusted by what I had seen. So was Jesus. We hated this team for putting on such a pitiful display when we NEEDED them to win. The women's team had won (in 2OT) why couldn't the hockey team do the same? Karson got pulled after the first, because he sucked - he let in 3 and the game was basically over. When Bennett came in to try to salvage whatever there was left the team played a little better and skated to a 1-1 draw with the Riverhawks. Too bad we spotted them a Karson and 3 goals.

Jesus and I were pissed. We had to make a decision. No matter what game we attended it could be the last of the season for either team. We chose women's basketball because they poured their heart out game after game and they had never lost while we were in attendance. They did show their love and appreciation for us, something the hockey team has never done, and still hasn't done. And you know what, we both got a lot of sh*t for choosing Terrier women's basketball over Terrier hockey. I said our decision on the USCHO message board and got ripped apart by multiple people. Some of them said some very nasty things, things I wouldn't repeat on here. I didn't get it. I've been trying to bring a level of spirit and enthusiasm to sports at a school that is extremely apathetic to any sport that isn't men's hockey. Here I am choosing to attend a championship game of a team that really loves what Jesus and I do and I'm getting called names, getting told to kill myself, and just being torn apart. I don't want to address those fools who talked this way to me. I don't really care what you think of my decision because you're like UMass fans - you're trash. There are other sports other than Terrier hockey, and there are athletes who actually seem to give a damn about their fans. And you know what? The women's team lost on that Sunday and the hockey team won, but if I had to do it again, I would make the same decision. The hockey team has never appreciated what I've done. Maybe they should, maybe they shouldn't - they have enough fan support. At the end of the year, as school was wrapping up I got a PHONE CALL from representatives from both the men's and women's BASKETBALL teams. Nothing from the hockey team. Sure, I talked to Parker once and he thanked me for my support. He also sent a couple mass emails out during the year thanking people for coming to games despite a sh*t season. But see, it's the little things that I think about when I have to decide what games to go to. The hockey team has never ever showed me they care about me like I care about them, and that hurts a little bit. Every other athlete from every other sport treats me like an equal. I've never felt like an equal with the hockey team, and I think it's because they feel like they're not equal to everyone else - they think they're better than everyone because they play hockey at Boston University.

That was one hell of a rant. BU beat UML 3-1. I can't really say anything because I wasn't there. I caught the last 3 minutes. Here's the highlights:

The next Friday BU got to play UVM to break the 1-1-1 record they had during the year. I had a conflict so I didn't attend. At that point in the season my care for the team started to drop a little. Somewhat because I really couldn't skip the conflict I had and a little because of what other BU "fans" had said to me.

My conflict ended on time - at 11 but the HE semifinal before the BU-UVM game went into 3OT. Thank you BC for doing something good for me for once. This allowed me to make it to the Garden to catch the second half of the game.

Let me tell you, it's really really easy to sneak into the Garden. All you have to do is wait in one of the front entrances, like right where you walk in and wait for someone to leave. As soon as that door opened I jumped in and climbed all the way to the balcony to join my fellow Terriers. As I was running towards the section I peaked in to see it was 1-0 BU. As I got to the Terrier faithful UVM netted one. When I got to my seat they got another. I was a curse. Bennett looked bad in net on the second goal he let in. He looked worse on the third that came in the third period. And like that the season was over. Petey Mac's guarantee for a title was simply a lie and his senior year was the worst year of Terrier hockey since 2003/04.

The seniors went their separate ways (to the AHL) and the expected departure of Matt Gilroy never happened. I don't know what motivated him to stay, after a sloppy, ugly, disappointing season Gilroy chose to wait on the NHL and stay at BU. Some scout, somewhere said that all 30 NHL teams would go for him, but Gilroy chose to blue ball all of them. He'll be a co-captain next season and most likely an All-American again.

Speaking of All-Americans, Matt Gilroy was the lone BU player to recieve those honors. That's what happens why you're a forward playing in a Defensive position. Boomer Ewing and Pete MacArthur got second team honors, as they should've. Even with all this skill, talent, and scoring this team finished 19-17-4. They didn't win 20 games and they didn't win any hardware. They finished 2nd in the Hockey East regular season and 3rd/4th in the playoffs. Bottomline - nothin'.

So Gilroy stays, which came as a huge surprise to me. Then weeks later, as I'm getting ready for finals I get an email from the Daily Free Press. I had closed the book on the season and was choosing not to relive it until I got out of school. The Freep tells me, in a time of mass reading and cramming, that our beloved goalie, Mr. Brett Bennett will not return as a Terrier goalie next season. Just like that this team is slowly changing from what I thought it would look like for 08/09. Gilroy here, Bennett not? I'm not sure I'm ready to handle any more surprises or a Jason Lawrence assistant captain. I could speculate all I want about who will get that A on his chest, but I won't. I could think about who will be starting in net next season, but I won't. That's probably for a latter post.

There will be a couple sets of brothers next year, a couple new goalies, a pretty different team. I'm hoping this team won't walk around on such high horses because they're not on that high horse anymore. The legacy of BU hockey is dead - this school hasn't seen a National Title in 13 years, they haven't seen a Frozen Four since 1997. BU is slowly slipping from National hockey powerhouse. BC is more of a hockey power than BU at this point, and that's not how it should be. This is supposed to be a hockey school so it's time they step it up and prove they are a hockey school. Stay in the National Rankings the entire season, win more than one nonconference game, win a midseason tournament, win a Beanpot, win the Hockey East, make it to the Frozen Four.

In lou of all of this there is only one question remaining as we head to next year. It's not a question to me, to Parker, to Brett Bennett, or Gilroy. It's not to Jesus or Coach Dennis Wolff. The question is to Colin Wilson.

Colin will be a top 15 NHL draft selection. He's got the size, speed, and skill to play in the NHL, maybe even right now. It's pretty much up to him whether or not he's going to want to stay and take classes while playing hockey versus getting paid to play hockey. But Gilroy is staying, the sieve of Brett Bennett is gone, the most dominant player in the Hockey East, and most annoying - Nate Gerbe is gone - so do you stay or do you go, Colin? What's it going to be? Do you stay or do you go? I guess that's for next season.

Let me just say this - Colin and Nick Bonino could be the future. Together, there are endless possibilities. I believe they are two of the most skilled freshman to have played this year. Bonino's not going anywhere soon, and he's got a bright future as a Terrier. I hope Colin chooses to stay. It would be wonderful to see 13/33 whooping up on the Hockey East next year. This team was rather young (not as young as UML) and they got a hell of a lot of shots off. Good things for the future, just not this past year.

If you read all of this I commend you. This could've been published in book form. Thanks for reading and dealing with my bitching and whining about how disappointing this season was. But hey, at least for me, it's not my last year as a college student watching college hockey. Until next year...

2 comments:

The Hot Dog said...

Thank you olo567, whoever you are, for uploading so many of the BU hockey podcast highlights. You are a hero.

Tamara said...

Great summary of the season. My husband and I had taken to calling this the "Season of the Whale" and calling the team "Whale 2.0" -- just like the Hartford Failures, BU just wasn't giving us enough to love.

Its a shame, really. They could have done so much if they could have figured out how to play...

We'll see you & Jesus in October.

Tam in sec 114.