Saturday, April 14, 2007


Well maybe that article didn't get me anywhere on the Daily Free Press staff, but I certainly had some people entertained. If you don't like jokes, you're pretty messed up. If you're pretty messed up, stinks for you. Hopefully you like numbers. If you do, you're in luck. This next article has a lot of them. Some of them shiny like goals and assists, some not so much. They're all pretty important I don't know what you do or do not like. What I do know is that this next article makes a great point.

BU Hockey Needs a Scorer

The BU Terriers hockey team was ranked number one in the nation at the end of last season. Despite an early exit in the NCAA Tournament, they had a great year. They won the Hockey East Regular Season and Tournament Championships, the Beanpot, and beat Boston College four of the six times they faced them. Their 26-10-4 record was the best they’d had in years.

In that successful 2005-2006 season, the Terriers averaged 3.5 goals per game. They spread the puck around efficiently, and had many accurate shots that tired their opponents’ out quickly. This season, they’re number seven in the nation. They have only four losses so far, more than halfway into the schedule. They have six ties already, which can be seen as a good or a bad thing. However, their scoring is down to 2.6 goals per game, almost an entire goal less than last year. If that average were just a bit higher, the Terriers could have a few more wins under their belts.

The Terriers need to pass and shoot the puck more often, and they need those shots and passes to be more efficient in order to succeed on offense. The best way for them to achieve all this is for someone to step up and become a big scorer. Take a team like the University of New Hampshire, for example. UNH is the number two team in the nation, and it has five players with more total points than games played. Boston University has none.

BU’s shot percentage is also down from 11 percent last year 10 percent now. This season, they are taking 26 shots a game, which is significantly less than last year, when they took an average of 31.8 shots a contest. In 22 games so far this year (compared to 40 last year), the Terriers have less than half the assists they did. Last season, they had 230 assists, and this year that number is down to 94. In other words, they’re worse at puck control than they were last year.

If the Terriers want to realistically compete for a national championship, then they need an improved offensive presence in their game. Whether it’s one player carrying on the team on his back or a few players feeding more off of each other doesn’t matter. They simply need to work better together as a team when controlling the puck.

The Terriers are on pace for 104 goals this season, and last year they had 140. The departures of co-captains Brad Zancanaro and David Van der Gulik, as well as John Laliberte and Dan Spang left the Terriers with 121 less points this year, and many of those points have not yet been replaced by other team members. Not too many teams can bounce back from losing four of their top eight scorers, including three of the top five like BU did. Whether or not they do relies on their effort and determination.

Jack Parker has been a great coach for years, and his basic offensive strategy certainly doesn’t need any changing. Tweaking a few minor details (such as more stress on puck control fundamentals) might get the most out of the players on the team this year though. The passing on the team has not been pretty, and it has led to many problems in the offensive zone.

The Terriers haven’t been able to set the offense up well on many occasions. They have been shut out twice this season, and scored only one goal four times. Their passing needs to be more accurate to set up better shots. With better shots (and more of them certainly wouldn’t hurt, either), BU’s scoring would go up significantly.

Parker’s defensive strategy has worked like a charm for his team this season. The team defense has improved since last year, even though so many key players were lost. Defenseman Dan Spang even signed a deal with the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Yip has been out most of the year due to injuries. The team’s goals per game allowed is down to 1.7 from 2.4 last year. Opponents’ shot percentage is down, as is the number of assists.

The team also has improved its penalty killing in terms of opponents’ goals and their shot percentage. Simply put, if the Terriers combined last year’s offense with this year’s defense, they’d be unstoppable. The only problem with that is they don’t have a flux capacitor, a Plutonium source, or a DeLorean.

The most likely solution for the team is to spend more time on offense in practice, because it doesn’t seem like any transfer students or walk-ons will help the team now. The return of Brandon Yip could also be a good source of momentum for the Terriers. Last year, they improved phenomenally when co-captain David Van der Gulik returned mid-season from an injury. Getting their number six scorer from last year back could certainly jump start the offense. I’m sure Jack Parker has a few tricks up his sleeve as well, and with any luck, the Terriers will contend for an NCAA Title once again.

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