BU Getting Its Legs
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
It's one of those early-season meetings that are barometers, especially for a team that seemingly lives on the edge of teetering either way, like Boston University.
Last season was a resurgence of sorts for BU, which had lost its way a bit in previous years, particularly in finding playmakers and scoring. That changed last year, with the underclassmen leading the way.
Even with the loss of freshman Chris Bourque to the pros, there was a lot of talent returning, and another talented recruiting class coming in — like Brandon Yip, Jason Lawrence and defenseman Matt Gilroy.
It seemed as though the pieces were in place. But then last year's All-Hockey East goalie, John Curry, had a bit of a rough start. And his teammates sleptwalk through the second half of a bad loss to RPI. Warnings flags were raised.
That's what made last week important — a big home win against Vermont followed by another impressive win over red-hot Maine.
"Lawrence was our best freshman forward. Our best freshman was Gilroy," said BU coach Jack Parker, pleased with his team's progress.
Pete MacArthur is one of those dynamic players BU is counting upon. And after going two games without a goal, he scored a beauty against Vermont that typified why the Terriers are so optimistic.
"There's no question we think he's a goal scorer," said Parker. "He started out like a house of fire (last year) then kind of fizzled for a while when he got tired. Freshman do that sometimes. But the goal he got (against Vermont) was a typical MacArthur goal.
"He's amazingly quick getting his shot off. We've seen him get a number of goals from 40 feet because the goalie's not quite ready for him."
MacArthur said this team is more ready than last year to show consistency, even if that wasn't evident in the loss to RPI.
"Obviously for the first game of the season, you get up, then we had a couple letdowns," said MacArthur. "But I think the energy in the room is better than last year.
"To get that win (against Vermont) coming off two horrendous losses, you can't say enough about it."
But it's not just the dynamic players. Their ability to open things up gives other guys the opportunity to do what they do best: which is, work hard, and create opportunities that way, without the pressure of needing to constantly create.
Last week, junior Eric Thomassian did that, scoring his first goal of the season against the Catamounts.
"I think he's playing much better this year, not just because he had a goal, but he's poised with the puck, playing harder and he's definitely not worried about his position and whether he's going to stay in the lineup
or not," Parker said.
Senior forward Brad Zancanaro is another of that ilk.
"He's a terrific competitor. He's in great shape," said Parker. "Even when he gets tired, he doesn't stop. Some guys say 'That's it; I can't go any more,' and they stand there until the whistle blows, but he just keeps going.
"He's a very strong kid for his size. All of those things make him very valuable defensively."
Tonight's game against New Hampshire will be the last at Agganis Arena until the Terriers host National Champs Denver on Nov. 25, with three road games in between. So it places even more importance on tonight, against a Wildcats team that expects to contend for a HEA title.
"There's no question this building has an effect on us, and that's real good," said Parker.
(Mike Machnik contributed to this report.)