BU Loses Forward Hohmann Indefinitely
Freshmen Likely to Shoulder the Burden
by Joe Meloni/Senior Writer
BOSTON Just when things start looking up for Boston University, the Terriers face a potential setback. Junior forward Cason Hohmann is out indefinitely after sustaining a shoulder injury in Friday's 3-1 win over North Dakota.
Hohmann, who scored BU's first goal in the game, suffered the knock in the first period, taking a hit on the halfwall in his own zone. He immediately went to the locker room and did not return. According to BU coach Dave Quinn, Hohmann's shoulder has been an issue for most of the season. Following last Sunday's win over Connecticut, Hohmann was seen in a sling.
Featuring on the Terriers' first line with Danny O'Regan and Matt Lane, Hohmann had three goals on the season to go along with six assists. Scoring has proved a bit of a problem for the Terriers during a troubling start that has them 6-6-0 through 12 games.
"He's going to be out for a while unfortunately," Quinn said. "I liked how we responded, but it's obviously tough when you lose your top right wing. He gets an important goal on an initial rush. He finally shoots the puck. We lost him, and we had to patchwork our lines. For us to respond the way we did, I was pleased.
"Because he's had issues with it all year, we talked about it before the game that this was going to be a recurring thing. Sure enough, he takes a tough hit, and he's done for the night. We're not surprised. Hopefully, this week, we'll have a clearer picture of his status."
With wins in their last two games, the Terriers look ready to put some disappointing losses behind them. However, replacing Hohmann just as he and his linemates started to click may throw some of that newfound chemistry further into flux.
Hohmann's role extends beyond the minutes he sees at even strength. The heady forward is an important piece of the BU penalty kill and power play. Even with the growth of BU's talented freshman class, it's risky to stick most first-year players on the ice down a man
The emergence of some of BU's several freshman forwards may help alleviate the difficulty of life without Hohmann while he recovers.
"We're so young up front. To lose a guy who's proven he can be a scorer at this level, it makes it difficult," Quinn said. "In the short period of time he was gone (Friday night), we responded. Time will tell. … This is going to be another opportunity for freshmen to take advantage of playing time. They'll need to continue to flourish."
Freshman wingers Nick Roberto and Kevin Duane have both played well of late.
While neither offers the same type of skill Hohmann brings to his line with Lane and O'Regan, each is a viable option to pick up some of the slack. Roberto, a shifty winger, saw minutes alongside Lane and O'Regan during Friday's game. Duane, a 6-foot-5 power forward learning to play to his strengths at the collegiate level, didn't fill in for Hohmann at any point, but he has goals in his last two games and looks more comfortable with his role.
Quinn mentioned following the win that he believed Roberto a good fit in that position prior to Hohmann's injury.
"I'd mentioned that to somebody during the week," Quinn said. "We were tweaking lines. One of the things I said is that Roberto, Lane and O'Regan sounds like a good line to me as well. Because of what happened to Cason, all of a sudden there they are in the first period. We're trying to find our way from a lines standpoint to find chemistry."
Quinn knew his club would rely on its freshman as the season progressed. Eight rookies were in the lineup for Friday's win. A ninth, forward Brendan Collier, has seen time as well.
Quinn isn't sure who will move into Hohmann's spot in BU's top six just yet, but he's more confident in his decision after a pair of quality wins than he would've been even a week ago.
BU has five games remaining before the winter break. While just two are Hockey East games, Saturday's game with North Dakota and next weekend's matchup with Cornell at Madison Square Garden are especially important in regard to the Pairwise.