Boston University (10-5-1) at Notre Dame (11-6-3)
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, Versus
The Terriers have strung together a respectable season to this point: wins over Denver, Boston College, New Hampshire, and Maine have given BU credibility, but recent player personnel moves have left the team searching for a new identity. Leading scorer Corey Trivino
(off-ice issues) and Charlie Coyle
(QMJHL) are gone, and while this is a huge blow on the surface, it's also a chance for a team that's been earmarked by inconsistency and lack of 60-minute efforts to re-invent itself and prove it can be in the mix.
An early pick atop all the preseason polls, the Irish have lived up to expectations. From late October to early November, they went on an 8-0-3 run that included weekend sweeps at Bowling Green, Northern Michigan, and Alaska, as well as a 3-2 overtime thriller against perennial front-runner Boston College. In recent weeks, they've hit the skids, losing four straight and being swept by visiting Northeastern -- a series that featured a 9-2 thrashing at the hands of the Huskies. Coach Jeff Jackson
hopes a split with Ferris State, Notre Dame's final set before holiday break, has his team turned in the right direction.
INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS:
Even without Trivino and Coyle, the Terriers still have considerable firepower. Sophomores Matt Nieto (8 goals, 16 points) and Sahir Gill
(5 goals, 14 points), along with junior Alex Chiasson
(5 goals, 14 points) have the pedigree and ability to take the reins on Commonwealth Ave, and should create plenty of problems for opposing teams. Junior Wade Megan
(7 goals, 8 points) has shown a propensity for scoring big goals, a knack that will be called upon more and more in the coming weeks. There's a big hole on defense while sophomore Adam Clendening
(1 goal, 12 points) plays in the World Juniors, but senior goalie Kieran Millan
(8-5-1, 2.68 goals-against average) is no stranger to pressure, having won a National Championship as a freshman in 2009.
The Irish aren't without a hole of their own; leading scorer T.J. Tynan (7 goals, 27 points) is off with teammate Adam Johns and Clendening in Edmonton, though there's plenty of recognizable names still in the country. Anders Lee
(12 goals, 20 points), a 6-foot-3, 218-pound sophomore might just be the biggest. The Minnestoa-born forward set the NCAA on fire to start the season, scoring 10 goals in the first seven games of the season, though he's netted just two since -- and none in the past nine. Junior Riley Sheahan
(5 goals, 18 points) has picked up some of the offensive slack, averaging a point-per-game since missing the first two matches of the season. In net, junior Mike Johnson
(7-5-3, 2.60 GAA) has struggled along with the rest of the Irish heading into the break; he'll have to turn it around to hold off sophomore Steven Summerhays, (4-1-0, 2.77 GAA) who earned the most recent win.
|Leaders: Notre Dame Irish
||Leaders: Boston University Terriers
|T.J. Tynan - 20GP - 7G-20A-27Pts
||Matt Nieto - 14GP -8G-8A-16pts
|Anders Lee - 20GP - 12G-8A-20Pts
||Alex Chiasson - 15GP - 5G-9A-14pts
|Riley Sheahan - 18GP-5G-13A-18Pts
||Sahir Gill - 16GP - 5G-9A-14pts
|Billy Maday - 20GP-5G-10A-15Pts
||Chris Connolly - 15GP - 0G-13A-13Pts
|Mike Johnson - 17GP, 7-5-3, 2.60GAA, .889 SV%
||Adam Clendening - 16GP - 1G-11A-12Pts
|Steven Summerhays - 7GP, 4-1-0, 2.77GAA, .878 SV%
||Kieran Millan - 14GP, 8-5-1, 2.68GAA, .917 SV%
"Just big-game experience, handling the nervousness of each game. Obviously international competition doesn't hurt either. Just getting that big game experience, just going through it for real is a real positive."
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish
||Boston University Terriers
|Coach: Jeff Jackson (345-143-58)
||Coach: Jack Parker (862-492-113)
|11-6-3 (8-3-3, CCHA)
||10-5-1 (8-4-1 Hockey East)
|20% Power Play (21st in NCAA) / 84.5 % Penalty Kill (19th)
||19.25% Power Play (25th) / 85.4 % Penalty Kill (17th)
|Drafted: Stephen Johns (CHI), Kevin Lind (ANA), Sean Lorenz (MIN), Robbie Russo (NYI), Jeff Costello (OTT), Nick Larson (CGY), Andres Lee (NYI), Bryan Rust (PIT), Riley Sheahan (DET), TJ Tynan (CBJ)
||Drafted: Adam Clendening (CHI), Max Nicastro (DET). Garrett Noonan (NSH), Alex Chiasson (DAL), Yasin Cisse (WPG), Justin Courtnall (TBL), Wade Megan (FLA), Matt Nieto (SJS), Kieran Millan (COL), Grant Rollheiser (TOR)
-- Notre Dame forward and Blue Jackets prospect T.J. Tynan on what he hopes to take from the WJC
"I came into the season just wanting to be more defensive and be simple, and not worry about points at all, especially goals. I've had some puck luck. I don't know, I guess when the puck is going in, it goes in in bunches, it's been good so far. Obviously I'm a defenseman, and it's my job and I'm not worried about getting goals or assists or anything -- just keeping the puck out of the net."
-- BU defenseman and Predators prospect Garrett Noonan
on scoring five goals in 15 games this season
Lee and Tynan have combined for 19 goals and 27 points this season and they've contributed on the same goal 15 times so far. … Family Connections: BU junior Justin Courtnall
is the son of former NHLer Geoff Courtnall
, and the nephew of Russ Courtnall
, while senior Kevin Gilroy is the younger brother of Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy
. … Notre Dame features the ninth-youngest player in the NCAA this season in freshman forward Austin Wuthrich
, as well as the eighth-oldest in senior defenseman Nick Condon. … The Terriers average more than 21 penalty minutes per game, the most in the nation. They're also deadly with a man down, tied for the NCAA lead with 7 shorthanded goals.