BU Today


Number 2 Ranked Men’s Ice Hockey Goal: A National Championship

High expectations as Terriers host Minnesota State Friday


Over the course of its storied history, the BU men’s hockey program has won 5 national championships, put in 27 Frozen Four appearances, and earned 13 conference tournament titles. And last season, after head coach David Quinn assembled what pundits hailed as one of the greatest freshman classes ever, expectations ran high that the team could add a sixth national title to its accolades, particularly after the Terriers finished first in Hockey East during the regular season.

However, those dreams ended in a 2-3 overtime defeat in the NCAA West Regional finals against Minnesota Duluth, leaving both players and fans bereft.

“It really speaks to how important hockey is here,” Quinn (CAS’89) says. “It speaks to our tradition when you can win 24 games, finish first in your league during the regular season, be an overtime goal away from going to the Frozen Four, and finish sixth in the country, and people are disappointed. A great way to gauge where your program, big-picture, is: how bad is your bad year? We’re at a point now where if we don’t go to the Frozen Four or win a Hockey East championship, it’s a bad year. If that’s our bad year, I think our program is in pretty good shape.”

Expectations are once again running high, as BU launches its 2017–18 season. Tonight, the Terriers host Minnesota State, just a week before the start of conference play. BU returns as the favorite to win Hockey East and is ranked number two nationally, the program’s highest preseason ranking since 2009, when the Terriers were the reigning champions. They’ve won their first two games of the season, a 4-1 victory over number 16 Union in the home opener and a 3-2 overtime win against number 14 Quinnipiac on October 8, aided by the recent appointment of Len Quesnelle—a 25-year NCAA coaching veteran who was most recently an amateur scout for the Detroit Red Wings—as assistant coach.

This year marks David Quinn’s as head coach. He was associate head coach in 2009, the last time the Terriers captured an NCAA championship.

This year marks David Quinn’s fifth as head coach. He was associate head coach in 2009, the last time the Terriers captured an NCAA championship.

Asked what his goals are for the season, Quinn’s unequivocal answer: “Championships: Hockey East championship, Beanpot championship, and the national championship.”

With an outstanding sophomore class that has gained maturity and a nine-member freshman roster that has five players who were selected in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, team members believe they is more than capable of achieving that goal.

But talent isn’t always enough, says assistant tri-captain Jordan Greenway (CGS’17, CAS’19). “We have a lot of great players, and the only way we can do this is if we work together as a team and be committed every day,” Greenway says. “If we have that mentality, there’s not a team that can stop us from doing what we want to do.”

Following the loss of Clayton Keller, who led the Terriers in points (45) and goals (21) and coled the team in assists (24) last year, the Terriers’ offensive production was expected to dip. Keller, who was the 2017 Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year, left BU after signing with the Arizona Coyotes this summer. But the first two games of the season indicate otherwise. Returning points leader Patrick Harper (CGS’18) has recorded two goals and an assist in each of those games to help fill the void.

The freshmen have also impressed, not only with their skill, but also with the character they have brought to the team, says captain Brandon Hickey (CGS’16, Questrom’18). “I’ve really noticed that they’re probably one of the most mature freshman classes that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he says. “They just approach the game every day with pro-style mentality, and that’s something that’s really refreshing to see around the rink from your young guys. It’s something that’s going to help us later on in the season when it comes down to crunch time and big games.”

Patrick Harper (CGS’18) leads BU in points (37) and assists (24).

Patrick Harper (CGS’18) leads BU in career points (37) and assists (24).

Among the freshman standouts: Shane Bowers (CGS’19), who scored a game-winner with 41.1 seconds left in overtime to seal the 3-2 victory against Quinnipiac and scored a goal in the home opener as well.

Despite their strong start, the Terriers aren’t taking anything for granted, Hickey says. “You can be a little bit satisfied, but you can’t rest on that,” he says. “You’ve got to come out there and play the same game every time. Coach Quinn always says it doesn’t matter who you’re playing—we’re playing against ourselves. We’re comparing our last game to the game we’re playing today. We’re trying to see if we can keep getting better and better each day.”

“You can have the skill, you can have the hockey sense, but if you don’t have the work ethic to match those things, you’re not really going to be successful,” Harper says.

Quinn, who was associate head coach of the BU men’s hockey team in 2009—the last time the Terriers won a national championship—says he’s impressed with what the team has brought to the table thus far.

“They come in the rink every day with passion and enthusiasm, they get along really well, and they have a lot of talent,” he says. “If you work hard and work together with talent, you’re going to put yourself in a great position, night in and night out, to win.”

Part of the challenge, Quinn says, is knowing when to step back.

“This is a simple game, and sometimes coaches can complicate it,” he says. “When you have talent, you’ve got to let them play. They’re the ones out there, and you can’t overthink it and you can’t overcoach it. We just want to make sure we’re prepared, but they’re also free of mind when the puck’s dropped, and that’s the best way to be successful.”

Looking to tonight’s game against Minnesota State, Quinn has one wish: “When the night ends, I’m hoping they say they don’t want to play us again.”

The BU men’s ice hockey team takes on Minnesota State tonight, Friday, October 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave. Tickets are free for students with a sports pass, $17 for BU students, faculty, and staff without a sports pass, and $22 for the general public. Purchase tickets at the Agganis Arena ticket office. The Patriot League Network will broadcast the game live. The Terriers kick off conference play next Friday, October 20, when they host UConn at 7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena. 

Jonathan Chang can be reached at jchang19@bu.edu.


4 Comments on Number 2 Ranked Men’s Ice Hockey Goal: A National Championship

  • Sam on 10.13.2017 at 2:39 pm

    David Quinn is in his fifth year as head coach, not his fourth.

    • John O'Rourke, BU Today on 10.13.2017 at 2:45 pm

      We regret the mistake and have corrected the story.

  • Go Terriers Go on 10.13.2017 at 2:39 pm

    An advice to Terrier defense players: Shoot the puck more whenever you see that there are red jerseys standing in front of goalie. Immediately shoot the puck whenever you see an opening between the position of their defense! Don’t waste time passing around the puck looking for a “perfect opportunity.” There is no such thing. Especially in a power play, remember blue liners, just shoot more, let the forwards in front take care of the bouncing puck and jam it! Best wishes tonight.

  • Logic Rules on 10.17.2017 at 2:54 pm

    Got beat by a Division II school twice!

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