Jan. 6, 2012
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Inside BU Hockey - Episode 11
BOSTON - Playing at home for the first time in over a month, the No. 10/11 Boston University men's ice hockey team (10-6-1, 8-4-1 Hockey East) will play host to No. 7/6 Merrimack (11-3-3, 7-2-1 HE) on Friday (Jan. 6) at Agganis Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
BU returns to Hockey East play after kicking off the second half of its season with a 5-2 loss to then-No. 5/6 Notre Dame on New Year's Eve.
The Terriers hosted Merrimack back on Nov. 11 and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Warriors, but have won seven of their nine games since. BU sits two points ahead of Merrimack for second place in the league standings.
BU and Merrimack have played 95 times since first meeting on Dec. 11, 1964, and the Terriers hold a commanding 74-15-6 (.811) advantage.
The Terriers are 20-4-2 against the Warriors since the start of the 2004-05 season but are winless in the last four meetings (0-2-2).
BU is 11-2-1 (.821) in the 14 meetings at Agganis Arena.
The two teams have battled it out in overtime just seven times, and the first six resulted in a tie before Merrimack claimed its overtime triumph in November. BU has recorded all 11 of the shutouts in the series history.
While BU's longest winning streak was 18 games from 1973-91, Merrimack has now strung together consecutive wins against the Terriers for the first time ever.
SCOUTING THE WARRIORS
Merrimack is 2-3-2 in its last seven games after opening the year undefeated in its first 10 games (9-0-1) and being ranked first in the nation for the first time in school history.
The Warriors are coming off a third-place finish at the Ledyard National Bank Classic at Dartmouth, posting a 3-0 victory over Holy Cross in the consolation game after falling to St. Lawrence in a shootout following a 6-6 draw in the opening round.
Merrimack's defense is tops in the nation, allowing only 1.88 goals per contest, and senior goaltender Joe Cannata ranks sixth nationally in goals-against average at 1.92. His .929 save percentage is good for ninth.
Senior Ryan Flanigan leads a balanced offensive attack for the Warriors with 14 points on six goals and eight assists.
Six others have at least 10 points on the year with senior Jesse Todd (6g, 7a) and sophomores Mike Collins (6g, 7a) and Brendan Ellis (2g, 11a) tallying 13 each.
Mark Dennehy is in his seventh season as head coach at Merrimack and has a record of 82-121-25 at the school.
BEST VS. WARRIORS
Senior Chris Connolly
has nine points (5g, 4a) in 13 career games against the Warriors and juniors Wade Megan
(3g, 2a) and Alex Chiasson
(5a) have each recorded five points in 10 and eight games, respectively.
Senior goaltender Kieran Millan
is 5-4-2 in 11 starts against Merrimack with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
ON NEW YEAR'S EVE IN SOUTH BEND
Boston University opened the scoring late in the first period, but No. 5/6 Notre Dame reeled off five unanswered goals and came away with a 5-2 win at the Compton Family Ice Arena on New Year's Eve.
BU, which was making its first-ever visit to South Bend, got goals from juniors Justin Courtnall and Wade Megan. Senior goaltender Kieran Millan stopped 29 Notre Dame shots on the night.
Courtnall scored off a rebound with 1:33 left in the opening period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead entering the first intermission. Sophomore Cason Hohmann quickly won the draw and put the puck on net before Courtnall was there to cash in for his second goal of the year.
Notre Dame quickly erased the deficit and took the lead in the second, scoring three goals in the first 7:09 of the middle stanza.
The Irish, who went 2-of-9 on the power play and kept the Terriers scoreless on six chances with the man advantage, knotted the score on a power-play tally by Anders Lee at 1:12 of the second.
Lee scored his second goal of the night 3:30 into the third and Billy Maday capped the five-goal run at 6:23 with a power-play tally.
Faced with a 5-1 deficit, the Terriers scored their nation-leading eighth shorthanded goal of the season with 5:18 left in regulation. Megan broke up a play at the top the BU zone and then skated in all alone before beating Steven Summerhays five-hole for his eighth goal of the season.
BU held a 23-15 shot advantage through two periods, but the Irish outshot the Terriers, 34-32, for the game, as Summerhays posted 30 saves.
TERRIER DUO AT WORLD JUNIORS
Adam Clendening and Charlie Coyle played for Team USA at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
Clendening made his World Junior debut, while Coyle also played in last year's tournament.
BU was one of three schools to have two of its players named to the roster, joining Minnesota and Notre Dame.
Following the tournament, Coyle left the BU program to focus on starting his professional career.
Sophomore Garrett Noonan is tied for sixth in the league in plus-minus at plus-10.
The Terriers went 4-2-0 in November after combining for just three November wins over the previous two seasons.
BU leads the nation lead in both shorthanded goals (8) and penalty minutes per game (21.0).
BU has two shutouts this season - both by Kieran Millan - to match its total from the previous two seasons combined.
BU is 5-3-0 against ranked opponents this season and 5-3-1 against unranked teams.
BU now boasts three wins this season over teams ranked third or higher at the time it has faced them (Boston College twice and Denver).
WELCOME TO THE CENTURY CLUB
After assisting on the go-ahead goal in a 2-1 win at UNH on Dec. 8, senior Chris Connolly became the 78th player to score 100 points at BU.
He has recorded 30 goals and 72 assists during his time with the Terriers.
This season, Connolly has been snakebitten on the goal-scoring end, as he has recorded 52 shots but has yet to score a goal.
His younger brother, Jack, is a senior at Minnesota-Duluth and leads all active Division I players in career points with 166 (58g, 108a).
FROM THE BIZARRE FILES
BU has allowed 36 goals in Hockey East play this season. Fourteen of them were the scorer's first collegiate goal.