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Villanova rules supreme over Big East, beats Creighton for tournament title

03.11.17 at 8:26 pm ET
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Ask the Friars. Turnovers can hurt a team’s chances to win a game, about as quickly as a pickpocket can take your wallet on a New York subway.

Ten first half turnovers for Creighton got the ball rolling in Villanova’s direction – not that the defending national champs needed any help – and the Wildcats connected on seven-of-16 three’s in the 1st half as well to put a relatively early end to any BlueJays’ hopes for a Big East title.

Instead, the regular-season champ Cats dumped Creighton 74-60 to win their 3rd ever post-season Big East title, and put themselves in a good position to defend their national championship with a possible #1 overall seed for next week’s NCAA Tournament.

34 of Nova’s 36 1st half points (they led 36-22 at halftime) were scored by the Wildcats’ tested triumvirate of (Josh) Hart, (Jalen) Brunson and (Kris) Jenkins, with the two seniors Hart and Jenkins connecting on 5-of-10 from three.

Meanwhile, Creighton – known for its’ shooting prowess during the regular season – couldn’t connect as they usually do. A mere 2-for-12 (16 percent) from deep helped put the BlueJays in an early hole, one they ultimately could not climb out from. The 10 turnovers also led to an 11-0 Villanova scoring advantage off the mistakes.

Villanova’s lead grew to as large as 20 (46-26) in the opening five minutes of the second half, before a methodical charge back by Creighton pulled the Jays within 12 (54-42) on a Cole Huff three just before the under eight-minute time out.

The margin was still 12 with 3:34 to play, when the Big East Freshman of the Year, Creighton’s 7-foot center Justin Patton, picked up his fourth foul. The Wildcats then forced Patton into his 5th foul less than a half-minute later with Hart, the Big East Player of the Year, attacking the Jays’ middle and ultimately sealing Creighton’s fate.

Hart led Villanova with 29 points, and was named the Dave Gavitt Big East Tournament MVP for the second time in three years. Brunson added 17 more for the Wildcats. Huff led Creighton with 13 points, and 1st team all-Big East guard Marcus Foster also scored 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting. The Jays tied a season high with 17 total turnovers.

“We just had to set a tone,” Hart said. “Seton Hall came out and punched us in the mouth yesterday (Friday). Accolades are nice, but all I care about is winning.”

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Villanova, Creighton advance to Big East Final

03.10.17 at 11:15 pm ET
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It was close for the defending national champs. Real close.

Yes, Villanova won the NCAA crown a year ago, but they couldn’t win the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Instead, Seton Hall managed to put their own name in the league record book by beating the Wildcats in the 2016 league finals.

Friday night’s first semifinal of 2017 featured a rematch of last season’s title game, and the Pirates almost forced the Cats to walk the plank, again. That is, until the Player of the Year played the role of swashbuckler, swooping in to save his team in the end. Josh Hart scored 19 points with 10 rebounds, including the game-winner with 9.6 seconds to play on a put-back of a Kris Jenkins miss, and it was Villanova coming from behind to beat Seton Hall 55-53 at a sold-out Garden in New York.

Hart’s rebound of Jenkins’ miss, plus a free throw, provided the winning margin – that almost wasn’t. The Pirates’ Angel Delgado missed a point-blank jump hook with a second left on the Garden clock that could have forced overtime, but his shot rimmed out. After the miss Delgado, the nation’s leading rebounder this season, was inconsolable as he lay face-down on the Garden floor, as his teammates attempted to pick him up.

Seton Hall carried a 7-point lead into the halftime locker room thanks to an outstanding defensive effort, and some poor Nova foul shooting, limiting the Wildcats to a mere 20 points in the opening 20 minutes. Villanova scored 108 points in Thursday’s quarterfinal win against St. John’s.

But while Hart and Jalen Brunson (13 points) largely led a renewed 2nd half effort against the Pirates, the Hall kept up the pace and Khadeen Carrington’s 3-point play gave his team a 53-52 lead with 1:43 left. Both teams had two more chances to score, but came up empty, until Hart’s rebound and foul off Jenkins’ miss.

Seton Hall had a five-game winning streak snapped with the loss, and ended a run that had seen them win six of seven at MSG, with three wins over nationally-ranked teams dating back to last season.

For Villanova, which had beaten the Pirates by an average of 26 points in two regular season wins, the 20 points in the first half was a season-low. In their previous low effort (22 against Virginia), the Cats managed to come from behind and win that one as well.

Perhaps that’s as good a reason as any why Villanova is a national champ, as they look toward a possible repeat. But they’ve got one more to play closer to home Saturday night – and that’s one they couldn’t get a year ago.

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Friars fumble their way out of Big East Tournament

03.10.17 at 7:19 am ET
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Ed Cooley and the Friars lost in the Big East Tournament. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports)

Ed Cooley and the Friars lost in the Big East Tournament. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports)

It was pretty simple, really.

Hold onto the ball, and the other team gets fewer shots at the basket. But holding onto the ball was a real problem for Providence the entire night against the Creighton BlueJays, and the third-seeded Friars dropped a surprising 70-58 decision to the sixth-seeded Jays in the Big East tournament quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden in New York late Thursday night.

“Well, that was a masterpiece there,” PC coach Ed Cooley said in the aftermath of the turnover-fest, watching his team commit a season high 22 miscues leading to 26 Creighton points. “We just didn’t play well. I give Creighton a lot of credit. That was, pick who played worse in that game.”

Cooley would pick his Friars, for certain. The BlueJays outscored PC 26-8 on the turnovers, and coupling that with a less-than-mediocre performance from the free throw line as well (14-for-26), “stinker” pretty much sums it up.

“I thought we were lackadaisical. We just didn’t play well,” Cooley reasoned further. “We picked a bad time to play our worst game in probably five or six weeks.

“If you had told me that they (Creighton) would be 4-for-20 (from three) and miss those free throws and have only seven assists I’d like to say we have a chance to win the game,” Cooley added. “But again, give them credit.”

Providence played with a strong defensive effort in the opening 20 minutes, holding the Big East’s best field goal shooting team (51 percent on the year) to a mere 37 percent performance from the floor, and the Friars led by 30-27 at the break.

But the BlueJays came out in the second half with their own strong effort, scoring 10 unanswered points to seize the lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way. The Friars had their chances – numerous chances – to catch the Jays, only to either end up fumbling away a possession, or miss free throws down the stretch.

“I think a lot of them were mental mistakes, they really were,” Cooley explained. “For whatever reason, guys, it happens. You get games like that, normally games like that in November and December. But come March you’ve got to try to play as clean as you can and we just didn’t play clean.”

That might serve as the understatement of the season, at least to this point. Providence has its season-best six-game winning streak snapped as the Friars fall to 20-12 overall, and they now await their fate from the NCAA Selection Committee coming Sunday.

Pretty simple, really.

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Providence’s Ed Cooley named Big East Coach of the Year by NBC Sports

03.08.17 at 7:22 pm ET
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NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Providence

Ed Cooley was named Big East Coach of the Year by NBC Sports. (Stew Milne/USA Today Sports)

Remember when the Friars lost to Boston College two days before Christmas?

Providence was rolling along through the non-conference portion of the schedule at 10-2, and building momentum for what ultimately proved to be a tough start to the Big East slate.

Then, the Eagles burst the balloon at Conte Forum, rolling over PC 79-67 and exposing a team that physically had not arrived. They were too immature. And mentally, they weren’t ready for the road ahead, either.

Ed Cooley knew he had a job on his hands, or the season could have quickly spiraled down the drain.

It took a while to figure this team out. The Friars struggled out of the Big East gate on the road at Xavier and Butler to start the New Year, and following a home win over Georgetown, quickly dropped two more – including a shocker at DePaul, where Kyron Cartwright missed a layup at the buzzer that could have won it.

Providence had a seven-point lead in the game with 90 seconds to play. Nope, they just weren’t ready to play in this league. Yet.

What transpired thereafter took some time to build, but it was a slow-build to the point where the Friars are now the hottest team in the Big East with six straight wins going into the tournament at Madison Square Garden this week.

And Ed Cooley’s coaching job is getting noticed, after being named the Big East Coach of the Year Wednesday by NBCSports.com. The official league coaching honor (by vote of the 10 head coaches) went to Butler’s Chris Holtmann (over Cooley and Villanova’s Jay Wright), as the Bulldogs took 2nd place in the league after being picked for sixth in the preseason.
Included in that #2 finish were two wins over the regular season champ Villanova Wildcats. The Bulldogs finished 23-7 overall.

“I definitely thought Chris Holtmann deserved it,” Cooley said Wednesday afternoon in New York, prior to his radio show (on WEEI-FM 103.7). “He did a great job from start to finish. Butler is a very good team, but we’ve got our hands full with Creighton.”

When you consider some of the coaching names in PC’s Big East past (Rick Pitino, Rick Barnes, Pete Gillen, Tim Welsh) who also had title-contending teams, it’s a bit of a surprise no Friar head coach has ever managed to win the league’s top coaching honor.

Providence was a pre-season pick for 9th – next to last – in the 10-team league. They finished third. And after missing that layup at DePaul,

Cartwright was named 1st team All-District 1 by the USBWA (along with junior forward and PC leading scorer Rodney Bullock), the District 1 Player of the Year, and the Most Improved Player in the Big East Conference.

Quite the turnaround over two months’ time.

The Friars rebounded from a 3-6 start to conference play (settling at 4-8) before winning seven of nine in the second half, and ripping off six consecutive wins to end the regular season. Included in the run were consecutive wins over Top 25 RPI teams (Butler, Xavier, @ Creighton) that should have them in good shape come Selection Sunday.

A 4th straight 20-win season and a potential 4th straight NCAA berth seemed unlikely back in December. And that BC game?

That was a long time ago for these Friars, and their coach.

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Big East tournament preview: Who will cut down nets Saturday night?

03.07.17 at 12:20 pm ET
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NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Georgetown

Villanova appears to be the favorites to win the Big East Tournament. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

So often at this time of year, you’ll hear the phrase “it’s wide open” when it comes to the Madness that is March.

As in this game, this tournament, this championship – being wide open, meaning anyone can win. But in the Big East, after the season the league has had this year, is this really the case?

And let’s go back a year, and consider the trail that Villanova’s Wildcats have blazed. A national championship, followed by an unprecedented fourth straight Big East regular season championship won over these past few months.

So, exactly how wide open is this tournament in New York this week?

Now, we’ll throw you a little cliché – this is why they play the games. It’s the 35th anniversary of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, and through the years, the Hall-of-Fame coaches and all-star players that have participated have always had one common thread.

Uncertainty.

Take last year, for example. Villanova won the Big East regular season, but lost to Seton Hall in the Tournament title game. The Wildcats went on to win the national crown, too. But in the Big East, where family bragging rights are on the line and the lights shine as brightly as any in the country, it’s hard to stay dominant over your kinfolk.

Sometimes, it’s just easier playing (and beating) someone you don’t know as intimately.

And in a year where the Big East has been one of the top two or three-rated RPI conferences in the country, there will be pressure to play well – and beat up on – teams from other leagues when the NCAA Tournament rolls around next week. Should the Big East receive seven bids to the Big Dance (70 percent of the league population), which is possible, the spotlight will shine on everyone as brightly as it ever has.

As for this week, it’s a simple Family Feud. When the shots start falling, and the screaming grows louder, and the pressure builds higher…there won’t be much of anything wide open. Except maybe for the lines to the concession stands or the restrooms.

March Madness has a way of rearranging priorities.

Tournament Favorite: Villanova

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BU, BC, Lowell split Hockey East regular-season title; Harvard wins share of ECAC crown

02.25.17 at 10:43 pm ET
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BU won a share of the Hockey East regular-season title Saturday night. (WEEI.com)

BU won a share of the Hockey East regular-season title Saturday night. (WEEI.com)

For the first time in Hockey East history, three teams will split the regular-season championship. Boston University beat Notre Dame 4-1 at Agganis Arena Saturday night to finish the campaign tied with Boston College and UMass Lowell at the top of the standings.

BC had the clearest path to the title entering the season’s final weekend, but the Eagles got swept by Lowell in a home-and-home series, losing 4-1 in Chestnut Hill Thursday and 3-1 in Lowell Friday. That moved the River Hawks into a tie with BC at 29 points apiece and opened the door for both BU and Notre Dame to get in on the action.

Notre Dame beat BU 3-1 Friday night to move to 28 points, putting the Fighting Irish in position to win the title outright — in their final season in the league — if they could complete the sweep Saturday. BU, sitting at 27 points entering Saturday’s finale, had other ideas.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first period, the Terriers got a pair of goals from Kieffer Bellows and John MacLeod in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Then they made it 3-1 early in the third when Clayton Keller tipped in Dante Fabbro’s shot from the point. Keller scored again with 3:30 to go on a nice snipe over Cal Petersen’s glove for his team-leading 19th goal of the season.

While BU, BC and Lowell will share the regular-season title and all get to call themselves champions, Lowell will be the top seed for the Hockey East tournament due to tiebreakers, with BU the second seed and BC third. BC also split the regular-season title last year (with Providence), while BU last won the regular-season crown in 2015 and Lowell in 2013.

Those three, along with fourth-seeded Notre Dame, will get first-round byes and host best-of-three quarterfinal series in two weeks. The conference tournament opens next weekend with best-of-three series between seeds five through 12, with the matchups as follows:

(12) UMass at (5) Providence
(11) Maine at (6) Vermont
(10) New Hampshire at (7) Merrimack
(9) UConn at (8) Northeastern

Regardless of what happens in the Hockey East tourney, Lowell and BU are both in good shape when it comes to making NCAAs, as they are currently sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Pairwise rankings used to determine the 16-team field.

Providence is also in a pretty good spot at 11, while Notre Dame is sitting right on the bubble at 15. Vermont, BC and Northeastern are on the outside looking in at 18, 20 and 23, respectively, and each of them probably needs to win the Hockey East tournament to make it. BC, sunk by a poor out-of-conference record and brutal 0-5-2 stretch to close out the regular season, could become the first team to win the Hockey East regular-season title and miss NCAAs.

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In the ECAC, Harvard beat St. Lawrence 6-3 Saturday to win a share of the ECAC regular-season championship, its first since 1994. Bruins prospect Ryan Donato scored his team-leading 17th and 18th goals of the season and also had two assists.

Harvard entered the night one point behind Union, but Union tied Cornell Saturday to give the Crimson an opening. Harvard wins the seeding tiebreaker and will be the top seed in the ECAC tournament. It will host a best-of-three quarterfinal series in two weeks.

The Crimson, who have the best winning percentage in the country, are already a lock to make NCAAs and have a great shot at getting one of the four one-seeds, as they are currently third in the Pairwise.

Union, Cornell and St. Lawrence get the other three opening-round byes in the ECAC. The best-of-three first-round matchups are as follows:

(12) Brown at (5) Quinnipiac
(11) Rensselaer at (6) Clarkson
(10) Colgate at (7) Princeton
(9) Dartmouth at (8) Yale

With Beanpot title, Harvard continues to prove it can be national contender

02.14.17 at 9:13 am ET
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It has been well documented how much Boston University and Boston College have dominated the Beanpot, and thus the college hockey scene in Boston. The Hockey East schools boast two of the best programs in the nation, and their strength in the tournament has reflected that.

The word “legacy” might be overused in sports, but the group at Harvard this season might be creating just that. On Monday night, it was the Crimson that brought home the Beanpot title for the first time since 1993. While the victory is certainly historic, it also reflects a changing of the guard in college hockey.

“For that senior class, they want to be the group that broke the curse and leave a legacy,” said Crimson head coach Ted Donato. “They did that.”

Both BU and BC should be heading toward the national tournament, but it might be Harvard that has the best shot at success there.

“Our group felt like it was their night and they were willing to work to make sure it was their night,” said Donato. “It’s been a long time coming and I’m very happy for these guys.”

Donato, who won a Beanpot championship with Harvard in 1989 as a player, has been coaching Harvard since 2004, and it’s been a rocky road for a team that has produced plenty of talent, but hasn’t found much tournament or postseason success.

“I didn’t think it was going to take 13 years, I’ll tell you that much,” he said.

Now on an eight-game winning streak and ranked third in the PairWise, this is a Harvard team that is a force to be reckoned with.

In the program’s first season post-Jimmy Vesey, the Crimson have still found a way to get great production from its lineup through a combination of senior leadership and emerging freshmen.

With the third-ranked offense in the nation, averaging just over four goals per game, it’s no surprise to see the Crimson put a six on the scoreboard, even against a strong defensive team like BU.

The Harvard group is a close-knit bunch, as evidenced by how they spread the puck around; five different goal-scorers contributed to the six-goal night.

There are eight seniors on the Harvard roster, including Hobey Baker candidate Alexander Kerfoot, who scored in both Beanpot games. He, along with the rest of his class, hadn’t played a Beanpot night game before Monday.

“You think about it leading up to games like this and after games like this,” said  Kerfoot. “You hear a lot about the history and are proud to be part of the history, but going into games, you need to treat it like it’s any other game.”

There’s still a long way for Harvard to go; they haven’t won an NCAA tournament game or an ECAC regular-season title since 1994. But if there was ever a team to make a championship run, it could very well be this Crimson crew.

“This is a group that has really tackled making sure that our culture was right, had great leadership,” Donato said. “I think this was something they really wanted. They wanted to leave that legacy, that they were going to break the curse, so to speak. I’m happy for them.”

Now with a Beanpot title, its a feather in the cap of the Donato-led Harvard team, and they aren’t taking it lightly.

“These guys might not choose to talk about it much but I think they really wanted to win this Beanpot,” Donato said.

Harvard dominates BU, wins first Beanpot title in 24 years

02.13.17 at 10:09 pm ET
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Harvard celebrates its first Beanpot since 1993. (WEEI.com)

Harvard celebrates its first Beanpot since 1993. (WEEI.com)

Finally. For the first time in 24 years, someone other than Boston University or Boston College has won the Beanpot. Harvard beat BU 6-3 Monday night to capture its first Beanpot title since 1993 and end a drought that was older than all but one player on its current roster.

It was supposed to be a heavyweight bout between two top-five teams, but instead the Crimson dominated all night, minus a brief hiccup early in the second period. The Crimson outshot BU 18-2 in the first period and went on to finish with a 46-17 advantage, as they continuously generated possession, pressure and chances, drawing five power plays, including two extended 5-on-3s, along the way.

The one point in the game when the Terriers showed some life was early in the second period, when they turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with a pair of goals three minutes apart. But the Crimson weren’t deterred. They went right back to work and found themselves in control once again by the second intermission.

Harvard began to reset itself with some good shifts after BU’s second goal, then tied the game with 9:14 left in the second on a beautiful through-the-legs tip by Luke Esposito on a slap pass from Clay Anderson.

The Crimson once again assumed the driver’s seat and regained the lead with 1:06 left in the frame after some sloppy play by BU. Following a bad Terrier turnover in the neutral zone, defenseman John Marino led a rush into the BU zone and dropped a pass for Nathan Krusko. That shot was blocked, but the puck went right to Marino, who then centered a pass that deflected to Krusko for the easy finish and his second goal of the game.

BU’s Dante Fabbro took a penalty on the same play Krusko scored, then Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy took a bad penalty late in the period when he stuck his foot out and tripped Alexander Kerfoot as Kerfoot cut inside him. The Crimson made BU pay, scoring their second 5-on-3 goal of the game 31 seconds into the third. Tyler Moy hit Kerfoot with a cross-crease pass and while Jake Oettinger made a great save on Kerfoot’s first try, Kerfoot was able to jam in the loose puck.

Bruins prospect Ryan Donato made it 5-2 Harvard with 7:13 to go when he made a great play cutting past two BU defenders before beating Oettinger for his 16th goal of the season. Clayton Keller scored his second goal of the game 33 seconds later to cut the lead to 5-3, but that was as close as BU would get. Adam Fox added an empty-netter with 1:50 to go.

The first period set the tone for the game, as it was all Crimson. Harvard outshot the Terriers 18-2 in the frame and out-attempted them 33-4. A big part of that was the fact that the Crimson got three power plays in the period, but they were dominating even before that. Their early pressure forced BU to burn its timeout just 9:05 into the game after back-to-back icings.

Harvard’s power plays all came in a six-minute stretch beginning at the 10:53 mark, including an extended 5-on-3 on which it scored. The Crimson moved the puck well on their first two power plays, but couldn’t score.

Then they caught a break when McAvoy got called for boarding on a clean hit on Donato that only looked bad because Donato was already off balance before the hit. Harvard took advantage when a Sean Malone shot squeaked behind Oettinger just enough for Krusko to scrape the puck off Oettinger and knock it in.

The second period got off to a much more promising start for BU, as Jordan Greenway drew a penalty 52 seconds into the period on a hard drive to the net. The Terriers took advantage of their first power play of the game, as Brandon Hickey found Bobo Carpenter for a redirect in the slot that led to a juicy rebound for Kieffer Bellows to bury.

The Terriers, while still getting nearly quadrupled in shots on goal, then took the lead three minutes later when Keller scored on a pretty deflection of John MacLeod’s shot from the point. But the Crimson weren’t going to let BU hold onto the momentum. What could’ve been a turning point in the Terriers’ favor wound up being just a blip on the radar as Harvard cruised to its 11th Beanpot title and denied BU its 31st.

Beanpot: Clayton Keller extends point streak to 15 games, helps lead BU past BC

02.07.17 at 5:57 am ET
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BU's Clayton Keller has 11 goals and 14 assists during a 15-game point streak. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

BU’s Clayton Keller has 11 goals and 14 assists during a 15-game point streak. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Boston hockey fans may be familiar with Bruins prospects Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Fitzgerald, but in Monday night’s Beanpot semifinal between Boston University and Boston College, it was an Arizona Coyotes prospect who stole the spotlight.

Clayton Keller, the seventh overall selection in the 2016 NHL draft, extended his point streak to 15 games in the Terriers’ 3-1 win over BC, the third win of the year for BU over its archrival. He has 11 goals and 14 assists during the streak.

Keller’s streak ties current Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo for the most consecutive games with a point in BU history. Keller, who scored his fourth shorthanded goal of the season on Monday night, is also one man-down tally shy from tying Pandolfo’s shortie record.

Keller’s scoring streak also passed Jack Eichel, who had points in 14 straight games in 2009. Any time a player is mentioned in the same breath as Eichel, especially one who plays on Comm Ave, it’s worth noting.

“It’s pretty cool, but it’s something I’m not worrying about,” said Keller. “The most important thing for me and my team is just getting ready for the next game. It’s pretty cool to do that, but not really paying attention to it.”

All in all, the freshman forward is leading BU on what might be a special run.

“He’s such a threat out there,” BU head coach David Quinn said after the game. “He’s got such great instincts and when you’re on a power play and you have him coming at you, I think you get a little nervous.”

The BU center missed a stretch in the middle of the season with a knee injury after falling awkwardly into the boards against Northeastern and didn’t return to the lineup until a December series at Vermont. With the injury in mind, there are only two games all season Keller has played in where he hasn’t tallied a point; the third game of the season at Denver and a late October matchup against Quinnipiac.

In games Keller has played this season, the Terriers are 14-4-1.

Keller gained national attention in the World Junior Championships at the end of December, when he was a key factor in the United States’ gold medal-winning run. He, along with five BU teammates, helped lead the Americans to a shootout win over Canada in the final.

Since then, Keller and his WJC teammates have led BU on an 11-2 run.

Keller’s goal on Monday night to advance BU to the Beanpot final vs. Harvard was a momentum changer; BC had earned itself a power-play chance just minutes after cutting the Terrier lead to 2-1. With a chance to steal momentum, a McAvoy pass found Keller in space and he beat his US national teammate and Eagles goalie Joseph Woll.

“Joe Woll is a guy that I’ve played with ever since I was about 10 years old,” Keller said. “I know about his game a little bit.”

McAvoy’s pass at center ice was a reminder of the chemistry between the USA teammates, and two NHL first-round draft picks from this past June.

“Charlie made a great play and found me breaking on the breakaway,” said Keller.

“Clayton’s really good on breakaways when he’s pressured, but not as much when he has time,” said Quinn. “I felt good because I knew he had a guy chasing him, he’s been pretty good on breakaways when he has that.”

Since joining the Terriers, Keller has become a leader on the ice in more ways than just as a scorer. He won a puck battle along the blue line to end an Eagles power play chance and earn the Terriers a power play themselves. His 30 points lead the team in what is already a freshman-heavy roster, but he has gone even above and beyond the rest of his class.

It’s that kind of compete level that Quinn is looking for out of his team.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a guy who has the hand-eye coordination that he has,” said Quinn. “He’s just so dangerous killing penalties, that was his fourth or fifth shorthanded of the year.”

Now Keller and his teammates have one more game against Harvard to win a Beanpot title, and it’s his and the rest of the freshman class’ first taste of the local tournament.

“It’s pretty special, especially playing Boston College, and the atmosphere, it’s pretty close to the World Juniors,” said Keller. “It was great to get the win and now we’re focused on Friday and the next game on Monday.”

Keller has a chance to don the Garden ice once more this season following the Beanpot, if the Terriers were to advance to the Hockey East semifinals. After that? Don’t be surprised to see him as a Bruins opponent in a Coyotes sweater.

Harvard University cancels rest of men’s soccer season over lewd ratings of female athletes

11.03.16 at 7:54 pm ET
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Harvard University has been roiled by a controversy involving its men's soccer team. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Harvard University has been roiled by a controversy involving its men’s soccer team. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Harvard University on Thursday canceled the rest of its men’s soccer season after discovering that players have been compiling online documents rating the women’s team on physical appearance and sexual attractiveness since 2012.

Harvard president Drew Faust announced the news.

“I was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men’s soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals, but appear to have been more wide-spread across the team and have continued beyond 2012, including in the current season,” she said in a statement.

The Harvard Crimson reported last week the existence of a Google document, written in 2012 by unidentified members of the men’s team, rating freshmen women’s players on their looks and perceived sexual abilities, in graphic terms. Six of those women, who still play soccer at Harvard, wrote an op-ed in the Crimson on Saturday entitled, “Stronger Together,” that took their classmates to task.

The school launched an investigation and discovered the ratings system was not a one-time occurrence, but in fact continued into this season.

Athletic director Robert Scalise e-mailed students on Thursday informing them of the harsh discipline.

“We strongly believe that this immediate and significant action is absolutely necessary if we are to create an environment of mutual support, respect, and trust among our students and our teams,” he wrote. “As we move forward, Harvard Athletics will partner with the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and other Harvard College resources to take additional steps to further educate the members of our men’s soccer team, and all of our student-athletes, about the seriousness of these behaviors and the general standard of respect and conduct that is expected. Harvard Athletics has zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

The Crimson are 10-3-2 and have won six straight, but they have withdrawn themselves from consideration for the Ivy League title or postseason play.

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