By Marisa Ingemi
BU News Service
On Saturday afternoon when the Boston University Terriers take to Nickerson Field to face the Black Knights of Army, there might be a bit more motivation in the back of their minds.
A win on Saturday over Army, along with a loss from the Colgate Red Raiders, will send the Terriers to their first ever Patriot League tournament in just their third ever season in the history of the program. The Terriers are 3-2 in conference after suffering a loss to Lehigh last week, but remain 8-3 with the highest win total of any Patriot League team.
BU will go into the contest against Army looking to limit turnovers after struggling last week. One positive that did emerge offensively was Ryan Hillburn picking up a hat trick. Hillburn was injured in the first game of the season, and it’s been slow to get him back into a rhythm.
Hillburn saw extended time in the second half, which meant Jack Wilson did not play often. With Hillburn back in the fold again and playing productively, Wilson or James Burr might play in the midfield at times. That might break up the unit of Pat Myers, Cal Dearth, and Brendan Homire, which has been effective, but Homire did turn the ball over five times last week.
Army came into this season as a team with lowered expectations after losing star John Glesener to graduation. The Black Knights can clinch a berth in the conference tournament with a victory, and have a surprising 7-3 record. Cole Johnson, a junior attack, has stepped up to lead the team with 50 points. Johnson was second on the team in scoring with 51 points all of last year.
Freshman Nate Jones has also stepped up to be second on the roster in points with 26. Aj Barretto, a freshman goaltender, has taken the reigns from the graduated Sam Somers and has helped the Black Knights not miss a beat.
Colgate, 3-7 and 1-4 in Patriot League play, has lost five games in a row and will travel to face Navy, the lone team with a playoff seed locked up. A loss would ensure the Terriers a spot in the tournament, but they have to take care of business at home against the Black Knights.