By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
Although Boston University men’s hockey head coach Jack Parker wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about his team’s 7-4 win over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Friday, he had clear praise for redshirt freshman winger Yasin Cissé. After bouncing in and out of the lineup for the last month, Cissé had a goal and four shots – tied for a team high – on Friday.
“I thought he played real well tonight,” Parker said. “I was going to grab him afterwards and tell him, jeez, you’ve arrived.”
Cissé sat out three games from Jan. 28 – when he dressed but did not play – through Feb. 6, then played in BU’s loss to the University of Massachusetts on Feb. 10. He sat out the Beanpot finals on Monday because Parker wanted senior forward Kevin Gilroy to be able to play in his last Beanpot finals.
In Lowell on Friday, Cissé made his case to stay in the lineup, showing speed through the neutral zone, consistently directing pucks toward UML goalie Doug Carr and, as the first period wound down, one-timing a pass from linemate Ryan Santana at the top of the crease for his second goal of the season.
The fourth line got several chances to shine, including the Terriers’ sixth goal, where senior winger Ross Gaudet took advantage of an aggressive poke-check attempt by Carr to flip the puck around the diving goalie. Each of the players on that line – Gaudet, Santana and Cissé – finished the night a plus-two, avoiding the defensive mistakes Parker said some of his top-line forwards made as the game wore on.
Junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson, who also scored on Friday, said he’s happy to see Cissé working through the issues he’s had – a cut ankle tendon in his 2009-10 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers, then a broken ankle in the first game of last season that sidelined him for the year.
“I’m proud of him,” Chiasson said. “He’s been through a lot in the last few years, and he’s one of my best friends here. I played with him before I came here and we work out together in the summer.
“Sometimes he’s battling through injuries and it’s also mental, and I totally understand where he’s coming from, and that’s like I told him tonight, sometimes you won’t be able to get that goal or get those chances, but you’ve just got to play smart and play your game. A lot of credit to him – he hasn’t been playing much lately and for him to come out like this tonight, I think it’s great for his game.”
In 19 career games, Cissé now has two goals and two assists. Losing two years to injury is tough on a player’s development, but with time, he could take on a greater role both on offense and defense for the Terriers. For now, he’s adding a physical presence to BU’s checking line and continuing to refine his scoring skill.
“He’s probably one of the fastest guys on this team, with [sophomore forward Matt] Nieto, and probably one of the strongest guys on this team, so that’s what we need out of him,” Chiasson said. “He’s a huge guy, so he’s got to play physical, and down the road here, that’s what we need. He definitely showed that it makes us look much bigger when he’s in the lineup.”