Thursday, January 17, 2013
Weekend Preview: Time to Take out the Trash
This weekend the BU Terriers play host to two conference foes that are heading in two different directions. Friday night, they will host the 6-10-2 Northeastern Huskies. NU has had an up and down(well mostly down) year thus far. They began the season 2-0 with wins over Merrimack and BC at home. Their only other conference win since opening weekend was a 1-0 victory over UMass. They are coming off a tie of Maine who then lost 6-0 to Merrimack the next night. NU is a trap game at home for the Terriers but hopefully this team learned its lesson from the Harvard game last week. NU always bring their best for BU because they have decided that BU is their "rival". It is a one way rivalry but we will save that for another day. This game is one that would be easy to overlook but should also give the team a good idea what to expect come Beanpot time in 3 weeks when nothing is easy. NU's MO is to lose to Atlantic Hockey teams at home(Bentley this year) and then knock off a top 10 team. They have already beaten BC and they could do the same on Friday to BU. That being said, I think BU will win a close one.
NU is lead by freshman Kevin Roy(9-11-20, -6) who has quickly assumed the role as the best player on the Huskies. Junior Cody Ferriero(7-6-13) and senior captain Vinny Saponari(3-9-12) also have double digit points for the team. Their goalie seems to be locked in as Chris Rawlings who is 6-6-1 with a .927 save % and 2.34 GAA. The numbers aren't bad and they never are. The consistency is what kills him(and the rest of team). He also allowed a goal to Maine which means that you suck automatically. The Huskies are a dangerous team that always play to the level of their opponents. You can bet that our good friend Vinny will have the team fired up to return to BU. Interesting side note will be whether he continues to refuse to shake Coach Parker's hand like the class act that Vinny is. The two aren't on the greatest terms which I guess is what happens when you get kicked out of a school and then return to play in the same conference.
Northeastern's inconsistencies this season start from naming Saponari captain along with a lack of veteran leadership and having an inexperienced coach. Unfortunately for BU(along with BC and UNH), it means you are more likely get their best shot than the Bentleys of the world and have to be ready to play a full 60 minutes against them. The last game played between these two was the last game of last year's regular season. It was meaningless as BU had already eliminated the Huskies from playoffs the previous night. The sign below explains how important the game was and the picture below that depicts the NU student section present to watch the meaningless game. Saponari eventually won the game on backup goalie Grant Rollheiser in OT. This set off quite the classy celebration for Northeastern. It included a nice healthy exchange between NU and the BU fans at that game. I'm not going to sit here and whine about what they did because it was actually right on par with what I expect from Saponari and Co and they were still the ones going home after. All you really need to know for this game is Vinny sucks and it is going to be a hard fought game(if Rawlings shows up for NU).
Lowell aka LowHell aka LOL
Now we move on to t Lowell after disposing of Northleastern. Lowell is riding high on a 7 game winning streak coming into this one(unless they lose at home to PC tonight). Ready to hear the tough schedule they have played during this streak? Me too. It goes NU(see above), Harvard, Bentley, Clarkson(X2), and Vermont(X2). Not exactly a run through the gauntlet but you can only beat the teams you play and Lowell has made a run up to #19 in the country because of it. They would be in the NCAA tournament if it ended today and the city of Lowell would rejoice once again. Last year they got to go to Bridgeport and thought it was great. They are literally the only city/school that would go to Bridgeport and consider it an upgrade. That's because Lowell is the trashiest city in New England. I digress though. Lowell sits at 11-7-1 overall but only 5-6-1 in conference.They could very easily be the Vermont of 2009-2010, who finished 8th in the conference but made the NCAAs. They have been splitting time in net with Doug "Doogles" Carr and freshman Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck has the better numbers but is less experienced and seasoned than Carr. My guess is Carr gets the start @ BU Saturday given that it is on the road.
Lowell is lead offensively by sophomore Scott Wilson along with juniors Joe Pendenza and Josh Holmstrom. Lowell is the same team as last year basically as they rely on greasy goals and solid defense and goaltending to win hockey games. This will be a difficult and the toughest conference foe the Terriers the rest of the way in the regular season. This is the first of 3 and should be tough contests for all 3 of them. BU faces Lowell on an 8 game winning streak and as the streets are getting cleaned up. Things are looking up for Lowell, not that they could have gotten much worse. Time to bring them back to Earth. Go BU!