Thursday, January 16, 2014

Weekend Preview: How Badly Do You Want It?

BU Celebrates A Win Over BC in the Hockey East Semis. Copyright Boston Globe, 2013

Coming off of a disappointing 7-4 loss to Maine last Saturday at Frozen Flooded Fenway, your BU Terriers look to rebound this weekend against two tough opponents - BC and then UMass-Lowell. While UMass-Lowell is a quality opponent and will be a tough challenge for BU, we're not going to spend any time previewing that game. Shocking, I know.

Previewing Boston College (14-4-3, 8-1-1 Hockey East)
BC enters the game on Friday riding a 7 game unbeaten streak, including an impressive 8-0 win over Penn State, a renowned hockey powerhouse (currently sitting 51 in RPI). BC's last game was on Saturday, a 3-3 tie with ECAC powerhouse Brown. BU enters the game headed in the opposite direction, having lost 5 of their last 6 games. 

BC is fast and skilled in their top 6 forwards, led of course by phenom/wunderkind/the 2nd coming of Christ Johnny Gaudreau. They can score goals in a hurry, and turn defense into offense with the best of them. BU will need to stay out of the penalty box and limit turnovers on Friday in order to minimize scoring chances for BC's top 6.

On defense, BC relies heavily upon Mike Matheson, Steve Santini and Ian McCoshen. Matheson is a strong, physical defender with good puck movement and solid skating. Santini and Matheson both have a penchant for taking bad penalties, something that BU will need to use to their advantage on Friday.

The good news for BU is that beyond BC's top 6 forwards and top 3 defenseman, there's not a lot of depth in the lineup - unless names like Michael Sit, Quinn Smith, Patrick Brown and Scott Savage scare you (they shouldn't). The bad news is that obviously the top two forward lines and top 2 defensive pairs eat up a ton of minutes, and play in pretty much every special teams situation. Definitely have to try and get guys like O'Regan and Hohmann out there against BC's bottom two lines whenever possible.

Goaltenders Brian Billett and Thatcher "I'll text you when I'm soft" Demko anchor the Pigeons in net. Not sure who the starter will be for BC yet, but I'd bet that it's Billett. He's played very well as of late, and York will probably use Demko the next night against Maine.

Leading Scorers: Gaudreau (19-21-40), Kevin Hayes (13-22-35), Bill Arnold (7-22-29)

Goalies: Billett (14 gp, 10-3-1, .925, 2.27), Demko (7 gp, 4-1-2, .911, 2.38)

Last Time Out: 11/8/2013, BC beat BU 5-1 at Agganis.

All Time Series: BU leads 129-117-17. Friday will be the 264th all time meeting

What BU Needs to Do (Better) to Win
A lot of things. Obviously going 0-5-1 in your last 6 is the definition of a bad look, and BU really needs to find their form this weekend. I thought the 3rd period against Maine was a lot better than we've seen from the Terriers in some time, but it wasn't enough when you pair it with the first two periods. It sounds cliche, but BU really will need a full 60 minute effort to beat BC.

As mentioned previously, BU will need to limit excess opportunities for BC's forwards. They're talented enough to generate good scoring chances on their own, the Terriers absolutely cannot give them any more via turnovers, bad penalties, and the like.

Beyond that, I think Friday's game really comes down to one thing: how badly does BU want this? It sounds simplistic, but I think it's true. BU has the talent to skate with a team like BC. They have the experience and poise to play well against BC. But we've seen this team struggle as of late, and getting back to winning ways is as much a product of preparation and practice as it is of mental strength. I think we'll know pretty quickly on Friday how determined and mentally ready BU is to face BC.

Prediction: BU wins a tight one, 4-3. Garrett Noonan pots one in his last regular season game at Conte. The Eagle Killer strikes again.

Final Thoughts: Never forget 2004

No comments:

Post a Comment