Thursday, February 27, 2014

Northeastern Preview- Even the blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while

The BU Terriers wrap up the regular season with a home and home with cross town rival opponent Northeastern. Northeastern is currently having their best season(all luck) since 2008-2009 with a record of 18-10-4(10-6-2). They are lead up front by sophomore Kevin Roy(17-25-42) (Pronounced: wahhhhhhhhhhhh), senior Braden Pimm(18-13-31), and freshman Mike Szmatula(12-24-36). Freshmen Dalen Hedges and John Stevens have also chipped in 20+ points each. The strength of Northeastern is their goaltending as redshirt junior Clay Witt has put the team on his back( he would have gotten a lot of Greg Jennings awards if there was a NU blog cool enough to give those out) with a .940 save % and 2.17 GAA.

                                            * Northeastern hockey finally found the nut this season

Northeastern has had a great season by their program's standards(aka they won't finish last in the conference for once) and seem set on making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008-09. Northeastern, like BU, has a - shot differential on the year as their opponents have taken 174 more shots than they have. I have only seen them play twice this year(Beanpot final and @ PC) but both times, they have gone streaks without scoring for long periods in a game.They have the ability to strike quickly though as Roy and Szmatula set up for Pimm who leads the team in goals for a reason. In order to have success, BU must create odd man rushes to beat Witt. That is how he is giving up a majority of his goals this season. It is because his defense ( which is the weakness of the team) attempts to jump into the rush and gives up odd man rushes going the other way. BU also needs to continue to limit penalties as Roy is as tough as anyone out there on the powerplay. Ahti Oksanen is a guy that can limit Kevin Roy as he has the best defending stick on the team in my opinion. He obviously needs to eliminate the dumb decisions he takes in the offensive zone from his game but he can be a huge factor in limiting Roy and Szmatula on the defensive end of the ice.

The series kicks off Friday night at Agganis Arena for both Jack Parker and senior night. The 5 seniors(Moccia, Ronan, Moscatel, MacGregor and Noonan) will be recognized before the game in a ceremony while former coach Jack Parker will have his number retired during a ceremony in the first intermission. There is no way BU doesn't come out fired up Friday night with it being the seniors last game at Agganis. They will be ready to play and Northeastern is going to give up shots which is a style that benefits BU. They need to work to beat Clay Witt(if NU starts Derreck Roy in net, just shoot as soon as you cross the blue line because he gives up juice rebounds 95% of the time). It is really cute how the perennial cellar dweller is almost relevant this year but BU has ended their season 3 out of the last 4 years and have had success with them in the past. It would be sweet for the seniors to hurt NU's pairwise while also winning their last game at Agganis Arena. BU wins 3-2. Goals from Noonan, MacGregor and Moscatel(assisted from Ronan and Moccia).

It is critical for BU to get a win(or two) this weekend for gain some momentum for the HE tournament as well as knocking Northeastern and their fans down a peg. NU fans are too happy this year and not completely miserable which is really a shame. We all know what will happen if they get into the NCAA tournament(one and done) so BU might as well just destroy their pairwise now and put them on the bubble so NU fans have to sweat out the HE playoffs. It isn't just what we, as BU fans, want, it is what needs to happen so that all is right in the world. NU fans have their hearts ripped out 2-3 times a year and it has only happened once so far this year(maybe twice from when they lost to Air Force).

*We will be continuing our tradition from last year of doing a senior week after the season concludes. Each senior will get their own BSRS post which is really the highest honor out there.

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