Friday, March 7, 2014

Weekend Preview- The Catholic School Knockout Tour Begins- Phase 1

The BU Terriers being their postseason play tomorrow night in South Bend, Indiana against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Terriers return to Compton Family Ice Arena where they swept by identical 2-0 scores two weeks ago. Those games mean nothing now as the opening round of the Hockey East Tournament is single elimination. It only takes one good game or possibly one bounce to win and move on. The Terriers had opportunities two weeks ago that they failed to cash in on. That will need to change this weekend as every guy who touches his ice needs to elevate his game and build off the BU sweep of Northeastern last weekend.

David Quinn told the Boston Hockey Blog that Matt O'Connor would get the start in net as fellow sophomore goalie Sean Maguire was out of practice last week with an upper body injury. This is one of the situations where it is great to have two very good goalies. Maguire picked up the team when OC suffered a collapsed lung and missed the playoff run last year. We don't know the severity of the injury but O'Connor has the opportunity to backstop the team to victory with Maguire sidelined this weekend. O'Connor has been solid in his last two starts only allowing 2 goals in each start. With that said, there is probably 2 of those that we wants back. BU needs O'Connor to play up to the level he was playing at the end of the first half. His defensemen will need to help him out and make things easier on him. The RHH version of OC isn't the goalie we deserve but it's the goalie we need.

Notre Dame is the first of possible 4 schools BU will have the opportunity to knock out of the HE tournament. With a win, BU would face BC, Lowell or PC in a best of 3 QF series. If there are no upsets in the other two opening round games, BU would face BC in the QF round at Conte. The tournament then moves to the TD Garden for the semifinals and the final the following weekend.  The Terriers will need to win the HE tournament to make the NCAA tournament but the focus right now should be on carrying the momentum from last weekend to this weekend.

This game is going to be a low shot total for both sides as was the case two weeks ago and is almost always the case with Notre Dame. They play a strong defensive game with talented players which will make it challenging. I think the X-factor in this game besides goaltending which is obviously #1 is the special teams play for both sides. Notre Dame won the special teams battle and both games two weeks because of it. BU needs to limit their time on the PK which they have done so well this season to date. They also need to get the powerplay going again. They had some success last weekend and need to continue to build on that. They also cannot give up a shorthanded goal which was been the tendency when they push too hard to keep pucks in the zone. Noonan, Oksanen, Rodrigues, Somerby, and MacAfee need to be very disciplined at the point and realize that it is going to be a low scoring game. You need to pick and choose your spots to be aggressive and pinch.

Another factor will be the play of the third line of Collier- Moran-Duane. They almost punched in a few goals in the prior meeting with Notre Dame and have been playing the most consistent of any of the lines in the second half of the season. They are a huge factor that allow Quinn to spare overplaying the top two lines who play big minutes on both nights.

It will be interesting what the lines will look like Saturday night as they were shuffled last weekend due to benchings and an injury TJ Ryan. I wouldn't expect to see Ryan this weekend so below are the 18 guys that will play and my guess for line combinations. I will be making the trip to South Bend so follow @bsrs_blog on twitter for updates.  Two is a fluke, three is a streak. Let's fucking go!

Collier- Moran-Duane
Kelley- Lawrence-Moscatel

Somerby- MacGregor


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