Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Harvard Preview: Point Inflation

The Boston University Terriers try to build momentum off their weekend sweep of Maine and UConn when they face the #18 Harvard Crimson tonight at Agganis Arena. The 5-1-2 arrogant snobs Crimson are off to their best start in recent memory. Their only loss came to the hands of Yale in a 2-1 effort last weekend. BU will be looking to collect a crucial out of conference win against a ranked opponent as their next two games come at home to ranked teams from the EZAC(the fact that the last two national champs came from the conference is a fluke). These are games that good teams have to win. They face three ECAC opponents this week and they will need to bring their A game for each game but especially tonight against a Harvard team that has given them fits the past 5 seasons. Harvard won both games last year by a combined score of 13-6. Obviously, this is a much different BU team this season but they should have redemption on their mind as they hit the ice.

Looking beyond the record from the last few seasons(which are meaningless to tonight's game), the similarities statistically between these two teams is pretty ridiculous.  The strengths of schedule vary in BU's favor as their strength of schedule is ranked 12th to Harvard's 26th #EZACproblems but the similarities still are pretty interesting.

Average points from top 3 scorers(all forwards in both cases)

BU(Eichel, O'Regan,Oksanen)- 1.5 ppg(43.26% of team's total points)

Harvard(Kerfoot,McNally, Vesey)-1.46 ppg(45.45% of team's total points)

Average points from top 5 scorers(Forwards in both cases)

BU(Eichel,O'Regan,Oksanen, Rodrigues, Hohmann)- 1.242 ppg(59.6% of total points)

Harvard(Kerfoot,McNally,Vesey, Criscuolo,Hart)-  1.276 ppg (66.23% of total points)

% of points contributed from defensemen

BU- 21.1%

Harvard- 16.88%

Goaltending is also very close in save percentage with .943 for BU's Matt O'Connor and .951 for Harvard's Steve Michalek.  With all of these stats it shows how similar these teams are even if it isn't against similar competition besides both of them beating up on Newton University at Conte Forum.

Harvard's special teams have been unreal so far this year with a 28.5% power play success rate and 96.8% penalty kill percentage. Now while both of these are unsustainable, BU definitely wants to keep this game 5 on 5 as much as possible as they are deeper throughout the lineup even if the numbers don't show it through this point of the season. As indicated in our guest post from last week, the second line's shooting percentage will improve over time and as the 9 freshmen in the BU lineup get more acquainted with the college pace, they will certainly contribute more. I don't expect JJ Piccinich to finish the season with under 10 points even though he hasn't registered a point yet. He is just too good. AJ Greer is too talented to only average  0.2 points per game. As the second line shooting percentage lineup rises and the freshmen feel more comfortable, the scoring will balance out. Tonight's game will be a good test for this young team where depth scoring and special teams will most likely determine the outcome due to the similarities between the top scorers and goaltending. BU will need the production from their 2nd-4th lines and defensemen to take home the victory and remain undefeated out of conference.

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