Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekend Preview- Flatlanders vs Highlanders

The #3 ranked BU Terriers travel north this weekend for two games at the University of Vermont. UVM is ranked # 12 in the country and leads the league in goal allowed on their way to a 15-6-2 record. Now this team may not be as good as their record indicates as their strength of schedule is 31st out of the 59 teams in the country. The Gutterson Fieldhouse has been kind to BU the last four seasons(they didn't play there last season) as they have won four straight games there by a margin of 15-6. BU looks to extend on that streak and put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field in the Hockey East race. BU currently sits tied with Lowell for first with UVM 3 points back. BC is also two points back but the other three schools have two games in hand over BC.

UVM is lead by Mario Puskarich up front. Last year's rookie of the year has 20 points in 22 games for the Catamounts behind only senior dman Mike Paliotta who has stabilized the defensive corps along with former Terrier Alexx Privitera. This will be Alexx's first game against the Terriers since he left the program following the 2011-2012 season. He was suspended for the end of that season for a lack of discipline by Coach Jack Parker. Alexx and younger brother Jarrid(who was committed to BU) played a year in the USHL before arriving at UVM this fall. They certainly will want to play well against their former school. UVM is backstopped by a stellar goaltending duo of Brody Hoffman and Mike Santaguida. Both have GAA under 2.0 but Santaguida has had the better year with a .944 save percentage to Hoffman's .918. Either way, this team doesn not allow many goals so BU will have to be  "opportunistic"(not sure if Quinn copyrighted this phrase yet so I went with the quotes to be safe) when they get their chances.

I would expect Matt O'Connor to get both starts this weekend with how the rotation has been going. LaCouvee seems to be in line to get the UMass game next Friday at Agganis. This is a big series in the league and the pairwise for the Terriers as they look to improve on their 13-4-4 mark thus far. The keys to this weekend will be how the BU offense can generate goals 5 on 5. Vermont takes the second to least amount of penalties in the league and has the top penalty kill in the league so you can certainly not rely on the powerplay to get you a goal or two this weekend. The secondary scoring will be crucial again as the Terriers have been getting roughly a goal or two a game from the second and third lines as of late and now have 8 guys with 10+ points on the season. If the secondary scoring can match UVM, then BU wins the game since BU's top 3 forwards are the top 3 in the league and nobody can match up with them. Prediction: BU sweep 3-1, 2-1(OT)

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