Thursday, February 9, 2012

Previewing the Vermont Catamounts

Well here it is, the last Hockey East opponent that BC has yet to face this year, the Vermont Catamounts. This year has been one tough go for the Cats' as they sit in last place in Hockey East with a 2-17-1 record in Hockey East and a 5-21-1 record overall. You could say there are a lot of reasons for the struggles this season for the Catamounts but the main reason in many experts' minds is the goaltending. UVM currently ranks dead last in all major goaltending categories and they have also let up an amazing 111 goals this season, that it is 25 goals away from the second place team in that category, UMass. If you look down the UVM roster, you could definitely say they have good players on their team. Sebastian Stalberg currently ranks tied for eight in overall scoring in Hockey East with 27 points this year and he also averaging 1.14 points per game for Kevin Sneddon's club. Also, sophomore Connor Brickley has had a breakout year for UVM. Brickley was just one of four Hockey East players to make the World Jr Championships this season along with Billy Arnold, former BU forward Charlie Coyle, and BU defenseman Adam Clendening. Obviously, there is some skill there for the Catamounts but for multiple reasons that  can't really be figured out by many, this team has yet to put it together.

Some may be asking "What does UVM have to play for, they are done" ? Yes, UVM is all but out of the Hockey East playoffs but they have one thing that they can play for in the remainder of the season. Pride. This team has a home game vs BC, two vs BU, and another two @ BC later on this season. Nothing is better than crushing one of your league rivals' chances of getting home ice in the playoffs or even ending their NCAA hopes. In their past 5 Hockey East road games, BC is just 1-4 and have won just once since  2005 at Gutterson Field House. I really think this is going to be a close game because I think BC is going to overlook this Vermont team and I think the Catamounts are going to take advantage. If Parker Milner continues to play solid in net, there is no reason BC shouldn't pick up two crucial Hockey East points here but if he is off, bad things could happen. I know this sounds bad but I want to see a big BC win tomorrow night. This team seems to have it's swag back after sweeping UNH and blowing out NU @ the Beanpot. A win here @ The Gut is just what the team needs to keep up that swagger for Monday.

Keys for BC 

1. Continue to win the battles. On Monday, it seemed that BC won all of those little battles on the walls that resulted in odd man rushes for the Eagles. Look for this to continue.

2. Don't overlook this UVM team. Like I said, if UVM gets goaltending, they can hang with BC because they have some decent players like Stalberg and Brickley.

3. Stay out of the box. If BC gives UVM too many chances on the power play, the Catamounts could definitely shock the world. If BC stays out of the box, look for a nice win for the Eagles.

4. Keep the four lines rolling. All four lines were fantastic vs NU on Friday. I think that the depth of this BC team is unmatched in Hockey East.

Players to Watch 

1. Sebastian Stalberg. Considered by many to be one of the most skilled players in the league. Stalberg is definitely the most dangerous player on this UVM team with a 11-17-28 line.

2. Kyle Reynolds. One of the best freshman in Hockey East. Reynolds has recorded a 10-11-21 line so far this season for UVM. Also Won rookie of the month last month in Hockey East

3. Nick Bruneteau- The sophomore has two goals and 14 assist on the year for UVM. One of the better younger players on this team.

Key Stats 

1. Boston College leads the all time series vs UVM 26-12-4 and are 8-8-4 all time @ Gutterson Field House.

2. Vermont has scored just 64 goals this entire season which ranks them dead last in Hockey East. BC is second with 94. (Maine is first)

3. Vermont also has the worst penalty kill in Hockey East with just a 68% kill rate. That's not to good.

4. One thing UVM is good at is they stay out of the box. UVM averages just 12.4 peanlty minutes a game.

Prediction-I just don't see UVM winning this game. BC 4-1

Note- Check in for twitter updates @bchockeyblog1 as I will be up at The Gut for this one. This is the last rink I have yet to visit in Hockey East.

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