Saturday, March 17, 2012

Previewing the Maine Black Bears.

For the seventh time in tournament history, the Boston College Eagles will faceoff versus the Maine Black Bears for a chance to claim a Lamoriello trophy. The Eagles finished off Providence's cinderella run earlier yesterday afternoon with a 4-2 victory and the Black Bears finished off Parker and the Terriers to earn a spot in the championship later in the night. The Black Bears won the season series 2-1 vs BC with both of their wins coming in the hostile confines of Alfond Arena back in late January (That was the last game BC lost). There is however one big problem for Maine heading into this game. Their star forward and Hobey Baker candidate Spencer Abbott left Friday's game with a concussion late in the second period (he did not return). Abbott was the receiver of a vicious elbow to the head by BU defenseman Sean Escobedo and he then fell into the boards very awkwardly. Even with Abbott being out, the Black Bears still have some serious weapons like Brian Flynn, Joey Diamond, Will O'Neil and Matt Mangene. O'Neil and Diamond each recorded two goals last night for Maine. With the two goals, Joey Diamond now has the most goals in Hockey East with twenty five. Yes, this will be a great game with or without Abbott but there is one thing the Eagles MUST do in order to win tonight. Stay out of the box. Every Black Bear goal last night came on a power play and when the teams last met in Orono, the Eagles gave up a combined four power play goals over the course of those two games @ Maine. The interesting thing here is that without Abbott, the Maine power play could be a little bit out of sync. You see, Abbott runs the show for the Black Bears on the power play, on the penalty kill, and on even strength. I wouldn't be the least bit shocked to see Maine's power play struggle tonight IF Abbott is indeed out.

In terms of how the Eagles are looking for the NCAA tournament, they have clinched two very important things. The first thing they have clinched is they are a lock for the #1 overall seed no matter what happens tonight. Being the number one overall seed means that BC will most likely play the winner of RIT vs Air Force (AHA championship game) in the first round of the NCAA's. The other important item BC has clinched is that the Eagles will be playing in Worcester. Last season, I think a big part in losing to Colorado College was due to the fact that we were so far away from home. I think the Eagles will play much better closer to home with their home fans cheering them on come next weekend. It is certainly always a fantastic game when BC and Maine meet under any kind of circumstance but tonight should be a physical, high tempo, high scoring, and most importantly, a fun hockey game to watch. Tune into @bchockeyblog1 for twitter updates throughout the game tonight.

Keys for the Eagles 

1. STAY OUT OF THE BOX. This is by far the biggest key of all for BC because Maine's power play is as good as I have ever seen. Even without Abbott, they are very dangerous.

2. Goaltending- Unlike Providence, Maine is going to create a lot of chances on Parker Milner and the BC defense. If Parker can stand tall and not give up any soft goals, look for an Eagle victory.

3. Matching up with Maine's first line. The staff will match Almeida-Arnold-Whitney versus Maine's big line with Flynn and Diamond ( I Don't know who will replace Abbott). Those guys need to step up and have a big game for the Eagles.

Players to Watch 

1. Brian Flynn. I was as shocked as anyone that he was not a candidate for Hockey East player of the year. Flynn is third on the Black Bears with 46 points.

2. Joey Diamond- Diamond had two goals last night vs BU and also leads the Black Bears in goals with 25 this season.

3. Matt Mangene- I think this kid is a really good hockey player. He has some serious speed that you don't normally see out of a bigger guy like him. He can be dangerous with the puck and on the PP

All Time Series- BC is 58-42-9 all time vs Maine. BC is 7-5 all time vs Maine in the Hockey East tournament and holds a 4-2 lead in championship games between the two.

Last Time Out- Maine defeated BC 7-4 on 1/21/12 @ Alfond Arena.

Prediction- If Abbott is indeed out, it is a huge loss for Maine. BC 4-3. 


  1. Glad Maine rallied back to beat Safety School... Refs should be ashamed after the entire Escobedo-Abbot-BU goal sequence. At least they got their due.
    Now here's to hoping the Eagles finish the job tonight.

  2. Always great when Parker's team looses. I agree, the refs were horrible all night especially in that second game. I feel bad for Abbott.