Sunday, November 11, 2012

Previewing the Boston University Terriers

It's here. The Battle of Commonwealth Ave will kick of chapter number 259 tonight as the Eagles will travel down to Agganis Arena to take on the Terriers. BU is currently ranked 11th in the latest USCHO polls and has wins over UMass (x2), Merrimack, Providence, and North Dakota. Now, we all know the rivalry inside and's two fanbases, two schools, two programs that in the end, do not like each all. This year will be no different as both teams seem to be, once again, the top two team in Hockey East and two of the top teams on the national scale. By looking at their schedule, I would definitely say that this BU team has some quality wins over some pretty good hockey teams in some real harsh environments. Where does BC have the advantage tonight ? Well, I believe it has the advantage in two key areas. First, I like BC's top two lines a lot more than I like BU's top two lines. Megan-Hohmann-Rodrigues is BU's top line and have put up some good numbers so far this year but they haven't played against a line like BC's top line. North Dakota's top line is good but BC's top line, is in my opinion, the best in college hockey and they have proven it with their spectacular play so far. The second line, like it usually does, seems to match up well vs BU's second line  but letting guys like Nieto and Gill get grade A chances on net will not render pretty results. The other factor that I like ? Well, BU is starting a freshman goaltender (likely Matt O'Connor). I don't care that that the guy has won some games so far this year. This time around, he is facing the best team in college hockey in a setting in which he will surely be nervous right from the get go. Which leads me to my next point, one thing BC always does well @ Agganis is they get off the great starts. For tonight's game, just like any road game, the formula will remain the same. Get off to a good start, try to score and settle the crowd down early, and stay out of the box. Look, when it comes to 5 on 5, I think these are two pretty even hockey teams that both, interestingly, have some strengths that the other may lack.

For BC, this is the night that will show us more than anything about this hockey team. They have played very well in their last couple of road games @ Lowell, @ Maine, and @ UMass but tonight they will enter an atmosphere unlike any other. If Parker Milner plays like he has all year then I would say BC should win rather easily because I think that BC will be able to generate some real good chances on a young goaltender that has not faced a team like BC so far this year. The key for BC in order to win is they need to stay out of the box. BU's power play ranks 6th in Hockey East but they have a lot of talented players on both their units, especially on the defensive side of the puck with Noonan and Grezlyck. BC can't just sit back and let Milner make every save he can like they did in the third period on Friday vs Notre Dame. Instead, they need to attack these defenseman, put them on their heels, and force them to turn the puck over because of their speed. Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said after the game on Friday that because BC has so much speed up front, they will attack you and therefore  you are vulnerable to lots of turnovers and bad decisions  Hopefully, that happens tonight. The same thing goes for BC however as the young defenseman cannot afford to turn the puck over at the blue line and give the Terriers odd man rushes that will result in grade A chances on Milner.

All in all, I expect this to be a great hockey game between two rivals that have been going at it for over a century. One trademark for BU under Parker has been that they take lots of penalties. Friday night was not pretty in terms of the power play for BC but tonight, when BU goes to the box, BC is going to have to put one or two in on the man advantage. I don't think the power play was bad on Friday because they generated some great chances in which Summerhayes was there to make the stop. If BC can limit shots from the point and do more of the backdoor man and get shots from the top of the circle down, chances for goals are pretty good. Basically, this game is most likely going to be very tight in the third and if BC can use it's speed and experience in big games, compared to a very young BU team...they will come out on top.

Keys for the Eagles- 

1. Taking the crowd out early. A young BU team will try to feed of their energetic crowd, so in order for BC to take that away, they've got to get it going early.

2. Winning the battle of special teams. Take less penalties, score on power plays.

3. Attacking this freshman goaltender. Whether it's O'Connor or Maguire, look for BC to really attack this young and inexperienced goaltender tonight.

4. Limit offensive and neutral zone turnovers. When opponents score vs the Eagles, it's usually because they forced a turnover in the BC end. BC needs to limit that tonight.

All Time Series- BU leads BC in the all time series 127-114-17. However, BC is 8-2-1 at Agganis Arena.

Best Opposing Line- Megan-Hohmann-Rodrigues

Prediction- BC 4 BU 2


1 comment:

  1. What a great game this was! You were right on with the pick too! Can't wait to see them again in a few weeks!