Saturday, January 19, 2013

Previewing the Northeastern Huskies

Tonight, BC will look to get the ship righted vs downtown rival, Northeastern. While the Huskies have been struggling for the majority of this season, they did indeed get a huge victory over Boston University last night @ Agganis Arena by a score of 6-5. I think this game is pretty hard to preview because while Northeastern is coming off a huge victory vs one rival, it may be tough to do the same thing on back to back nights. On the other hand, the Eagles SHOULD be ready from the get-go tonight after yesterdays utter disaster @ home. On the defensive end, Colin Sullivan will return to lineup after being benched by the staff last night. Brooks Dyroff will move back to forward which means Cam Spiro will most likely be the odd guy out. Other than that, I don't think BC will make many changes to their forward or defensive lines but I wouldn't be surprised if the first and second lines played a lot more tonight than they did vs UMass. If you watched closly, during the second period of yesterdays game, the staff benched the first line after a bad turnover by Johnny G in his own zone that resulted in a 2 on 1 chance for UMass. If BC is going to have any chance tonight, that line needs to be 5 times better than it was vs the Minutemen.

As for Northeastern, they're currently in eight place in Hockey East with a 4-8-2 league record and a 7-10-2 record overall. While their record is not too stellar, the Huskies do have some quality wins over teams like BC, BU, and a tie vs UNH. In terms of statistics, NU is led by star freshman Kevin Roy who recorded two points last night vs BU and had a +1 rating. While Roy, Saponari, and Ferriero make up a pretty good first power play unit, Northeastern will be without two guys they had the first time around vs the Eagles as forwards Cam Darcy and Joe Manno both decided to leave the school just before the holiday break. Not unlike BC, the Huskies main issue so far this year has been their play in their own end. They currently rank 8th in scoring defense, 6th in terms of penalty kill, and 6th in terms of power play. While they may have some difficulties on defense and in the net, Northeastern certainly has a couple of guys that can match up to BC's top 6 forwards. If you've followed BC Hockey over the course of the past couple of years, you know that pretty much every year the Eagles seem to have problems at Matthews Arena. Sure, the first meeting of the year was also BC's first time out there but in reality, NU outplayed the Eagles last time on their home ice. Will the departures have an effect on the game ? Probably not. Will BC need to play one of it's best games of the year in order to win ? Certainly. When it comes to teams like BC and BU, Northeastern always seems to take their game up one or two notches and BC needs to know that they will tonight.

All in all, I'd be lying to you if I told you I wasn't a bit nervous about tonight's game. Is it a MUST win ? Pretty much. Getting swept by UMass and Northeastern would be an absolute killer for this team in terms of the Hockey East and pairwise standings. I do think however, that after last night's debacle, the Eagles will be ready to play tonight from start to finish.

Scouting Northeastern

Hockey East rank- 8th

Pairwise ran- Not ranked

Leading Scorers- Kevin Roy (10-13-23), Cody Ferriero (8-6-14), Vinny Saponari (4-10-14)

Best Wins- vs BC, @ BU

Worst Losses- vs Bentley, @ Vermont

All Time Series- Boston College is 156-47-14 all time vs Northeastern

Keys for BC-

What I said earlier.

1. Less penalties

2. First line needs to start scoring

3. Get on the board first. BC scoring the first goal would be huge

Go Eagles.

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