Thursday, January 24, 2013
Previewing the University of Maine Black Bears
Remember when I told you last week that UMass hadn't won @ Conte since 2007 and then they went right out and dominated BC ? Well, the same thing goes for the Black Bears as they have not beaten Boston College in Chestnut Hill since October of 2005 (!). That's kind of amazing considering the fact that Maine has had some pretty darn good teams in that time span. In their only trip down here last season, Maine got shellacked 6-1 and the year before that they were ranked #3 in the country, only to be swept by the Eagles. If you look at Maine's schedule this season, you'd noticed they have yet to win a game in the previously hostile confines of Alfond Arena and have all three of their W's coming on the road. Is Maine a great hockey team ? No, but BC learned it's lesson last weekend. Winning in this league is tough because everybody has some talented players on their roster. Maine is not different and BC can be sure that Maine knows they need some points this weekend in order to stay in the playoff race. I expect the Black Bears to come out with everything they have tomorrow night and I hope BC doesn't treat this like a pushover game such as they did vs UMass. When you're caught sleeping in this league, it's going to come back to hurt you. BC cannot, under any circumstances, let that happen this weekend.
As for BC, they will be without defenseman Mike Matheson who continues to recover from the upper body injury he suffered vs Northeastern last Saturday. The staff expects that Matheson will be ready to go vs Vermont next Friday night. In Matheson's absence, I look at guys like Isaac Macleod and Travis Jeke who really stepped up and played great the last 40 minutes vs Northeastern. Losing Matheson will hurt an already thin defensive corps but I think guys like Jeke and Colin Sullivan are going to build off the games they had vs Northeastern because, really, that was the first time in a while in which I thought BC played some really solid defense. I don't know if BC can play any better than they did in the second and third periods of Saturday's game vs the Huskies but if they could continue to build some momentum and dominate the play this weekend, it would be a big positive heading into the Beanpot. Anything less than 4 points this weekend would be looked at as disappointing but if the Eagles can continue to do what they did last weekend, then they should be able to come away with a couple victories.
Taking a look at Maine
Record- 5-14-4, last place in Hockey East.
Pairwise Rank- Not ranked.
Leading Scorers- Conor Leen (6-5-11), Joey Diamond (5-4-9), Devin Shore (2-7-9)
Best Wins- @ Lowell, vs Cornell
Worst Losses- vs Merychurst, vs St. Lawerence (x2), vs Vermont
All Time Series- BC leads 61-42-9.
Keys for BC
1. Score early and score often. Some early goals would pretty much kill any inspiration Maine has coming in. BC has got to find a way to build off what they did vs Northeastern.
2. Score some power play goals. The Eagles power play has not looked good. Well, it looks fine but BC has too much talent on the PP not to be scoring. They haven't had a PP goal in 4 games now. Simple key for PP- Get the puck to #13.
3. Make life easier for Parker Milner. Keep shots to the outside and avoid giving up 3 on 2's and 2 on 1's.