Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Entering the Stretch Run

I'm not going to write a whole recap about the UNH game but let me talk about a few things first before I dive into some other stuff. First off, I thought BC played really well for long periods of time on Sunday afternoon, when it wasn't a UNH power play, BC was the better team but unfortunately, they gave up four really soft goals and the blame certainly doesn't all go to Parker Milner. BC's defense looked bad for the first time in quite sometime. On the second UNH goal, Pat Wey and Teddy Doherty both got flat out beat by their respective guys and as a result, UNH tied the game. BC struggled behind their own net. Whether it was Milner who had a tough time moving from laterally or BC's defense that had a tough time getting sticks on pucks and getting it out, the Eagles struggled. I mean, they gave up 3 wrap around goals. On the offensive side of things, I was very pleased with the way BC played. Considering they're missing one of the top forwards in Hockey East (and they will be for some time) it's pretty amazing that they were able to score 4 goals vs the best defensive team in the league. Steven Whitney, Billy Arnold, and Pat Mullane all had very strong games for the Eagles.

All in all, BC needed at least a point on Sunday afternoon and if they didn't get it, they would have been in huge trouble. I know there were 4 points at stake this weekend and BC only came out with one, but the bottom line is I'm sure the staff saw a lot of good things in both games. The reason BC didn't win two games this weekend ? Penalties. They wouldn't have lost to Merrimack if it wasn't for some bogus call on Pat Mullane late in overtime and it's pretty tough to win games when you give your opponent 7 power plays, such as they did vs UNH on Sunday. 5 on 5, there probably aren't many teams in the country that are as good up front as BC is. Unfortunately, it's so difficult to score goals and win games when you're spending a third of the game on the penalty kill. The key for Sunday's HUGE game @ MC needs to be to stay out of the box. BC can win that game if they get the majority of power plays and good goaltending, if not, then it will be tough.

So, where does this weekend put the Eagles ? Listen, at BC they care about the Hockey East regular season title but that trophy matters very little. The goal for the Eagles right now is for them to put themselves in the best possible position to try and win an NCAA Championship. As of today, BC is projected to be in the Northeast bracket (Manchester) facing off against a very good Denver Pioneers team. Should BC win these next couple of games vs Merrimack and Lowell, they could move up to the #2 overall seed and play a team like Notre Dame or Union in the first round. Of course, a lot is going to happen between now and the end of the season but BC has a huge pairwise game coming up on Sunday afternoon, not to mention they're a point behind the Warriors in the Hockey East standings and are looking to take the deciding game in the season series. As for the Hockey East playoffs, if UMass beats Northeastern tonight, then BC would be playing Vermont in the first round at home. Should Northeastern beat the Minutemen, BC would still be at home versus the Catamounts.

Basically, I think this team is in good shape to make a run in Hockey East and get a good seed in the NCAA tournament. If you're a BC fan, root for Quinnipiac, UNH, and Miami all to keep losing. If those teams start to fall, then BC will move ahead (assuming they win) of them in the pairwise. Also, we want teams like UMass and Vermont to make it above the TUC line so it helps BC's TUC record.

It's a confusing process and all, but right now I can make it very simple for you. If BC beats Merrimack on Sunday in North Andover, they are putting themselves in as good a spot as they possibly can to get a 1 seed in the East.

Go Eagles.

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