Monday, February 4, 2013

Previewing the Harvard Crimson

The legendary John " Snooks" Kelly once called the Beanpot the  "greatest social and athletic event in the world". Tomorrow night at 5 Pm, it will kick off it's 61st addition when BU meets Northeastern. The late game will feature the 3x defending champion Boston College Eagles vs ECAC rival Harvard. If you've read the blog during the Beanpot you'd know that this tournament is my favorite event of the season and personally, I think this team has a great chance to keep the coveted trophy on Chestnut Hill. The first test will come against a talented yet depleted Harvard Crimson team that has lost 7 seven straight and currently boast a 5-14-1 record overall. I hope the staff has one message for the guys this weekend. Anything can and anything will happen in the Beanpot. This tournament is where teams revitalize their seasons. I watched this Harvard team play BU @ the Jack Parker Rink and come back from a 3 goal deficit in the third period. They have the talent to catch BC off guard if the Eagles ply like they did vs Maine. Harvard's got guys like Vesey, Fallstrom, and Blackwell who can play at a very high level. They're quick, their skilled, and they will certainly make BC play if the Eagles are caught falling asleep in their own end. As for BC, they're coming off one of their stronger performances in quite some time as they easily defeated the Vermont Catamounts 4-1 on Friday night. People will tell you that Vermont stinks and all that but the bottom line is that BC didn't just get a must needed win, they played a game in which all four lines and the defense played really solid. I thought all four offensive lines did a great job in all three zones and created a ton of chances on UVM goalie Brody Hoffman throughout the game. Getting chances is one thing but capitalizing on them is another. The Eagles should have had 6 or 7 goals Friday night but they failed to finish at key junctures in the first period. I look at guys like Destry Straight and Danny Linell to start stepping up and scoring because quite honestly, they should both have a lot more goals than they currently have. I thought Linell played well with Johnny G and Mullane but he needs to find a way to start putting the puck in the net.

Overall, I thought all four lines played well vs UVM but I especially liked the way the fourth line of Quinn Smith-Pat Brown-Brooks Dyroff. When BC is able to roll four lines like that on a consistent basis, they're a much better hockey team. Hopefully, that continues tomorrow night. Believe it or not, these new lines make BC the deepest team in the tournament this season. BU, NU, and especially Harvard are all very thin up front. On Friday night, BC had four lines that were generating offensive chances, not just two. On the defensive side of things, BC just needs to build off what they did Friday. They covered well in their own zone, avoided turnovers, and made smart decisions in all three zones. That's got to continue tomorrow night. One thing I would like to see improve is BC's power play. In order to win in trophy season, you've got to find a way to score on the man advantage. BC has done that in years past and they've got to find a way to do it tomorrow night. With Matheson back, it gives BC two equally powerful units that can score. I look for them to capitalize when given the chances vs the Crimson.

As for tomorrow nights opponent, the Crimson are currently in last place in the ECAC with just 3 league wins and 5 wins overall. It's been as bad as it can for Ted Donato and his team this season. But, as I said earlier, Harvard may by thin but they have three or four really good forwards. They have one big line of Vesey, Blackwell, and Fallstrom. Basically, it's their three best players all in one line. Assuming that's Harvard's first line tomorrow, I think the staff will try to matchup the Arnold, Whitney, and Sit line vs them but they could also go with the Johnny G line. Either way, I think BC should have ample opportunities to score goals tomorrow. No matter what line it is. Harvard's offense has really struggled to put pucks in the net this year. They rank second to last in college hockey in goals scored per game at 2.05. On special teams, the Crimson, who had the best power play in college hockey a season ago, now rank second to last in the country in terms of PP goals, tallying just 8 on the season. No matter how Harvard plays tomorrow, it's not about them. It's about how the Eagles play. If they assert their will like they did in the final 55 minutes vs UVM, then they should win this game.

Keys for the Eagles-

1. Getting off to a good start. Harvard's going to come out flying. BC needs to weather the storm early and then attack.

2. Don't give the Crimson PP chances. When your playing teams you should beat, you can't keep giving them chances to score on the man advantage.

3. Score on the power play.

Scouting Harvard-

Pairwise Rank- Not ranked.

Top scorers- Jimmy Vesey (10-4-14) and Tommy O'Regan (3-9-12)

Best Win- @ BU

Worst Losses- @ Brown, vs St. Lawrence

All Time Series- BC leads 69-44-5. The Eagles are 25-13 vs HU in the Beanpot.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update. Love hearing some positive winnings ahead.

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