Thursday, February 14, 2013
Previewing the Merrimack College Warriors
Now, if you've been to Lawler Arena, you'd know it's as big of a home ice advantage as you can possibly have. It's small and it's very loud for games like Boston College. The small ice surface has given the Eagles their fair share of fits over the past few season as they are 1-3 in their last 4 games there. The win came last season when Paul Carey scored a late third period goal. They say the ice is the same as Conte and other Hockey East rinks but I don't believe it. The surface looks smaller, the corners are tighter which gives BC less room to get out and skate. That's why they've had a hard time up there.
As for the lineups, I think the Eagles matchup rather well vs Merrimack. The Warriors have just one player (Mike Collins) that has scored more than 5 goals this season. Not to mention he had a rough game earlier this year vs the defending National Champs, going for 0 points and a -1 rating. Look for the staff to either put out the Arnold or Mullane line vs Collins' line every time they're on the ice. On Monday, the Mullane line started out versus Roy's line but as the game grew older, they started to put Arnold, Hayes, and Whitney against NU's big three. We'll see what happens tomorrow. The Warriors don't score a ton of goals (they rank 7th in HEA in goals per game) but they do what every Mark Dennehy team does, play really good team defense. As of tonight, Merrimack ranks 2nd in the league in goals given up per game as they've only allowed an average of 2.39 per game so far this season. In terms of special teams, Merrimack has the 7th best power play in Hockey East (15%) and the 3rd ranked PK (84.8%).
This is a huge game. There is no other way to say it. The winner gets sole possession of first place and a victory for the Eagles would give them the season series plus a multiple game cushion over both MC and UNH (Sundays opponent). I look for BC to just try and continue what they did on Monday night. Get out and create odd man rushes, pounce on rebounds, drive to the net, and on the defensive end, just avoid dumb turnovers. The improvement I've seen in this team from the weekend in Maine weekend to now has been dramatic. Let's hope it continues tomorrow night.
Keys for BC-
1. Pressure this goalie. If Merrimack is going to win, let it be because Sam Marotta played the game of his life. This is his first home game against Boston College and there can be a lot of pressure. Test him early and often.
2. Don't go down 3-0 Again. Don't expect the Warriors to let up a 3 goal lead again, especially at home.
3. Convert on power play chances. The PP wasn't great on Monday night...probably the only rough spot I took out of the game actually. Expect both units to get back to their A games tomorrow night.
Pairwise Rank- 20
Hockey East Standings- 2nd (one point behind BC)
Leading Scorer- Mike Collins 15-19-34
Best Wins- Vs UNH (x2), @ PC,
Worst Losses- @ Alaska Anchorage, vs UConn
Go Eagles !