Friday, March 1, 2013

Previewing the Providence College Friars

In what might be the biggest weekend series in a long time for the Providence Friars, the Eagles will look to make this a big weekend of their own as they look to help solidify their spot in the NCAA tournament and a home ice spot in Hockey East. As of today, the Eagles and Friars are both tied for first place with 28 points so far this season. They've met just once this year, a game in which PC shocked the Eagles with a game tying goal with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. Throughout that game, I thought BC was the better team and got the majority of the scoring chances but Providence goalie Jon Gilles stood on his head for a lot that game, preventing BC from getting a 3 or 4 goal lead. As you probably know by now, BC will be without forward Kevin Hayes who was rushed to the hospital and had emergency surgery during the second period of BC's game on Tuesday night. BC isn't going to be the only team shorthanded tonight though as the Friars will be missing third leading scorer Shane Luke, probably their best defenseman in Myles Harvey, and forward Steve McParland. I said it earlier this week and i'll say it again. This is without a doubt the biggest game of the season for the Eagles. They played well at times on Tuesday night but made too many mistakes. They got back to turning the puck over, not back-checking, and taking way to many penalties in critical situations. Tonight, I hope to see a BC team that plays solid in both ends, gets more power plays than it gives up, and plays hard for a full 60 minutes. I'd say the Eagles played well for 40/45 minutes during Tuesday's game but when you're playing a team like Lowell or in the case Providence, they can really make you pay for not playing a full 60.

Let me make this short and sweet. BC has got to find a way to come out with two points tonight. I don't care if they win 10-1 or they win with a second left in overtime. They have to win this game. No ties. Two points or nothing. When I look at Providence, I consider them to be a team that plays a similar style to that of Merrimack and Lowell. All three of these teams play a boring, clog it up and dump it in style of hockey. BC handled it well for the most part vs Merrimack but they struggled creating lots of scoring chances for some of the game vs Lowell. I don't know if the staff is going to change the lines or anything but I would think that guys like Johnny G, Steven Whitney, Bill Arnold, and Pat Mullane will get a lot more playing time. If I had to guess, I would say this game has a better chance of being a low scoring one than it does a high scoring one. Both teams have real solid goaltenders that have ability to steal a couple away points for their clubs (such as Gilles did last time out vs BC).

Scouting the Friars-

Pairwise Rank-25th

Hockey East- Tied for 1st

Leading Scorers- Derek Army (13-9-22), Ross Mauermann (10-10-20) , Tim Schaller (6-13-19)

Best Wins- @ UNH, vs UNH

Worst Loss- @ Vermont

All time Series- BC leads 106-45-13

Keys for the Eagles-

1. Getting off to a good start. It would be a bit of a buzz kill for the Eagles to see Providence score the first goal. BC has got to find a way to got a one or two goal lead through a period of play.

2. Staying out of the box. Over the course of their last 4 games, BC has given their opponents a total of 24 power plays. In return, the Eagles have had 10.

3. Not having any bad mental lapses. The winning goal for Lowell on Tuesday was the perfect example of a mental lapse. The Eagles have numbers but only one guy stays back for the Lowell odd man rush. Not to mention nobody back-checked.

Go Eagles !

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