Friday, March 29, 2013

Previewing the Union Dutchmen

Whether it was Yale's stunning upset over Minnesota or unheralded Niagara giving North Dakota all it could handle, the NCAA tournament is off to a great start and it will certainly continue with a huge primetime matchup between BC and Union tomorrow night. For BC to advance and keep their title defense alive, they're going to need to play their best game of the season tomorrow. Union is not a good hockey team, they're as good as any team in the nation. They have solid goaltending, skilled puck-moving defenseman, and a deep group of forwards that can score in bunches  The Dutchmen, the 4th seed in the ECAC playoffs, have rolled through their past 6 games , culminating with an ECAC championship last Saturday night vs Brown. Before defeating the Bears in the championship game, Union got a huge victory over a Yale team that just defeated Minnesota today. Clearly, the Dutchmen are playing their best hockey of the year at the right time.

In terms of common opponents, Union and Boston College share 3. Union has wins over Harvard (x2) and Merrimack while they also lost to the Warriors to open the season and also fell to Vermont in late December up in Burlington. Astonishingly, this will be the first ever meeting between Union and BC, two teams that made the Frozen Four last season (Union lost to Ferris State). When I look at this Union team, I see a team that has great special teams as they rank in the top 10 ten in both PK and PP while they also have as deep a defensive core as you will find in all of college hockey. Whether it's guys like Coburn, Gosthisbere, or Bodie, the Dutchmen have some guys that can really play at a high level. In terms of offensive production, Union is 16th in the country, currently averaging 3.04 goals per game (BC is second with 3.48). While their offense is solid, the defensive side of the puck is where Union thrives as they rank 6th in the country in goals given up per game (2.08).

Look, I think the whole key to this game is what team stays more disciplined. Last week, I saw a BC team that completely dominated BU for a long time but suddenly started taking penalties and handing the game right over to the Terriers. If BC gives Union multiple power plays at key junctures, it's going to be hard for them to come out with a W. If they can play aggressive  yet smart hockey, I think they have a fantastic chance of winning this hockey game. I like the move the staff made by putting Linell back to forward with Johnny G and Arnold because I think he possess some intangibles that Destry Straight doesn't offer. His speed and solid defensive zone play should go along nicely with Johnny and Billy.

I look for tomorrow night to be an absolutely fabulous hockey game between two of the best teams in the whole country. I think BC has a great shot if they can do a couple things. Like I said earlier, they have to stay out of the box as power plays can do a lot of damage in games like these. Two, they have got to find a way to play better in their own end. I think the Terriers had 4 or 5 breakaways in the game last weekend thanks to some blown coverages on BC's part. The Eagles have got to avoid those. Finally, they have to come out with an us vs the world attitude. This isn't a year where BC is expected to steamroll everyone like years past and to be honest, I think that bodes well for this club. They have the talent and the experience to go out there and win this game and if they go out there and play BC Hockey, they can win this game.

Scouting Union 

Record- 21-12-5 (ECAC tournament champs)

Best Wins- vs Yale, vs Merrimack

Worst Loss- @ Vermont

Leading Scorers- Wayne Simpson (16-17-33), Kyle Bodie (9-24-33), and Dan Carr (16-14-30)

Goalie- Troy Grosenick- .928 save percentage and 2.06 GAA


1 comment:

  1. I disagree and think they should have kept destry straight in his position because he offers great speed and play making abilities. Huge potential.