Saturday, July 20, 2013

Freshmen Expectations.....The Defense

With the losses of Pat Wey and Patch Alber, the Eagles will need two, maybe three, freshmen defensemen step in and play at a high level right away. Thankfully, the staff has landed arguably it's best recruiting class ever and there are two real stars coming in next season. Last season, I stared in awe at how freshman Mike Matheson came in and played at such a high level. His skating, his ability to run a power play, and his blistering shot never failed to amaze me on a daily basis. There were high expectations for Mike last season and 95 % of the time, he exceeded them (the penalties bring him down 5%). This fall, I think Eagle fans will once again be star-struck when they see Steven Santini and Ian McCoshen. They're two similar players, both big, physical, and defensive minded (Santini more so than McCoshen) players that can do whatever the staff ask of them. They'll kill penalties, skate on the power play, and go up against an opponents top line. Let's take a more in-depth look.

Let's face it, the defense in the latter half of last season flat out stunk. They barely got by Vermont and proceeded to get torched by BU and Union in what were two embarrising defensive performances. Now, those two games certainly don't rest on the play of 4 or 5 guys because in reality, that's all BC had, 4 defenseman that could really play. I mean, Teddy Doherty and Mike Matheson were playing every other shift ! In an NCAA Tournament  FRESHMEN !  Just goes to show how thin the defense was last year. Those guys just ran out of gas. Thankfully, reinforcements are on the way.

Not only are McCoshen and Santini two of the most talented defensive recruits BC has ever landed, they are two guys that will compliment BC's returning 3 guys tremendously. The way I look at it is, Matheson is the most talented offensive defensmam in the country and Doherty is also a guy that is better in the opponents end than he is in his own. The great thing about McCoshen is that he's a hybrid type. He is solid in both ends....something BC hasn't had since Brian Dumoulin. Santini on the other hand is a shut down defenseman that would go great along with Matheson. The Eagles didn't have a guy towards the end of last season where they could just put him out and be confident that he could help shut down another team's top line. Steven Santini will be that guy this season. He isn't a big offensive threat that will score goals and pick up assist like Mike Matheson or even Ian McCoshen but he will get a ton of ice time particularly in late game situations when the team needs to close the door. As the season goes on, he will develop a more well rounded offensive game because he is a good skater and  possesses a heavy shot but that's not really what he was brought in to do. If he becomes a "hybrid" type, that's awesome, but if he continues to be a shut down defenseman like he has been over the course of the last few seasons, then he will shine at BC.

Of course, Matheson, Santini, McCoshen, Doherty, and Macleod leave us with one more open spot. Incoming freshman Scotty Savage, who is flying under the radar thanks to his two fellow newcomers, will certainly have a chance to impress the staff and earn a spot on opening night.  I think he'll be a bit of a project and I expect that Danny Linell will start the season on defense but by years end, I wouldn't be the least bit shocked to see Savage playing on a nightly basis. Even if he doesn't play, he gives the staff a lot of options if someone doesn't step up or if there are injuries problems such as last year.

Anyways, that's that. I hope you are enjoying The Open as tomorrow sure looks like it'll be a beauty.

Go Eagles and Go Lee Westwood !

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