Thursday, November 7, 2013

Previewing the Boston University Terriers

For the 263rd time, the Boston College Eagles will faceoff against their ancient rivals, the Terriers of Boston University, however this time there is a bit of different feeling surrounding the matchup. For the the first time since 1973, the red and white will be without their legendary head coach, Jack Parker. I don't know about you but I think it's going to be a really weird feeling looking across the ice at their bench and not seeing him with his arms crossed, finger pointed at the refs, and screaming at the top his lungs. Whether you want to admit it or not, this rivalry is not the same without him.

Anyways, as Coach York told the media today, it's still the maroon and gold vs the scarlet and white, and that's all that matters. The Eagles are looking for some revenge after last season's embarrassing 6-3 loss to Terriers in the Hockey East semifinals, one in which BC had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period. Only to give up five unanswered goals. That was last year however as the Eagles are a faster, more physical, and deeper team this time around while the Terriers have been limping out of the gate with a 4-4 record so far. All four of those wins have come at Agganis Arena.

Thus far, BU has been led by their highly talented defensemen such as Ahti Oksansen (9 points) and senior captain Garrett Noonan (8 points). Up front, the Terriers have some pretty quick forwards such as Danny O'Regan (6 points) and Cason Hohmann (7 points). Here is thing, up front, we have a big advantage. Outside of those two guys, BC is a faster, more skilled team and once they get over the red line, they should be able to create a lot of odd man rushes. The one thing they need to do is keep these defensemen on their heels. In the two losses last season, we allowed these guys to get too involved with the play and they capitalized. Oksanen, Grzeylck and Noonan can skate and are highly potent offensive weapons but they are liabilities in the defensive end. I want to see BC be aggressive on the forecheck. Don't give them anything for free. Be physical and create turnovers. Much like Saturday.

If you have watched BC vs BU for as long as I have, you'd notice that just about the winner of each game is the team that comes out on top in the power play battle. Historically, both teams have had great power plays. I don't know about their new system under Quinn but I do know that so far this season, BC's power play has been a non-factor. The good news is that BU's penalty kill has struggled so far this season as they rank 34th in the nation. Hopefully the Eagles can take advantage of that and pounce on any chances they have on the man up.

On paper, BC is the better team but as you know, when it comes to this rivalry, paper means zip. Both teams are young and there may be a bit of a feeling out period at the start of the game. There have been a handful of times where BU just hasn't been ready to play vs BC @ Agganis. If that happens with their young, inexperienced forward group tomorrow night, look for BC to get it going early and often.

Keys for BC- 

1. BC has allowed 10 goals in the first period this year. More than any other team in Hockey East. they can't keep pulling off these miracles late in the third period. It'd be nice to be up a goal or two heading into the final stanza tomorrow.

2. Stay out of the box. When it comes to 5 on 5. I think the Eagles have a substantial advantage. If they take penalties, BU will have a great chance to win.

3. Make it a run and gun game. BU will have a shot if it's a low scoring, defensive game. If BC can get out in space, score early and often, then I think they should be able to bring it home. Demko has played well this year when he has a lead. BC is the superior skating team. They gotta show it.

Scouting BU- 

Record/Rank- 4-4...ranked 17th in the USCHO poll.

Top line- Rodrigues-O'Regan-Baillargeon

Leading Scorer- Ahti Oksanen

Best Win- Vs Providence

Worst Loss- @ Michigan State


1. BC is 5-1 in it's last 6 games @ BU

2. Coach York is 37-38-7 vs BU

3. It's a 7:30 game.

Projected Lineup- 

Check Wednesday's post.


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