Friday, December 6, 2013

Previewing the UNH Wildcats

I'm not going to sit here and write about how this weekend is a big one because of points, pairwise, standings, all that kind of crap. No, this weekend is about a heck of a lot more than all those numbers. This weekend is about coming back from one of the most embarrassing losses in the program's storied history and showing the fans that this is still the team that smoked Wisconsin, tied Minnesota, clobbered BU, and swept Northeastern. It's time to prove to people that the guys in that locker room have heart and are willing to play a full 60 minute hockey game. Everyone seems to think last weekend's collapse will somehow wake the team up and they will play better from here on out. I've never been a believer in those type of statements. In Hockey East and college hockey in general, there should be the same level of effort and pride shown each and every game. Unfortunately with this team, those two intangibles have been pretty down as of late.

Despite all the criticism and bad comments, there will be an even larger sense of optimism surrounding this club if they can take four points from a very good UNH team this weekend. First of all, the biggest thing BC needs to do is actually show up for the first period. Playing from behind in this league vs good teams is extremely tough. Being blown out after two periods vs Holy Cross and Maine certainly is not going to help your chances of winning hockey games and making the NCAA tournament.

UNH is good club, they've got a couple of high end forwards like Goumas, Downing, and Sorkin but they also carry what is arguably the deepest defensive core in Hockey East, led by the big three of Trevor van Riemsdyk, Eric Knodel, and Brett Pesce. The Wildcats play a style not unlike BC. They're fast, they've got some big defensemen that can hit, and they have a pair of goalies that can be real hot and real cold. Look for BC to stack up on the first line with all the big guns together to generate more scoring chances. Yes, Hayes, Johnny, and Billy Arnold will create a lot of good opportunities and they should control the pace while they're out there but whether BC wins or loses depends on how their third and fourth lines play. They need guys like Brown and Gilmour to start putting the puck in the back of the net in order to win these big games. As for who is in net, I am not sure yet. Check twitter for updates throughout the night.

Scouting UNH-

Rank- 16th (9-7-1), second in Hockey East. Two points above BC.

Leading scorer- Kevin Goumas (19 points), Nick Sorkin (19 points), and Trevor Van Riemsdyk (18 points)

Team Offense- 3.35 goals per game (15th in country)

Team Defense- 2.24 goals per game (11thin country)

Power Play- 21.92 percent. (16th in country)

Penalty Kill- 79.3 percent (41st in country)

Penalty minutes- 8.53 per game. (57th lowest in country)

Keys for BC-

1. Need production on the power play. In every game that BC has lost this season, they have not recorded a power play goal.

2. Whoever is in net needs to play better. Billet's performance vs Maine and Demko's vs Holy Cross were both very concerning. I would expect Demko tonight but I'm really not sure.

3. Win the first period. The first period has been killing this team all season. Hopefully they improve tonight.

Go Eagles

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