Friday, January 17, 2014
Previewing the Boston University Terriers
Tomorrow night, one of college sports' oldest stories will open a new chapter, #264 to be exact, as the Boston University Terriers will travel three miles down Commonwealth Ave to take on the #2 Boston College Eagles. This will be the second meeting of the season between BC and BU, the good guys came out on top in game one on November 8th @ the Jack Parker Rink by a score of 5-1. Since then, the teams have gone in two completely opposite directions. The Eagles are unbeaten in their past seven games and hold a two game lead in the Hockey East standings over Providence and Northeastern. On the other end, BU hasn't won a game since November 30th and were embarrassed last weekend @ Fenway Park by the University of Maine Black Bears. Another extremely unfortunate blow for the Terriers came to light this afternoon when it was announced that star defenseman Matt Grzelyck is out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Actually, he is not the only Terrier out of tomorrows game. Forwards Evan Rodriguez, Jake Moscatel, and Dillion Lawrence will all be shelved with injuries. Sophomore Sam Kurker left the team earlier this week, becoming the 21st Terrier to leave in the middle of the season or shortly after it since 2010. Yup. Tough times down there.
When I look at this game, I, like everyone else, knows that BC has a huge edge in talent and depth both up front and on the blue line. If this was Merrimack or Providence, then I would tell you there was no chance. BC would blow them out of the water. There just isn't enough talent on this BU team. But that's the key. Unless they come out with some new jersey tomorrow night, the front of those sweaters will still have "Boston" written on it. It doesn't matter whether it's David Quinn or Parker behind the bench, they will come out and play their tails off tomorrow night. They know they only have two things left to play for this season. A win tomorrow night and a Beanpot trophy next month and they will do everything they possibly can to get there. It's Boston College vs Boston University. You seriously think they will just roll over and give us a win ?
That being said, I think we've got a great shot to win tomorrow night if a few things happen. Number one, BU's will has to crushed in the opening period. If they have any sort of momentum heading into the second stanza, they will build on it. BC has got to find a way to get out to an early lead, get the crowd into the game, and force those guys into some dumb penalties. As young a team as we are, BU might be even more inexperienced, especially on the blue line where they will have guys that don't even play the position out there. When guys like MacAfee and Somerby step onto the ice, just attack. Attack, attack, attack. These guys will have no idea what to do with themselves if they don't have time and space, especially on the road. If BC is relentless in their pursuit of the puck, especially on this D core, good things will happen.
As you may or may not have seen, the staff has made a few key changes to lineup. First and foremost, they moved Danny Linell back up to forward to play alongside Mike Sit and Quinn Smith. I'm a huge fan of this move for two reasons. First of all, that gives us a solid third line that has speed and vs bad skating teams like BU, speed needs to be a factor. Second of all, it allows the staff to insert Teddy Doherty on a nightly basis. Thank God. With Linell moving back to forward, the odd guy out is Destry Straight who will be benched for the first time this season. I'm not really sure where I stand on that particular move. I mean, Destry had a hatrick vs Penn State and played OK vs Providence last weekend. I guess they thought he really struggled vs Brown.
Anyways, It's BC-BU. Go Eagles.
Scouting Boston University
Pairwise rank- 45th
Best win- vs Wisconsin
Worst loss- vs Bentley
Leading scorers- Ahti Oksanen (3-13-16), Danny O'Regan (6-9-15), Garrett Noonan (4-11-15)
Team offense- 2.40 goals scored per game (49th)
Team defense- 3.25 goals allowed per game (41st)
Power play- 22 % (7th)
Penalty kill- 83 % (25th)
Keys for the Eagles-
1. Stay out of the box. BU doesn't score a lot of goals but they do have the 7th best power play in the country. It's the only way they scored in the first game @ the Jack Parker Rink. Keep them off the man advantage
2. Attack these defensemen. Forecheck aggressively. In two years, BU's defense will be very good. Right now, it's a disaster. A passive forecheck will give them time and space. No need to give them that.
3. Need some scoring from the second line. I think Pat Brown will add some much needed toughness and grit to that line, along with a much improved offensive game the captain brings along.
1. This is the largest win total difference between BC and BU since the 2004 Beanpot meeting.
2. Coach York is 38-38-7 vs Boston University.
3. Game is on NESN. 7 PM puck drop.