Thursday, January 30, 2014
Previewing the Providence College Friars
Tomorrow night, the #2 Boston College Eagles will travel down to newly renovated Schneider Arena for their first and only road game vs Providence College. The Eagles defeated Providence 5-2 on January 10th @ Kelly Rink as they capitalized with two power play goals. Since then, BC obviously hasn't lost while the Friars have been up and down, taking three of four "points" @ Colorado College and splitting a pair of league games with Lowell, winning at home last Friday before getting smoked 6-1 on Saturday @ Tsongas Center.
I'd say that besides the big win vs Maine, BC's victory vs Providence was their best game in two months. Providence isn't the fastest team in the world but they are big and very physical. Last season, we allowed them to be too physical in two of the three matchups, resulting in a loss and a tie. Two weeks ago, they were not as physical and they were not smart. When you play BC, you need three things. First, you need great goaltending and the Friars have that in Jon Gilles. He has struggled as of late but he will be solid tomorrow. Secondly, you have to somehow stop the first line. I don't know if Albert Einstein could figure that one out, let alone the Providence coaching staff. Lastly, you've got to stay out of the box, especially when BC's power play is humming like it has been.
The biggest thing BC has to do tomorrow is make sure this game is played at a high tempo. If Providence slows it down, throws out a few big hits, and Gilles plays well, it will be a good game, if BC uses their speed through the neutral zone like they did in the first matchup, we've got a great chance at taking home a couple points. I don't think it's realistic to think Providence is going to play as poorly as they did in the third period of the first game, especially considering the fact they need the points to stay in the Hockey East regular season conversation and a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.
When I look at both teams' depth chart, I think BC has a substantial advantage, talent wise, on the first two lines. Johnny G, Kevin Hayes, and Billy Arnold were better than normal last time these teams played. BC hadn't yet moved Linell back to forward so we will see how that plays out but so far, he's shown why forward is clearly his natural position. If BC's third and fourth lines can continue to play like they have, especially the fourth line which has been tremendous ever since they got put together vs UNH, I think BC can really impose their will in this game.
Pairwise rank- 7th (15-6-5)
Best win- @ Vermont (x2)
Worst loss- @ Boston University
Leading scorers- Ross Mauermann (16-15-31), Nick Saracino (5-14-19), Mark Jankowski (9-8-17)
Team offense- 3.27 goals scored per game (13th)
Team defense-2.35 goals allowed per game (14th)
Power play- 13 % (53rd)
Penalty kill- 86% (8th)
Keys for BC-
1. Dictate the pace. Want it to be a high flying, north south game. Get the first line going early.
2. Providence takes a lot of penalties. If BC capitalizes, this game shouldn't be close.
3. Have to put the game away if given the chance. Last week, BC had a two goal lead in the third period, while on a five minute power play. Penn State almost came back and won the game. Shut the door on these guys early.
1. Boston College hasn't lost @ PC since 2006, going 6-0-3 in that span.
2. BC is 16-1-3 in it's last twenty vs PC.
3. No injuries to report. All systems go.