Merrimack and BC already played one of their two league contest this season just three weeks ago @ Lawler Arena, a solid 4-1 victory for the good guys. When we look at that particular, the first stat that jumps out to us is that BC held Merrimack to just twenty shots in three periods of play, including a astonishing four attempts in the third period. Overall, BC played a really good road game. They stayed out of the box (MC had just two power plays), capitalized when given a chance on the power play, and got out to an early lead. Merrimack is not the type of team that should be able to score more than three even strength goals, in fact, they've only scored three goals or more two times in Hockey East play. For comparisons sake, BC has scored three or more goals in all but five of their league games.
The key to playing Merrimack is breaking through their really boring neutral zone trap. To put it as simple as possible, they pack four guys in the neutral zone and it's usually the most unentertaining 60 minutes we get to watch all year. The Warriors have actually played some pretty good hockey @ BC over the past couple years. They had a 3-0 lead after a period last season before BC stormed back and won the game. They also scored with under a minute left in January of 2012 to salvage a tie with the Eagles. To be perfectly honest, it would take one heck of a meltdown in order for BC to lose tomorrow. It's the perfect trap game however with the biggest game of the season on Monday, playing the last place team at home on a Friday night might not be the most exciting game for the guys to play in. I think the coolest thing about Hockey East is that any team can beat any other team on any given night. Merrimack is going to play really hard tomorrow, they need the points a heck of a lot more than we do. They're playing for their season, and it's never easy to play a team that is playing for their playoff lives.
I know everyone is probably wondering about Ian McCoshen so here is what we got. He will NOT play tomorrow as he remains sideline with an injury. As of right now, he is questionable to play on Monday night vs Northeastern. Here is the lineup for tomorrow.
Johnny G- Bill Arnold- Kevin Hayes
Ryan Fitzgerald- Pat Brown- Austin Cangelosi
Quinn Smith- Mike Sit- Brendan Silk
Destry Straight- Adam Gilmour- Chris Calnan
Keys for BC-
1. Patience. I know it sounds stupid, really stupid but we've got to be patient vs this trap. There are a lot of times when guys won't be able to get through this unique style of defense but in order to break this is to make Merrimack play a north south game. Make them have to send guys in our zone on the forecheck. How do you do that ? You get out to an early lead.
2. No stupid penalties. Merrimack doesn't score a lot of even strength goals. At all.
3. Have to be ready to play. Those guys don't have another game this week so we know they will be licking their chops for two points. Hopefully we aren't looking towards some game on Monday.
Scouting Merrimack -
Pairwise- 45th (7-15-3)
Best win- Quinnipiac
Worst loss- vs UMass
Leading scorers- Mike Collins (8-11-19), Brian Christie (4-7-11), Chris Leblanc (5-5-10)
Team defense- 2.76 goals allowed per game (37th)
Team offense- 1.92 goals scored per game (55th)
Power play- 14 % (44th)
Penalty kill- 84 % (17th)
1. Under Coach York, Boston College is 12-3-2 between Beanpot Monday's. Last loss was 2001 vs PC
2. The last time BC won 20 of it's first 27 games was 2001, they have already done that this season.
3. Minnesota lost tonight so BC's 13 game unbeaten streak is now the longest in the country. BC is also #1 in the pairwise