Thursday, February 13, 2014

Previewing the Vermont Catamounts

It's not too often you have an opportunity to win a pair of trophies in a matter of six days but that's what the Eagles have in front of them this weekend as they travel up to Burlington for a weekend series with the Vermont Catamounts. With two victories, BC would clinch their second Hockey East regular season title in three years. Tomorrow night will be the first meeting between BC and UVM this season. The Eagles were 4-0-1 vs the Cats last season which included a tie and victory at Gutterson Field House.

Although the last two seasons have been a bit of a rough go for Kevin Sneddon's crew, they have righted the ship these past couple of months. Last weekend was perhaps their best of the season as they swept the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Leading the way for UVM is former BC commit Chris McCarthy who currently has fourteen goals and seventeen assist on the season, good for 27th in the country in scoring. Supporting McCarthy have been freshman Mario Puskarich and junior Jacob Fallon. McCarthy centers UVM's top line with Puskarich and fellow freshman Brendan Bradley, the trio combined for eleven points last weekend vs UNH. On defense, the Catamounts are led Michael Palliotta (19 points) and senior Nick Bruneteau (12 points).

If you remember anything about last year's trip to the Gut, you'd know that they were two brutally physical games in which BC was extremely beat up after. I think the biggest difference between last years UVM team and this years is that they've got a lot of guys that can skate. McCarthy, Fallon, Puskarich, and Bradley are all players that have good feet and create a lot of good chances in the offensive end. While solid on offense, the strength of UVM's team throughout the year has been their defense. They're currently third in Hockey East and seventh in the nation in goals allowed per game (2.22) but of course, they've got to go against the best offense in college hockey and no one has yet to stop the big three so if they can stop BC, then give them all the credit in the world.

When it's all said and done, the only thing winning a Beanpot championship can do for this team is give them even more confidence heading into a pair of games where they can clinch yet another trophy. Winning championships is one the toughest things to do in sports but winning championships in another team's barn makes it that much tougher. There is no way UVM is going to let BC come into their rink and walk out with a Hockey East regular season championship. Heck, if those guys get a pair of wins they will be pretty much set for the NCAA tournament so we know they're going to play their absolute best hockey. It's going to be a high octane, physical, down to wire hockey game tomorrow night and based off what we've seen from the Eagles all season, they should be able to get the job done.

Scouting Vermont- 

Pairwise rank- 12th (15-9-3)

Best win- @ Maine

Worst loss- @ Boston University

Leading scorers- Chris McCarthy (14-17-31), Mario Puskarich (13-13-26), Jake Fallon (4-14-18)

Team offense- 2.89 goals per game (28th)

Team defense- 2.22 goals allowed per game (7th)

Power play- 14 % (48th)

Penalty kill- 87.5 % (4th)

Keys for the Eagles- 

1. Stop McCarthy's line. That has to be the number one priority going into this weekend. If McCarthy is stopped, I don't think UVM has a chance. I'd expect the Fitzgerald-Brown-Cangelosi line out there vs him but they could also put out the big three.

2. Need a goal or two from third or fourth lines. Expect Linell to move back up to forward with McCoshen back.

3. Less odd man rushes for the opponent. I thought Northeastern generated way to many 3 on 2's, 4 on 3's, and even a couple 2 on 1's and breakaways. We can't be relying on Demko to make every save.


1. Boston College is 21-6-3 vs UVM since they joined Hockey East in 2006.

2. BC is 4-5-3 in their last twelve games @ Gutterson Field House.

3. BC is 33-12-5 all time vs UVM.

Go Eagles !

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