Thursday, October 23, 2014

Previewing the Colorado College Tigers

The last time I wrote the five words you see above, BC Hockey world was filled with optimism as many inside the program felt the 2011 version of the Eagles was the best of the Coach York era. While they may have been true, the walls came tumbling down on March 26th, 2011 as #4 Colorado College ended #1 BC's season, 8-4 in the semifinals of the NCAA West regional in St. Louis. Obviously, a lot has changed since that dreadful day but it will no doubt stay in the minds of coaches, players, and fans for a very long time.

Anyways, tomorrow presents a fantastic opportunity for this Eagle club. They open up at home against a "weak" Tiger squad, fresh off a perfect performance vs RIT. Colorado College is in it's first season under head coach Mike Haviland, who took over after Scott Owens ran the program for 15 years and engineered that historic upset of BC four years ago. I think it's quiet fair to say that CC is in a bit of a rebuilding year but they have a large senior class (six guys) and six NHL draft picks to their credit. So far this season, the Tigers are 2-2, with both wins coming at home vs Alabama-Huntsville and both losses coming at home vs the University of North Dakota. In fact, UND demolished their NCHC rivals by a cumulative score of 10-3 last weekend. While CC did pick up two wins vs UAH, those weren't the usual power conference team vs UAH blowouts, the scores were 3-2 and 4-3.

Leading the way for the black and gold is their top returning scorer and Carolina draft pick, defenseman Jaccob Slavin who posted 5 goals and 25 assists as a freshman. Unfortunately for CC, he was the only blue liner to record more than 9 points a season ago. Slavin is joined by talented freshman Teemu Kivihalme, who is currently second on the team is scoring. It appears that while CC may have a hard time putting the puck in the net (33rd in goals scored so far), they have some young, talented defenseman that have a good mixture of size and speed. Jr forward Peter Maric currently leads their club in points with three, already 3/4 of the amount he recorded a season ago.

Let's make this very clear. BC should win this game. I'm not going to try and sugarcoat it for you, a loss tomorrow night would be three or four steps in the wrong direction. Not only should the Eagles win this game, they should run these guys out of the building. If they play within their system, break the puck out smoothly, forecheck aggressively, avoid dumb penalties and stupid turnovers, they should be able to take home the win. The two biggest areas they need to improve in are the power play (only one goal in six tries), and the penalty kill (42nd in the country, 75%). I'd like to see them switch up the penalty killing pairs. While I think Straight could possibly get some time on the kill, I don't understand why he is above Smith, Sit, Linell, Spiro (who they don't put out there much), and Cangelosi. In fact, Straight has been out there for both PP goals BC has given up this season. Odds are, BC is going to take a couple of penalties. They're going to be amped up to play in front of a home crowd for the first time this season, so they may come out with a little "too much" intensity from the start. Let's hope the PK is ready to go.

Scouting CC-

Leading scorers- Pete Maric (3 points), Cody Bradley (2 points), Garrett Cecere (2 points)

Record- 2-2 (Wins vs UAH, losses vs UND)

Projected starter- Tyler Marble (.892 save percentage)

Through four games, CC is the most penalized team in college hockey. 16.5 penalty minutes per game. They have given up 2 power play goals per game. 11 for 19 on the kill.


Last meeting- Next.

All time series- 12-5-1 BC leads

BC is 12-7-1 in home openers under Coach York. 5-1-1 since 2008

Keys for BC- (Same as always) 

1. No stupid penalties.

2. No turnovers in the defensive or neutral zone that will lead to odd man rushes.

3. Convert on the power play!! This team will be able to produce offensively if they can develop a potent power play.

No injuries.

It's been 1,309 days.

Go Eagles.

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