Saturday, October 18, 2014

RIT Preview

After an extremely disappointing start to the season last weekend @ Lowell, the Eagles will look to right the ship as they face off vs the RIT Tigers. Interestingly, RIT is coached by Wayne Wilson who was a member of Coach York's 1984 NCAA Championship team @ Bowling Green. Associate head coach Brian Hills also played for Coach @ Bowling Green. Obviously, this is a huge game but for a lot of varying reasons. First of all, the first win is always one of the toughest to get, especially in front of what is sure to be a raucous crowd of 10,000 screaming Tiger fans. Secondly, BC has got to show their ability to play solid in their own end because that is supposed be the strength of this team. Some of the breakdowns vs Lowell were atrocious. A loss is a loss but last weekend wasn't just a loss, it was a game in which the Eagles looked totally out of sorts for forty minutes. Hopefully a good week of practice and a full squad will help enhance both the defensive zone breakouts and offensive productivity.

RIT is 1-1 on the season with a win over St.Lawrence and a loss vs Clarkson under their belts. This will be their fifth straight season hosting the "Brick City Homecoming", last year they faced off vs Michigan and almost beat a Wolverine squad that was fresh off a victory vs BC. There are certain games you just have to find a way to win, no matter how good the opponents plays or how tough the environment is, you just have to find a way. Tomorrow is one of those games. Five of the last eight seasons, BC has lost their opening game, in fact they've done that the past three years. Lost @ NU in 2013, @ Michigan in 2014, and @ Lowell last weekend. One of the reason Coach York and the staff decided to schedule this game and so many other non-conference road games is because a win on the road is added points to the pairwise standings. The Eagles are currently's early.

There are a lot of things that need to get better and I'm not expecting a perfect game tomorrow but if dumb penalties and turnovers are prevalent, it isn't going to be pretty. This team is simply not explosive enough to make up for three or four really bad give aways in their own end. Towards the end of the second and certainly in the third period vs UML, the Eagles were able to generate a lot more pressure but unfortunately, it was all from the first two lines. BC's bottom six forwards combined for just one shot and freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin led the team with four shots on goal. I love Noah but a freshman defenseman isn't supposed to be the best player on the ice with a team full of future NHLers in his first game, even it's Noah Hanifin. 

When it's all said and done, we're going to learn a lot about this team's ability to rebound from adversity. Once the crowd got going after UML's first goal last week, BC couldn't do anything about it. Even if RIT scores the first goal or two tomorrow, the Eagles can't just pack it in like they did last weekend. It's a 60 minute game! We played about fifteen minutes at a high level a week ago. 

Keys for BC- 

1. Can't turn the puck over. Hockey isn't too different from football in the sense that whichever team turns the puck/ball over more, usually loses the game. BC has got to find a way to clean up in their own end.

2. Special teams. Neither the power play nor penalty kill was very effective last week. They still don't have a set top power play unit, they just do it by lines. Tuch, Gilmour, Fitzgerald, Matheson, and Hanifin would be a potent first unit. Also, they could possibly move Savage into the second unit. 

3. Scoring from the bottom two lines. Believe it or not, the return of Brendan Silk should help substantially. He was without a doubt the most improved forward from 2013 to 2014. Spiro, Sit, Linell, and Smith need to find a way to muster more than one shot on goal. 

Go Eagles. 

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