Tuesday, November 4, 2014

UConn Preview

If you look down BC's schedule, the non-BU games that jump out at you are Denver, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine etc and perhaps those are the games that you look most forward to because of the opponents pedigree. For me, tomorrow night's game against UConn, the newest and perhaps least heralded team in the league, is as intriguing as any game the maroon and gold will play this year. If you walk into Conte Forum, you'll see five banners with the words "National Champions" inscribed on them, four of which have come within the past 15 years. You'll see countless Beanpot, Hockey East tournament and regular season titles, and a newly minted Hobey Baker award winner banner, which includes the names of two guys that helped bring BC Hockey to it's modern day prominence amongst the college hockey world. None of those banners or trophies would be anywhere close to that rink if it weren't for Mike Cavanaugh. Not only was he a terrific coach, recruiter, and teacher, but he was always very good to me and my blog throughout his time at BC and for that, I will always be thankful.

But I still want to beat him. 

Whether you're a fan of it or not, the Eagles will travel down to the XL Center in Hartford Wednesday evening to take on the Huskies for the first time in program history. 7 games into this young season, the Huskies are 1-4-2 but their one W is an impressive one, a 4-1 victory over a Quinnipiac team that has been a factor on the national stage for quiet a few years now. As close as Coach York and Coach Cav may be, you know the student will do anything and everything he can to bring home what would be a monumental victory for his up and coming programing. Coming off a long road trip against a highly ranked opponent and with You Know Who looming on Friday, this has trap game written all over it for BC. While I have all the respect in the world for Coach Cav and the Huskies, if they take any points away from the Eagles tomorrow night, it will be the biggest disappointment of the season to this point. 

When I look at this game, the biggest thing I want to see out of BC is some scoring. While they created some chances out in the Mile High city, it certainly wasn't enough, especially on the power play where they were 1 for 13 on the weekend. It's no secret that one of BC's strength is the skating ability of their defenseman but it seems to me like they're not getting involved enough on the power play. For whatever reason, not only are they not scoring, they aren't getting the type of looks that will challenge a goaltender or a penalty unit. To me, everything looks stationary and they aren't moving the puck around quick enough, forcing the defense to constantly move and thus, creating gaps for the offense to pounce on. The good news is that Cav's main duties outside of recruiting while @ BC included a penalty kill which constantly ranked in the top 10 nationally. I'm thinking Coach York and Coach Brown may know a little something about the way he wants to kill off BC's power plays. 

I can't stress how important this game is to BC's hopes for a regular season championship and more importantly, a good position in the national spotlight come years end. You may be asking, "how does a win @ UConn have any impact on our national standing?" UConn is going to have plenty of opportunities to beat some quality opponents this year and pick up some valuable pairwise points if they're able to do so. The revamped pairwise system puts an emphasis on road wins, whether that victory is conference or non conference doesn't matter that much, as long as you find a way to win on the road. It is very rare for a Coach York team to overlook an opponent heading into a bigger game in the near future and I don't expect them to tomorrow, especially considering the guy running the opponents bench. We can't lose to Cav !!

Scouting UConn- 

Record- 1-4-2, 38th in pairwise 

Leading scorers- Spencer Naas (2-2-4), Shawn Pauly (0-3-3), Corey Ronan (1-1-2) 

Team defense- 2.57 goals allowed per game (28th) 

Team offense- 1.71 goals allowed per game (51st) 

Power play- 5.26 % (55th) 

Penalty kill- 85.7 % (24th)

Penalty minutes- 11.14 penalty minutes per game (36th) 

Keys for the Eagles- 

1. Find a way to put the puck in the net. If they go 0 for 8 on the power play again I might collapse. 

2. I'm looking for a big game from Scotty Savage. The reason I'm saying this is because I saw how good the kid can be last season. Thus far, he hasn't reached that point. Hopefully, he starts tomorrow. 

Injury update- Mike Sit (hand) will play

Go Eagles 

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