Thursday, January 1, 2015
Five spots out of the NCAA tournament as it stands today, the Eagles will begin the second half minus five of their top players tomorrow afternoon when they face-off vs Brown in the Ledyard Bank Invitational @ Dartmouth. Obviously a lot of guys will need to step up especially with BC's top three defenseman out of the lineup, expect A LOT of minutes from Michael Matheson, perhaps a bunch of double shifts, especially early in the game. Teddy Doherty and Scotty Savage will also get a boatload of minutes, which could be beneficial for both of them but particularly Savage who has made some strides in the past couple of weeks after an up and down start. As we saw vs Denver, a game in which he scored a goal, Travis Jeke has some offensive upside that I think could translate onto the second power play unit. Danny Linell will be the fifth D.
Up front, I don't expect any changes except for the obvious fact that Tuch won't be there. The good news for BC is that Brown is one of the worst offensive teams in the country as they only score 1.64 goals per game, good for 56th in the country. Overall, the biggest difference between what BC did vs UNH and Michigan and what they were doing earlier in the year was execution. They didn't skate around the maize and blue for 60 minutes, they just found a way to put the puck in the net more on their high quality scoring chances, something that has been hard to come by this year. I think both teams are going to come out rusty but those guys last played on December 6th (4-2 W vs RPI), BC last played on the 12th, maybe that makes a little bit of a difference. The Bears only have one win this season away from Meehan Auditorium and that was @ Army.
Like I said earlier this week, it's now or never in terms of BC's pairwise standing. A loss vs Brown, a team that most likely won't get 10 wins this season, would probably drop them into the 30's and no matter how good they play from here on out, jumping 15 spots is a heck of a lot harder than jumping 5 spots. If they lose Saturday night vs a very good Dartmouth team without all the big guns, ok we can somewhat deal with that but a loss to Brown would just be an absolute pairwise killer. They cannot lose this game tomorrow. They will certainly find a way to start winning the games no one thinks they'll win because that's just they way Coach York does it in the second half but if they lose those games they should win, then it's going to be a really painful second half.
To be honest, it's been such a long time since they last played a game and they're missing so many guys, I don't know what to expect, but they know they have to win this game in order to stay relevant in the pairwise. When it comes to January and February, the only thing that matters in the regular season is the pairwise. They just have to find a way to get a ride to the dance floor because once the Eagles are in the dance, things happen. Let's get the new year started on the right foot.
Leading scorer- Matt Lorito (5-1-6)
Goals allowed per game- 3.91 (55th)
Goals scored per game- 1.64 (54th)
Power play- 0.06 % (57th)
Penalty kill- 67% (Last in college hockey)
Shots on goal margin- -6.88 shots per game (51st)
If I had to guess, Billett in goal tomorrow but no official word.