Wednesday, January 14, 2015
How BC Can Win
Because I am swamped with studying for exams tomorrow night, I decided to write the BU preview this evening but it's not going to be a normal one. We know who they are, you don't need me to run down the numbers and talk about their tendency's and so fourth. Instead, I thought it would be best to take a look at the key things BC needs to do in order to come out with a win that would certainly change the outlook on this season. For the first time since perhaps 2009, we are traveling down the street as the underdog, but as we've proven in the past, we play as well in that building as we do in our own. Since it's inception, the maroon and gold are 10-3-1 all time and amazingly, have won 12 of the past 17 games overall vs Boston University. Everyone wants to talk about Eichel and Hanifin, the implications, the pairwise, the Hockey East standings, etc. I don't care if we were playing for a pack of gum from City Convenience, the only thing that matters when you put on that jersey, from a competitive standpoint, is you do everything you possibly can to beat BU. I absolutely hate when people go "it's just a game, they will play again soon". Sure, we will probably see these guys again soon but the break in-between games is going to be a heck of a lot better if we win.
Obviously, both teams have been playing well as of late but they're very different in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Let's take a look at what BC has to do to stop their high powered offense.
1. Demko has to continue to play at a high level. Outside of Eichel, I don't think there is anyone in Hockey East that has been more valuable to their team that Thatcher Demko has been for this club. Without him, well, let's just say blogger would probably be on Mars by now. Interestingly enough, one of his two poor performances thus far came against BU when he let in a couple of strikes that he would probably like to have back, especially in the third period. I expect him to just continue what he has done all year.
2. Two of Matheson/McCoshen/Santini need to be out there every time #9 steps foot on the ice. It's going to be tough without last change but they should just have one of the managers study the BU bunch for the entire night and tell the staff when that line is going out there. Look for BU to move highly talented senior Evan Rodriguez (who always kills us) up to that line in place of Oksanen....at least that is what they did vs Wisconsin.
3. Either Gilmour's line or Straight's line every time vs #9. I'm going to go to church tomorrow night and pray they don't try and put the third line out there vs this guy because if they do, it may not be pretty. Preferably, I like Sanford and Tuch out there against him but both kind of struggled last time out so I'm not sure if maybe the speed of Cangelosi could give him fits....whatever they think works. Again, it will be tough without last change but they need to find a way.
4. Clog the neutral zone, don't send guys jumping into their end on the forecheck. Look, I'm all for playing aggressive, hard hitting, fast hockey but we are just a different brand this year. Last time, we aimlessly sent one guy in and they were able to transition like they could do it in their sleep. I'm fine with allowing them to get the puck from their goal line to their blue but once they hit that blue, we want the puck out of their hands as soon as possible. They're a better puck possession team than we are but we're better in our end than they are. Maybe the staff could throw some different looks at them early, start aggressive with two guys in hard try and force a turnover, then go back to a more passive style.
5. Win the battle of the special teams. I'd be willing to bet that whatever team does better on the man advantage will win the game because I've seen it happen on so many occasions in this rivalry. The good news is that our PK (thanks to Demko) and PP have been firing on all cylinders as of late but I think they could still tinker with a few things. Number one, have a set first power play unit. I've never seen a BC team use standard lines for two power play units like they're doing this year. I would put all the big guns on one unit and the next best 5 guys on the second one. Sanford, Gilmour, Tuch (that is a line), Matheson, and Hanifin then Cangelosi, Fitzgerald, Calnan, Doherty, and McCoshen. In terms of the penalty kill, just have one of the forwards spy on Eichel the whole time because he just floats around and they try and get him the puck.
6. We have to stay out of the box. Like I said, we can't take boneheaded penalties vs these guys because if we do, it's going to be real ugly.
7. Lastly, I want to see BC throw everything they possible have in the arsenal at these guys. It's been a tough season so far and winning games vs Michigan, Northeastern, and an Xmas tournament are great but a win over the scarlet and red on the road could do wonders for this team and this program. I'm not going to give it the old "if they play hard and still lose I will be happy" because that would be just a flat out lie but I really think they could surprise some people come Friday night. In fact, I haven't heard one person say BC's got a shot but all I know is that the commander in chief will certainly get em going.
Come on....GO EAGLES !!!!