Thursday, January 8, 2015

Northeastern Preview

Fresh off a huge road win over Dartmouth, the Eagles will once again hit the ice tomorrow night when they travel 10 minutes down the road to Matthews Arena to face a hot Northeastern squad. The Huskies are 6-1-1 in their last 8 contests, that includes victories over Minnesota, Yale, and @ Providence. Unfortunately for Jim Madigan's club, their recent success does not cover for their early season struggles, a slump in which they opened up 0-8-1. They currently sit in 9th place in Hockey East but are just 2 points behind the 6th place Eagles. Obviously, a win tomorrow night in a rink where we have historically struggled in would be huge for BC's NCAA tournament cause. The Eagles are 10-1 vs the Huskies in Jim Madigan's tenure at the helm on Huntington Ave, that includes a pair of Beanpot championships in 2013 and 2014.

You don't need to look at the stats to see how well NU has been playing as of late. They seem to have hit their offensive stride, as they have scored 20 goals in their past 4 games, which is good for second in the country during that span (it helps when you score 8 vs UMass I guess). The biggest improvement over the course of the season for these guys has been their power play. After an 0-18 start to the season, NU's power play has been striking at 29% over the last 13 games, which is third in the nation and tops in Hockey East over that period of time. While BC's penalty kill has been solid these past 9 games, guys like Szmatula, Roy, and Aston-Reese present a unique offensive threat. Actually, defenseman Colton Saucermann leads Northeastern in power play goals with 4 so far. Let's take a look at NU's projected forward lines, they only dress 11 true forwards with the last guy being former Terrier, Brendan Collier.

Zach Aston-Reese- Mike Szmatula- Torin Snydeman

Kevin Roy- Dalen Hedges- Mike McMurtry

Nolan Stevens- John Stevens- Ryan Rosenthal

Extras- Brendan Collier- Adam Reid

While it's no secret that BC's top guys have been much better as of late, I think the biggest difference has been the play of their third and fourth lines. Brendan Silk seems like he is improving game by game while Cam Spiro continues to show me that he has the potential to be a power play guy. Amongst the fan base, I'm certainly not alone in the thinking that he should get more playing time but as long as he continues to play at a high level, he will be fine. All I've been talking about is NU's power play but give Coach Brown and BC's PP credit because the Eagles have been 100x better on the power play as of late. Not only are they putting the puck in the back of the net, they're starting to get better looks each and every time they hit the ice. Hopefully that continues tomorrow.

Look, huge opportunity for this team this weekend. The rest of the college hockey world knows the Bear is starting to come out of hibernation and no one wants a piece of the Bear when he gets on a roll. Matthews has always been a tough environment to play in but these guys are pretty weak on the back end which is something I think BC should really be able to expose. In the Michigan, Brown, and Dartmouth games, the Eagles forced more turnovers in the opponents end than they have all season. Let's see what they have in store for tomorrow.

Scouting Northeastern- 

Record- 7-10-2 (29th in pairwise)

Leading scorer- Kevin Roy (8-12-20)

Team offense- 2.42 (40th)

Team defense- 3.11 (43rd)

Power play- 21 % (10th)

Penalty kill- 74% (55th)...... BC PP vs NU PK could be a big difference maker in game

Shots on goal margin per game- -1.11 (42nd)

Penalty minutes-12.32 per game (19th)

Keys for BC- 

1. Capitalize on the power play. Look how bad their PK has been this season.

2. Make sure McCoshen/Hanifin are out there with Roy on the ice. Obviously it will be tough to do tomorrow because we don't have last change but I feel like those two should be out there vs opponents' top guys every shift.

Note- Santini is out tomorrow.

Go Eagles !

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