Saturday, January 24, 2015

UConn Preview

Of all the BC Hockey games I have ever been to, I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in a loss like I was after the UConn game in November. Looking back at it, it's hard to do anything except tip your cap to the Huskies because they made the plays and we didn't. Tonight's contest marks Coach Cav's return to a school that he helped bring 4 National Championships, 7 Beanpots, multiple Hockey East championships, and played as big a role as anyone in revitalizing the program's now omnipotent recruiting efforts. It is my sincere hope that they take a moment tonight to recognize what Coach Cav brought to BC Hockey because without him, I know this program wouldn't be where it is today.

Amazingly, the Eagles jumped three spots in the pairwise last night without even playing and if the tournament ended right now, they would be the 15th overall seed. BC also had a solid night in terms of the Hockey East standings as Notre Dame and Vermont, two teams that are in striking distance of BC's third place pedestal, both lost. Obviously, the numbers behind the pairwise can be a bit confusing but as long as BC continues to take care of business at home, I think they should be guaranteed a spot in the dance. That being said, a loss tonight vs a UConn team that has proven they can play with the big boys would most likely drop us down three spots.

The Huskies are coming off a tough 6-1 loss last Sunday at home vs Notre Dame, a game in which Fighting Irish defenseman Robbie Russo became the first blue liner to record a hatrick this season in all of college hockey. The Fighting Cavs currently sit in 8th place in the league but they have wins over BC, Vermont, Lowell, Quinnipiac, and a tie @ BU. UConn struggles a bit on the offensive side of things as they are 51st in college hockey with just 2.04 goals per game but they have one of the top netminders in Hockey East in sophomore Rob Nichols. The game he played vs us a few months was one of the best goaltending performances I have seen this season, along with Sean Romeo's act last Sunday. While they may not score a ton, the Huskies are not without speed as freshman Corey Ronan was perhaps the fastest player in the Independent School League and it looks like he will be a part of UConn's all freshmen line consisting of him, top scorer Spencer Naas, and Kasperi Ojantakanen. Of course, we all know about Evan Richardson, a former Eagle who was let go at the end of last season only to come back and score the only game in the first meeting between the two teams.

This obviously isn't going to be a walk in the park. No matter how good BC has been playing, they're not powerful enough to completely blow teams out of the water and with Coach Cav behind the bench tonight, expect this to be a war. I hope the Eagles remember just how hard the Huskies celebrated their victory in November because you would have thought they won the Stanley Cup. This team has put themselves in a position to make a big run here in the second half but a loss tonight would almost completely derail any thought of that happening. No matter how you draw it up, two losses to Connecticut could effectively kill BC pairwise standing. Another must win tonight.

Scouting UConn- 

Record- 7-11-5 (36th in pairwise)

Team offense- 2.04 goals scored per game (51st)

Team defense- 2.70 goals allowed per game (37th)

Power play- 13 % (48th) They did have a PP goal vs us.

Penalty kill- 78 % (45th)

Goal margin/games played- - 0.65 (45th)

Penalty minutes- 9.83 minutes per game (48th)

Keys for BC- 

1. Take the first 40 minutes from the game on Wednesday and make it a 60 minute effort tonight.

2. Get the crowd into it early. Apparently, the game is sold out and even with the snow storm, BC is expecting a huge crowd.

3. No stupid penalties/capitalize on the PP. The reason we lost to these guys was because we didn't capitalize on a handful of power plays and were unable to execute on a long 5 on 3. They, on the other hand, scored a power play.

Go Eagles

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