Sunday, February 22, 2015

Harvard Preview

For the first time in six years, Boston College will take part in the consolation game of the Beanpot championship game where it will face a Harvard team that beat them 6-3 @ Kelley Rink in November. I know I say this a lot, particularly when it's BU, but I'm not kidding when I say tomorrow is the biggest game of the season for the Eagles. A win and their this close to "clinching" and NCAA tournament berth. A loss and they drop from 9th to 14th in the pairwise. Coach York would be the first to tell you that while the Beanpot means a lot to fans and alums, the goal each season, no matter how good or how bad we are, it to go out and win a National Championship. If we can find a way to take one home tomorrow, then we are in a great position to possibly make a run at the Frozen Four.

Ever since that first meeting, Harvard has been up and down. They possess one of the most talented lines in the country in Jimmy Vesey, Kyle Criscuolo, and Alexander Kerfoot but they will be without their top defenseman, Patrick McNally who was injured a little over a month ago and is out for the remainder of the regular season. Ted Donato's squad is coming off a long road trip to North Country in which they lost to St Lawrence on Friday but defeated Clarkson on Saturday. Interestingly enough, despite all their offensive horsepower, the Crimson were outshot by the Knights and Saints by a combined 67-47 margin, along with surrendering 5 goals to an underrated SLU team on Friday night. As big as the game is for BC, it's just as important for the Crimson who currently sit squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble at 16th (would be last team out due to Atlantic Hockey auto-bid).

As you can see, the might be the biggest consolation game in the history of the tournament, especially considering BC and BU have never played. Not only is it big for playoff implications but beating Harvard means a lot to the fan base, especially those who played in the 50's and 60's. I remember my grandfather would always talk about how he cared more about beating the Crimson than the Terriers (I still pray he was kidding) but that's just one example showing how much this rivalry means to people in this program. Of course, no one likes losing but when it comes to Harvard, it ramps things up a notch, not to mention the fact that they embarrassed us in our own barn just a few months ago. No matter how you draw it up, tomorrow is an absolute must win for this team, there's just no other way around it, they have to find a way to come back with a W. Sure, it isn't the setting that we want to be in as a program but we all know that we'll be back next year holding that trophy up but if we can find a way to sneak into the dance and make some noise, then it will go to show jut how hard these kids and these coaches have worked this season. We all know it has been a tough go at times but perhaps none was worse than seeing the Crimson walk off our own ice after scoring 6 goals on our star studded defense. Tomorrow is about revenge, it's about trying to cement a spot in the NCAA tournament, and most of all, it's about winning one for the hockey alums that can't bare to see the maroon and gold lose to their rivals from Cambridge.

Scouting Harvard- 

Record- 13-9-3 (16th in PWR)

Leading scorers- Jimmy Vesey (20-20-40), Kyle Criscuolo (14-19-33), Tyler Moy (8-14-22)

Team offense- 3.31 goals scored per game (10th)

Team defense- 2.47 goals allowed per game (29th)

Power play- 21% (12th).....probably see that out there 15 times thanks to the refs.

Penalty kill- 88% (7th)

Shots on goal per game- 30.62 (27th)

Penalty minutes per game- 9.31 (50th)......probably see that number go way down tomorrow.

Keys for BC- 

1. I think they need to start Demko. I know he is probably tired and hurting but this really is the definition of a must win. I originally thought they would give the nod to Billett but this game is to big for a backup. It is a MUST win.

2. Fitzgerald needs to get going. It can't be a three man show every single night up front. He has got to get involved.

3. Be smart with the last change. If our third line gets caught vs Vesey, it is going to be a long night.

Note- Coach York has never come in last in the Beanpot. Parker came in last 3 times.

Go Eagles ! Go Huskies !

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