Saturday, March 28, 2015

Denver Preview

For the third time this season, Boston College will face off against Denver only this time around, everything is on the line. The Eagles come in as heavy underdogs versus a DU squad that many are predicting to win the National Title thanks to their stellar depth and defensive core. While Denver has complied a terrific record of 23-13-2, they are just 6-7-2 on the road and while this is certainly not a true home game for the Eagles, it might as well be due to BC's proximity to the Dunk. Anyways, from what I can tell, Denver has a style of play that can translate very well on the road in big games. They are structured, very good in both ends, and have a couple of studs that can possibly carry them a long way in this tournament. Of course, the Eagles and Pios met in the first round a season ago when the maroon and gold ran away thanks to some guy named G. I am fairly confident that Denver will come out of the gates with as much energy and excitement as it gets so we need to be ready to weather the storm early on.

As I have said twice already, the key for BC will be trying to contain Denver's terrific defense and first line. They are led by Joey LaLeggia, perhaps the best offensive defenseman in the entire country outside of Noah Hanifin. Supporting LaLeggia on the back end will be World Jr Championship standout Will Butcher who has 3 goals and 13 helpers this season. Obviously, no one knows exactly what Jim Montgomery will do with his lines but there is a good chance that his top top line will consist of his top three scorers, Danton Heinen, Trevor Moore, and Daniel Doremus, a trio that combined for 119 points this season. Since we don't have last change, it will be pivotal for the staff to try and get Hanifin and McCoshen out there every time those guys hit the ice but I am not sure which line they will try and matchup vs Doremus and company. I think they will start with Sit, Smith, and Straight but that could obviously change as the night goes on. BC has to be aware of Denver's defense taking the puck and moving it up the ice with their feet. Guys such as Butcher, LaLeggia, and Zajac love to take the puck and go while also jumping in from the offensive blue line.

The most interesting question going into tomorrow's game is who will start in net for the garnet and gold? If I was a betting man, I would go with freshman Tanner Jaillet but it was the sophomore Evan Cowley who played (very well) in both games against BC in November. No matter who starts, it has to be all about getting pucks and bodies to the net. We aren't going to skate circles around these guys for 60 minutes so if there is nothing in the offensive zone, just put the puck on net and hope for a rebound. We have a huge height advantage against this team so let's use it to our advantage. The more traffic we create in front, the more scoring chances we will have. Of course, we all know what the biggest key for this BC team is that they have to find a way to score the first goal tomorrow. As a coach, it must stink putting such an emphasis on that first tally but tomorrow, it will be paramount, especially considering the style of play the two teams both play. Amazingly, BC's record when leading after the first period is 13-0-2 while their record the other way around is 2-6-2. They have to find a way to get a lead after the first period tomorrow night.

Doesn't get much better than fighting for a chance to play in the Frozen Four in your home city and that is exactly what these guys have a chance to accomplish this weekend. This Denver club is the best we will see all season but I know we can find a way to win if we do the things we do best. We have to be sound in our own end, we need great goaltending, and most importantly, we MUST score the first goal.

He will get em going. Let's go baby.

Scouting Denver- 

Record- 23-13-2, recently defeated North Dakota in NCHC consolation game. Fell to Miami in semifinals.

Leading scorers- Danton Heinen (16-29-45), Trevor Moore (21-21-42), Joey LaLeggia (13-25-38)

Team offense- 3.29 goals scored per game (9th)

Team defense- 2.45 goals allowed per game (29th)

Power play- 21% (7th). Very good.

Penalty kill- 84% (25th)

Shots on goal margin per game- + 3 (21st)


You know the keys. Just win baby.

Notes- Doherty at forward. Silk out.


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