Leading the garnet and gold up front will be Bruins draft pick Danton Heinen, a sophomore out of Langley, British Columbia. Heinen was the top freshmen point getter in the NCHC last season, recording 16 goals and 29 assists. Another player who will likely find himself on the top line is Trevor Moore, an underaged junior (don't see that often) who tallied 22 goals and 22 assists a year ago. Those are certainly DU's go to guys but their problem is not their first or second lines, it's their depth. They lost senior forwards Daniel Doremus, Zac Larraza, Matt Tabrum, Larkin Jacobson, and Ty Looney, all of whom played in their 5-2 beat down of BC in the East regional semifinals. Denver's highest rated freshman is NTDP product Troy Terry but it has taken him a little time to get used to the college game as he has yet to record a point. In their game two weeks ago vs MSU, DU had Terry playing on their top line so that will be something to watch for. Despite all the holes to fill up front, Denver's biggest loss was the graduation of stud defenseman Joey LaLeggia, who is now playing for the Edmonton Oilers. Denver does return a pair of quick, puck moving defensemen in Nolan Zajac and Will Butcher (who was a standout in the World Jr Championships).
As for the home team, obviously, it has been a tough week but as I said last night, that locker room is full of kids who take pride in representing this school and maybe it's a good thing that someone who didn't want to be here is no longer a part of the operation. The Eagles will be looking to exact some revenge on a DU team that humiliated them in Providence six months ago. It wasn't even as close as the score indicated. They were the faster, more physical, flat out better team. Tomorrow night is a chance for this club to redeem themselves. Everybody wants to talk about how much the departure hurts this team and so fourth but I know we have two things that give us a chance to win night in and night out. We got the best player in college hockey in-between the pipes and we've got the best motivator I've ever seen behind the bench. He will have those guys so fired to play tomorrow they might run through a wall before stepping onto the ice. The staff made some changes to the lineup. Travis Jeke will likely play his first game as forward on the fourth line since Brendan Silk is not ready to return. Matthew Gaudreau will play with Colin White and Ryan Fitzgerald. Here is the full forward lineup in no particular order.
Wood- Cangelosi- Calnan
Tuch- Sanford- Gilmour
Fitzgerald- Gaudreau- White
Jeke- Brown- Dudek
The defense will remain the same as it has been.
I don't want to automatically set sky high expectations for Matty Gaudreau because he moved up to play with a pair of high end players but there is no doubt he's been performing well this season. Slotting him with White and Fitz, arguably two of BC's best forward at this point, will certainly increase little G's production. It may take him a while to get settled in but he's got some great hands and can make plays with the puck on his stick. I'm excited to see what he can do. Of course, the departure means the fourth line will need to pick up their game slightly but I'm looking at the top three guys to make the most impact. I know he has been bothered by injury but if this team is going to go anywhere this season, they need Alex Tuch to start scoring goals. He's got the best shot in the league and he's proven he can be dependable in his own end. If he gets going, there won't be as big a drop off in production as one might have feared.
Top scorers- Matt Marcinew (3-1-4), Nolan Zajac (1-3-4), Trevor Moore (0-3-3)
Team offense- 3.50 goals per game (T-15th)
Team defense- 2.00 goals allowed per game (T-9th)
Power play- .071% (T-49th)
Penalty kill- 91% (t-6th with BC)
Shots on goal per game- 32.67 shots per game (14th)
Keys for BC-
1. Come out firing on all cylinders. Don't show any signs of a letdown after what happened on Wednesday. Take it to them early and often.
2. Watch out for their defensemen who like to get involved in the rush. Denver, as does BC, plays an uptempo style of play that tries to get their D moving up the ice with the puck. Butcher and Zajac are the key guys to watch out for.
3. Stay out of the box. 90 penalty minutes through 5 games is ridiculous. Denver has 30 in 4 games.
That is all I got. Go Eagles.