Monday, November 2, 2015
UMass' 4-0-1 start certainly raised some eyebrows throughout the college hockey world, some thought they were legit, others didn't. To be honest, I think they're one of the top offensive teams in the league, if not the country. Dennis Kravchencko is second in Hockey East with 12 points on the season while senior Shane Walsh is not far behind with 10 points of his own. Under the system implemented by John Micheletto a few seasons ago, UMass has scored plenty of goals. In fact, they dropped 5 on the Eagles in his first season at the helm, picking up their first win @ Conte Forum in nearly a decade at the time. Expect McCoshen/Fitzgerald to be out there against their second line (usually Walsh's line) and Santini/Doherty to be paired against Kravchenko's unit. I think the staff likes throwing the Wood-Cangelosi-Calnan line out there against top competition but since Calnan might not play (50/50), I would expect Sanford-Gilmour-Tuch to play the role of "first line".
As for BC, this is the beginning of a crucial week that consists of three Hockey East home games. UMass has played the Eagles very tough at home in each game under their new regime and I expect tomorrow to be no different. Their style of play is similar to BC in a way because they have a lot of guys that can really skate north-south, which means BC has to do a couple things to stay out of trouble. As I said before the season started, the only way this team is going to lose hockey games is by shooting themselves in the foot with stupid penalties. If they stay out of the box, they should win a heck of a lot of games. At the moment, Boston College has an average of 17.17 penalty minutes per game, the second highest total in the country. UMass has spent an average of 13.50 minutes in the box per contest, which is good for 8th in nation. Secondly, BC can't be turning pucks over in the neutral zone, something they have been doing a much better job of since the RPI game.
Short preview tonight due to the homework.
Record- 4-1-1 (they came back from a 6-1 deficit to tie UNH)
Top scorers- Dennis Kravchenko (7-5-12), Shane Walsh (6-4-10), Austin Plevy (4-4-8)
Team offense- 4.50 goals scored per game (5th)
Team defense- 4.00 goals allowed per game (54th)
Power play- 33% (8th)
Penalty kill- 68% (56th)
Projected starter- Up in the air. I expect it to be Nic Renyard (.910 save percentage, 3.22 GAA)
Keys for BC-
1. Stay out of the box. The Eagles have only given up two even strength goals this year.
2. Pressure these guys in their defensive end. UMass' weaknesses are their blue line and goaltending. Get pucks deep and force turnovers.
3. Hopefully they get the power play figured out. I think we will see some changes in both units.
Injury note- Calnan is questionable. Didn't practice today.