Monday, December 28, 2015

Ohio State Preview

Fresh off the best first semester ever under Coach York, the Eagles will kick off the second half in pursuit of their first trophy tonight vs Ohio State in the Florida College Hockey Classic. BC will be without star forward Colin White, who will face-off against Sweden ten hours before his teammates do battle halfway across the world. The time off could not come at a better time for the Eagles with three top nine forwards (Tuch, Calnan, and Wood) out for the December 10th game against Notre Dame due to various injuries. Outside of White and Brendan Silk, BC should be at full strength versus the Buckeyes. This will be the 6th meeting all time between the Eagles and Ohio State, with the good guys leading the series 4-1. The two teams last met in 2003 when BC defeated OSU in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Ohio State comes into tomorrow's matchup in the midst of a four game losing streak after being swept at Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota. Overall, the Buckeyes are 3-11 and 0-8 away from Columbus. Although they were swept by the Gophers, OSU was able to get both games into overtime and actually held multiple leads at different points over the weekend. Even though Minnesota may be down this season, keeping up with them on that surface is no easy task, as the Eagles found out in 2013 and 2014. Leading the way for Steve Rohlik's squad will be the top line of Nick Schilkey (leading scorer), Luke Stork, and Matthew Weis. Schilkey has the most points on the team (15) but second liners David Gust (14) and Anthony Greco (11) are not far behind. Ohio State boast just one player with a positive plus minus as defenseman Josh Healey is +3 for the season. Juniors Christian Frey and Matt Tomkins have split time between the pipes as Frey is 0-5 with a 3.00 goals against average and .906 save percentage while Tomkins is 3-6 with a 3.20 goals against average and .900 save percentage. Tomkins is a 6th round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks.

If you turned the clocks back a year, you would remember how BC salvaged their season with a victory at the Ledyard Bank Tournament versus Dartmouth. Although the Eagles have historically struggled in the month of January, that win against the Big Green served a catalyst for a terrific month that included wins vs PC and BU. Following this game, the Eagles are headed into their most difficult stretch of the season, which is why it is paramount that they find a way to win this game. I'm sure both teams will be rusty and mistake prone, but, BC can not afford to drop anymore in the pairwise with the Friars and Terriers looming on the horizon. I've watched Ohio State before- they may not have the most skill in the Big Ten but they play tough night in and night out versus teams like Minnesota and Michigan. There is no reason to believe that won't change  when they take on the high powered Eagles. I'm interested to see what the staff does with the lines. White leaves an obvious hole and I assume they will keep Wood-Cangelosi-Calnan and Tuch-Sanford-Gilmour together but after that they may have some problems. It makes sense to move Chris Brown up to third line center although that begs the question of who will fill his role on the fourth line? They could give Chris Shero his first taste of action or perhaps move Teddy Doherty up and have Michael Kim take his place on the blue line. They have some options so it will be interesting to see what they do.

Blogger did not make the trip to South Florida but I heard they may offer a live stream on the website. If they are able to come through with this, I will post a link on the Twitter feed.

Scouting OSU- 

Record- 3-11 (54th in pairwise)

Leading scorers- Nick Schilkey (8-7-15), David Gust (2-12-14), Anthony Greco (6-5-11)

Team offense- 2.76 goals scored per game (26th)

Team defense- 3.36 goals against per game (46th)

Power play- 19.4% (24th)

Penalty kill- 78.9% (43rd)

Keys for BC- 

1. Limit the first period mistakes. I have a feeling this will be a game won by whichever team is able to avoid the turnovers, cut back on the penalties, and limit the odd man rushes. The first period will be a bit of a feeling out process.

2. Need to get the power play going. The Eagles have recored just two power play goals in the past month and they both came against RIT. It will be tough without White, but that should open the door for someone like Matthew Gaudreau to try and make something happen.

3. Stay out of the box. They did a better job of avoiding the penalties versus Notre Dame but the more power plays OSU gets, the better chance they will have to pull the upset.

Go Eagles

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