By: Dan Shulman
BU Men’s Ice Hockey vs. Boston College (Hockey East) January 13 & 16, 2017
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
Location – Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; Mascot – Eagles; This Year’s Record 14-7-2 (9-1-1 HEA), 5-1-0 at home, BU leads all-time series 130-122-18; Fun Fact – Coach Jerry York is the only active coach in NCAA Division 1 Hockey with 1,000 wins.
The Boston University Terriers will try to extend their winning streak to five and six games when they take on their archrival Boston College Eagles in a weekend wraparound series.
The Terriers have rattled off four straight wins against stiff competition since December 10, and have gone 11-3-2 since a rocky 1-2-0 start to the season. One team BU has not been hot against is Boston College, going 0-3-1 against the Eagles since the start of 2015.
BU last played BC at TD Garden in February for an epic Beanpot Final which the Eagles won, 1-0, in overtime. After BC put the Terriers under siege in the opening half of the first period, the lights dimmed at TD Garden, leading to a 25 minute delay while power was restored.
With the lights back on, the teams went back and forth in a physical and captivating affair that became an instant classic. After 61:57 of scoreless hockey, BC’s Alex Tuch fired a shot from the high-slot that found the twine and sent the Eagles into delirium as Beanpot Champions.
BU’s last win over BC came all the way back on November 7, 2014 in Chestnut Hill. Evan Rodrigues’ two goals along with 27 saves from Matt O’Connor gave BU a thrilling 5-3 comeback victory.
Both the Terriers and the Eagles are coming off wins outdoors at Frozen Fenway over Hockey East foes. BU knocked-off UMass thanks to two goals from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and stellar goaltending from Jake Oettinger. The Eagles needed late heroics from JD Dudek to lift BC over Providence, 3-1.
This season, Boston College has seen steady offensive production from senior Matthew Gaudreau. Younger brother of NHLer and former Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew has shown his playmaking prowess this season, collecting 16 assists along with six goals. His 40 PIM, however, is a major statistical blemish that leads the team.
On defense, sophomore Michael Kim is having a standout season following his midseason transfer last January. With three goals and eleven assists along with just 10 PIM, Kim has become an excellent two-way player in his one year at BC.
In goal, Joseph Woll is back after representing the United States at the World Junior Tournament in Canada. The freshman has adjusted nicely to the college game, posting a 2.43 GAA and a .920 SV%.
On the other side, BU’s offense has seen a drastic contribution from Forsbacka Karlsson in 2017. However, one of the unsung heroes on a team loaded with talented forwards is Bobo Carpenter. The sophomore collected four points and 10 SOG in his first two games of the new year.
Missing up front for the series opener will be forward Tommy Kelley. The senior incurred a one-game suspension from Hockey East for a hit on UMass’ Callum Fryer at Fenway last weekend.
Defensively, Chad Krys has been a major x-factor to the Terriers success. With a goal and an assist in his first two games since the end of the Christmas break, Krys, paired up with Charlie McAvoy, is turning into a solid compliment for the Terriers number seven.
Between the pipes, Jake Oettinger has stood tall all season long, ranking in the top 10 nationally in save percentage and goals against average. The freshman, who paired on a tandem with Woll on the U.S. Under-18 Team last year, boasts a .930 SV% and a 1.94 GAA.
Puck drop on Friday night will be scheduled for 7:35 p.m. at Agganis Arena and can be heard live on mixlr.com/wtbusports. The following Monday at Conte Forum will have a 7:00 p.m. faceoff.
PREDICTION – Series Split
The Terriers and Eagles will meet again in the Beanpot semifinals, so this series will serve as a precursor for the February classic. Both home teams should walk away victorious this weekend. The margin of victory, however, will be heavily in favor of BU on Friday and will be slim for the Eagles on Monday.
BU’s THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
Both BC and BU have been known to play slightly undisciplined. BC is averaging 16.5 PIM per game while BU gets 15.6 PIM per game. Both teams will need to stay out of the penalty box in order to have a chance at beating the other in a match-up of two talented, young teams.
- Get the First Goal
Both the Eagles and the Terriers have played incredibly worse when being scored on first. For BU to ruffle the feathers of the Eagles, they’ll need to pressure hard in the early stages and get on the board early.
- Sixty Minute Effort
This goes without saying but is especially true against the Eagles. BU must come to play hard for a complete game in order to have any chance at beating the offensive-minded Eagles. BC is a fast, physical and BU must match them step-for-step.