Get well soon, Charlie Davies

Get well soon, Charlie Davies

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend hockey preview

#3 BOSTON COLLEGE vs. #11 Vermont, 7:00 PM Friday, ESPNU

Disclaimer, before I go any further: I'm wrong almost all the time.

With that said - I really think Vermont is vastly overrated at #11. I highly doubt they even have a chance to get home ice in the Hockey East playoffs.

I attribute their 3rd place finish in the regular season standings last year to 101 factors:
1-99. Goaltender Joe Fallon
100. BC and BU having awful stretches during the regular season
101. General mediocrity in Hockey East

They are a disciplined team, and they employ the kind of trap-grab-dump system that often frustrates the bejesus out of BC. So I'm not predicting an easy victory tonight for BC, not by any stretch of the imagination. I just don't think this is that marquee of a matchup, really. Vermont returned most of their team from last year, but they did not return Fallon.

Let's crunch the numbers, briefly:

Vermont scored 67 goals last year in conference play - 7th in the league, with one more goal scored than Providence.

Vermont's goal differential last year was -11 - 67 scored, 78 allowed. That was good for 8th in the league, besting only Maine and Merrimack. 

Vermont was an abysmal 4-6-2 out of conference.

The Catamounts scraped by a pretty mediocre BU team last year, then got completely steamrolled by BC for the Hockey East title. Keep in mind, BC was coming off a triple-overtime game against one of the best teams in the country, and Vermont needed that game far more than BC did, in order to make it to the NCAA Tournament.

All of this leads to my conclusion that Vermont is just not that good of a team, despite what the pollsters seem to think.

With all that said: it's a regular season BC hockey game, so there's no way to really predict what's going to happen. But BC will be there at the end of the year, and Vermont won't. I think you can take that to the bank.

Prediction: BC 3, UVM 1

Elsewhere in Hockey East: Providence takes on UMass-Lowell at the Tsongas on Friday night in the 'battle of the teams that it's impossible to get a good read of right now.' I think UML is the better team and should win the game handily. The Friars should bounce back the next night when they play Holy Cross. 

The Northeastern Huskies come off their national championship last week... oops, I mean their win in one regular season game... with a two game set at Alfond Arena; Maine sucks right now, but that place is difficult on opposing teams; I'll say Northeastern takes 3 of 4 points.

UMass visits UNH in a game that I predict ends in vicious pain for the Minutemen, something like 5-0 to the 'Cats. UNH then has a quick turnaround, traveling up to the Canadian border for a matchup with St. Lawrence on Sunday afternoon; it'll be tough, but UNH should pull that one out.

And of course, our friends at BU have a huge non-conference matchup with Michigan on Saturday night at Agganis Arena that promises to be a real barometer game for the Terriers; I think Michigan is the better team, but the joint will be jumping and BU will give them a great game, and it will end in something like a 2-2 tie.

Out west, the big series this weekend is Minnesota vs. Wisconsin; as an honorary Gopher fan, I predict a Minnesota sweep. Wisco's vaunted defense hasn't impressed thus far, yielding 23 goals in 4 games. OUCH!

#7 BOSTON COLLEGE @ Providence, Saturday, 2 PM
#7 BOSTON COLLEGE vs. Quinnipiac, Sunday, 3 PM

It's really hard to judge where the women's team stands so far this season. Hockey East has incredible parity right now amongst its top six teams. BC's shootout loss at UNH looked mighty impressive, until the 'Cats lost league games to both UConn and BU. UConn was flying high until they were derailed by Northeastern, 3-0. And Providence is expected to contend for the league crown, but they have started the season 2-4-0.

I want to be excited about this team. A 2-0-2 start is certainly something to be proud of, especially against four quality teams. And the Eagles have risen through the polls, sort of by default, as the parity bug has ravaged teams above them in the rankings; taking care of business this weekend could well vault BC into the top 5 for the first time ever, as UNH is poised to fall a few rungs in next week's poll.

However, I have yet to see BC play a complete, inspiring 60-minute game, the kind of game that would convince me that they are a team in the hunt for a national championship. They have occasionally fallen victim to the disorganization and lack of discipline that doomed them last season. 

This is a very talented BC team, but so was last year's; I've yet to be completely convinced that they've turned the corner from last season, but I want to be convinced very badly. Beating Providence tomorrow would be a good start.

Right now, BC is certainly a contender for the Hockey East crown. But I have faith that the Eagles can achieve loftier goals this year - i.e., reaching Agganis Arena and playing for the big trophy. Perhaps I am letting my faith get the better of me. We shall see.

BC 2, Providence 2; BC wins shootout
BC 5, Quinnipiac 1

Out of town: Minnesota plays two games at Wisconsin in the battle for the national #1 ranking. Wisco's women's team is much more formidable than their men's team; I foresee them taking three points at home. 

It's a quiet weekend in Hockey East; outside of BC-PC, the biggest matchups are probably UConn @ Princeton and Maine @ BU.

When this weekend ends, we could see the following poll, if all goes as I hope/expect: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Harvard, Mercyhurst, BC, Dartmouth, UMD, BU, UNH, St. Lawrence - with NU and UConn knocking on the door. Hockey East is rising.

No comments:

The Trophy Case: BC's honors during my years at school

  • Men's Basketball
  • 2006 - Commonwealth Classic Winner
  • 2008 - Commonwealth Classic Winner
  • Women's Basketball
  • 2008 - Caribbean Challenge Winners
  • 2008 - Blue Sky Classic Winners
  • Sailing:
  • 2008 - ICSA Women's National Champions
  • 2008 - ICSA Co-Ed National Champions
  • Football:
  • 2006 - Meineke Car Care Bowl Winner
  • 2007 - Ireland Trophy
  • 2007 - ACC Atlantic Division Champions
  • 2007 - Champs Sports Bowl Winner
  • 2008 - Ireland Trophy
  • 2008 - ACC Atlantic Division Champions
  • Men's Soccer:
  • 2007 - ACC Regular Season Champions
  • 2007 - ACC Tournament Champions
  • Women's Soccer:
  • 2006 - Sweet Sixteen
  • 2008 - Sweet Sixteen
  • Women's Hockey:
  • 2007 - Beanpot Champions
  • 2007 - Frozen Four
  • 2009 - Beanpot Champions
  • Men's Hockey:
  • 2007 - Hockey East Tournament Champions
  • 2007 - Frozen Four
  • 2007 - Mariucci Classic Champions
  • 2008 - Beanpot Champions
  • 2008 - Hockey East Tournament Champions
  • 2008 - Frozen Four
  • 2008 - National Champions

Games I Attended in '07-'08

  • Overall: 51-30-11 + 12 non BC + spring football = 105 games
  • Home: 40-25-6 + spring game
  • Away: 4-5-5
  • Neutral: 7-0
  • Non-BC NCAA Games: 12
  • Men's Hockey: 13-6-5
  • Women's BBall: 8-2
  • Football: 6-1 + spring game
  • Baseball: 5-1
  • Softball: 4-0
  • Men's BBall: 6-4
  • Women's Hockey: 8-11-5
  • Men's Soccer: 1-2-1
  • Field Hockey: 0-1
  • Women's Soccer: 0-1

Stadiums/Fields Seen 07-08

  • Total: 20
  • Conte Forum [BC] - (49)
  • Alumni Stadium [BC] - (8)
  • TD Banknorth Garden - (7)
  • Shea Field, Baseball [BC] - (6)
  • Newton Soccer Field [BC] - (6)
  • Walter Brown Arena [BU] - (4)
  • Shea Field, Softball [BC] - (4)
  • Matthews Arena [NU] - (3)
  • DCU Center [Worcester] - (3)
  • Schneider Arena [PC] - (2)
  • Ridder Arena [Minnesota] - (2)
  • UConn Hockey Arena [Conn] - (2)
  • Agganis Arena [BU] - (2)
  • Tsongas Arena [UML] - (1)
  • Whittemore Center [UNH] - (1)
  • Mariucci Arena [Minnesota] - (1)
  • Bright Arena [Harvard] - (1)
  • Harvard Stadium [Harvard] - (1)
  • Newton Field Hockey [BC] - (1)
  • Houston Field House [RPI] - (1)

Games I attended in 06-07

  • OVERALL 67-27-3 = 97 games
  • Football 6-0
  • M Hockey 17-6-1
  • M Basketball 14-4
  • W Hockey 13-6-2
  • W Basketball 6-3
  • Softball 3-1
  • W Soccer 3-1
  • M Soccer 3-1
  • Baseball 2-4
  • W Lax 0-1

Best Moments

  • Men's Hockey, 4/12/08 - National Champs.
  • Football, 10/26/07 - BC rallies with two touchdowns in the last 2:11 to win at Virginia Tech and maintain their #2 ranking. Students spill out of the dorms and have an impromptu celebration all over campus. What a night. WOW.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/30/08 - BC scores 3 goals in 1:58 to come from an 0-2 deficit to a 3-2 lead late in the 2nd against Miami in the NCAA regional final.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/30/08 - Joe Whitney's ridiculous diving goal sends BC to the Frozen Four, beating Miami 4-3 in OT.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/21/08 - Benn Ferriero's 3OT goal caps a comeback against UNH in the Hockey East semifinals at the Garden.
  • Men's Hockey, 2/11/08 - Nick Petrecki's OT goal wins the Beanpot for BC!
  • Football, 9/1/07 - BC scores a touchdown to tie the game at 21 right before half time against Wake. BC wins 38-28
  • Men's Hockey, 11/30/07 - BU goalie Karson Gillespie gets sent to the box by Benedetto for a swan dive... piss-your-pants laughter follows
  • Men's Hockey, 3/15/08 - Nate Gerbe's amazing penalty shot goal makes it 4-0 BC over PC in Game 2 of the HE QFs
  • Men's Hockey, 2/4/08 - Gerbe slays BU in overtime
  • Men's Hockey, 3/22/08 - BC cruises to another Hockey East title, beating UVM 4-0
  • Men's Hockey, 3/29/08 - BC gets past the Gophers 5-2 in the NCAA tournament.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/15/08 - BC sweeps the Friars with a pair of 5-1 wins in the HE QFs to advance to the TD Banknorth Garden.
  • Women's Hockey, 2/29/08 - Eagles top PC 4-2 in the season's penultimate game to keep their playoff hopes alive. Stack with the ENG to ice it with 4 seconds left.
  • Women's Hockey, 1/4/07 - BC kills off a 5-on-3, Lindsay Wright aka CANADA scores a sick goal, and BC upsets #4 SLU 5-2
  • Women's Basketball, 1/6/07 - BC stuns NC State with a thrilling 1 point come-from-behind victory
  • Men's Soccer, 11/9/07 - BC clinches ACC reg. season title with a win at home against VT.
  • Women's Hockey, 01/12/08 - MN native Allie Thunstrom's goal with 1:30 to go gives BC a tie @ #4 Minnesota
  • Men's Hockey, 3/14/08 - BC blitzes Providence early and often en route to 5-1 win in Game 1 of HE QFs at BC
  • Men's Basketball, 12/23/07 - Tyrese Rice knocks down a floater with less than 5 seconds to play to give BC the 57-55 win over Northeastern.
  • Men's Hockey, 1/19/08 - Carl Sneep's goal in the 3rd ties BU 2-2; pandemonium in the student section
  • Football, 11/24/07 - BC finally snaps the long losing streak against the U.
  • Women's Hockey, 2/10/08 - BC's Stack scores in the 2nd to tie UNH 1-1. We lost, but that was a great moment.
  • Women's Basketball, 12/31/07 - Picco nails back to back three pointers as BC wins a thriller against NU
  • Baseball, 5/13/08 - BC rallies from big early deficit to beat UConn.
  • Softball, 3/26/08 - Fence Girl crashes into the fence, Thunstrom scores winning run, BC downs HC 4-3
  • Women's Hockey, 11/29/07 - A clutch goal with under a minute remaining by Stack gives BC a much needed point @ UConn
  • Women's Hockey, 3/15/08 - UNH tops St. Lawrence 3-2 in OT to give Hockey East a representative in the Frozen Four.
  • Men's Hockey, 11/30/07 - BC explodes for a 3-0 1st period lead en route to a 6-2 win over BU
  • Football, 10/7/07 - BC scores 31 points in the 2nd quarter against Bowling Green and rolls to 55-24 win - up to #4 in the country!