Boston College Preview

Massachusetts Minutemen 16 -15-0, (Hockey East 11 -13-0 T-6th)
vs
#7 Boston College Eagles 19 -10-2, (Hockey East 14- 8 -2 2nd)  

Official Boston College Hockey Site

BC Interruption Blog

UMass has lost 7 of their last 8 games.  They’ve defied the triangle and are plummeting in the Hockey East standings and are now in danger of missing the playoffs altogether.  They are in the utmost desperation for a win.  So of course they have to head to Conte Forum to play the second place team in the conference, winners of 7 of their last 9 games, including their last 5 at home.  Oh, did I mention that BC just played the team that swept UMass last weekend and beat them 7-0?  In fact they’ve outscored their opponents 14-1 in the last two games.

Did I also mention that BC boasts the top scoring offense, scoring defense, and penalty kill in the league?  Their power plays isn’t too shabby at 21.4%.  Quite frankly this is the worst time to be playing this team.  While inexperienced a bit at the beginning of the year I really thought that they were talented enough to likely be the best team in the league at this point.  Sure enough, it appears they may be.  Of course the beginning of the month wasn’t a good time to play them either as the Eagles won that game played at the Mullins by the score of 7-1, despite having some major injuries on defense.

BC is led by sophomore Cam Atkinson who has 21 goals in their 31 games.  Helping to set him up is Brian Gibbons with 27 assists and Joe Whitney with 29 total points.  As expected the highly rated freshmen Steve Whitney, Pat Mullane, and Chris Kreider are making solid contributions as well.

On defense veteran Carl Sneep has helped out offensively but freshmen and Brian Dumoulin and Phil Samuelsson have the best plus/minus ratings of the team.  UMass will likely see John Muse in net as backup Parker Milner played against Merrimack on Tuesday.  Muse has done well coming off a tough year as well as off season surgery.  He has a goals against of 2.42 and save percentage of .911.

My how quickly things change since the last time these two teams met in a battle of 2nd place at the beginning of the month.  For UMass an NCAA at-large berth is likely dead and Hockey East home ice is probably out of reach.  It’s all about pride at this point.  To get as high as this team did and somehow miss the Hockey East playoffs would be tragic.  At the same time, they almost have nothing to lose.  They’ve certainly been playing tight lately and gripping the sticks to hard, but what’s done is done.  They’re out of the pairwise and are now fighting for their postseason lives.  I say go all out.  Forecheck the hell out of the Eagles.  Gamble when you can.  Be aggressive.  What’s the worst that can happen?  They’ve already been losing and losing big.  Relax and just stop playing conservative.  They’re supposed to lose this game anyway.  Who knows, maybe they can get a little momentum going into the playoffs.

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Here’s the Republican’s Dick Baker with the preview.  Doug Kublin and Brian Keane are still out.  Toot Cahoon is not naming a starting goaltender for tonight at this point.

Matt Vautour says the team has gone from chasing a dream to fighting for their lives.

Here’s the preview from the Collegian.  I don’t want to single out Marc Concannon but it worries me when I see quotes like “We got James Marcou, Casey Wellman and Will Ortiz, they are a little cold right now, but as soon as they get going, everybody is going to follow them and if we score one, we’ll score five or six.”  How about if those guys are cold other players step up and try to score in their place?

Jeff Howe of INCH has a look at the Hockey East playoff picture with some quotes from Brett Watson.

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James Marcou continues to fall on Inside Hockey’s Hobey Watch.

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Alabama-Huntsville isn’t having a good year.  First they lose their conference and will have to make a go at it as an independent.  They could potentially lose their program altogether.  And of course there was the tragic shooting there in the past couple weeks.  That’s why it’s extremely cool to see the fans of UAH hockey get treated with a visit by the Stanley Cup.