#13 Boston University Terriers (2-2-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East)
Massachusetts Minutemen (1-2-1, 0-2-1 Hockey East)
The BU Terriers come stumbling into Amherst this Friday to start a home-and-home weekend series with the Minutemen. After managing to fell Denver, that’s number two in the nation Denver, two weekends ago, the Terriers were stunned by a huge upset loss to Holy Cross at home last Saturday. Starring in this loss was senior BU goalie Kieran Millan. Starring for the Crusaders, that is. Millan gave up five goals to the Crusaders last weekend. His up and down performance thus far this season has been a bit of a microcosm of his entire career at Boston University. His stats this year (2-2-0, 3.28 GAA, .903 save%) have been pretty terrible. Unfortunately for the Minutemen, the Terriers can still score goals and they have been scoring them at a rate of four a game. The team is still packed with talented offensive forwards, with guys from Alex Chiasson (4G/3A/+7) to Matt Nieto (4G/1A/+5) to Corey Trevino (3G/2A/+1) to Sahir Gil (1G/4A/Even) to Wade Megan (2G/1A/-1). The team is packed with 10 NHL draft picks, six of them forwards. The Terriers have yet to score less than three goals in any single game this season and have scored four or more in all but one.
The key to beating the Terriers is to contain their offense. Let’s face it, on the defensive side of the puck there are not nearly as many recognizable names. Gone is David Warsofsky and the only really impressive D-men the Terriers have left are Adam Clendening and Garret Noonan. That leaves four defensemen for the Mass Attack to pick on. Hopefully, Toot will go back to the star-studded top line of TJ Syner (1G/6A/+1), Danny Hobbs (3G/2A/+1), and Franchise Pereira (3G/2A/+1) this weekend and stop fucking with an offense that has been great, minus the BC game where he did fuck with the lines. If the offense has its chemistry right, it should be able to exploit some of the lesser BU defensemen and put a few past Millan, who will hopefully continue to be iffy.
Now to the real question. If the offense does play up to its ability, the game can certainly be won with some solid, fundamental defensive play. Unfortunately, this is a defense featuring The Mike Marcou Show Starring Mike Marcou and that can be problematic. Minus the aforementioned Show and some lapses in discipline from Mountain Man Олэг Евэнко, I think the defense has been okay. The issue has been that okay defense only clears rebounds away some of the time when goalies leave them in the slot. We have to assume that Tegs will be in net for at least one (hopefully both) of these games, so the rebound issue shouldn’t be too bad. The defense just has to deny BU any golden opportunities and hopefully Teglia will be able to stop the shots he’s supposed to and won’t leave any juicy rebounds. Denying BU golden opportunities is definitely easier said than done, given how strong the Terriers’ offense has been this year, but if the Minutemen stay disciplined and stick to the fundamentals it should not be a particularly difficult task.
That’s really it. These two games could certainly be high scoring shootouts. If that’s the case, I don’t know how I feel about the Mass Attack’s chances this weekend. The keys are to minimize the damage the high octane Terrier offense does and put a decent amount of shots on Millan and hope they find their way through screens or drop in front of the net for easy rebound opportunities. I think it’s really key that the Minutemen compete in both these games and come out of this weekend with AT LEAST two points. If the Minutemen do that, it’s a weekend we can all feel good about. If they don’t, well we’re going to start seeing some fan apathy and a lot more questions about how strong this team, and its coaching staff, really is.
On a personal note, I’m quite excited. This Friday will mark my first return to the Bill as an alumnus, which will be quite a bittersweet experience for me. Hopefully the result will make it more sweet than bitter. I say this with the utmost joy and anticipation. Is it Friday yet?