After a disappointing split with UNH, the Catamounts head down to Conte Forum to battle Not-Actually-In-Boston College. Simply put…these two are must win.
BC currently occupies a tie for 13th in the Pairwise. AKA the likely last spot in the NCAA tournament. UVM is two notches back in 16th. Also, these are key points in the Hockey East playoff chase, though it looks as though UVM is safe in 6th (but could move up with two good weekends to close the season + some help elsewhere).
BC currently top Hockey East with 27 points, although you’d be forgiven for forgetting they were; they haven’t been anything special this year. They’re 18-12-2 and have lost three straight, including 6-3 to Merrimack at Conte Forum and losing the Beanpot third place game to two last minute Northeastern goals. They were lucky to play Providence when they were slumping, they got swept by archrivals BU, and they have yet to play Lowell. The Eagles, basically, have been feasting on the weak of Hockey East.
In goal is World Junior Champion Joseph Woll. Woll has definitely been a step down from the incredible level Thatcher Demko was at, posting a .915 save percentage this year, and hasn’t produced a single shutout. Backup Ryan Edquist has been better in his limited minutes, posting a .923.
As pointed out by a recent article by SB Nation’s Jeff Cox, which I will link here, BC’s biggest issue has been defense. Casey Fitzgerald leads the group with 20 points, but his positioning can be shaky. Scott Savage is close behind with 19, and has probably been one of their more reliable defenders. Michael Kim has also been solid this year. But this is a group prone to mistakes, something the Cats can exploit this weekend – and that Merrimack and Northeastern exploited last weekend. Despite all these issues, they’re still a top 20 defensive team in the nation.
The attack is BC’s calling card, and the most potent in Hockey East play with 67 goals for. Matt Gaudreau, the brother of Johnny, leads the way with 28 points, while World Junior champion Colin White and Austin Cangelosi are both on 26. Ryan Fitzgerald, David Cotton, and Christopher Brown form solid backup as well; each has more than 20 points. UVM’s slumping defense is going to have to get it together or else it’s going to be a long weekend.
The Cats have had success at Conte Forum the last two years, but Brody Hoffman and Packy Munson are no longer here to steal games. Lekkas (and maybe Santaguida, I don’t know his injury status) is going to have to step up big time.
Games are Friday and Saturday at 7pm and OH COME ON BC MAKES YOU PAY. Catch up with the 2010s, will you, Eagles?