Monday, November 14, 2011

A Promising Weekend

Luke Popko, BU's best faceoff man in
team history.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
This past weekend had a few firsts for the Terriers. BU lost their first overtime Hockey East league game since 2003 when Merrimack came back and defeated BU 3-2 in OT at Agganis on Friday night.

BU's 5-0 shut out of Boston College was the Terrier's first blanking of BC since 1983. It was also BU's first win against BC since 2010. In my eyes, it was BU's best performance against the Eagles since 2006. The game that comes to mind is BU's 6-2 shellacking of BC at the start of December 2006. BC has had their share of lopsided wins against the Terriers as well, including a 5-0 beating that same season in the NCAA Regional Final in Worcester.

BU's rout against BC could be just what the team needs to spark them. Look at the Bruins, for example. The B's have won five straight games after destroying the Toronto Maple Leafs in Air Canada Center. Before that win, Boston had won just four games.

Now look at BU, a team that has been up and down all year. Now, with this eerily similar beating of an arch rival in their barn, BU could have finally figured out how to put everything together and play a full 60 minutes.

It would not surprise me if BU took off after last night's win. Next up on the schedule is a struggling Vermont team coming to Agganis on Friday night. Saturday, the University of New Hampshire will try to even the season series. BU's two home league games this upcoming weekend are very big games. BU is currently tied for fourth in Hockey East with those UNH Wild Cats. A weekend sweep would go along way into getting back into the top of the Hockey East standings, where most people predicted them to be at the start of the year.

Struggling: The Face-off
BU's faceoffs have been less of a draw and more of an automatic loss. The Terrier's inability to win any important faceoffs in the Merrimack game was a clear reason why they lost the game. BU was burned several times down the stretch in the faceoff circle and it led to MC's tying goal. The problem has left me wondering if we can get Luke Popko (photo) back. Popko graduated in '10, so of course he can't come back, but the pesky fourth line center seemed to win about 90% of the draws he took.

At The Polls 
After going 1-1 over the weekend, BU remained at number 16 in the USCHO poll. Minnesota is still the number one ranked team in the Nation despite Merrimack, ranked second, picking up more first place votes with 25. Minnesota had 20 first place votes. Boston College slipped to number three with Notre Dame and Colorado College rounding out the top five.

In the USA Today rankings, BU was two points away from cracking the 15 team poll. Ohio State and Michigan Tech tied for 14th with 52 points each. The top five is identical to USCHO's.

My rankings

PairWise: Who cares... its way to early.

Around Hockey East
Friday Night: Boston College slipped by Northeastern 2-1 on a goal scored with 2.8 seconds left in regulation... Lowell remained hot, defeating Maine in 5-3 at Alfond Arena... Providence shut out the nation's lone Independent school, Alabama Huntsville 3-0 at home... UMass waxed Holy Cross 7-2 at the Mulins Center... Merrimack upended BU 3-2 in overtime.

Saturday Night: Lowell completed the weekend sweep of Maine with a 4-3 road victory... UMass won it's second game of the weekend, defeating Northeastern 4-2 at home... New Hampshire and Vermont skated to a 4-4 draw at Gutterson Field House, home of the Catamounts... Providence again topped UAH, this time by a score of 4-2.

Sunday Afternoon: BU shut out BC for the first time since the schools joined Hockey East in 1984. BU won 5-0.

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