Monday, December 5, 2011
A Closer Look: The BC Weekend
This was a very strange series, to say the least. Both nights the team with more shot attempts lost. BC out shot the Terriers 45-15 at Conte Forum on Friday. BU picked up two goals on eight shots in the first period and converted on their lone shot of the second period. In fact, BU had more penalties -17- than shots in the game.
Now, to win a game, score five goals, only have 15 shots and take 17 penalties, one of two things has to happen. Either the victor gets great goaltending and an opportunistic offense, or the other team's goalie and defense absolutely don't show up. In BU's case, both took place. Kieran Millan made 43 saves and BU scored two power play goals. Boston College also had an anemic power play, going a dismal 2 for 11. BC goalie Parker Milner also continued to prove how he can't beat BU, as he lost his third straight home game to the Terriers. In three games played against BU, Milner has a .773 save%, a 4.97 Goals Against Average and 15 goals allowed... All three games were BC home games.
Saturday night was a completely different story for the Terriers. Despite out shooting the Eagles by a 41-31 margin, BU came out on the short end of a 6-1 shellacking. After Corey Trivino tied the game at one at the tail end of the first, BC scored five unanswered goals, including four goals in the second stanza on just eight shots. Millan, unlike the night before, was way off his game. One goal in particular stands out as being an incredibly weak goal. That would be Bill Arnold's slap-shot from the the top of the far hashmarks. The shot was no more than a foot-foot and a half off the ice and (as I recall) the puck went right by the senior netminder and into the center of the net.
I now bring up the question of what was more impressive: Kiran Millan's 42 save performance at Boston College or Brian Billett's 30 save performance at BU in his second career start as an Eagle?
At The Polls
After splitting the weekend series with the the Eagles, BU jumped up two slots from 13th to 11th in the USCHO ranking. With previous number one Merrimack being swept by Providence, it was time for the defending National Champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to become the sixth team to climb to the summit of this poll. If six teams have been ranked number one so far this year, that proves no one really knows who the best team out there really is. Anyway, coming in at number two this week was Minnesota, followed by Boston College, Ohio State and Merrimack rounding out the top five. Hockey East now has five teams in the top 20, as Lowell (18) and Providence (20) join BU (11), BC (3), and Merrimack (5) in the poll.
In the USA Today Poll, BU finds themselves one place up at 12th. The top five is identical.
PairWise: Some may say it's still to early to look at this, but I'm not one of them. BU gained some major ground this weekend, moving up from 16th to 11th. Now that is only four slots, but four spots is the difference between watching the NCAA tournament from a dorm room or being part of it. BU actually moved up to 11th after Friday's win and stayed there despite the loss on Saturday. It was more important to beat BC at Conte then it was to win at home. Why? Because a team gets more PWR points for road wins against "Teams Under Consideration" than it does if the game is at home.
Currently, Hockey East has six teams in the PairWise rankings. BC and Merrimack are tied at second. Lowell is tied with Northern Michigan for the ninth position, BU is 11th, while Providence comes in at 19th. Maine is sitting in 26th. Remember though, the NCAA tournament is only a 16 team field.
Around Hockey East
Friday night: Maine topped Vermont 6-4 in the Green Mountain State... Providence handed Merrimack their first loss of the year 2-1 in overtime... Lowell snuck by New Hampshire 3-2 at home... BU upended BC 5-3... Northeastern steam rolled over and kicked Notre Dame square in the crotch, defeating UND 9-2 in South Bend... Harvard and UMass tied 4-4 at the Mulins Center.
Saturday Night: Maine completed the sweep against Vermont, winning 5-2 at the Gut... Providence waxed Merrimack 6-1 in MC's barn... Lowell capped off the sweep of UNH, winning 5-3 on the road... BC dominated BU 6-1... Northeastern again beat Notre Dame, this time by a score of 2-1.