Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Thoughts: More Please

Player of the Week
Freshman, Matt Lane 
Over the past few weeks, Lane has
shown that he is a very smart hockey
player. He does the small things right.
Saturday, it paid off as he scored his
first collegiate goal, the game
winning goal.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Wow! What a weekend. BU and North Dakota played two of the most intense and spirited November hockey games I've seen in a long time. Even though I could not make the trip to Grand Forks this past weekend, it was still brutally obvious to me that a) these teams really don't like each other and b) there is no love lost between the fans either.

All is great for the game, and it's getting better. Originally I though the forming of the Big 10 and NCHC conferences would ruin college hockey rivalries that have been around longer than anyone can remember. Also, from the start, I did not like Notre Dame coming into Hockey East and rearranging the entire league schedule. Now, I love it.

Hockey East will play 22 league games compared to 27 starting net year. That leaves room for more non-conference games against "high profile" teams from around the country. BU will have a chance to continue their "new" rivalry with the Sioux next year at Agganis on November 22rd and 23rd.

Back to this weekend. I thought BU played very well in five of the six periods played at the Ralph, the third period of game one being the exception. There, BU was dominated and the Sioux made life tough on the Terriers by hemming them in their own zone. Kinda hard to score from your own end, eh? Besides that, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the team played against a top five (going into the weekend) especially in North Dakota.

After the UNH game, I though this was going to be an easy sweep for NoDak, but BU really came to play and that is not to say North Dakota did not show up. Far from it. It was like watching a playoff game both Friday and Saturday night.

Big Steps For Mags
Although Sean Maguire did not get the win on Friday night, he looked much, much more confident in net, when compared to his other start on the year: the UNH game. He made a handful of saves on point blank opportunities from some of the Sioux sharp shooters in the slot.

The first of Conner Gaarder's three goals was a fluke as it hit off the side of his skate on a centering pass. Maguire really had no way to make this save. The second goal was a defensive break down that allowed Gaarder to take an uncontested slapper from the near circle. I my mind, this was the one goal that he may have had a shot at stopping. Gaarder's hat trick goal was on a five on three and was set up beautifully by Rocco Grimaldi from behind the net. Maguire had no chance. I think he gets the start Friday at Merrimack.

Alexx Privitera 
Coach, Jack Parker said this was Alexx's best weekend in a Terrier uniform and I can't disagree with him. Not only did he spring Matt Lane for the game winning goal on Saturday, but he was a dominant defender all weekend. Officially, he blocked 10 shots over the the two games, which is outstanding alone, but it seemed like he blocked about 110 shots. I was not the only one to pick up on this. The (I did not know it was possible to be more of a homer than Jack Edwards) play by play and color man both were full of praise for Privitera's play.

At The Polls
BU moved up one slot from 12th to 11th in the USCHO poll. Boston College was yet again number one, receiving 48 of 50 first place votes. Minnesota and Denver were two/three for the second week in a row. Cornell moved up two slots from six to join the top five and Miami moved down one place from four to five. Other Hockey East schools in the top 20 included New Hampshire at 9 and Lowell at 17. 

In the only ranking system that actually means anything -The Pairwise- BU is currently in 7th. Dartmouth is one, BC two, UNH three and Cornell and Denver round out the top five. 

Around Hockey East
Friday: Boston College took out Maine 4-1 at Alfond... Merrimack thumped Northeastern 5-2 at Matthews... UMass upset New Hampshire 2-1 in overtime at the Mullins Center... Providence skated past Vermont 3-2 at Gutterson Field House... North Dakota dropped BU 4-2 in Grand Forks.

Saturday: Vermont blanked Providence 2-0 at home... Merrimack completed the sweep of Northeastern with a 4-2 win at home... BU bounced back to knock off North Dakota 4-2.

Sunday: Boston College came back to defeat UMass 3-2 at home... New Hampshire shutout Maine 4-0 in Orono. 

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