Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yale Preview

We're back?

Yeah. We're back. I've had nothing better to do with myself in the last week, so all I've really done is read and listen to various podcasts about the upcoming NCAA tournament and I figured I'd share my two cents on the BU aspect of the whole thing.

The third overall seeded Terriers play tomorrow afternoon at 2:00pm against 13th seeded Yale in the 1 vs 4 matchup of the Northeast Regional in Manchester. On the other side of the bracket in Manchester, (10) Minnesota and (6) Minnesota Duluth faceoff at 5:30pm.

Looking at Yale
The Bulldogs don't exactly come into the tournament on a red hot streak, but will still be a very tough out for BU (or any team that plays them). They lost two out of three at home in the ECAC Quarterfinals to eventual champion, Harvard. The Crimson won Game 3 on a double-overtime goal by Jimmy Vesey. Vesey is probably Eichel's biggest competition for the Hobey, but that is another story for another day.

What makes Yale such a tough opponent is their defense, specifically goalie Alex Lyon. Lyon leads the nation in all the major statistical goaltending categories: 1.58 Goals Against Average and a .939 Save Percentage. Oh, and his SEVEN shutouts, the most recent coming in Game 2 of the ECAC Quarterfinals, a 2-0 win for Yale. Lyon has 17 of Yale's 18 wins this season.

Offensively, Yale is lead by sophomore Frankie DiChiara, who posted 8 goals, 13 assists for 21 points in 32 games played. Rob O'Gara has tallied 21 points on the season with 6 goals and 15 assists. Yale's scoring is quite spread out and a quick look at their stat sheet shows it. Four players, Cody Learned, John Hayden (member of the 2015 USA JWC team) Carson Cooper and Ryan Hitchcock are within 6 points of O'Gara and DiChiara for the team lead in points. Hayden is the player that scares the me the most on this Yale team (outside of Lyon, of course)

What makes this matchup so intriguing is that BU has the best statistical offense in the country at 3.89 goals per game and Yale has the best defense in the nation, allowing just 1.59 goals per game.

BU will win if the game becomes a shootout, Yale just doesn't have the firepower. But if they can keep close, get a bounce here or there, Lyon could steal the game. Something to take into consideration is this: Jack Eichel, Danny O'Regan, Even Rodregues and Ahti Oksanen have combined to score 86 goals this season... Yale, as a team, has scored only 84.
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- The last time these two schools played was November 25, 2006. BU won 2-1 on an overtime goal by Matt Gilroy just seven seconds into the extra session. Overall, the all-time series is tied dead even a 30-30-3 (Yale won the first 20 meetings). BU and Yale will meet next year in New Haven.

- This marks the first time since 2003 that BU will face an ECAC school in the NCAA tournament. That year they saw Harvard in the opening round in Worcester at the DCU Center. Freshman Brad Zancanaro scored a huge goal late in the second, before Bryan Miller notched the eventual game winner on the power play just over two minutes into the third. Brian McConnell added two assists in the 6-4 BU win. The Terriers were denied from the Frozen Four in Buffalo the following night with a 3-0 loss to New Hampshire. UNH lost to Minnesota 5-1 in the National Title Game

- BU won the 2009 North East Regional in Manchester with wins over Ohio State (8-3) and UNH (2-1) and to my knowledge, they have never lost in the Verizon Wireless Arena. Interestingly though, the Terriers are winless in the state of New Hampshire this year, losing 2-0 at Dartmouth and 4-3 at UNH.

Of course none of the past has any relevance on tomorrow's game, but its always fun to look back.

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