Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hockey East Round One: UMass

The way things shook out last weekend with BU and Notre Dame splitting and BC and Lowell also splitting, left BU on the outside looking in on a first round bye in the Hockey East Playoffs as the 5th seed. That brings us to this weekend's Opening Round series with Umass at Agganis.
From The Vault
Matt Lane cuts to the net in a game at UMass in February 2013.
UMass goalie Kevin Boyle is now with Lowell, who BU would
play with a series win over the Minutemen.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)  
BU won the two regular season matchups with the Minutemen in convincing fashion by scores of 7-2 and 6-3. UMass finished last in the conference with just eight points, four behind 11th place Maine. The Minutemen have won just two games, both in overtime to AHA opponents since November 13th. Since beating America International on February 9th, a win that snapped a nine game losing streak, UMass has lost their last five games in a row. That winless streak includes being swept by Northeastern and Providence and a single non conference game with Lowell.  

BU and UMass last meet in the Hockey East playoffs in the Quarterfinals in 2006. BU swept the series with a pair of 4-1 wins at home.  

The winner of this series already has a fixed opponent for next weekend regardless of the other results of the Opening Round. With a series win, BU will travel to Lowell for the Quarterfinals. If UMass pulls off the improbable upset, they will take on Boston College at the Heights. UMass was the the 12th seed last season and took Notre Dame to three games in the Opening Round. UMass won game one on a Shane Walsh goal in the fifth overtime that ended the longest game in college hockey history. Notre Dame won the next two game to win the series. 

The upset would be very unlikely, but not completely unheard of. Last year, 11th seeded Merrimack went into Matthews Arena and swept 6th seeded Northeastern with two overtime wins. BU was also knocked off by the Warriors in 1998 when they were number one overall seed and MC was the eight. 

Scouting The Minuteman 
Shane Walsh has a commanding lead on the UMass goal scoring race with 17. He also has 11 assists for 28 points in 34 games, good for a tie with Ray Pigozzi for the the team lead. Pigozzi has eight goals and 20 assists. Dennis Kravchenko is another offensive weapon and is second to Walsh in goals scored with 11. Other players to watch include: Austin Plevy, Steve Iacobellis and Ben Gallacher. 

BU has faced all three UMass goalies. They scored to goals on three shots on Henry Dill out in Amherst less than a month ago. Dill has a .879 save percentage on the year. Freshman Nick Renyard took over for him in that game and he comes into the weekend with a .895 save percentage and a 3.68 goals against. Alex Wakaluk was the goalie BU face in their first game this season. He surrendered seven goals to BU and has a team worst .862 save percentage. Renyard will most likely get the start. 

BU Notes 
- The Boston Hockey Blog reported that Coach Quinn was "toying" with the idea of shifting Bobo Carpenter up to the second line center position with Matt Lane and Ahti Oksanen on the wings. 

- Maguire in net.

No comments:

Post a Comment