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Boston College Hockey vs. Lowell: Final Thoughts and Predictions

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It's game day. BC hockey opens its Hockey East campaign tonight!

Elsa
Finally, it's here. After a summer of speculation and roster drama it's time to see this year's Boston College hockey team on the ice in a real game. Tonight is the night that some of our big offseason questions begin to get answers. Can Alex Tuch live up to the hype of a first round draft pick - and the expectations he helped create for himself by being so electric in BC's exhibition game? Will BC's defense look like a dynamic, lock-down unit? Can Thatcher Demko be a show-stopping presence between the pipes for BC? Where will the goals come from? Who might make a big jump this season?

Standing in BC's way tonight is a team with unanswered questions of its own, UMass-Lowell. It's going to be a packed and raucous house in Lowell tonight with about 7,000 fans present decked out in blue for UML's "blue out" and banner raising ceremony in honor of their second consecutive Hockey East title. But they won't have too many familiar faces in front of them to cheer on, with a monster freshman class hoping to pick up some of the slack left by a big graduating class and some key early departures, including star goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

No more talking about it; let's drop the puck.

BC Roster Notes

As was the case for last week's exhibition, Brendan Silk is out with a minor injury. So, expect the lines to look as they did last weekend.

Projected Lines

Alex Tuch - Adam Gilmour - Chris Calnan

Zach Sanford - Ryan Fitzgerald - Austin Cangelosi

Cam Spiro - Matt Gaudreau - Danny Linell

Quinn Smith - Michael Sit - Destry Straight

Defensive pairs

Michael Matheson - Scott Savage

Ian McCoshen - Ted Doherty

Noah Hanifin - Steve Santini

In goal:

Thatcher Demko

A couple big questions for me regarding the lineup: can Spiro translate his exhibition performance into success in a real game? And will the Fitzgerald line look like the force it should be on paper this week?

GAME FACTS

Game Time: 7:15
TV: NESN
Radio: WEEI 850 AM

Record:

BC 0-0-0
UMass-Lowell 0-0-0

Goal Differentials:
BC: n/a
UNB: n/a

Last Time Out: BC and Lowell are both coming off of exhibition victories. BC downed UNB 6-4 last week and Lowell blew out St. Thomas, 7-3.

Common Foes: n/a

Players to watch: The big question is who steps in between the pipes after Lowell sent both Connor Hellebuyck and Doug Carr to the pros. It looks like UMass transfer Kevin Boyle will be in net based on what Shawn Hutcheon from the Lowell Sun reported yesterday. In two seasons at UMass, Boyle managed just an .896 save percentage in 41 career games. Not good. Will be be transformed by Lowell goalie magic?

Lowell's top returning scorer is junior Adam Chapie, who had 23 points last season.

Last Three Meetings:

3/30/2014 - BC 4, Lowell 3 (NCAA Regional Final)
2/22/2014 - BC 2 @ Lowell 2
2/21/2014 - BC 3, Lowell 0

Blast from the Not-Too-Distant Past

How could I pick anything but this glorious, glorious Ian McCoshen goal to send BC to the Frozen Four last year with a fantastic 4-3 win over Lowell?



The Pre-Game Watering Hole

Usually when there's only one good option near an arena you kind of assume they're going to reap the proxy benefit of being nearby and end up not being that great. That's not the case with Lowell Beer Works, steps from Tsongas Center, home to some quality brews and pretty good food. If you've been to a Beer Works location in Boston, this is the same deal. So nothing earth shattering, but a quality place to go before a game.

Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes

Tonight, BU takes on UMass in the other Hockey East conference matchup. Two other intriguing games include highly-touted PC opening their campaign with a trip to Ohio State, and Notre Dame participating in the icebreaker with a game against RPI. In the early Icebreaker game, Minnesota faces Minnesota-Duluth at 2 PM.

Predictions

I thought about trying a new prediction format this year but I'm going to just switch back to what we did last year - pick the score. If you're right about the winner (or a tie), you get 5 points - minus one point for each goal you're off by on the margin of victory, and +1 bonus point for each team whose score you guess exactly right.

Joe Gravellese:

Lowell 3, BC 1-

Much like last year at Michigan, this is a tough road game for a young team to start with. I feel like Lowell will jump out to an early lead and it will take a little while for BC to get into the game. On an optimistic note, Lowell doesn't have Hellebuyck anymore and their goaltending situation is a little unsettled, so maybe BC will have an easier time scoring than they often do against this team.

AJ Black:

I'm going 4-2 Lowell.

Road crowd, and Tsongas will be rocking. I think BC is going to make a few early mistakes and UML will make them pay. 

Brian Favat:
3-2 BC. Gilmour breaks a evenly fought 2-2 tie late in the third, spoiling banner night in Lowell. 

Grant Salzano:
Gimme 4-1 BC with an empty net goal.

New "Dan Rubin" Guy:

3-1 Lowell. Maybe later in the year I would pick BC. Still think Demko is going to explode so nobody hit the panic button if BC ends up outclassed in game #1

BCI Prediction Standings

n/a - it's week 1!

Ready to make some predictions? Have thoughts on BC's lineup? Think the Eagles are going to come out strong this year? Do you have any idea what a "river hawk" is? Leave your thoughts below.