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Preview and Predictions: BC Hockey vs. Providence & UMass

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A full league weekend begins

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four-Quinnipiac vs Boston College Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

GAME FACTS

Who:

Providence College Friars (2-2-1, 0-0-0 Hockey East) at
Boston College Eagles (4-2-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East)

—and—

Boston College Eagles (4-2-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) at
UMass-Amherst Minutemen (2-2-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East)

What:

Hockey East games

When:

Friday, October 28, 2016 - 6 PM
Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 7 PM

Where:

FRIDAY: Conte Forum, Boston, MA
SATURDAY: Mullins Center, Amherst, MA

Why:

BC gets in to the heart of conference play with a pair of weekend games against HEA foes.

How to Watch:

Tonight’s game will be televised live on NESN and the American Sports Network (full affiliates list here).

You can stream tomorrow’s game via UMass Athletics

How to Listen:

Stream the audio broadcast on Boston College’s website or listen on WEEI 850 AM.

BC STORYLINES

  • We’re in to the thick of it now. By the end of this weekend, Boston College will be more than 25% of the way through its regular season. Crazy, right? The grind of league play began with Tuesday’s game at Merrimack, and kicks in to gear this weekend with a pair of winnable Hockey East games.
  • BC fans are anxiously awaiting news on Colin White’s health. Obviously, a return to the lineup by White would make BC’s lineup much deeper and more dangerous than the one they rolled out on Tuesday. We’re also once again keeping an eye on goaltending this weekend - it may be reasonable to expect Woll and Edquist to split time.
  • The Eagles’ special teams have been not good so far this season, and on Tuesday it pretty much cost them a win, giving up a pair of goals on the penalty kill in the third period. The Eagles PK has been a strength in recent years - especially valuable given their penchant for taking penalties. It needs to be a strength again, especially with the rash of penalties nationwide.

GETTING TO KNOW THE OPPONENTS

Providence College, much like BC, goes in to this season with huge turnover after using a number of key players that have contributed to their recent success.

After a challenging start to the season, PC’s offense broke out with nine goals in two games last weekend. All things considered, their biggest early black mark - a 2-1 loss to Holy Cross in OT - sort of looks like a bit of a fluke; they controlled possession in that game despite the upset.

UMass has two wins, which, hey! That’s good! The two wins are against Colorado College and Army, but they certainly won’t be picky after last season. They're fresh off a pretty competitive game in which they lost 3-2 to Quinnipiac midweek. The underlying numbers are a concern for UMass as they're getting outshot by an average of 35.8-20.0 per game.

It’s going to be a process for UMass hockey to rebuild after tanking the last couple of years, but there are some reasons for optimism. Jonny Lazarus and Dominic Trento are off to a good start with five points each in four games.

THE NUMBERS GAME

Special teams are key and for UMass, their PK has been an early strength, #10 in the nation at 91.2%.

Providence’s issues have mirrored BC’s on the PK, at 83.3%. But their power play has been solid at 20.45%.

PC’s Erik Foley is tied for 3rd in the nation in power play goals with 3.

THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

Three points. BC should be considered a reasonable favorite over UMass, and also probably has the presumed edge over PC given that the Eagles are at home. Come out of this weekend at 1-0-1 and that would be pretty solid.

RANDOM FACT ABOUT PROVIDENCE COLLEGE

Were you aware that Providence College once participated in a hockey game in which this happened?

CAT PREDICTIONS

Cat predictions are brought to you by the adoptable cats of the Gifford Cat Shelter, the nation’s oldest cageless, no-kill shelter - located near BC on Undine Road in Brighton.

Cat Predictions has become Big Lou's favorite part of the week because it is the only time he is allowed to eat treats on his diet. He was pretty confident in his choices this week. He's making the bold prediction that UMass will challenge BC more than Providence will.

HUMAN PREDICTIONS

Joe Gravellese - BC 3, Providence 3... followed by BC 4, UMass 1. Colin White’s presence or absence will make a big difference.

Grant Salzano - PC 3, BC 1.... BC 3, UMass 0

Laura Berestecki - BC 3, PC 2.... BC 5, UMass 1

Arthur Bailin - BC 4, PC 3 (OT).... BC 7, UMass 1

Eric Hoffses - PC 4, BC 1 .... BC 5, UMass 3

PREDICTION CONTEST

Nobody predicted a tie against Merrimack so the table remains the same.

Standings

JPDot 3

CoachJF 1

Gifford Cats 1

Joe Gravellese 1

BCJacket5 1

Arthur Bailin 1

LEAVE US YOUR THOUGHTS

Heading to Conte for tonight’s early start? Watching at home on NESN? How do you think the Eagles will do this weekend?

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