Welcome to the most important stretch of the Boston College season.
That’s not hyperbole. From now up until the Beanpot, BC plays UMass Lowell, Boston University, Maine twice, and UMass thrice. The latter of which starts this weekend, as the Eagles take on UMass in a home-and-home series.
There is a lot on the line. BC is still keeping chase with Denver for the fourth slot in the Pairwise. Additionally, while the Eagles currently sit in fifth place in a very competitive Hockey East, the Eagles have a number of games in hand, and can take the Hockey East lead very easily, but that requires a maintenance of their current pace.
In other words, these games are important. So let’s break them them down.
Breaking Down the Series
- Even strength battles: As strong as Boston College has been on the power play this season, the Eagles are also amongst the best in the country at even-strength, scoring 74% of all goals scored at even strength in their games. The thing is, UMass is also a very good even strength team, scoring 69% of all goals scored at even-strength in their games. The big battle in this game will be how these two teams play each other at even-strength, because both teams excel at it. That said…
- Power play woes: While the Minutemen penalty kill has been solid, their power play has been significantly lacking, amongst the worst in the country. The Minutemen are certainly not afraid to engage in a physical game (last Saturday’s game against Denver resulted in 48 penalty minutes), but the Minutemen have not been that good about converting on their chances. If either of these games get physical, it will probably benefit the Eagles moreso than the Minutemen since the Eagles, with their sixth best power play in the country, have been better equipped to take advantage.
- Setting the tone early: This is the beginning of a really brutal stretch of schedule for the Eagles, and UMass is one of the better teams the Eagles have played. Getting off on the right foot early will certainly be helpful.
Random, Possibly Incorrect Fact from UMass’ Wikipedia Page
UMass has a Division I FBS football program.
Barley and Hops Based Alcoholic Beverage of the Game
Say what you will about Budweiser, but if you’re at a bar you’re not familiar with and want a safe, no-nonsense option, Bud is a good option. That’s what the Eagles need this weekend, a no-nonsense, attack the weekend sort of mentality.
I think both teams protect home ice. Give me BC in the Friday night game 4-3, and UMass 3-1 in the Saturday cap.