We have reached the last week of the regular season, and Boston College Women’s Hockey finally gets its long-awaited matchup against Boston University in the Battle of Comm Ave.
The Eagles and Terriers had home-and-home matchups set up at least a couple times this year, but with COVID-19 causing the league to scrap the schedule each week, it’s taken a while for the two teams to actually get on the ice. Knock on wood... but the day has finally come.
Boston University Terriers (5-4-0, 5-4-0 WHEA, 7th of 10 in HEPI)
at No. 6 Boston College Eagles (13-3-0, 13-3-0 WHEA, 2nd of 10 in HEPI)
No. 6 Boston College Eagles (13-3-0, 13-3-0 WHEA, 2nd of 10 in HEPI)
at Boston University Terriers (5-4-0, 5-4-0 WHEA, 7th of 10 in HEPI)
The Battle of Comm Ave
**Games will be played without fans, so don’t show up hoping to get in the door**
Chestnut Hill, MA
Walter Brown Arena
Friday, February 19th, 2021
Saturday, February 20th, 2021
HOW TO WATCH
Both games this weekend will be broadcast in HDTV on NESNplus. What a tremendous year for TV coverage it’s been. Assuming both games get played, that will make 12 out of 18 regular season games that BC Women’s Hockey will have been shown on NESN or NESNplus.
For those of you outside of the Hockey East area, you can stream for free at CollegeSportsLive.com
LAST TIME OUT
Boston College played one game last weekend against Providence before the Friars had to call off game two due to COVID concerns. That one game was a classic, though, as the Eagles come through with a 2-1 overtime win in a thrilling, fast-paced contest.
For a while there it didn’t look like BU was even going to hit double digits in games played, but they’ve managed to put together a few consecutive weeks of contests to build their resume. Last week they took on Vermont, who has been knocking on the door of the top 10 for a while now, and took a weekend split. The Terriers were blanked 4-0 in game one before responding well in game two with a 4-1 victory.
With no inter-conference games this year, a national KRACH calculator would be pretty pointless. But since we’re only playing conference games, we can use a league-only KRACH projection. The sample size is smaller than usual, but with the regular season ending it’s starting to get to be pretty useful.
According to KRACH, the Eagles are 2nd in Hockey East, but the rankings are very unimpressed with the Terriers, with them showing in 7th with the league’s worst strength of schedule. The numbers work out to BC having a 82.12% chance of winning, which comes out to a 67.44% chance of a BC sweep.
Those odds, in my gut, feel pretty high... mostly because BU was supposed to be pretty decent this year on paper. Because they’ve played so few games, their KRACH rating could be pretty far off to how good they really are, so the Eagles will need to watch out.
THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE
Take Care of Business. The main playoff implication this week for BC is their need to hold off Vermont in the HEPI rankings to keep the #2 seed. That’s going to be much more important this year than in the past, with all conference tournament games being played at the higher-seeded team. I assure you the Eagles do not fancy taking a long bus ride up to Burlington for the Hockey East semifinals when they could be playing the Catamounts at home.
BC should be fine if they sweep the Terriers, though if the Catamounts pull a rabbit out of their hat and take a game from Northeastern, that might complicate things. It would be nice if we actually knew how these games might affect the final rankings... but that ship seems to have sailed.
THE BIG QUESTION
Will literally anyone score a power play goal? These stats are pretty comical — both BC and BU are absolutely tremendous of late on the penalty kill, but embarrassing on the power play.
Since January 9th, the Eagles are 24 for 24 on the penalty kill, and since January 8th, they are 0 for 14 on the power play (and just 4 for 38 on the entire year).
Since December 11th, the Terriers are 22 for 22 on the penalty kill, and over the course of the entire season they are just 3 for 30 on the power play.
So yeah, do not expect special teams to put on a show this weekend.
GAME TIME MEAL OF THE WEEK
Pepe’s Tomato Pie w/Mozzarella
Pepe’s is the true GOAT of pizzerias, and while it’s sad that I had to go a whole summer without getting their summer pie (the single greatest food ever made), the old mootz standby is still readily available year-round. Joe Gravellese and I will be tag-teaming in-person coverage of the women’s and men’s games today, and we’ll be having some socially-distanced take-out Pepe’s in the parking lot between games.
Pepe’s only opened its Chestnut Hill location in late 2015, so I’ll always be sad that it wasn’t there while I was a student. I need to make up for lost time.
GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK
Pokemon Center Theme
Those of you who grew up playing Pokemon know that the Pokemon Center is where you go to heal your Pokemon. As such the theme music is pretty recognizable to any of us who battled our way to the Elite 4.
This is the last weekend of the regular season, and the Eagles will almost certainly be down players again due to COVID contact tracing and injuries and what-have-you. Fine. But after this week, let’s try and get everyone healed up for trophy season, eh?
This is a very tough weekend to predict. KRACH is pretty clear that the Eagles are favored, but I find that hard to trust since (1) BU’s got a miniscule sample size of games, (2) a lot of those games were when other teams were in full swing and the Terriers were just getting back on the ice, and (3) these are rivalry games, so your usual throw-out-the-records caveats apply. They’ve also got a take-over-the-game type forward in senior Jesse Compher... so they’re more dangerous than their record might indicate.
Still, the Eagles have spent weeks now finding ways to grind out victories. I think at least one of these games will go to overtime, but my gut is telling me that the Eagles will pull out both wins. Let’s go with a hard-fought 3-2 win in OT at Conte Forum before the Eagles pull out a quality 4-1 win at Walter Brown on Saturday afternoon.