Once upon a time, the Maine Black Bears' visit to Conte Forum was one to truly circle on the calendar. Even as they've stepped down from perennial power status, Maine has always been a tricky opponent for BC and somewhat of a barometer for the Eagles. Alfond Arena remains a place where BC usually struggles, but they're spared the trip to Orono this year as Maine comes to BC for two games. Can BC keep up their winning streak?
University of Maine Black Bears (0-4-3) at Boston College Eagles (6-1-0)
Friday, November 6, 2015, 7:00 PM, Conte Forum, Boston, Mass..
Pairwise*: Maine #48, BC #13
Team Offense: ME 1.43 GPG (#58 in NCAA)... BC 4.43 GPG (#8 in NCAA)
Team Defense: ME 2.71 GA/G (#27 in NCAA)... BC 0.86 GA/G (#1 in NCAA)
*literally meaningless right now, but YOLO
Maine seeking win #1: Maine got off to a semi-decent start to the season with ties against Michigan State and North Dakota at the IceBreaker in Portland, but it's been all downhill since, going 0-4-1. Maine struggles mightily to put the puck in the net, averaging 1.43 goals per game. Going up against BC's defense and goaltending that has been such a strength, Maine is going to need to step it up big time if they want to get in to the win column.
Ryan Fitzgerald's Friday absence: Ryan Fitzgerald picked up a game disqualification in the second period of Tuesday night's game against UMass, meaning he'll be out for tonight's game but eligible to return on Sunday. How will BC account for his absence in the lineup? They could slide JD Dudek up on to the wing with White and Gaudreau, dress McMullen but play the fourth line sparingly... that's sort of what I'm thinking will happen.
Speed factor: Maine is not really known as one of the faster teams in the nation, but they are one of the biggest (#4 in average height). They'll probably want to get in to a physical game with BC. Can the Eagles turn on the jets through the neutral zone and play with speed and quick passing to keep the game open?
Time for Alex Tuch to get it going: Alex Tuch has yet to score this season, but he has a couple of golden opportunities coming up here against a team where BC should be able to generate some scoring chances. If BC can get Tuch going, shutting the Eagles down will be a very scary proposition for opponents.
Obligatory Game Day GIF/Video
One of the great Hockey East championship games in history was BC's 7-6 win over Maine in the 2010 final, sealed by a Matt Lombardi overtime game winning goal.
Jerry York's Three Classy Keys To The Game*
Hello again to all our friends out there on BC Interruption, we're excited to be back here to play just a great and proud program in the Maine Black Bears. Maine's always one of the toughest teams in the country to play against and they've got one of the best coaches in the country in Red Gendrion so this will be a good test for our young club.
Here are my three keys to the series:
1. Respect cultural differences: The Maine Black Bears have one of the best fan bases in college hockey and you know they'll be out in full force like they always are at Kelley Rink. You know, we always say hockey is like one big happy family and Maine really takes that to the next level. Though Maine fans are...different it's important to welcome them in to Conte and make them feel welcome.
2. Keep calm: We're without one of our best players tonight in Ryan Fitzgerald, so it's really important that no matter what happens we stay calm cool and collected and not have players ejected. We have great officials in Hockey East and they can take care of any such situations that occur.
3. Get a good night's sleep on Saturday: With a 1 PM game on tap Sunday afternoon that means you'll have to be at the 8 AM mass at St. Ignatius in order to get out in time to be ready for the game so it's important that all our kids get to bed by 8 PM the night before.
*Jerry York did not actually say these things.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
Sadly, BC does not have a trip to Alfond Arena this year, which, despite being a house of horrors for the Eagles, is one of the most fun away venues to visit. First off, there's the arena itself, which looks like it was something designed by Joseph as a place to store grain:
Then there's the town of Orono itself, which is pretty sleepy (the hot spot on a Saturday night is Tim Horton's) but has a few good dining options. Next time you're up in Orono visit Pat's Pizza (11 Mill St., Orono) which, despite the name, is a great diner for breakfast the morning after a BC-Maine game.
#CATPREDICTIONS, By The Cats Of The Gifford Cat Shelter
Laura's cat Coffee failed hard on Tuesday night by picking UMass. Rarely has an animal made such a poor prediction. Could she find a cat to redeem the picking skills of all cat-dom this weekend? In order to give the cats a fighting chance at winning in this contest, Laura will also be interpreting their behavior to let us know what score they're picking as well, in addition to what team.
"Nike, an 11 year old lap cat up for adoption at Gifford, had decided that BC would win before the predictions even officially started. A guy after my own heart.
I managed to move Nike, and he quickly went to choose BC.
Nike also quickly chose BC to win Sunday's game.
We're glad to have some BC loyalty after last week's betrayal by Coffee - good work, Nike!
Nike's final predictions: BC 5-0 and BC 8-0.
You can visit Nike and friends at The Gifford Cat Shelter, located right across from BC at 30 Undine Road in Brighton. Founded in 1884 it is the oldest no kill and cageless shelter in the U.S. More information is available at http://www.giffordcatshelter.org/.
The Last Word
BC 4, Maine 1
BC 5, Maine 0
Maine is having trouble scoring. BC is doing a great job not giving up goals. Hard to predict either trend changing this weekend. Friday night could be tricky without Fitzgerald - BC might have to roll three lines. But they should be alright.
I'll be in my customary spot at Conte Forum after missing Tuesday's game.
Everyone from the staff picked a BC sweep last week except New Guy (boo) and Tux (he's adorable though so we'll let him get away with it. Sorry New guy, we still love you too).
Scoring rules if you'd like to play along at home:
Predict the correct winner: 1 point
Get the margin of victory right: 2 points
Nail the correct final score: 3 points
|I'll be in my customary spot in Conte Forum. Let's go!
||I'll be watching via Chromecast at Chez Salzano in Connecticut.
||AJ will probably be watching football on Sunday (just a hunch)
|New Guy wised up and picked BC on Tuesday and is now repeating it this weekend. Let's hope for similar results.
||Bailin's confident this week.
|I will be skipping work at the cat shelter on Sunday for the game because my priorities are hockey>cats. Oops.
|Coach John Fidler
|The Eagles are getting hot and Maine's offense reminds me of the Fighting Fadules.
||If you didn't submit a pick this week, you're picking the Philadelphia 76ers
|Nike the Cat/ Gifford Cat Shelter||
|Game 1: Meow
Game 2: Meow
Staff Prediction Summary:
BC (16) - Maine (0) - Tie (0)
Fan Prediction Standings after last week:
mig1168 6 points
princisb 6 points
airforce987 6 points
cam_dezak 3 points
JPDot 6 points
b0mberman 4 point
bostoncollegenyr 5 points
bcmurt09 4 points
tommykay 3 points
we are bc 4 points
pjpj23 1 point
seobe 1 point
95dougie95 1 point
Leave your thoughts and predictions on the series below... will Maine pick up their first win of the season or will BC stay hot?