The Eagles take on one of their historic rivals this weekend in a home-and-home series with the Northeastern Huskies. The Huskies are off to a dreadful start this season, but hope to build off a nice win over Colgate last week in Belfast. Meanwhile, the Eagles look to remain hot, riding an 11-game winning streak. Let's take a look at the matchup.
Northeastern Huskies (2-11-2) at Boston College Eagles (12-1-0)
Saturday, December 5, 2015, 7:00 PM, Kelley Rink at Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Sunday, December 6, 2015, 4:00 PM, Matthews Arena, Boston, Mass.
Pairwise: NU #53, BC #6
Team Offense: NU #49 (2.20 goals per game)... BC #2 (4.54 goals per game)
Team Defense: NU #45 (3.20 goals allowed per game)... BC #1 (1.23 goals allowed per game)
Chris Calnan's health: This week, the Boston College Hockey Blog reported that Chris Calnan was back in practice for the first time since suffering an upper body injury two weeks ago at UNH. My uneducated guess is that he won't play this weekend. But if he does, it would certainly bolster the Eagles' attacking depth.
And if not...: If Calnan can't go, we'll get another look at Chris Brown skating on a top line, after an impressive first week skating alongside Cangelosi and Wood. Brown scored a goal against RIT and looked very much like his skating game was ready for the role of a top-9 forward. We'll see how he does against Northeastern.
The Huskies' first period struggles: So much of what goes on with Northeastern every year seems to be mental. That could have a lot to do with their first period issues; they've been outscored 22-4 in first periods this season, as Ryan Fallon of WRBB sports pointed out to us yesterday. Can BC put some early pressure on NU and break any self-belief they may have built up in Belfast?
Kevin Roy's health: Kevin Roy was expected to be a possible Hobey candidate this year but has been hampered by injuries and inconsistent play. As a result, he's yet to notch a goal this season. Odds are he won't play this weekend as he's been dealing with a concussion. If he does play, Northeastern will be hoping he finally finds his scoring touch.
Making them pay for penalties: Northeastern has the league's worst penalty kill (75%) while BC leads the league at 91.5%. If recent history is any indication BC will probably take more penalties than their opponent, but if they can make NU pay, the Eagles can make the Huskies' task even tougher.
Obligatory Game Day GIF/Video
The #CountdowntoJY1K series is getting me reminiscent about some of my favorite BC games I've ever attended. This is certainly one of them and might warrant its own post in the series. Tommy Cross scores here on a power play with less than 3 seconds to go to give BC a 2-1 win over NU on November 11, 2011. To date, this was one of the best environments at Conte Forum for a home game that I can ever remember, randomly. The roof came off when Cross netted the game winner. Also note beloved four-year NU goalie Chris Rawlings pulling a Joe Grav in intramurals and jumping up in the air to try to block a shot that ended up going under him. You never want to do anything that resembles me when you're playing between the pipes.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
You've got a few options at Northeastern, and I have to give a plug to Conor Larkin's Grill and Tap on Huntington Avenue, which, despite being a noted NU haunt, is owned by Chris Walsh a member of the BC Hockey Pike's Peak Club board of directors. As such, it's Eagle-friendly and there will be many BC fans there Sunday before the game.
Northeastern sits on the border of Boston's Mission Hill and South End neighborhoods. If you walk down Mass. Ave past Matthews Arena and take a right on to Tremont, you'll be at Parish Cafe, which serves hundreds of beer choices and has good food too. It's a quick jaunt from the Mass. Ave. stop on the orange line.
#CATPREDICTIONS, By The Cats Of The Gifford Cat Shelter
"Von Dutch is a young female cat available for adoption at Gifford. She is very active and a little crazy.
Von Dutch was initially a little confused by the prediction process and was hoping to just get endless treats on her favorite widow sill, but she eventually jumped down to make her predictions.
First she predicted a 3-2 BC win at home. She almost picked Northeastern, but decided BC was a better choice.
Next up was the away game prediction. Von Dutch was less uncertain about this one, and made the bold prediction of a 3-1 Northeastern victory.
You can visit Von Dutch 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
Saturday: BC 5, Northeastern 1
Sunday: Northeastern 3, BC 2
BC is a better team than Northeastern this year, but the Huskies are much better than they've shown so far. They showed elements of it all coming together last weekend and very nearly knocked off a very good Lowell team before bludgeoning Colgate. NU is usually good for one or two "how did they win that game?" wins each year at Matthews Arena. With their home games against BU and Providence in the rear view mirror as losses, I think the BC game is setting up to be that game this year.
As for Saturday, though, I'd expect all-systems-go at home. BC's offense has been excellent at home this season, averaging 4.85 goals per game.
Grant extended his lead by once again nailing the margin of victory, pegging a four goal BC win last week. Caleb also picked a four goal win, bringing him within striking distance of the lead pack. With two games this weekend we could see a real shakeup in the standings, especially with Joe and Von Dutch going off the reservation and picking the Huskies Sunday.
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
||The Sunday game will be one of those with an empty-netter late and BC never feels comfortable for the entire game. Of course.
|At both games this weekend, looking forward to taking in Sunday's game at historic Matthews Arena
|Also attending both games, and sure to remind all that cats>dogs
||I was thinking maybe a tie for Sunday's game. But, nah, it's Jerry!
|Von Dutch the Cat/ The Gifford Cats
|New "Dan Rubin" Guy||
||New Guy is wondering if BC can match Bentley's performance level against NU
If you didn't submit a prediction this week, you are picking the LA Lakers, who are somehow even worse than the 76ers.
Staff Prediction Summary:
BC (14) - NU (2) - Tie (0)
Fan Prediction Standings after last week:
It was Eagles all around last week but PJPJ23 and airforce987 got the spread right to earn the extra point.
JPDot 14 points
princisb 13 points
airforce987 13 points
bostoncollegenyr 12 points
cam_dezak 10 points
pjpj23 10 points
seobe 8 points
mig1168 6 points
95dougie95 6 points
we are bc 5 points
bcmike22 5 points
b0mberman 4 point
bcmurt09 4 points
tommykay 4 points
totheheights 2 points
bceagles66 2 points
rmbc81 1 point
spillerhighlife 1 point
eagles2015 1 point
Leave your thoughts and predictions on the series below... how will the Eagles fare in this weekend home-and-home against NU?