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PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS: Boston College Hockey at Merrimack

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It’s a midweek clash as BC travels up to North Andover tonight to open up Hockey East play. Who ya got?

Maine v Boston College Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

GAME FACTS

Who:

#16 Boston College Eagles (4-2-0, 0-0-0 HEA) at

#44 Merrimack College Warriors (2-3-0, 0-0-0 HEA)

What:

Hockey East opener!

When:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 7:00 PM

Where:

Lawler Arena, North Andover, MA

Why:

Each team will be looking to get off on the right foot as conference play begins.

How to Watch:

Stream tonight’s game via Merrimack’s website ($10)

How to Listen:

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

BC STORYLINES

  • We’re all awaiting word on whether Colin White will be able to play. Based on the way York spoke postgame on Saturday, it seemed like his absence in the second and third periods in Worcester was precautionary as much as anything, but that precaution could well carry in tonight with Providence and @ UMass coming up on the schedule over the weekend.
  • If White is out, who will comprise the top line? Gaudreau, Fitzgerald and Dudek took the shifts as the top line down the stretch against HC.
  • With three games coming up in the next five nights, it’s probably reasonable to think Ryan Edquist will get a start, but you sort of assume Woll will get the nod tonight and Edquist will come in over the weekend to prevent Woll having to play back-to-back nights.
  • Last weekend, BC showed off a balanced scoring attack that included freshmen like Mike Booth, Jesper Mattila and Luke McInnis hitting the back of the net - can BC continue to show scoring depth?
  • It’s not unusual for Merrimack games to get bogged down in penalties — with the uptick in penalties called nationally, will this be an ugly game?

GETTING TO KNOW THE OPPONENT

After an 0-3 start, Merrimack celebrated Homecoming weekend with a pair of wins over Colgate last week at Lawler. It was a nice attacking outbreak for MC, who struggled in their first three games, scoring just two goals and losing all three matchups.

Brett Seney leads 'Mack with 4 points, while Hampus Gustafsson leads the team with three goals. The starting goalie will probably be Drew Vogler, who has a 2.67 GAA and .911 sv%.

THE NUMBERS GAME

We talked about penalties earlier - BC and Merrimack are 12th and 13th in the nation in penalty minutes. BC averages 20 minutes of penalties per game, and 'Mack 19.8. So basically, expect lots of special teams opportunities.

Merrimack is right down there with BC in terms of PP futility so far, 4-for-43 (9.3%, 49th in the nation), while their PK is mid-pack at 86.5%.

In terms of scoring offense, Merrimack’s 2.2 goals per game is 49th nationally out of 54 teams who have played a game so far this year.

THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

Most people will expect BC to beat Merrimack pretty much any time the two teams play. However, Lawler is pretty much always a tough place to play for anyone, and BC has had their struggles there. BC is 4-4-2 in their last 10 trips to North Andover.

A win is a fair expectation, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they didn’t.

RANDOM FACT ABOUT MERRIMACK

Girl Talk, Ludacris, and Plain White Ts are among the bands that have performed on-campus at Merrimack in recent years, which makes their concert lineup more impressive than the NHL’s.

OBLIGATORY VIDEO EVERY TIME BC PLAYS MERRIMACK

YEAH

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.

Big Lou is 10 years old, 22 pounds, and now 1-1 predicting hockey games after picking BC to split last weekend.

Who’s he got this week?

big lou merrimack

Lou picks a big BC win.

HUMAN PREDICTIONS

Joe Gravellese - Merrimack 4, Boston College 3 - because Lawler is weird and this season is going to have its ups and downs. This feels like it could be one of those random trip-up games, followed by a good weekend for BC. We shall see.

I know, I’m being negative again.

Grant Salzano - BC 3, Merrimack 0

Laura Berestecki - 4-3 BC. If you can't hear me yelling while listening to the stream I'll be so disappointed in myself because #Lawler

Arthur Bailin - Birds win 6-5.

Thomas Greenberg - BC 5, Merrimack 3

PREDICTION CONTEST

Arthur Bailin takes the weekend on the staff side, picking a 4-2 win over CC (actual result: 4-1) and a 5-1 win over Holy Cross (actual result: 6-1). Not bad! JPDot takes the W on the fan side, picking 5-2 and 3-2 wins.

Standings

JPDot 3

CoachJF 1

Gifford Cats 1

Joe Gravellese 1

BCJacket5 1

Arthur Bailin 1

LEAVE US YOUR THOUGHTS

How will BC do in their Hockey East opener? Leave your thoughts below.