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PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS: Boston College Hockey vs. Minnesota

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The Gophers come to town tomorrow... what are you expecting?

2012 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships - Semifinals Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

GAME FACTS

Who:

#17 Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-4-2, 0-0-0 B1G)
#5 Boston College Eagles (11-3-1, 6-0-1 HEA)

What:

Nonconference game & Mike Mottau jersey retirement day

When:

Sunday, November 27, 2016; 1:00 PM ET

Where:

Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

Why:

BC’s strong start has largely been built off the back of wins against weak teams. Last Friday's foray to Allston to play a good Harvard team ended poorly. The Gophers may not be a top 5 team this year but they’re still a very talented opponent that will pose a big test.

How to Watch:

BCEagles.tv streaming ($$$)

How to Listen:

WEEI 850 AM or BCEagles.com

BC STORYLINES

  • White’s health: Colin White continues to battle the injury bug, missing Tuesday night’s game at UConn. BC needs White to get and stay healthy. At this point, we don’t know what his long term status is or whether he’ll be out tomorrow.
  • Getting something going on the fourth line: A strength of BC this season has been getting contributions up and down the lineup. On Tuesday night, BC’s fourth line of Mike Booth, Zach Walker and Graham McPhee combined for 0 shots and 0 points. At Harvard, the fourth line (then McPhee, Greco and Booth) had one shot, no points and was -1. BC will be looking for something better out of the fourth unit tomorrow.
  • A second period team?: You hear about first period teams and third period teams... so far, BC has been a second period team. The Eagles are outscoring their opponents 23-8 in the second period and outshooting them 178-139. In the third period, however, it's been a different story: BC has been outshot 159-131. They do have a narrow positive goal margin now at 20-19 after Tuesday.

GETTING TO KNOW THE OPPONENT

Our friend Andy York from The Daily Gopher did an excellent Q&A previewing this Minnesota team for us. Last night, Minnesota blew a third period lead and lost to Northeastern at Matthews Arena to fall to 5-4-2.

In so doing, they proved a lot of what Andy said to be prophetic. The Huskies scored 5 goals on just 26 shots against goalie Eric Schierhorn, who continued to struggle. On the positive side for Minnesota, star senior Justin Kloos scored a hat trick in the first two periods as the Gophers pulled out to a 4-2 lead, only to see it get upended in the third.

Kloos, sophomore Tyler Sheehy (4-10--14) and Northeastern transfer Mike Szmatula (4-7--11) lead the Gophers in scoring to this point. Minnesota has a solid 38 goals in 11 games, but they’ve also allowed 31.

THE NUMBERS GAME

Minnesota's offense is ranked #13 in the nation at 3.45 goals per game, but on the other end, they've allowed 2.91 goals per game, putting them #26 nationally. On special teams,

Minnesota's power play has been a source of strength, going 12-of-47 (25.53%) so far, good for #4 in the nation. That will be something to keep an eye on as BC has struggled killing penalties all season long.

BC and Minnesota have both been good possession teams, with even strength CF% of 55.7% and 53.2%, respectively. As has been the case all season, BC's CF% number is much higher in "close" situations, at 60.6% - second in the nation behind Penn State.

THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

Given that Minnesota lost last night, they’ll be coming out hungry tomorrow - but nonetheless, BC will be expecting to win this game at home.

RANDOM FACT ABOUT MINNESOTA

The University of Minnesota is a trifecta of a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution.

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.

Because Laura was not at the shelter this week for the holiday, we get a special cat guest from a secure and undisclosed location somewhere in New England: Nathan Gerbe the Cat. Nathan predicts a 5-2 BC loss, presumably because we don’t have Gerbe anymore.

gerbe

HUMAN PREDICTIONS

Joe Gravellese - BC 4, Minnesota 4, in a wild one.

Grant Salzano - BC 4, Minnesota 2 with an ENG. I’m feeling good.

Laura Berestecki - BC 4, Minnesota 3

Tom Greenberg - BC 4, Minnesota 4

John Fidler - BC 4, Minnesota 3

PREDICTION CONTEST

One goal off from the final result, JPDot, Joe and Laura all split the point this week.

Standings

JPDot 4.33

Laura Berestecki 2.33

Joe Gravellese 1.33

CoachJF 1

Gifford Cats 1

Grant Salzano 1

BCJacket5 1

Arthur Bailin 1

princisb 1

Eric Hoffses 1

LEAVE US YOUR THOUGHTS

Heading to Conte today for Mike Mottau day? Watching along at home? Leave us your thoughts here or on Twitter at @BCInterruption. Go Eagles!