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PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS: Boston College Hockey at Northeastern

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It’s another big midweek game for the Eagles...

Chris Calnan vs. Northeastern
Boston College Athletics

GAME FACTS

Who:

#9 Boston College Eagles (11-4-1, 6-0-1 Hockey East) at
#27 Northeastern Huskies (5-5-4, 1-4-2 Hockey East)

What:

Hockey East game

Where:

Matthews Arena, Boston, MA

When:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016; 7:00 PM ET

How to watch:

Northeastern’s free streaming service will carry tonight’s game; watch live via this link.

How to listen:

WEEI 850 AM, or BCEagles.com; also, you can listen to the Northeastern broadcast via WRBB Radio 104.9 FM

STORYLINES

  • The biggest story in the BC Hockeyverse is the health of Ryan Fitzgerald, who suffered an ankle injury on Sunday against Minnesota. As of right now, the timeline and severity of his injury are not yet known, but he definitely won’t be in the lineup tonight or likely at all before break, given how things looked as he came off the ice Sunday. With Fitzgerald out, Jerry York will need to make adjustments to the top lines to account for missing BC’s leading scorer.
  • Also alarming: for the second time in three games, BC faced a quality opponent and gave up 30+ shots and 4+ goals. Team defense has been a strength for the Eagles, but things obviously get tougher when you’re playing an elite offense. Northeastern has plenty of firepower, so the defense will be put to the test.
  • With North Dakota on deck Saturday, this is a big game for the Eagles to try to avoid staring down the barrel of a serious skid. Thus far, BC has not lost two games in a row, following up losses on the opening two Fridays with wins to close out the weekend, and following up their Harvard loss with a win against Connecticut.
  • Matt Gaudreau tied Ryan Fitzgerald for the team lead in points on Sunday, and he’ll become an even bigger part of the attack now that Fitzgerald is out. Can he continue his senior year jump in play?

GETTING TO KNOW THE OPPONENT

  • Check out our Q&A with the Northeastern Hockey Blog for more information about the Huskies.
  • Northeastern is doing what they’ve done each of the last two seasons: starting slowly. To be fair, they’re off to a better start than they did the last two years. They’re 5-5-4; at this point in the last two seasons they had two or fewer wins and the season looked essentially lost. Of course, last year, NU rode a historic second half hot streak to the HEA title; they won’t want to leave it to the second half this season, so they’ll be looking to pile up some wins before break. Their victory over Minnesota on Friday night was arguably their biggest of the young season.
  • With 46 goals in 14 games, the Northeastern offense has been good. A Huskies offense described by the NU blog as "top heavy" is powered by Zach Aston-Reese, Dylan Sikura, and Adam Gaudette, each of whom have 20+ points on the young (can we still call it young?) season. After that, no Husky forward has more than 6 points.
  • Northeastern's problem has been allowing goals: they've given up 42 in 14 games, with Ryan Ruck posting an .883 save percentage and a 3.06 GAA. Ruck, who backstopped the Huskies to the Hockey East title last year, has earned the faith of coach Jim Madigan, and will likely start tonight - but junior Jake Theut is waiting in the wings and could be called upon as well.

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

  • Goals per game: BC 3.81, NU 3.29
  • Goals allowed per game: BC 2.38, NU 3.00
  • Power play: BC 17.1%, NU 21.3%
  • Penalty kill: BC 82%, NU 85.7%
  • Even strength CF%: BC 55.0%, NU 52.6%
  • CF% in close situations: BC 58.5%, NU 49.1%

THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

This is a toss-up game. On paper, BC is probably the projected “better” team based on how things have been playing out, but not by much, and especially not on the road.

COOL THING THAT HAPPENED AGAINST NORTHEASTERN

The Pat Brown on-his-ass-goal to win the 2014 Beanpot:

WATERING HOLE OF CHOICE

Conor Larkin’s Grill & Tap, in addition to being conveniently located on Huntington Ave. near Northeastern, is also owned by a big BC fan. Give ‘em your business!

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.

If Mimi is any indication this is going to be a weird game because she was having trouble finding the treats? She's predicting a 7-6 BC win against the Huskies.

mimi bc vs nu

HUMAN PREDICTIONS

Joe Gravellese - Northeastern 4, BC 2; this feels like a perfect storm of factors adding up to a Northeastern win. BC is reeling from losing their top scorer; NU is starting to feel good after a rocky start in typical NU fashion; it’s a midweek game at Matthews sandwiched between two other “name” games... I don’t know, I just don’t have a good feeling.

Grant Salzano - BC 3, Northeastern 1

Laura Berestecki - BC 3, Northeastern 2

Arthur Bailin - BC 3, Northeastern 1

PREDICTION CONTEST

JPDot extended his commanding lead by being the only man or beast to predict a Golden Gopher victory on sunday.

JPDot 5.333
Laura Berestecki 2.333
Joe Gravellese 1.333

CoachJF 1
Gifford Cats 1
Grant Salzano 1
BCJacket5 1
Arthur Bailin 1
princisb 1
Eric Hoffses 1

LEAVE US YOUR THOUGHTS

Making the Tuesday night train ride to Matthews Arena? Watching the free stream at home? Leave us your thoughts here or follow along on Twitter at @BCInterruption. Let’s go BC!