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PREVIEW: Boston College Hockey vs. Northeastern

It’s another Tuesday night game... woo?

BC Hockey vs. North Dakota at MSG
Kathryn Riley, BC Interruption

GAME FACTS

Who:

#29 Northeastern Huskies (5-6-4, 1-5-2 Hockey East) at
#8 Boston College Eagles (12-5-1, 7-0-1 Hockey East)

What:

Hockey East conference game

Where:

Conte Forum, Boston, MA

When:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016; 7:00 PM ET

How to watch:

BCEagles.TV ($$$)

How to listen:

WEEI 850 AM, BCEagles.com, or WZBC.org

STORYLINES

  • BC needs to bounce back quickly from an emotional game and a tough loss at Madison Square Garden. After just two days off, BC heads back to Boston to take on the same Northeastern team they played a week ago, who have not played since that game - giving them time to stew and prepare.
  • The Eagles continue to rack up the penalty minutes. In both games last week, BC was on the wrong end of a big power play disparity. The 113 penalty kill situations by BC make them the third most frequently shorthanded team in the nation, and they're averaging 6.28 penalty kill attempts per game. With an 82.3% PK that's not going to fly, so one of those numbers will need to improve.
  • On the positive side, BC remains unbeaten in league play and has jumped out to a 4 point lead in the Hockey East standings. In conference games, BC has a +2.12 goal margin per game, best in Hockey East and second best in the country.
  • Matt Gaudreau's 13 assists put him 6th in Hockey East, also leading the Eagles in both assists and points.

GETTING TO KNOW THE OPPONENT

  • Check out our Q&A with the Northeastern Hockey Blog for more information about the Huskies.
  • As we mentioned last week, Northeastern is an incredibly top-heavy team right now. Dylan Sikura, Zach Aston-Reese, Adam Gaudette, and Garret Cockerill have combined for 62% of Northeastern’s total points so far this season.
  • Northeastern has done a pretty good job staying out of the box this season, taking a total of 79 penalties so far - 34th-most in the nation on a per-game basis.
  • Last week's 2-1 loss to BC was the first full 60 minute game in which NU allowed fewer than 3 goals since October 14 at Bentley (a 1-1 tie). In all, NU has limited opponents to 2 or fewer goals just three times this season, and one of them was the game shortened by zamboni failure, a 0-0 tie against Notre Dame.

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

  • Goals per game: BC 3.67, NU 3.13
  • Goals allowed per game: BC 2.39, NU 2.93
  • Power play: BC 17.4%, NU 20.8%
  • Penalty kill: BC 82.3%, NU 86.1%
  • Even strength CF%: BC 55.5%, NU 51.3%
  • CF% in close situations: BC 58.6%, NU 47.4%

HOW BC WINS

  • At this point in the season, either bringing down the number of penalties or improving their PK% is the #1 key to success this season. Everything revolves around that.
  • Julius Mattila has been a strong player for BC this season in terms of penalty killing and winning puck battles, but it hasn’t translated in to a lot of scoring yet. If he or his linemates can start finding the back of the net it will add some serious dynamism to the BC offense.

CAT PREDICTIONS

No adorable cat GIF this week, but Mimi picks BC to beat Northeastern 5-2. Mimi has been trained to walk straight to Laura on Thursday nights because she knows she will get treats (awww).

Adopt your new hockey-game-predicting friend byvisiting the Gifford Cat Shelter on Undine Road in Brighton, right around the corner from BC.

LAST THOUGHT

This is BC’s 5th Tuesday game in the last 6 weeks. BC’s home schedule this year includes 5 midweek night games and 2 games on NFL Sundays (including the best OOC game on the Sunday after Thanksgiving during student break). BC has just 5 Friday night games and 2 Saturdays, and out of the 5 Fridays, two are 6:00 PM starts due to ASN. That means BC has a total of five weekend night games at 7 PM.

Hopefully Hockey East and their TV partners work out a schedule next year that’s better for the paying customers who go to the games, especially the students. That’s the backbone of college hockey.

LEAVE US YOUR THOUGHTS

Think BC stays undefeated in league play tonight? Share your thoughts here or on twitter at @BCInterruption. You can also find @joegrav, @laurbear90 and @arthurbailin on Twitter; they’ll all be in the house tonight. GO EAGLES!!!!