Previewing 2017-18 Men’s Hockey: Massachusetts

Boston College men's hockey

Nine days removed from completing the regular season sweep of New Hampshire, No. 16 Boston College men’s hockey (11-9-3, 11-4-0 Hockey East) looks to keep its momentum going when it hosts Massachusetts—a team it hasn’t lost to at home in five years—on Tuesday night.
The unranked Minutemen (11-11-1, 5-7-1) are coming off a tough 5-0 loss against Northeastern. They are 1-4-1 in their last five away games and have given up five or more goals in three of their past seven outings. On the other hand, the Eagles, who despite winning just two of their last six games, are ranked second in Hockey East, enter the mid-week matchup as the clear favorite.

Who is BC playing?
Massachusetts

When is BC playing?
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Kelley Rink, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to Watch:
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and livestreamed on WatchESPN. It can also be heard on WEEI.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Sophomore forward Graham McPhee—who leads the team in goals (eight) and power-play conversions (three)—has found the back of the net three times in the past four games and will be heavily relied upon in Tuesday’s matchup.

2) BC is fourth in the conference in penalty minutes, averaging 13.7 minutes per game. Against the Wildcats, the Eagles were called for six penalties, one of which allowed UNH to score its only goal of the game.

3) While BC’s home record is subpar (4-5-2), the Eagles are undefeated in their last three games against unranked teams at Kelley Rink.

UMass:

1) The Minutemen rank second-to-last in the conference in goals allowed (76).

2) UMass has knocked off three ranked opponents this season, including Northeastern in the first of its two-game series this past weekend.

3) It hasn’t taken long for forward Oliver Chau to make his mark. In 23 games, the freshman has racked up eight goals and a team-leading 19 points.

Last Meeting:
It’s been about a year since these two in-state foes have suited up against one another. On Jan. 20, 2017, a reeling UMass team made the trek to Kelley Rink. The 5-16-2 Minutemen couldn’t even put up a fight against the Eagles, suffering an embarrassing 6-1 defeat. The game was virtually over after the first period, as BC tallied half of its goals in the opening 20 minutes of play.

BC wins if…
If it can come out aggressive early and draw first blood. After all, the Eagles are 0-6-1 when trailing after the second period. Aside from jumping out to a first-period lead, head coach Jerry York’s team has to play disciplined hockey. If BC does end up making frequent trips to the penalty box, it cannot afford to let the Minutemen capitalize on the power play.

BC loses if…
It can’t get on the board in the opening frame. The Eagles have proven to be especially vulnerable when going down in the first period. BC must feed the puck to McPhee, David Cotton, Julius Mattila, and other playmakers to get the offense going. In two of its three wins over ranked opponents this season, UMass has gotten on the board first.

Featured Image by Josh Mentzer / Heights Staff