Previewing 2018-19 Men’s Hockey: No. 2 St. Cloud State

bc men's hockey

After a winless three-game road start to the season, Boston College men’s hockey is hoping that it will find that elusive victory at Kelley Rink, as it prepares for its home opener on Thursday night. The three losses have come in varying fashions, as the Eagles (0-3) were shut out on two occasions, mixed in with a 7-5 shootout setback. It is not the start that head coach Jerry York’s squad was envisioning, and with red-hot No. 2 St. Cloud State (4-0) coming in, the Eagles’ losing streak could easily be stretched to four games before BC opens Hockey East play next Friday. However, a statement victory on Thursday would build some momentum going into the conference schedule.

Who is BC playing?

St. Cloud State

When is BC playing?

Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Kelley Rink, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to Watch:

This game will be available to stream on WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) The Eagles have recorded 83 shots on goal in their first three games, just two fewer than their opponents. Their problem has been putting these shots away, as they’ve only netted five goals compared to their opponents’ 11.

2) David Cotton leads the team with three goals in the first three games of play. They all came in the second game at Wisconsin, where his hat trick was unable to lead the Eagles to victory. The junior forward also tallied an assist in the road tilt.

3) Faceoffs have been a point of strength for BC so far, as it’s controlled over 57 percent of drops from the circle. The Eagles have a plus-21 margin in faceoffs, but it has been puck control after the drops that have plagued them.

St. Cloud State:

1) St. Cloud State has been nothing short of dominant in its first four games, outscoring its opponents, 18-5, and outshooting them, 129-71. Both the offense and defense have been clicking on all cylinders for the Huskies, as they enter Thursday night’s matchup.

2) Patrick Newell is leading the charge for the Huskies’ offense, notching four goals and three assists. The senior has recorded a point in every game this season, and should pose a threat to the Eagles.

3) St. Cloud State sports not one, but two dynamic goaltenders in Jeff Smith and David Hrenak. Each has started two games and possesses a save average of .923 percent or better.

Last Meeting:

The sides met for a two-game series in St. Cloud, Minn. on October 21-22 of last season. The Huskies took both games, the first being a comeback win that saw BC take an early two-goal lead off the strength of Logan Hutsko and Christopher Brown. But St. Cloud proceeded to score five unanswered goals in the final 30 minutes of gameplay to come out on top. The next night, the script was different, but the result was the same. The Huskies jumped out to a three-goal first period, creating a deficit that the Eagles would not be able to surmount. They got one goal back in the third, but it wasn’t enough to beat a St. Cloud State team that entered the NCAA Tournament as the top team in the nation.

Outlook:

Trending in the wrong direction, the Eagles will hope to get back on track at home. There is plenty of talent on BC’s roster, but it has yet to mesh the way that it was expected to coming into the season.

To pull off an upset in their home opener, the Eagles will need to do a better job at converting their shots into goals. Despite being fairly even in shots and puck control, BC has lost games because it has not been able to put pucks in the back of the net, and there is only so much that Toronto Maple Leafs-draftee Joseph Woll can do. The defense needs to play tough and get into shooting lanes to limit the Huskies’ opportunities. What should be a good crowd at Kelley Rink should motivate the Eagles to play well, as they attempt to end their non-conference woes before getting into Hockey East play next weekend.

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Staff