Currently first in Hockey East standings, Boston College men’s hockey is set to square off against Connecticut on Friday night. The game will be BC’s last before taking on Northeastern in the first round of the 66th annual Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden on Monday, Feb. 5. The Eagles (13-10-3, 13-5-0 Hockey East) have won both of their previous games against the Huskies (11-16-2, 8-11-1) this season, each time coming from behind to steal the victory. But there is more on the line for UConn and head coach Mike Cavanaugh besides getting their first win against BC this year. Cavanaugh spent 18 seasons at BC as an assistant coach, helping the Eagles rack up four national titles during his tenure.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Friday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
XL Center, Hartford, Conn.
How to Watch:
The game will be aired on ESPN 3 and IMG Radio Network and live-streamed on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) Eagles head coach Jerry York and junior defenseman Casey Fitzgerald sat down on Tuesday at TD Garden for the Beanpot luncheon to talk more about how important this sellout tournament is. York commented that, “generally, it’s four teams all capable of winning national titles.” At the moment, BC has the second-most Beanpot championships with 20 trophies—10 less than its rivals, Boston University.
2) BC has been holding steadily on to its No. 16 ranking for some weeks now. The top 16 teams make the NCAA tournament each year, so the Eagles need to keep winning in order to maintain their place in the top 16 and secure a spot in the national tournament. Currently behind BC is Penn State. In front of the Eagles lies Western Michigan with an overall record of 13-12-1.
3) Despite the fact that BC is the No.1 team in Hockey East, zero Eagles are in the top 20 for scoring in the conference. Sophomore David Cotton comes in at 23rd on the list with 19 points.
1) The Huskies have won three-straight games, coming off of a two-game sweep of New Hampshire.
2) UConn is seventh in the Hockey East standings with 17 points and is two points behind Maine for the sixth spot.
3) The Huskies have a less than desirable record against BC. Dating back to the teams’ first meeting in 2014, UConn has only mustered one win. That victory came in the programs’ first matchup back in November of that year, marking UConn’s first Hockey East win. Since then, the Eagles have won six games in the series and have tied UConn once.
The Eagles and Huskies last saw each other earlier this season on December 30, the first game back after the NCAA break. BC beat UConn, 2-0, marking sophomore goalie Ryan Edquist’s first career shutout after the backup netminder saved all 23 Husky shots. BC gained the lead in the first period on an Eagles power play from David Cotton. At even strength, BC lit the lamp again in the third period. Ron Greco received a great pass from Zach Walker in front of the crease with heavy pressure out in front and sent the puck flying to the back of the cage, putting BC up, 2-0, effectively securing the win.
BC wins if…
It continues to play good defense. The Eagles have only allowed their opponents to score an average of 2.7 goals per game. The Huskies are posting just 2.5 goals per game, so if BC locks down the defensive end of the ice like it did last weekend in the series finale against Massachusetts Lowell, it could be primed for another shutout. Offensively, if the Eagles convert on their power-play goal opportunities at a higher rate than they have been this season, they could very well put the game out of reach in the early going.
BC loses if…
It gifts UConn too many power plays. The Huskies are ranked fourth in Hockey East in power-play scoring with 27 goals. UConn is also ranked third in Hockey East for power-play kills, axing about 83 percent of its opponents’ special teams chances. The Huskies have killed 19-straight power plays. It’s safe to say that the Eagles will need to bring their A game when they come across any shorthanded Husky lines on Friday night.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff