Pot post game Wrap Up
What stood out this weekend
BU stock continues to climb
I wrote a piece on Friday emphatically denouncing BU’s resurgence and the Terrier’s did all they could to discredit my take. I have not called my broker yet to buy back the BU stock and as I explicitly wrote, there wasn’t an outcome from the weekend that would’ve caused me to waver in my conviction. BU once again proved that they can beat average level teams, albeit in lopsided fashion (6-1 Friday at Agganis, 8-0 Sat at Schneider). What makes this weekend drubbing even more of a ruse, the Friars, who already have an anemic offense (2.86 G/GM) that ranks 8th in HE, went to battle this weekend sans their leading scorer, junior Tim Schaller (undisclosed illness). At last we will see what BU is made of this coming weekend when the Terriers host the streaking Maine Black Bears in what can be deemed the first litmus test since the Notred Dame loss on NYE.
Northeastern is a true enigma
OK, so your team beats Minnesota, Michigan and Notred Dame (twice) all on enemy ice and yet are a mired in a 4 game slump and amazingly sit in the unrevered 9th spot in HE. If I could make an analogy to my favorite game show of all time, this could only compare to a contestant beating all time great Ken Jennings and then not earning a spot in final jeopardy in their next show (current standings have the Huskies on the outside looking in of the HE playoffs). They seem to have the talent and boast arguably the best freshman and netminder in the league in Chris Rawlings and Ludwig Karlsson yet their streaky nature and lackluster HE performance will ultimately lead to their demise. They dominated Lowell in stretches over the weekend but Doug Carr (Hanover, MA) proved to be the deciding factor and seems to be the best goaltender in the league right now. That is an impressive feat as HE boasts some of the best goalies in the country in Joe Cannata (Merrimack) and the aforementioned Rawlings. Given the resurgence of UMass and a slightly improved UNH team, it seems likely the Huskies will be forced to watch the HE tourney on NESN unless they can channel their December fortunes.
Maine’s Power Play is a BEAR; Eagles will soar again soon
In watching the BC Maine game on Saturday it is so evidently clear that in order to beat the Black Bears, you must stay out of the box. That first PP unit has the talent and puck moving prowess that could make some noise in the NHL and currently ranks #3 in the country. BC largely dominated the 5 on 5 play but Maine, as they did in the Friday game, took advantage of the Eagles lack of discipline scoring on on their first 3 power plays. Abbott, Flynn and Diamond continue to pace the potent PP unit but the Black Bears are also getting contributions for some peripheral spots as Matt Mangene and Mark Anthoine are also chipping in. Amazingly, 7 of Anthoine’s eight goals have come with the man advantage as the Chicago Steel alum continues to hone his game in only his second season in Orono. If the UMaine PP unit seems to emulate that of Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks, there is certainly no coincidence as the the talents of the Windy City have blown all the way to Orono.
For BC, they suffered two gut wrenching losses that could be viewed as the team’s toughest defeats since falling in a similar late 3rd period fashion to Notre Dame. BC, in my opinion played fairly well 5 on 5 but lacked discipline in taking some ticky tac penalties much like the Bruins did against the NYR Saturday. They also were spelled by misfortune as one of the key goals Maine scored on Saturday was the result of a neutral ice turnover in which the puck took a fortuitous Maine bounce of a referee’s skate. What seems evidently clear to me is the apathetic, uninspiring play of big man Kevin Hayes who seems to be more suited for the National Figure Skating Championship than the Frozen Four. I realize he is more finesse than fierce but BC needs him to step up and be a prominent physical presence around the net. BC will rebound as there is too much talent in that locker room not to and 2 tough losses in Orono will not effect the strong character that is in that locker room. Also, I will say it again, Chris Kreider is the most NHL ready player in the league and continues to impress me with his skillset.
Elsewhere around Campus
UMass picked up an important, yet expected win over UVM and stayed blazing hot in Amherst (undefeated at home) and has a huge set with Lowell coming up this weekend. Merrimack and UNH split a weekend set that saw Merrimack welcome John Heffernan back into the line-up as he potted the game winner in Saturday’s 3-2 win. Keep an eye out for a status update on Carter Madsen’s injury as he was carted off the ice Saturday in what looks like a serious set back Merrimack.
Final thought – Memo to NESN, Bring Back Bob Norton
As I watch most every NESN HE telecast I have often wondered what happened to the exuberant color analyst Bob Norton? Although Craig Janney and Tom Caron provide some insightful knowledge, their monotone nature seems to lull me to sleep. I know Norton is a mainstay still on mini one on one but I miss his passion and energy. Does anyone else have the same sentiment? Look forward to some feedback on this…might be the premise behind an upcoming blog post.