Boston College Men’s Hockey vs # 1 Denver: Game Preview with LetsGoDU
We took the time to chat with our friend Nick at LetsGoDU about this weekend’s game between Boston College and Denver. Check out our thoughts on the end of the game on their blog, then take a look at Nick’s answers to our questions below!
Laura: Denver has been brutal on offense so far this season. What’s the best chance for British Columbia to tone that down a bit?
Pseudo: You’re not wrong there … after averaging less than three goals per game last year in what was, after all, an asterisk of a year, all of a sudden they are there to score 6 per game and wow fans night and night.
It has been a sight to see and a welcome one at it. Now it’s all against a bad defensive team in Arizona State and a completely overwhelmed team in the Air Force, but it’s still Division I varsity hockey! If BC is to find a way to slow down Denver’s offense, they’ll just have to play responsible, error-free defense … and block a ton of shots.
What I noticed against ASU and AFA is that whenever one of their defenders missed a mission, DU took full advantage of it. Leave the backdoor open? Goal. Fall behind your man while DU rolls the puck? Goal. The few stretches of play that actually stifled DU’s offense were the changes when passing lanes and shooting lanes were removed. Now that’s a lot easier said than done, but if BC can systematically remove those lanes and block a bunch of shots – they love to shoot from the point and high lunge – they might be able to slow it down. burning attack of DU.
Laura: Other than top scorers Carter Savoie and Massimo Rizzo, which Denver players should BC fans watch?
Pseudo: The funny thing about that is that I didn’t even think Rizzo would be one of the team’s top scorers this year (and that’s mine!). I thought Carter Mazur and Jack Devine were going to be bigger scorers in this freshman class than Rizzo. Of course it’s still early days and it’s not like Mazur and Devine were bad as they combined for 5 points in 4 games, but Rizzo surprised me a bit.
But one player who I thought was going to make a difference early in the season was Bowling Green transfer Cameron Wright. So far, it seems he has added a different dimension to this offense. He’s a guy you can count on to get to the tough areas of the ice and consistently win those 50-50 battles. His game is something that the Pios sorely missed a year ago. He’s a sure bet to score a goal or two and a few assists this weekend. I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the first line of DU from Savoy, Cole Guttman and Bobby Brink, though. These three together on the ice know how to put on a show. There’s a good reason they’re leading the squad with a total of 26 points already.
Laura: Denver has only played one road game this season, which was still in Colorado. Do you think the trip to Providence and Boston is going to affect the team at all?
Pseudo: I think that’s the biggest wild card of this weekend, to be honest. I did not have the chance to attend the game at the Air Force (still not sure why my own schedule is not checked before the season schedule is posted but I digress) but from what I heard it was a pretty loud atmosphere with a lot of cadets in attendance. And this building becomes LOUD.
DU played pretty well, scoring a 4-1 win, but an hour’s bus ride south on game day is a lot different than a 4.5-hour flight a few days before hitting the ice. Now that said, the importance of that streak of games this weekend in Providence and BC and then next weekend in North Dakota is not lost on this team. They would all say to you “it’s the same sport just in a different place and we have to drive the pucks against these guys” but I’ll be very interested to see what effect a real road trip is on this. young team. If they start quickly on Friday against the Friars, I think they will have a good weekend.
Laura: Is having a Finnish player on the team always the secret to success?
Pseudo: This is my favorite link between the AU and British Columbia over the past five years or so. However, I am quite disappointed to see that British Columbia does not field a single Finn this year! So I mean … for your sake, I hope the answer to your question is no.
For DU, however, the Finnish pipeline is stronger than ever and I actually think this has been a huge boon for the program (we have to thank Henrik Borgström for that). Antti Tuomisto has been one of DU’s best defenders over the past two years and I think he’s set for an exceptional year. The Pios have two more Finns coming next year with forwards Samu Salminen and Miko Matikka, meaning they’ll have three if Tuomisto doesn’t sign with Detroit after this season.
Laura: What do you see as a successful season for Denver this year? Doesn’t winning the NCAA Championship make the season a failure?
Pseudo: I said in my season preview that after missing the NCAA tournament last year for the first time since George W. Bush was president, expectations should probably be tempered a bit. The players have already stated several times this year that they expect to win the national title, which is good to hear, of course, but I think if they win a game or two in the NCAA tournament, the DU fans should be relatively happy.
Now, with the nation’s strongest offense and a defense yet to allow a 5-5 goal in four games, maybe those expectations should be adjusted a bit. Like I said above, though, those four games weren’t exactly against domestic contenders, so these next four games are going to tell us a lot about this team, I think. If they win three of their next four games, I think winning their ninth national title shouldn’t be out of the question at all.
Laura: What’s your score prediction for Saturday’s game?
Pseudo: As you said in your prediction to beat CC on Friday on our blog, I think a key for DU to come home with a win over BC is to get a win on Friday against Providence. Winning often leads to more victories, especially on the road. If there is one thing that worries me, however, it would be an emotional disappointment after playing last year’s captain Kohen Olischefski on Friday – he transferred to Providence for his fifth year of eligibility. I have yet to see a reason why DU should not continue to ride, and with the questions that arose for BC after the Bentley game, I have DU winning 5-2.