Tonight has the potential to be a historic one at Schneider Arena in Providence. Coming off a weekend split against cross-town rival BU, the Eagles are poised to re-start a winning streak in their final HE game of 2012.
Something to think about tonight- this game serves as a measuring stick for Providence and where there season is right now. BC and PC met at the same time last year with the Friars at 8-6-1. After a 4-1 loss the Friars had a disappointing second half of the year finishing up at 14-20-4.
The Friars will no doubt come out with a huge amount of energy tonight. The players will use the idea that a win tonight against the #2 team in the land will set the pace for a successful second half that can place them in the HE Tournament Picture.
For BC- this game, like every other game this season, will be Business as usual. As has been pointed out by multiple places like us here at Two Hours, The Heights, and Jack Connolly with the Herald, Coach York approaches every game the same. He does not think of the record, rather he looks to win games so his team can measure their success by the number of Trophies they’ve accumulated at the end of the year.
After a dominating, rebound victory against BU look for the team to keep it going. Last year, this game was a 4-1 drubbing. I would look for this one to be a little bit closer but ultimately end with the Eagles skating to a 5-2 victory (Most likely 4-2 as the game comes to a close before someone bangs home an empty-netter).
Here are the 3 keys to the game
- Re-emergence of the 1st Line
Last week, BU was very physical with the Eagles 1st line and did not let them to produce multiple goals. After not scoring in the Saturday night matchup either, look for Gaudreau, Mullane and Whitney to be hungry to get back on track against PC.
2. Quick Start
I love Schneider Arena. Absolutely the most underrated barn in Hockey East. Because that’s exactly what it is- a barn. It’s the equivalent of a smaller Matthew’s Arena with no upper deck. The band sits in a whole section and one guy hooks up his electric guitar that basically shakes the whole place when he plays it.
With that said- it can be very easy for Providence to feed off the crowds emotion. If BC can take the crowd and home town energy out early they can skate off with an easy W.
3. Goaltender Play
Providence may have a quite the budding star on their hands. John Gillies is a freshman ‘tender and despite his 7-6-1 record he is sporting an unreal 1.88 GAA. Last week he was named a HE Top Performer stopping 47 of 51 shots in two games vs. Merrimack
Milner has definitely been a force for the Eagles this year at 11-2 with a 2.15 GAA. After a tough game against BU Friday, he responded with a better showing Saturday.
If this game is close, it will be a result of Goaltender play. BC has put up big numbers against hot goalies this year (see last weeks BU game Saturday and the showing against Marotta and Merrimack). Let’s see if this is a historic night with a lot of offense, or a grind it out battle where the goalies steal the show.