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UConn Men’s Hockey Preview: No. 13 Boston College Featuring Q&A With BC Interruption

The Huskies face a tough road matchup on the road against Boston College.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates:

First Period:

0:00- and the game is on! Spencer Naas, Tage Thompson and Kasperi Ojantakanen are the forwards to go with Derek Pratt and Wyatt Newpower on defense. Rob Nichols is in net.

0:54- Michael Kim takes a nice shot from the high slot and it is 1-0 Eagles early.

1:28- Another quick goal for Boston College and it is 2-0 less than 90 seconds in. JD Dudek, he of a hat trick against the Huskies in November, scores on the rush.

13:48- Luke McInnis heads off for interference, giving UConn the game’s first power play.

15:48- nothing to speak of and we are back to five-on-five hockey.

16:30- Benjamin Freeman called for the trip. Boston College gets their first man advantage.

18:30- back to five-a-side hockey. Each side is 0-for-1.

20:00- end of the period. Boston College still has a 2-0 lead. The Huskies had a short-handed chance on the penalty kill but couldn’t stuff it home.

Second Period:

0:00- and the second period is on! Boston College up 2-0.

0:29- an early penalty for Derek Pratt, who goes off for cross-checking. BC is 0-for-1 so far.

0:37- four-on-four time. Luke McInnis off for interference.

2:37- back to full strength for both sides, no goals to speak of.

6:04- Boston College gets a bench minor, UConn (0-for-2) gets a power play chance.

6:11- Tage Thompson! He beats Joe Woll with a heavy one-timer from the left circle. 2-1 No. 13 Boston College leads.

10:01- Derek Pratt heads off to the penalty box for roughing. No. 13 in the nation is 0-for-2 so far with the man advantage.

11:08- We will have some five-on-three time. Joe Masonius off for boarding.

12:01- Pratt is out of the box.

13:08- Now Masonius is out. Back to five-a-side and Boston College was ineffective during their time with an extra skater.

20:00- End of the second period. UConn is up 28-to-16 on shots and and 41-to-28 in shot attempts, but Boston College leads where it counts, 2-1.

Third Period:

0:00- and the third period is on! UConn has been the better team of late, so we will see what happens.

5:24- it did feel inevitable. A potential tying goal is under review. Spencer Naas will get credit if it counts.

HUGE break for Boston College as the goal is overturned. It was ruled that Woll wasn’t allowed to play his position.

6:43- Austin Cangelosi off for holding the stick. UConn (1-for-3) gets a fourth shot at it and looks for a tying goal.

12:59- BC has righted the ship a tad, thanks to Joe Woll. 2-1 Eagles.

14:24- Colin White gives UConn (1-for-4) a fifth power play opportunity.

16:40- Rob Nichols bails out a bad turnover in the defensive zone with an amazing glove save. 2-1 Eagles.

17:21- Mike Cavanaugh takes his timeout. Ryan Fitzgerald takes a hooking call. UConn is now 1-for-5 on the power play but breaking through looks inevitable.

19:21- much of it was spent six-on-four, but UConn only got one shot off on a brutal power play.

20:00- final. UConn cannot find a game-tying goal against No. 13 Boston College. The Eagles get a 2-1 win.

UConn Men’s Hockey could quickly find themselves in a precarious position. Heading into play last Saturday, before the Huskies lost to Maine at Fenway Park, they were sitting at sixth in the conference, just three points back of second-place Vermont with a game in hand. They were seven points up on UMass and Merrimack, who were tied for eighth place.

But UConn got shutout by the Black Bears in Boston and followed it up with Friday’s 5-4 loss to Vermont. Combine that with some unexpected results elsewhere in Hockey East and UConn has dropped in the standings.

Hockey East Standings

Team Games Played Record Points
Team Games Played Record Points
Boston College 14 10-3-1 21
Boston University 13 9-2-2 20
Vermont 13 8-4-1 17
Notre Dame 13 7-4-2 16
New Hampshire 12 6-3-3 15
UMass-Lowell 13 7-5-1 15
UConn 12 5-5-2 12
Providence 12 4-6-2 10
Northeastern 14 3-8-3 9
Merrimack 12 2-7-3 7
Maine 12 2-9-1 5
UMass 12 2-9-1 5

Providence wasn’t even in the picture a week ago and is now just two points back of UConn. Northeastern isn’t far behind and UConn still has two games each against the Friars and Huskies, both of whom they have struggled against historically.

The sky is not falling, however. UConn still controls its own destiny when it comes to hosting the opening round of the Hockey East Tournament.

UConn is reminded that each night in the conference is a test, and Tuesday’s road matchup against No. 13 Boston College is a challenging one.

The Huskies and Eagles played the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and Boston College rolled, 5-2. JD Dudek registered a hat-trick and Boston College was dominant throughout.

To preview Tuesday’s game, we did a Q&A with our friends over at BC Interruption, our counterparts on the SB Nation Network. Thanks to Arthur Bailin for the answers.

The UConn Blog: What happened? Since the win against Northeastern on December 6, the Eagles are 2-4-1, with the only wins coming against Providence and UMass. I know losing players to the World Juniors was an impact in the Three Rivers Classic when BC couldn't dress a full lineup, but the sweep against BU was surprising.

BC Interruption: A lot of that has to do with competition. Quinnipiac was a tough out when the Eagles weren't at full strength due to the WJC, and the tie to Ferris can be attributed to Ferris State goaltender Justin Kapelmaster standing on his head. As for BU, the Eagles played two close games with BU. The game at Agganis was largely competitive. BU dictated play in the first half of the second period, and that was ultimately what won the Terriers the game. The game at Kelley Rink was a little bit different. BU played a very solid defensive game, not really letting any solid chances get to Jake Oettinger. I would have thought a split was possible, but the reality is that BU is a very good hockey team, and played like it.

TUCB: Boston College is a top-15 team in the USCHO poll. They're a good squad with a lot of solid players. Who is hot right now?

BCI: Joe Woll is by far and away the best player right now for the Eagles. He was a big part of keeping the BU games close. Matty Gaudreau is another player to look out for, as he can set up plays well.

TUCB: What is the team's biggest strength?

BCI: I hate to use the same response to a different question, but it has to be goaltending.

TUCB: Let's entertain the possibility of UConn getting the upset on the road. What would Boston College's undoing be?

BCI: BC is a team that has had problems with taking penalties, though that has been a little bit better as of late. The problem is that the penalty kill has been somewhat suspect as of late. If BC takes a lot of penalties, and the UConn power play can make the Eagles pay, the Huskies might have a chance.

TUCB: I know it's UMass, but a 6-1 win is a 6-1 win and the Eagles looked strong their last time out. Did that signify a bit of a corner turn after a meh six weeks or so?

BCI: I wouldn't read too much into the UMass game. The Eagles struggled recently, but that's what comes with playing good teams. BC is still capable of beating up on weaker teams.

TUCB: Prediction for the game?

BCI: I'm taking the Birds 4-1.

Puck drop between the Eagles and Huskies will be at 7 p.m. at Conte Forum. WHUS 91.7 FM will have the radio call.