BC Interruption publishes fantastic work across the board, but their women’s hockey coverage is stellar. You might remember the PairWise Ranking calculator that Grant rolls out every year to calculate out how various conference tournament outcomes might affect the NCAA field. He suggested that we exchange questions since our two teams play one another this weekend and I jumped at the opportunity. You can find Grant’s questions and my answers here.
Title IX Hockey: Everyone knows Alex Carpenter is a superstar. Who is the next most important Eagle?
BC Interruption: It’s kind of weird to BC fans that Carpenter gets so much love, and Haley Skarupa gets almost none. Skarupa does not just ride the coattails of Carpenter. In some ways, Skarupa is even more of an electric player than Carpenter is.
But it seems too easy to just name the big guns from our top line as the answer to this question. Beyond that top line, Megan Keller is really critical to BC’s success. I’ve said all year that I don’t think BC goes 5-0-0 against Northeastern without Megan Keller glued to Kendall Coyne. Keller is the best all-around defenseman I’ve ever seen at BC, and she’s only a sophomore. She has a Zdeno Chara-like presence in that she’s almost impossible to get around, and has a fireball of a shot.
T9H: Who is the unsung hero of the team whose contributions aren’t as obvious?
BCI: I have to say that I do love me some Meghan Grieves. She was a fourth liner for pretty much her whole career and was moved up to one the top 3 lines (depending on the game) this season. She’s a big fan favorite, because she really put in some hard work over the last four years while slaving away on the fourth line. Now it’s all bearing fruit for her and she’s a critical piece of the team. It’s sappy to say but we are so proud to call her an Eagle.
There are so many things that came together this year that has made BC so great, but the emergence of Grieves as a legitimate scorer is a big piece of that. Without Grieves taking that big step in her senior year, BC doesn’t have three stacked scoring lines. That depth has been probably our biggest strength.
T9H: What’s the best way to beat the Eagles and can Clarkson execute this strategy?
BCI: Having not seen BC lose a game all season, it’s hard to tell what will actually beat us short it being something that did us in last season. Last year, every single time a team got BC frustrated, they seemed to panic and not have a Plan B when they couldn’t just score at will with quickness. Once BC doesn’t pull away, from there, all it takes is one shot.
One other thing is to get BC in the penalty box. Dana Trivigno has reached legendary status with her penalty minutes (she has a chance to set the program record for PIM this weekend), and while we all joke about it, BC playing shorthanded is a great way to let another team get the better of us. Our penalty kill started out the year as literally infallible – our first PPG allowed didn’t come until our 11th game of the season. But since then it’s been… well, good, but not lights-out.
T9H: The Eagles are so talented and don’t often allow a lot of shots; just how good is goaltender Katie Burt?
BCI: I’m of the opinion that she’s good enough to be the Next Big Thing for USA Hockey. She’s very big, and takes up a lot of net. Keep in mind though that she’s very young. She accelerated and came to BC as a 17 year old freshman, and she’s just a sophomore.
She still has flashed of youth about her, but that’s more been the result of being able to take a nap in some of BC’s games and then getting caught a little rusty when the other team has some pressure. It happens to any goalie.
It’ll be good for her to face some better teams I think.
T9H: Which of the three remaining teams match up the best against BC? Which team matches up the worst and why?
BCI: I’m frighteningly confident for BC’s game against Clarkson, so much so that I feel uncomfortable even thinking about Minnesota and Wisconsin because I’m afraid if I overlook the Golden Knights, the BC players will too. That’s… kind of dumb to think, but whatever.
I think BC matches up the best against Clarkson because I think they are great all around but not amazing anywhere. BC is so well rounded that it’s almost like you can take Clarkson’s stats, make them significantly better, and swap a BC logo on it, and it’d be pretty accurate. BC gets a lot of credit for being all offense, but they allow even fewer goals than Clarkson does.
As for Minnesota or Wisconsin, I’d take my chances with the Gophers, although the return of Kesselmania scares the hell out of me. At least the Gophers are less of an unknown. BC has skated with the Gophers every single time they’ve ever played them. Wisconsin is the only WCHA team to have run BC out of the building in the past, and Desbiens & Co.’s defense just might be the only team truly able to clamp down on BC’s offense.
T9H: How do you see the BC – Clarkson game going? What are the best and worst case (realistic) scenarios for the Eagles heading into the third period?
BCI: This could go a lot of different ways. Against Northeastern, I was convinced that BC was either going to run away with the game early or the game was going to overtime. With Clarkson, I have a pretty strong hunch that BC will be the better team throughout, but they won’t feel comfortable at any point until they either get an empty netter or the buzzer sounds. I’m expecting a 3-2 or 4-2 type game, with BC holding a 1 goal lead for the bulk of the game.
Best case scenario for BC is that they do what they’ve done recently and score a couple times in the first period while keeping Clarkson from doing anything at all with the puck. That’s not unlikely, but I think Clarkson’s a little too good to let the game get away from them.
The worst case scenario for BC is if Clarkson scores first. Even if it’s just one, and even if BC is able to get one or two back over the next couple periods, it means that BC is chasing the game and aren’t in control.
I’m confident in BC’s chances, but I’m not at all convinced that this game is a slam-dunk. Clarkson is sneaky good (they only lost one game in the 2nd half, to Quinnipiac in the ECAC finals) and it won’t take much for BC to get caught offguard. In the end, there are two ingredients to a Clarkson win: Clarkson will need to get on the board early, and their defense will need to be able to keep BC frustrated. If they can do those two things, you’ll see Clarkson in the final.
Thanks to Grant from BC Interruption for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re a big BC fan be sure to check out their blog here and look for their BC-focused Q&A later this week. Be sure to follow@Salzano14 and @bcinterruption on twitter as well.
The Frozen Four starts this Friday at 4pm at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center Arena. Be sure to check back here for stream links.