Series Preview: Boston College vs. St. Cloud State

Story posted October 19, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Joe Esquivel-Murphy

While the college hockey season is in its infancy, there are already high profile nonconference matchups that could have implications on the NCAA Tournament. The series between Boston College and St. Cloud State features two ranked opponents that are kind of heading in separate directions.

Boston College is the 13th-ranked team in the nation, but has struggled out of the gate to say the least. A tie against Qunnipiac at home, followed by a drubbing against Wisconsin is not a good sign. The only win on the season for the Eagles is in overtime against Providence.

The main issue has been in the net, as opponents have scored nine goals in three games, a problem that could lead to a blowout against a high-powered team like St. Cloud State. Joe Wall has been the starting goaltender, but has been inconsistent this year.

Casey Fitzgerald, Graham McPhee and Logan Hutsko have all gotten three points this season, but each of those players need to elevate their play in order for the Eagles to compete with a high-powered offense like St. Cloud State.

The Huskies are currently ranked third in the nation and have been operating on all cylinders this season on offense. Through three games, they have scored 15 goals with the four goals in the opener being the fewest they have scored all season.

St Cloud State has weapons galore on offense, as five players have scored at least two goals this season. That offensive versatility is something that will give defenses like Boston College nightmares as trying to defend all those options is almost impossible.

A problem that could happen for the Huskies is that they have too many scoring options and do not have a go to scorer in a close game. Jimmy Schuldt might be that player as his seven points pace the Huskies with four goals and three assists.

Jeff Smith has been the main goaltender this year, but David Hrenak started last game against Alaska-Fairbanks. That game went to overtime with Nick Poehling getting the overtime winner in a 5-4 game. Smith has a shutout to his name, but he allowed three goals against the same Alaska-Fairbanks team.

Both teams have had problems in net as the three main goaltenders have allowed at least three goals in a single game. Defense is going to be important, as both teams are capable of scoring goals in bunches, making leads either disappear or become unattainable.

The power play will be important, as both teams are capable of scoring goals with a man advantage, while possessing a penalty kill team that could be considered elite. Boston College can definitely be called elite as the Eagles have not allowed a goal in 10 short-handed situations.

The Huskies are a little worse, but allowing only one in seven chances is something that head coach Bob Motzko can be proud of. St Cloud State is able to outscore its opponents and will get the sweep of Boston College that will cement its ranking amongst the nation’s top teams.

Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email jje5139@psu.edu.