UNH vs. No. 4 Boston University
Friday at 6 p.m.; Agganis Arena in Boston, Mass.
Saturday at 7 p.m.; Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. UNH is 12-14-4, BU is 19-9-2
The Scouting Report
The Terriers’ offense
For a couple years now, the Terriers have had one of the top-ranked offenses in Hockey East and this year is no different. With the departure of standouts Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Fortunato last season, much of the offensive firepower now comes from a pool of young talent. This includes goal-scorers such as Clayton Keller and Boston Bruins product Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who have a combined 27 goals on the year. Speed will be tough to match against this highly talented offense. Stride-for-stride defensive coverage will be the best chance for the Wildcats to slow down the young guns.
The Terriers’ defense
As much as the Terriers offer on the offensive side, they bring as much, if not a better, defensive presence to this two-game series. The player to watch for will be yet another Bruins product and USA World Junior Hockey Championship team standout, Charlie McAvoy. In 29 games played, McAvoy has three goals and 13 assists combining for 16 points overall, which is seventh on the team in points. McAvoy’s durability makes him dangerous, which many saw during the World Junior Hockey Championship run when he amounted for most of the time on ice. McAvoy is a shot creator. The ‘Cats will have to bear down and get in McAvoy’s shot lanes to take the edge off Danny Tirone.
The Terriers’ goaltending
The central theme around BU’s fourth-ranked team is the plethora of young talent and freshman Jake Oettinger has been the primary goaltender for the Terriers this season. Starting in 26 games, Oettinger has posted a .932 save percentage with a incredible 1.93 goals against average. His GAA leads the Hockey East leaderboard and in virtually every other stat, he cracks the top-3 only behind the likes of Merrimack goaltender Collin Delia, Joseph Woll and Hayden Hawkey in some categories. Oettinger will be a handful for the ‘Cats this weekend. Rebounding will be the key. Low shots and rebound generation will have to be priorities because it will be seriously tough to beat Oettinger standing up.