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Hockey preview: UNH vs UML and UNH vs BC

UNH vs. No. 8 Boston College

Friday at 7 p.m.; Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H.

UNH is 11-11-4; BC is 17-9-2

UNH vs. No. 10 UMass Lowell

Saturday at 7 p.m.; Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass.

UNH is 11-11-4; UML is 15-9-3

What to watch for

Boston College: Offense

The Eagles come into Friday’s matchup as the top-ranked offense in Hockey East. With 58 total goals, the Eagles are averaging 3.62 goals per game through 16 games. UNH is right behind Boston College in the scoring department with a 3.07 goals per game average through 16 games. Colin White, who scored in the first meeting, has been the biggest scoring threat for the Eagles offensively, leading the team with 12 goals while also notching 21 overall points, including a two-point outing in his most recent matchup with Notre Dame.

Boston College Goaltending- Once again, the Eagles have found success in the goaltending department. With the departure of Thatcher Demko last season, freshman Joseph Woll has stepped up for the Eagles this season. Starting in all 22 games this season, Woll has posted a .923 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average, good for a top three placement in both categories. Shoot hard and shoot often on Woll, generating solid rebound chances will be a huge factor in breaking the Woll

The Riverhawks Size Advantage

What works against the Wildcats in this matchup is the size matchup. For the Riverhawks. 17 of 28 men on the roster surpass six feet, creating a problem of finding shot lanes and de-congesting traffic. The ‘Cats need to use their speed to get an edge on UMass Lowell. Skaters such as Tyler Kelleher and Patrick Grasso become key players in creating offense and finding space with their quickness.

The Riverhawks Special Teams

UMass Lowell has one of the most potent special teams units that the league currently has to offer. The Riverhawks have the best penalty kill in the league, killing 61 of 68 total opportunities. On the powerplay, the Riverhawks rank fourth in Hockey East with a 27.5 percent power-play efficiency. If the Wildcats are going to get chances, they will have to make good of it, and for a team that has killed 10 of its last 13 penalty kills, the Riverhawks aren’t a team to give up much in that category. The Wildcats are 1/10 on their last ten power plays. Execution of specials teams is a must to come away with a victory over UMass Lowell. 

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