Who: Michigan (8-6-0) at Boston College (8-7-1)
When: 12/13/14, 7:00pm
Where: Conte Forum
Early on the Eagles season has almost mirrored Michigan. Both teams opened the first quarter of the year with a slew of ranked teams and came out mostly on the losing end, with a bizarre loss somewhere in the middle. Still, this is a Jerry York coached team with more than enough talent to get going in the right direction.
Offensive Zone: Michigan
After a slow start, the Wolverines are red hot 5-on-5 and on the power play. The Larkin line has been fantastic; Tyler Motte and Tony Calderone have been building solid chemistry on the Copp line and Boo Nieves is starting to skate like a star.
The Wolverines transition game has been flawless the past 7 games. They're getting quality pucks on net, swarming to the net and getting some luck their way.
Offensive Zone: Boston College
The Eagles have been a bit of a mystery this year. They have a lot of talent; Chris Canlan, Alex Tuch and Ryan Fitzgerald are the leading goal scorers and Austin Cangelosi looks to be getting back on track with a goal in each of his last two games. Despite all that talent, some games they come out flat and hover around the 2 goal mark just like Michigan does. On the power play, BC is 54th.
This team can still get hot and score goals; they're going to get out in transition and push the pace and the Wolverines will have win the battle in the neutral zone to keep the Eagles from getting confident.
Defensive Zone: Michigan
Where the Wolverines fell short early in the season were their mental errors in transition, neutral zone assignments, pinching and line changes, but since AIC the mistakes have lessened. Issues still remain on the blueline that have been masked by Zach Nagelvoort, but it's much better than it was to start the year.
Zach Werenski and Mike Downing have been the 1 and 1a defensemen this season, with Kevin Lohan an overlooked but solid anchor at right defense. The 3rd pair minutes have been servicable rotating between De Jong, Martin and Piazza.
Defensive Zone: Boston College
The top pairing for the Eagles lately has been Teddy Doherty and captain Mike Matheson. Zach Werenski's Boston counterpart is Noah Hanifin, a top prospect in the 2015 draft who played with the NTDP a year ago and came to college a year early. Hanifin skates with Florida draft pick Ian McCoshen.
In net Thatcher Demko is the starter. Outside of a handful of games, Boston U, Minnesota and UMass-Lowell Demko has had a great year.
To get a win tonight on the road in a rocking venue, Michigan needs to score 3 goals. It will be a tough test for a team who hasn't left Yost in a month, but it's a game that both teams desperately need to win.