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2015 NCAA Hockey Tournament: Northeast Regional Preview - Boston University vs. Yale

This might get ugly.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Perhaps you heard of young man named Jack Eichel.  Boston University's freshman center is running away with the Hobey Baker award, and his 66 (1.83 per game!) points so far this season, including 24 goals, have propelled him, in many experts' opinions, into the a virtual lock to go early  in the NHL draft.  Like, first two selections type of early.

As is usually the case when one player has such gaudy stats, he's brought some other talented players along with him.  Senior Evan Rodriguez has 39 assists and 18 goals to boot.  Danny O'Reagan also averages over 1.20 points per game, and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is just a hair underneath 1.00 points per game.

As a team, the Terriers edged out the Michigan Wolverines for the title of the most-potent offense in the land, scoring an astronomical 3.89 goals per game.  Unlike the Wolverines, the Terriers back-up that scoring with a top 15-defensive unit, which is backstopped by the Junior Matt O'Connor.  His .928 save percentage and 2.117 GAA would make BU a formidable foe by himself (see: Jake Hildebrand).  His stats combined with Eichel and company in front of him is a good recipe for a deep tournament run.

Since we're on the topic of goal tending Yale has one hell of a player between the pipes in Alex Lyon, who is a Mike Richter Award finalist.  His ridiculous 1.58 GAA and .939 save percentage would make him a lock for this award IF Yale didn't play in the ECAC.  The Bulldogs had only two decent non-conference opponents on their schedule this season.

Lyon and the defensive unit are the main reason the Bulldogs are in this tournament.  Their offense puts up 2.63 goals per game, which is only good for 38th in the nation.  While that number isn't disastrous, their weak schedule needs to be factored into the calculus when you discuss any of their statistics.  For a team in the NCHC who scores 2.63 goals per game, you know they're capable of scoring 2.63 goals per game against basically anyone.  Yale?  I'm not convinced they can score 2.63 goals per game in the NCAA tournament.

In 33 games, only three Bulldogs reached the 20 point threshold: Frankie DiChiara, Rob O'Gara, and Mike Doherty.  No player exceeded 0.66 points per game.  Scoring is a serious concern.

So the question is this: can Lyon and Yale's defense keep Eichel and Rodriguez from putting one goal or less on the board (which I think Yale will need to do to win this game)?  No, I don't see that happening.  Lyon hasn't seen a team with this level of talent up front.  I see BU cruising to an easy victory by a score of 4-1 and take one step closer to the Frozen Four.