BLOG: Union tasked with trying to shut down BC's top line
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Today's Frozen Four semi-final showdown between Boston College and Union could come down to one thing: the Eagles top line's ability to crack the Dutchmen's defence and netminder Colin Stevens.
Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold, and Kevin Hayes were placed together on a line on Dec. 6 and have been rolling ever since. Since that point, the Eagles have gone 20-3-2 and the trio have combined for 128 points (53 goals, 75 assists), which amounts to 45.7 per cent of the team's offence.
Since being placed together, they have all scored at least one point-per-game in 18 of their last 25 games. Twice this season, the trio has combined for 13 points in a game, most recently against Denver on Mar. 29 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
They have also combined plus/minus rating of plus-86 since Dec. 6.
Needless to say, a lot of attention will be paid to the trio tonight at Wells Fargo Center.
"They're a tremendous line," Union captain Mat Bodie said on Wednesday. "It shouldn't be about limiting the damage. They haven't been kept off the score sheet all that much all year. It's going to be about taking time and space away.
"It's not simply a line matching up or d-pair matching up. It's the five guys on the ice. We work as a unit in the [defensive] zone, and it's going to be up to everyone to chip in to try to stop those guys."
Shayne Gostisbehere, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick, is one of the pillars on Union's defence and will likely spend a lot of time on the time with Gaudreau, Arnold, and Hayes.
He has first-hand knowledge of how just how dangerous one of the "Big Three" can be. He played with Gaudreau at the 2013 World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia and roomed with him for a portion of the tournament.
"He's an amazing player," Gostisbehere said on Wednesday. "Every time he touches the puck something special is going to happen. The crowd gets on their feet.
"He's not a kid who you can just try to hit because he's pretty much unhittable. He's so shifty. He's a great kid. He's a very humble kid, too. He was my roommate at the pre-tournament in Finland, and you couldn't tell he was the best college hockey player because he was so humble about it. He's an easy going kid and definitely a great hockey player."
BROADCAST NOTE: Today's game will be aired at 3:00 PM MST on TSN2.