Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Couple of Huge Decisions Looming

I don't know about you but I'm still recovering from that loss. It's been tough but anyways, congrats to Union on winning the National Championship. They deserved it. Hats off to Rick Bennett, what a program he has built up there. I look forward to our next meeting, whenever it may be.

For me, the best way to get a season ending loss off my mind is to look ahead to next year. Obviously, we lose the big three plus our fourth leading scorer in Patrick Brown but we return a good chunk of our second and third lines. Look, next year is all about how guys like Ryan Fitzgerald, Austin Cangelosi, Adam Gilmour, and Chris Calnan can step up. I think out of all those guys, Fitzgerald has the best shot to step up and become one of the top notch players in Hockey East. Gilmour, Cango, and Calnan were better towards the end of the season but they have got to start putting pucks in the net. The good news for these guys is that they should be given ample opportunities to step up and produce, which they weren't always given this season.

As for the incoming forward class, we've got some good players but the bottom line is they're very young. We saw what age and experience can do for you vs Union. I'm not saying these guys are not going to be good, they're going to be tremendous, but it is going to take some time. We have two, maybe three, forwards coming in and each one of them will play a role on the first or second line. Sonny Milano is the most skilled forward of the group. He is quick, has tremendous hands, and will hopefully be the top scorer on the team next season. Alex Tuch is 6'3 power forward that is the meat and potatoes guy on a top line. Zach Sanford is another big guy (also an NHL draft pick) that will come in an be expected to produce quickly. Don't know if he will be a second liner off the bat but he should get a spot in the lineup. The one question mark is the guy I think has the biggest upside, Noble and Greenough forward Miles Wood, who has yet to decide whether he wants to come to BC or go back to Nobles. If Miles does indeed come next season, he would certainly play first or second line left wing. He is one of those unique hybrid forwards. He is a big kid but man does he have a powerful stride. So, basically, the point of this post is to stress the amount of importance into getting Miles Wood to campus next fall (and another guy but that's for the next paragraph). He will eat the ISL up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner next season. If he comes to BC, he will be put in a situation where he will be given every opportunity to play power play, first line, kill penalties, etc. WE HAVE TO GET HIM TO CAMPUS.

Basically, if those three guys come, we will have one of the deeper forward lineups in Hockey East, IF Gilmour, Calnan, and Cangelosi (to a lesser extent) can take that next step. It's going to be a growing process, as it always is with young kids but the offense isn't my worry. It's the defense. I heard from multiple sources today that Michael Matheson is leaning towards signing with the Florida Panthers and forgoing his final two years of eligibility. If Mike leaves, we are in big trouble. Really big trouble. All along, the strength of next years team was going to be the defense because we would have arguably the three best returning Dmen in the league along with a freshman stud and two gradually improving offensive guys (Doherty and Savage). But if Mike leaves, that all falls apart. And to be honest, I'm furious about what some of the fans have said about Mike. They make it seem like he had the worst season any defenseman has ever had. Did he make some mistakes ? Sure, but are you gona seriously tell me we would be better without him than with him? Look at the amount of minutes he played vs Lowell, Denver, the Beanpot, etc. We need this kid.

I'm really worried about this team if Mike does not come back. Really worried. I was under the impression all along that he was coming back but because of some recent events, that mindset has drastically changed. Sure, Hanifin is going to come in and make a huge impact but he's 17 years old. He'll be playing against guys six and seven years older than he is (8 years older in Lowell's case). By the end of the year, he will be one of the top offensive defensemen in the country but imagine how good a power play unit of Wood-Fitz-Milano along with Hanifin-Matheson could look. Are we going to be an NCAA team even if Miles and Mike don't come next year? Probably. Are we a National Title contender without them? I don't think so.

Go Eagles






Saturday, April 12, 2014

Updates

Now onto my least favorite topic of the year. Early departures. As you already know, Johnny G has forgone his senior year and will play for the Flames this Sunday vs Vancouver. Billy Arnold also signed with Calgary and is expected to play Sunday. Here's what else you should know. 

Patrick Brown has signed with Carolina. Congrats ! 

Kevin Hayes will NOT sign with the Chicago Blackhawks because of issues steaming from the departure of his brother Jimmy. Imagine if he signs with Calgary and the big line is back together. 

Michael Matheson has not made a decision and will not make one for some time, according to a source. 

I'll get more into this later but expect Miles Wood to be accelerated due to the fact that Johnny is not coming back. He, like G, is a left wing. 

Go Eagles. 


He's Gone


Hobey Baker #3 for the program. Passes BU !
I'll never forget walking into the Fessenden School rink in early September of 2011 for the first practice of the year and hunting down one of the coaches asking what number this kid Gaudreau was. Coach Cav signaled "13" from the ice and I just kind of chuckled. The kid was smaller than I was and he looked like a toothpick out there. No chance he can compete at this level. Yes, I was a doubter. I didn't actually believe Johnny Gaudreau could make a living playing the game of hockey, and I didn't even comprehend that he would enter the ranks of Gionta, Gerbe, Emma, Janney, etc. I sit here tonight and tell you, I was wrong. Dead wrong.

In his three seasons at BC, there hasn't been anyone that's rooted harder for Johnny than me. For some reason, I thought he was a once and a lifetime colligate hockey talent. He does stuff with the puck that I couldn't do in a video game. Obviously, I'm not on the team and I'm certainly not tight with any of the players but just from being a bit on the outside, I could tell Johnny's teammates had an enormous amount of respect for him, and he felt the same way back. He treated everyone the same way, whether it was the blogger or the team manager or his roommate, he always seemed to take a few seconds out of his day to make sure you felt better. In his press conferences, he never once sounded above anyone else, I mean, if I had that type of talent, I don't know how I would act but I can assure you it wouldn't be as humble as Johnny was. In reality, that's what this program is all about. Sure, we want to win championships but the main goal is to produce young men that will go on and represent Boston College to the highest degree. I go to bed tonight knowing that Johnny Gaudreau will represent this school and this program to the very highest levels.

To Johnny, I think I can say on the behalf of everyone within the BC Hockey program, thank you for the lasting memories on the ice. Your sweet dangles, impressive snipes, and swift feet are second to none in this game. I wish you nothing but the absolute best in Calgary. Yes, there will be tons of people that will question your size and your strength but no one will call into question your skill and more importantly, your character. This university, this program, and this blogger will always be here to support you, no matter what happens out west. Thank you for everything.

And yes, he is the greatest Eagle there has ever been. Ever.

Go Eagles.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Over

This one feels a little different. I don't know why. This one stings. A lot. Something about this club, I really felt they had it but I, like you, can take solace in the fact that the better hockey team won tonight. Congratulations to Union and head coach Rick Bennett. No matter what you think about the man after his fight vs RPI head coach Seth Appert, he is one heck of a hockey coach. Man, that is a good hockey team. If they don't win the National Title on Saturday night I would be shocked. What a wagon. Sure, BC had their moments but for the majority of the game, the guys in maroon vastly outplayed the guys in gold and when the guys in gold made mistakes, the Dutchmen pounced. You can't make many, if any, mistakes in the Frozen Four because you know your opponent is a powerhouse, no matter what the name is on the front of the jersey.

At the end of the day, I'm very proud of this team. They played their hearts out tonight. Did some guys make some costly mistakes ? Unfortunately, yea, they did but you know what ? Each and every player on this team should be proud of the way they played this season and in this game. The young guys, especially Steve Santini, Ryan Fitzgerald, Adam Gilmour, and Chris Calnan made tremendous strides over the final month and a half of the season. To be honest, I was worried with Fitzgerald's play halfway through the season. Sure, he had the penalty that led to the big Union goal but I thought he had the puck on his stick the whole night, looking to make a play. He's going to be a tremendous player here someday.

I think that at some point, we all have to take a step back and look at what this senior class has accomplished in their four years here. Of course they have the National Title in 2012 but the Beanpots, two Hockey East championships, three Hockey East regular season championships, and numerous other accolades will long be remembered. Like I said after the Beanpot, if you want your kid to have a role model, have him study Pat Brown. He isn't the most talented guy in the room, he's not the biggest, fastest, strongest, etc, but he's the hardest working. He will do anything for his team. I'm not one to say whether or not he has a career playing hockey but anyone that can surround themselves with the work ethic that this kid has, will truly benefit. Billy Arnold, when people ask me what's the most pumped up I've ever been in my life, my answer has always been your goal in the 2012 Beanpot. That tournament/beating that team means a lot to me. Thank you for that lasting memory. Kevin Hayes, the way you have resurrected your career through all the criticism you received is something I greatly admire. I believe you will have a long pro career, wherever it may be. Isaac Macleod, you to have done a fantastic job going from a once and while player to an every game type of guy. Good luck to all of you guys. Thank you for the sacrifices you made to this program.

If you follow this blog, if you know me as a person, or if you see my tweets, you would know that Johnny Gaudreau is my favorite hockey player of all time. When he was a freshman in 2012, I emailed Tim Clark and asked if there was anyway I could meet him and talk for a few minutes and I don't know if I'll ever forget when Johnny came up to me after one practice and talked with me for five or six minutes. I played hockey when I was a little kid (stunk), I have a pair of siblings that play, I've been going all over the country watching this program play, I've been up and down New England watching high school prospects, and I watch a fair share of NHL games. I've never seen anything quiet like Johnny Gaudreau. I usually go to practice one or twice a week to get the update on the lines/injuries/etc, but sometimes if I had nothing to do after school, I would hop in the car and drive over to the rink just to see what moves Johnny had in store for the day. Johnny, thanks for all the amazing things you did on the ice for this program but most of all, thanks for taking time that afternoon to make my day. No matter what you decide to do, you won't find a bigger fan of yours (outside of your family) than this guy.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for following along this year. I've got a few people I'd like to specifically point out. First of all, my mom and dad for the gas money, support, and love. Doing this thing isn't always easy but they helped me in so many ways. To my friends for coming to the games with me and dealing with my insane obsession with BC hockey. To Tim Clark, Dick Kelley (RIP), and Mark Majewski for supplying me with media passes for essentially every game this year. Lastly, thanks to you, the reader for following along. There is nothing in this entire world I love more than this program. It means everything to me. To be the "blogger" is something that I take an enormous amount of pride in. Thank you for following along.

No updates on any early departures yet. Will have more when it becomes available.

GO EAGLES !

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Previewing the Union Dutchmen


We all remember it. We all recall the feelings of utter disappointment, sorrow, and sadness that came with seeing one of the great senior classes in our programs history exiting the ice one final time after being embarrassed 5-1 in the semifinals of the East region last season. It was a Shakespearian tragedy, if you ask me. It's been close to 365 days since that dreadful night but guess what tomorrow brings ?

A chance. A chance to make another National Championship. A chance for a group of freshmen to show their talents on the game's grandest stage. A chance for a once and a lifetime talent to show the world why he is the greatest college hockey player of all time. A chance for this group of young men to end the season of the team that ended the careers of some of the best guys to ever put on the maroon and gold. What do you think Pat Mullane would do to play in this game ? Pat Wey ? Parker Milner ? They'd jump off a bridge to get an opportunity. Tomorrow night, this Boston College Hockey team has a chance to do something special.

Do I sound pumped ? Well, that loss last season was something I won't forget. That along with Colorado College, Michigan State, and 07 Beanpot are the ones that won't ever escape my mind. But, a win tomorrow night would make the memories of last years stunner a distant memory. The problem ? We're facing a heck of a hockey team. Union is really, really good. They're deep, they're big, they're experienced, their extremely well coached, and they've got the top defenseman in the country. In fact, if you told me I could have any player on my team other than the big three, it would be Shayne Gostisbehere. The guy can flat out play. But, like every other team that plays at this time of year, they've got a bunch of other guys that can skate. Basically, they have four lines that can score. Let's take a look at their forward lineup

Daniel Carr (22-26-48)-Mike Vecchioni (12-19-31)-Daniel Ciampini (19-17-36)

Matt Wilkins (6-14-20)-Eli Lichtenwald (8-11-19)-Nick Cruice (6-1-7)

Matt Hatch (13-8-21)-Max Novak (14-15-29)-Kevin Sullivan (8-27-35)

Cole Ikkala- Sam Coatta (5-6-11)- Mike Pontarelli (10-13-23)

So obviously, you can tell these guys are deep. I mean, their fourth line right wing has 23 points this season, outside of Minnesota, I don't think we've played a team that has a fourth liner with those types of numbers. Their first line is as good as advertised, I'd say Carr is one of those guys that is as underrated as anyone in the country. He's certainly a top notch talent that BC's D is going to have to look out for. The bottom line is however, it's not really about what Union does. When BC dictates the tempo of the game, they can outplay/beat anyone. We saw that vs Lowell two weeks ago. That wasn't the best of matchups but the Eagles still found a way to make it happen, playing an excellent third period.

BC's got to be able to forecheck somewhat well. Their defenseman are very good skaters. They move really well and they can get up and down the ice as well as any team in the country, because their D men get the puck to the wing so quickly. I don't expect it to be but both teams have very good penalty kills and power plays, so a penalty-infested game could favor either team. I like the way BC's power play looks but the penalty kill certainly hasn't been what it was in January/early February. If BC takes more than four penalties tomorrow, they probably aren't going to win. This team isn't like the 2012 team where all 12 forwards could kill a penalty. There's a handful on this team but it's not up to that level. I think we can all look forward to an amazing hockey game filled with a lot of ups and downs but hopefully in the end, we'll be playing for a National Title.

Scouting Union- 

Record- 30-6-4...haven't lost since January 31st

Leading scorers- Dan Carr (48 points), Daniel Ciampini (36 points), and Kevin Sullivan (35 points)

Team offense- 3.70 goals per game (2nd)

Team defense- 2.05 goals allowed per game (4th)

Power play- 21 % (9th)

Penalty kill- 83 % (24th)

Penalty minutes- 11.75 minutes per game (39th lowest)

Keys for BC- 

1. Just got to go out there and give it everything. Seriously. Just go get it.

2. Get the puck to #13. Just get it to him.

3. Don't let these guys break it out like their playing my sister's team. Pressure them. Force them to turn the puck over. Cause turnovers and capitalize on them.

4. Get the puck to #13. Can't stress it enough. Just find him. I don't care if someones got to dive. Just get him the puck.

GO EAGLES !!!






Monday, April 7, 2014

Q and A With Union Hockey Reporter Ken Schott

How much do you know about Union ? Probably not much. How much do I know about Union ? Not much at all but hopefully you will be a little more familiar with Thursday's opponent thanks to my question and answer session with Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gasette. Ken does a tremendous job of covering both Union and RPI for the town's paper. He has been covering sports for over 30 years. You can follow him @slapschotts on Twitter. 


Q- It's been a year since Union thumped BC in Providence How is this Union team compared to last years squad ? What are their strengths and weaknesses ?

 To me, this year's Union is squad is better than last year. The Dutchmen are more focused this season. They had a big lull midway through last season before snapping out of it in February. This year, after a 5-3 loss to Colgate at Messa Rink dropped the Dutchmen to 3-3-2, an an angry coach Rick Bennett called out several of his players. The next night, they limited Cornell to 11 shots and won, 3-0, Since Bennett's outburst, they are 27-3-2.
The Dutchmen's strength is that they can play any style. You want to play physical? No problem. You want to go up-tempo? They can play that, too. They are excellent in the defensive zone and have quick sticks. The only weakness to me is in faceoffs. They seem to lose more draws than they win.


Q- Is this a team that is heavily dependent on a few top guys or do they have bottom six forwards that can score ? 
2) Union has a couple of lines that can score. The line of freshman center Mike Vecchione (12-19-31), left winger Daniel Carr (22-26-48) and right winger Daniel Ciampini (19-17-36) is the Dutchmen's top line. In the East Regional, the line of junior center Max Novak, left winger Matt Hatch and right winger Kevin Sullivan led the way with six goals and six assists. Novak was named the regional's Most Outstanding Player. 

The Dutchmen have strong offensive defensemen, left by senior Mat Bodie (6-29-35) and junior Shayne Gostisbehere (8-21-29). Freshman D Jeff Taylor (3-12-15) will be player to watch, too.


Q-Shayne Gostisbehere is one of the top players in college hockey, certainly the top defensemen, what makes him so good and what have some teams done to maybe slow him down a bit ? 

3) Gostisbehere's defensive play has improved greatly this season. He has a plus-rating. He doesn't take as many chances as he did in the past. He is also staying away from taking bad penalties. He is very confident in his offensive abilities and always wants the puck. I don't the opposition has figured out a way to stop him. He has skated circles the opposition. Gostisbehere was the ECAC Hockey Co-Player of the Year and won the Co-Defensive Defenseman Award.

Q-The departure of Troy Grosenick last spring seemed like a huge hole to fill this year but Jr Colin Stevens seems to be doing just fine. Has he been the go to guy all year or has their been a lot of flip flopping between goaltenders ? 

4) Stevens became the third Union goalie in four years to win the Ken Dryden Award as the ECACH's top goalie. He got hurt in the first game of the season and missed the rest of the October games. He has gotten stronger as the season progressed. He set a team record with six shutouts. He set a team record for saves in a shutout with 49 in a 2-0 win over Yale Feb. 28. He always seems to be in position. Also has a great glove.

Q-Last year, I was extremely impressed with the skating ability that some of Union's defensemen possessed. Obviously everyone knows about Gostisbehere but outside of him, who posses a threat on the blue line

5) As I mentioned above, Bodie is one of the Dutchmen's top defenseman. He has a great shot. Taylor has been paired with Gostisbehere for most of the season, and has done a good job. Junior Charlie Vasaturo is a solid defensive defenseman. Sophomore Sebastien Gingras has shown flashes of good play. Freshman Noah Henry, who was platooning in the first half of the year, has become a regular and played well.

Q-Score ?

6) Prediction: Union 4, BC 2.

Q-Lastly, you're a Philly native, in terms of food/touring what are places that Eagle fans should be sure to visit. 

7) I can definitely suggest Pat's Steaks and/or Geno's Steaks, which are across the street from one another at South 9th Street and Passyunk Ave. Two other recommendations are Tony Luke’s, which is underneath I-95 at 39 Oregon Ave., and Jim’s Steaks at the corner of 4th and South streets.And don’t forget to get a genuine Philadelphia soft pretzel. And hoagies. And Tastykakes.
Since I left Philly for York College of Pa. in 1981, a lot has changed in downtown Philly. I'm not sure what the best places are. I'm usually hanging out at places where I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia.

Thanks to Ken for taking the time to answer my questions. 

Eagles Pick Up New Commit

Kimball Union forward Chris Shero, son of Penguins GM Ray Shero, has committed to Boston College for the fall of 2015 according to sources. Shero recorded 15 points in 37 games this season for Tim Whitehead's club. He is a 5'10 180 pound forward from Pittsburgh.

Congrats to Chris on his commitment and welcome to BC !

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

G Named Hobey Finalist

Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau was named one of three finalist for the Hobey Baker award today. Obviously. The award will be presented next Friday in between the semifinals and National Championship in Philadelphia. Somehow, Kevin Hayes, who is second in the country in points and has 6 multi point games and 3 three point games didn't get nominated. He recorded 21 points in 14 games this season when he wasn't on Johnny's line. It's a disgrace that he isn't one of the top three finalist and a guy from one of the worst teams in the country (Carey, St. Lawrence) made it when he has 6 less points than Kevin does. Really awful stuff.

Anyways, congrats to Johnny and if he doesn't win the award, the FBI will certainly be called in.

Go Eagles.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Next Stop: Philly !



If you look back at this year, think about how many games BC has played in where you walk out of the building and say "that might have just been the best hockey game I have ever watched". I don't know about you but I said it after the first Minnesota game, Northeastern Beanpot game, and once again tonight after walking out of the DCU Center, moments after the Eagles clinched their 11th Frozen Four berth of the Coach York era (since 1994). I've always been a bit critical of Lowell's style of play and the fact that they're full of 23 and 24 year olds but the bottom line is that team is tremendous. Give Norm Bazin a lot of credit because that program is right there with all the big guns in college hockey right now and Lowell isn't exactly Beverly Hills. Hats off on a great season and tremendous effort.

But how bout those Eagles ? They played their hearts out. Each and every guy looked like they were playing for their lives. Even guys like Brendan Silk, Quinn Smith, Scott Savage, Teddy Doherty, guys that idiots like me often criticize, played like champions. Every time he was on the ice it looked like Brendan Silk was just flying towards the puck and hitting the blue shirt that had possession of it. Is he going to fly up the ice and pull a Johnny G ? No, but when your teammates see that type of effort, they can't help but get inspired. Each time I walked into practice this winter and noticed that Teddy Doherty wasn't going to play the ensuing weekend, I'd put my hands over my face and sigh. Yes, he can be shaky in his own zone at times but when he gets the puck with a little bit of room in the opponent's end, he can make a play. Think about having to sit in the stands while watching your classmates win every game, knowing you have what it takes to be out there. A lot more hard work and determination went into that pass on Ian McCoshen's goal than you can imagine.

After Billy Arnold scored a goal with just about three minutes to go in the second period, I turned to my friend and said "no matter what happens, they have to get out of this period with a lead". I'm sure the players and coaches were probably thinking the same thing. If the blogger is walking around the concourse shaking like a rattlesnake shortly after Lowell scored with under two minutes left in a period (yet again), you can only imagine how a player must have felt. No more than 20 seconds into the period, Lowell scored a garbage goal that deflected off Savage's skate, through no fault of his own. My face looked like it had just seen some type of ghost. I glance over to the bench and there's Coach York clapping/giving guys pats on the back like we had just scored the goal. Meanwhile you got me thirty rows up ready to throw my hat onto the ice. Of course, two minutes later Ryan Fitzgerald scored an insane breakaway goal that was soon followed by McCoshen's game winner. Shortly after the game, I texted one of the guys that was in the locker room and asked what Coach York was saying after the second period, he replied "All positive baby".

Of course, the journey is not over and we're going to have to play the best team in the country in order to play for a National Championship but I think we can all sit back and appreciate what this team has accomplished to this point. For me, it's just simply amazing how this coach continues to get his teams so fired up for this tournament. That weekend against Notre Dame was a disaster. Not many teams can get back up after that. Yet he has these guys so dialed in when it comes to this time of year that they simply refuse to lose. 11 Frozen Fours since his arrival. Amazing. BU has 3 since then.

O and guess who was born just 30 minutes outside Philadelphia ?........G

Why BC won- 

1. They just found a way. There really isn't much else to say other than they found a way to come back and win a hockey game. They played hard, they played physical, they played fast, and they just executed one more time than Lowell did.

2. That first line isn't half bad.

Problems- 

Not looking good for golf weather down in Philly. Hopefully that changes.

Player of the game- I thought Bill Arnold was great tonight. Mike Matheson was flying up and down the ice. Those two.

Next up- Union in two weeks. Frozen Four. 5 PM game. Minnesota vs North Dakota in the late game.

Note- This will Boston College's 24th Frozen Four.


Go Eagles

Lowell Preview


What a tremendous opportunity this club has in front of them tonight. A chance to make another Frozen Four while going up against the team that the majority of "experts" have as winning the National Championship. I didn't stick around for the Lowell vs Minnesota State game but from what I heard, it was a an exhilarating game filled with a lot of great scoring chances and tremendous goaltending. In fact, Minnesota State fired 36 shots on Lowell goalie Connor Hellebuyck, only to be stoned each and every time (they scored a garbage time goal). If you remember the last time we played these guys on February 22nd, we had a two goal lead going into the third period only to see Lowell comeback and tie the game. BC probably had 6 or 7 chances to make it a three goal game but nothing came to fruition. They've got to start somewhat like they did yesterday. This team is built to protect leads (8-0-1 when leading after the first period). 

The thing that worries me the most about Lowell is their depth however they will be without defenseman Joe Houk, a guy that logged a lot of minutes for them throughout the regular season.  They didn't have Scott Wilson in last month's series vs BC and he is probably their best forward. It all comes down to how BC's second line matches up vs the Wilson-Gambardella-Arnold line. Obviously, our first line matches up well vs anyone but with Wilson back, I expect their second line to generate more scoring chances. Fitz-Brown-Cangelosi was relatively solid last night but they weren't able to pot a goal. I don't think anyone expects tonight's game to be 3-0 after the first period. They need to show up. 

Honestly, there really isn't much else I've got to say. We know the team we have. We know the team they have. It's just about what team executes better over the course of these 60 minutes. If the first line plays as well as they did yesterday, I think BC's got a great shot. If BC breaks the puck out fluently and avoids the neutral zone turnovers, they should be in Philly. If not, then it's anyones game. It's been eight or nine years since I went to the city of brotherly love and I would love to go back in two weeks. 

Keys for BC- 

1. No stupid penalties. Lowell only beat us last time because of stupid penalties in the third period. They're too good to be given 5 power plays. That can't happen again. 

2. First line needs to do their thing again. Lowell played them very tough, very physical in the last meeting. BC isn't winning anything without these guys. 

3. Early and often. Can they come from behind ? Yes, but unlike the past, this team is built to protect leads. Grabbing a two goal advantage at any point would be crucial. 

Go Eagles. 




One Down

G scores his first goal. Photo from The Heights.
Talk about a bounce back game. Whew. The #2 Boston College Eagles hammered the Denver Pioneers in the first round of the NCAA Northeast regional this afternoon by a score of 6-2. All six of Boston College's goals came from the big three of Johnny G, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold. In fact, G recorded his first career hatrick. BC outshot Denver by a 33-20 margin and didn't allow DU to get a shot on goal until the seven minute mark of the first period. Overall, it was a complete effort from every guy. Obviously the big three provided the offense, scoring three goals in the first ten minutes of the game, the defense blocked everything in sight, and Demko was his normal, solid, self.

After all the disappointment from two weeks ago (Notre Dame lost tonight which is sweet), I think we all had a feeling BC would come out flying. And that they did. Here's something you probably don't know. Coach York has a couple degrees from BC and might be one of the smartest people I know. He uses a lot of words that I couldn't name the first letter of. So, he figured that the frequent TV timeouts (two minutes each) would give him the opportunity to play the first line more often than normal. As he pointed out in his post game presser, you can't do that in a regular season game because we don't have the luxury of those breaks. So, when Denver put their third line out there with about fifteen minutes left in the period, Coach countered with the big three (on what was basically a double shift after a TV timeout), and of course, Kevin Hayes scored his twenty fifth goal of the season. Shortly after Kevin's first tally, Mike Matheson made a solid breakout pass to the far wing (Johnny G) and he just obliterated the Denver defenseman before wrapping around the net and  eventually scoring. I just can't get over how good the kid is. Take out the fact that he plays for BC and they're in the NCAA's and all that crap. I would go down to Chandler's Pond at 8:30 tomorrow morning to see him play shinny. It's just so fun to watch. Such a special talent/player.

Obviously the scoring was great to see but I thought BC's play in their own end was at least ten times better than it was vs Notre Dame. Every breakout was smooth, there were very few turnovers, and Denver couldn't get any grade A chances on Demko. I honestly can't remember any "great" chances they had in the first forty minutes. Every shot the took was blocked, every pass they made was intercepted and went the other way. The one rough spot was that BC took five penalties even though they killed each one of them off. The fourth line of Silk, Smith, and Sit was sustaining pressure in the offensive zone throughout the whole night, something that didn't happen once vs ND. Much better night for those guys, particularly Smith and Sit.

Look, it was a great effort but this game tomorrow vs Lowell is going to be a war. They're without a doubt one of the top clubs in the country and they proved last month they can play with us for a full 60 minutes. They're the exact opposite of BC. They're big, they're a defensive first team, and they don't have one or two "super stars", o and not to mention they're almost three years older than all our guys are but that's another topic for another day. Tomorrow presents a fantastic opportunity for this club to go out and show the country what they're made of. Heck, 6 of 8 "experts" on one of those college hockey websites predicted Lowell to win this region. Just remember, if you have Johnny G, anything is possible.

Why BC Won- 

1. Johnny G.

2. Bill Arnold.

3. Kevin Hayes.

4. Really solid play in the defensive zone. I thought each defenseman had their share of bright spots tonight.

Problems- 

1. 5 penalties is too much. Were they bad calls ? Yes but still, Lowell scored a power play goal vs us earlier this year. Can't give them that many chances on the man advantage

Player of the game- G

Next up- Lowell tomorrow at 5