Monday, October 12, 2015

Fabbro Commits to Boston University

BC's top recruiting target, defenseman Dante Fabbro out of Western Canada, committed to arch rival Boston University tonight. The other schools in on Fabbro were North Dakota, Minnesota, and Denver.

Obviously, this is a tough one to swallow for the staff. They have been doing a much better job on the recruiting trail as of late and they will certainly continue to do so but tonight is certainly a victory for the guys down the street. Give David Quinn and his staff a lot of credit, they have been able to haul in one of the most impressive recruiting classes I have seen with guys like Krys, Bellows, Keller, and now Fabbro all on board for next season. As we have seen in the past couple of weeks, BC has taken their recruiting level up a few notches to match that of Quinn and company but there certainly will be some more hated battles throughout the next few months.

Go Eagles

Engineers Stun Eagles

If you have read this blog in the past, particularly during last season, you would know that I'm not a happy camper after losses. I've never been a fan of taking positives out of a loss and I can't recall a time where I walked out of a rink genuinely excited following a BC defeat. That changed yesterday. I've never seen a BC team play so well in a losing effort, in fact, I would say they played much better than they did against Army on Friday night but the puck just didn't bounce their way. Don 't let this be any slight to RPI, they played an absolute heck of a hockey game. Jason Kasdorf turned in one of the best goaltending performances I've ever seen. To go along with their netminder's stellar play, RPI blocked a whopping 45 BC shots and to be honest it felt like 145 shots. Obviously, no one wants to lose but maybe it is a good thing for this young Eagle squad that has yet to face any adversity.

The first period was relatively even (shots were 13-13) but it was BC's penalty kill that stole the show. I can't remember RPI getting any quality chances on the power play throughout the entire game until their second goal of course. BC did a great job of disrupting their breakout to a point where the Engineers couldn't even get the puck into the zone to set things up. Of the 12 forwards dressed, they have 8 of them killing penalties which is a lot considering they could only roll 5 or 6 a year ago. BC had it's chances throughout the period but as was the case all night, Kasdorf made some terrific saves.

The second period was BC's best of this young season. I thought the line of Colin White, Adam Gilmour, and Ryan Fitzgerald was easily BC's top unit as they generated 10 shots on goal. Perhaps the most pivotal moment of the game was when BC had back to back power plays, moved the puck around tremendously, but could not find a way to get it past Kasdorf about midway through the period. It was nearly impossible for BC's defenders to get pucks on net in order to create rebound opportunities thanks to RPI's relentless blocking. In the final two minutes of the period, the Eagles continued to keep the pressure on in the offensive zone but after a miscue, RPI took the puck up ice on a 3 on 3. I actually thought BC covered the play pretty well but Riley Bourbonnias' shot seemed to deflect off Teddy Doherty's stick and into the net. I don't believe Demko ever saw it. Just like that, BC trailed for the first time all season heading into the third period.

Three minutes into the third, the refs whistled Ryan Fitzgerald from elbowing, a penalty in which the Engineers were able to take advantage of. As they had been doing all game, BC didn't give RPI anything on the PP in the first minute and a half of Fitzgerald's penalty but after a neutral zone turnover from Zach Sanford, RPI beautifully executed a 3 on 2, giving the home team the all important 2 goal lead. It's easy for me to sit here and say BC should have just iced the puck instead of trying to make something out of nothing on the man down but Sanford's the type of player that always wants to try and make a play (which is a good thing). Unfortunately, he was the victim of a pretty vicious hit that allowed RPI to gain possession and eventually score. However, as was the case on Friday night, Sanford redeemed himself a couple minutes later when he banged home a Teddy Doherty pass on the power play, cutting the lead in half. BC kept pushing hard to try and even the score and Scott Savage had perhaps the best chance to do that when a rebound squirted out to him near the circle but Kasdorf made an unbelievable diving stop. I have been wondering what the staff would do in late game situations, particularly when down a goal, because you could make the case that anybody on the top three lines should be on the ice. After Coach York called a timeout with about 1:30 left, he sent White's line out there (plus Cangelosi) with McCoshen and Casey Fitzgerald at the point. There were certainly some people on the Twitter waves who were complaining about Bracco, Tuch, and Sanford not being out there but let's be honest here, the staff made the right move. The first line was a non-factor all night long, they're supposed to be the top line in the country and they didn't muster much of anything versus a team that isn't necessarily known for the defensive prowess. I thought Colin White was BC's best player throughout the game so there is no doubt he should have been on the ice. Anyways, the Eagles did everything but score in the final seconds and RPI came away with the biggest upset of this young college hockey season.

Like I said in the opening paragraph,  I could not be happier with the way BC played, especially considering it was the second leg of a Friday-Sunday road trip. There are certainly some things they need to work on but I thought they cut back on the turnovers, the power play moved the puck around all game long, the penalty kill was aggressive, and Demko played a solid game once again. I can't really think of any glaring errors. Some will say they only scored 1 goal and we might be headed down the same road as last season but they generated 37 shots, which was preceded by 40 shots on Friday. Sometimes you run into a hot goaltender and they steal the game, it's hockey. If BC plays like that for the rest of the season, they're going to win a heck of a lot of games. Onto Wisconsin.

Why BC lost- 

1. Kasdorf was a magician. I can't think of many goaltending performances that were better than that. Sean Fields in the 2004 Beanpot final might be #1 but last night is right up there with it.

2.  First line struggled. I wouldn't worry too much about these guys, they're going to be fine, just give it time. I know Bracco doesn't have a point yet but he is still adjusting to playing against guys that are six years his senior. I hope the staff keeps them together.


1. That is as good as I have seen a BC team play in a long time, win or lose. Colin White, Austin Cangelosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald were probably BC's three best forwards.

Injury note- Brendan Silk suffered a separated shoulder on Friday night. He is out indefinitely.

Next- Wisconsin on Friday. Home opener.

Go Eagles

Sunday, October 11, 2015

RPI Preview

First of all, great to see Union, a team that tied Sacred Heart Friday night, pick up a stunning 5-3 win over the "#2" Terriers. Always an awesome night when the scarlet and white fall.

Ironically, the arch rivals of both those squads mentioned above will faceoff fifteen miles down the road from last night's battle at Messa Rink when the #1 Eagles travel to RPI for a Sunday afternoon tilt. This will be the 36th meeting all time between Boston College and RPI with the good guys holding a 20-14-1 lead in the series. Their last meeting was in October of 2013 when BC defeated the Engineers by a 7-2 score in Chestnut Hill. The red and black come into tomorrows contest fresh off a 3-0 loss @ Lowell on Friday night, a game in which they were outshot 38-27 overall and 31-14 through two periods. Safe to say that despite it only being one game, fans in Troy are getting desperate for their club to get back it's winning ways of the 80's and 90's. RPI has not made the NCAAs since 2011, which is their lone appearance in the dance since 1995.

Leading the way for the home team will be forwards Drew Melanson (20 points last year), Milos Bubela (15 points), and sophomore Riley Bourbonnais (13 points). The Engineers lost two of their top three point getters from the 2015 campaign and will most likely be without top forward Mark Miller who did not play against Lowell. On the back end, RPI lost two of it's top six defenseman from a season ago and clearly a unit with two or three underclassmen will have their hands full with the #1 team in college hockey. Although they may have some holes to fill up front and on the blue line, RPI boast one of the top goaltenders in the ECAC, if not college hockey. Senior Jason Kasdorf, a Winnipeg Jets draftee, is undoubtedly the best player on Seth Appert's squad and if the Engineers are going to have any chance tomorrow, they will need him to be nearly perfect.

Boston College comes into tomorrow's contest 1-0 after a thrashing of Army up in West Point. The big question for the Eagles will be the status of senior forward Brendan Silk who was hurt in the early-goings on Friday. I do not know his status but I would bet on Joey Dudek getting his first career start tomorrow afternoon on the fourth line. I am interested to see what the staff does with the lines as they have so many options. I don't think they will touch the first unit of Bracco, Sanford, and Tuch but I wouldn't be shocked if they shook up the second line of Fitzgerald, White, and Gilmour. On the defensive side of things, I think Travis Jeke will get his first taste of action as freshman Josh Couturier had a little bit of a tough time on Friday night. They don't have to play Jeke or Couturier on a regular shift throughout the game but if those guys can go in and perform when they're asked to, McCoshen and Santini won't be summoned to play every other shift. In college hockey they don't keep track of playing time but I would say the staff drastically cut back on the two junior blue liner's time in the third period when things got out of hand. If Casey Fitzgerald keeps playing the way he is, he will soon be the Eagles' third guy in the rotation. With a days rest and just one game looming next weekend against lowly Wisconsin, I expect Thatcher Demko to get the nod once again after his stellar performance on Friday. In fact, Demko's first career victory was vs RPI in 2013.

As I said earlier, I expect RPI to come out swinging. It has been a long time since they have had a meaningful win and head coach Seth Appert needs something to fend off the hounds asking for his dismissal. Houston Field House is said to be one of the toughest places to play in college hockey so BC has got to find a way to start out on fire. Like Army, RPI's only chance is to get pucks behind our D and play as physical as possible. If the Eagles are able to move pucks out of the zone and start the transition game, they should be able to pot a few goals.

Scouting RPI- 

Record- 0-1

Top returning scorers from last year- Drew Melanson (9-11-20), Milos Bubela (8-7-15), Riley Bourbonnais (5-8-13)

Power play- 0 for 5 against Lowell

Penalty Kill- 5 for 5 against Lowell

Projected starter- Jason Kasdorf (2.97 GAA and .902 save percentage in 2015)

Keys for BC- 

1. Take the crowd out of it in the first period. This is by far and away the biggest game RPI has hosted in a few years so we can expect a raucous crowd looking for a big win. I am more confident in this year's BC team to come back from deficits but historically, the Eagles are a much better club when scoring the first goal.

2. Cut back on the defensive zone turnovers. Early in the season, one can expect a good amount of errors but hopefully BC cleans things up in their own end. Army forced a lot of blind passes that could have ended up in the back of the net if not for Demko.

3. BC needs better play from a couple of their defenseman. I am interested to see whether they go with Couturier or Jeke as the 6th guy. No matter who gets the start, the bottom three defensemen need to take their games up a notch.

Injury Notes- I would be surprised if Silk played, expect Dudek to be in.

Off to Troy....Go Eagles !

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Photo from Dustin Saltoff and BC Interruption 
Thanks to a three point performance from Miles Wood and twenty three saves from Thatcher Demko, Boston College defeated Army 5-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Tate Rink. This is the first time since the start of the 2011-12 season that BC has won their opener. First things first, give Army a lot of credit for the way they battled tonight. The talent disparity was obvious but those kids fight as hard as any team we've played in a long time. Sure, they were a bit chippy at times but the only chance they had was to bang bodies in order to slow down the high octane Eagles. As serious as we take our hockey in Chestnut Hill, it pails in comparison to what those guys on the other side are going through. In two or three years they will be serving our country against some of the greatest evils the world has to offer and for that I think they should be given the utmost respect.

As for that hockey team from Chestnut Hill,  they're pretty, pretty good. I could not have been more impressed with some of the freshman tonight. Miles Wood was the best player on the ice, Casey Fitzgerald was arguably BC's top defenseman, Chris Brown recorded his first goal, and the NTDP duo of Jeremy Bracco and Colin White was as good as advertised. I thought BC struggled a bit out of the gate as Army really took it to them but Demko was his usual, solid self all night long. Due to Army's imposing size, BC had a tough time in their own end for much of the game as there were a fair amount of turnovers that certainly could have been avoided with a simple chip off the glass. Some of the younger guys had a tough time figuring out whether the defenseman from the blue line was going to come crashing down on them so instead they just fired the puck towards the middle of the ice, which resulted in some quality chances for the Black Knights. On his first shift of the season, senior Brendan Silk was injured and did not return. I do not know the extent of the injury but since he is out, I assume Joey Dudek will get the start on Sunday afternoon at RPI. Almost exactly midway through the opening stanza, Miles Wood ripped home a horrible Army turnover in their own end. This was the start of a big night for the Nobles product and Devils draft pick who led the team with three points.

I thought BC dipped a little at the start of the second but after about five minutes, they really took it to the Black Knights. As a result of the Silk injury, the staff had to jumble around the lines and there were no set pairings but there was one shift when Bracco, Tuch, and Sanford were out there for close to a minute and a half just firing the puck all across the West Point end. Although there weren't any points to show for it, it doesn't take an NHL scout to know how much skill Jeremy Bracco possesses. Some of the passes he made on entries into the zone were borderline Gaudreau like. Tuch and Sanford were fine but it is clear that Army made a point in hitting those two every where they went so by game's end, BC's two sophomores were pretty banged up. Army came very close to tying the score up before junior Chris Calnan ripped home a nasty wrist shot from the top of the circle twelve minutes into the middle period. From what I could tell, it didn't seem like Calnan got a ton of playing time in the first twenty minutes but after the goal, he started to find his stride and ended up playing a pretty good game. As time ticked down in the second, Casey Fitzgerald buried his first career goal with the assists going to Wood and Scotty Savage. McCoshen and Santini were terrific but it was Fitzgerald who really stood out on BC's blue line. He had very few turnovers, some great rushes up the ice, and made a lot of smart decisions at the blue line. I was impressed with his game.

The third period turned into a bit of a wrestling match as Army tried to edge their way back into it. BC gave up it's first power play goal of the season after Sanford was whistled for a stupid slashing penalty. However, the maroon and gold responded well as Sanford exacted a little revenge with a goal the very next shift, putting the game out of reach. After that, the Black Knights really went hard after BC's guys, particularly the freshmen. Miles Wood was cross checked to the head three times in a ten second span after a whistle, resulting in a 5 on 3 for the Eagles. They did not convert. All in all, I'm very pleased with the way things went tonight. Let's be honest, a win over Army isn't anything to crown ourselves over but BC played a heck of a lot better than I thought they would. It's amazing how they take one line off and they come right back out with a some more highly skilled NHL draft picks. The depth up front is better than anything Coach York has had in his tenure at the Heights but in order to win a championship, he is going to need the D to play better. If they turn the puck over the amount of times they did in the first period versus teams like Denver and Lowell, they'll pay for it. Anyways, they'll get the day off tomorrow and prepare to face what is sure to be a hungry RPI team on Sunday. Great start.

Why BC won- 

1. The freshmen were spectacular. Wood, Bracco, White, Fitzgerald, and Brown were all over the ice.

2. Demko looks like he could offset a lot of defensive miscues. Look, we're young on the blue line. There are going to be some growing pains back there as the year goes on but when you have a goalie like that, things won't look so bad.

3. Special teams were pretty good for the first game. I thought the first power play unit was the better of the two but the second did record a goal (C.Fitzgerald). PK was fine, going 5 for 6 on the night. I think we will see different personnel rotate in and out for the first month or so on both the PP and PK.


1. There were certainly a couple of bad defensive zone turnovers but it's the first game so that is to be expected. They will clear it up.

Player of the game- Miles Wood

Next- @ RPI Sunday 2 PM.

Go Eagles

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Army Preview

I remember walking out of the Dunkin Donuts Center six months ago with a deep sense of disappointment.  I was stunned and shocked about what had just happened on the ice versus Denver. One of the most frustrating seasons (it wasn't even that bad) in recent memory had just come to a conclusion. Questions swirled all throughout my mind. Would Bracco show? Would Hanifin stay? How many guys would leave school? There was a whole lot of uncertainty surrounding BC Hockey in April of 2015. Fast forward  half year and you've got a renewed sense of optimism that has engulfed coaches, players, and fans. Anybody who knows BC Hockey is aware of how special this season could be. Just under twenty hours from now, the 94th season of Boston College Hockey will commence with expectations higher than they have ever been.

Tomorrow night's matchup will be the 42nd all time between Boston College and Army. The Eagles have taken home 37 of those contests while Army has won 3. The teams have tied once. Two years ago, BC got the better of the Knights by an 11-0 margin at Kelley Rink but I can promise you one thing, tomorrow will not be anything like that. The Black Knights return 18 guys from last season's team, including their top 6 leading scorers. Sophomore Tyler Pham led the way with 9 goals and 20 assists, he was aided by fellow underclassmen Connor Andrie (17 points) and Joe Koziak (15 points). Army finished the 2014-15 campaign with an 8-22-4 record, good for ninth in Atlantic Hockey. Despite their bad record, Brian Riley's squad played national champion Providence to a 3-0 game on the road and also fought hard versus Coach Cav's Huskies. Offensively, the Knights were towards the bottom of the barrel as their 2.00 goals per game ranked 53rd in college hockey. On the other side of things, they gave up an average of 3.18 goals per game, which had them at 47th overall. Expect junior Parker Gahagen to get the nod in-between the pipes. He recorded a .913 save percentage to go along with a 6-15-3 record a season ago.

As for BC,  I'm really excited to see what they can do tomorrow night. There is unbelievable talent all over that lineup. Even during the exhibition game,  I was sitting there thinking about how much deeper this team is compared to last year's club. We have three lines that could be top tier combinations at the majority of Hockey East schools but that doesn't matter if none of those lines can't step up and play like a perennial top line. I always talk about how we need more scoring from the bottom six but at the end of the day, one of the hallmarks of great BC teams is an all world first line. Whether it's Bracco's line or Gilmour's line or Cangelosi's line, one of them has to step up and take control of this game early. The Eagles were 16-2-2 last season when scoring the first goal. Of course, things will be very different this season, especially on the offensive side of things, but I'd like to see them step up and exert their power early and often. Defensively, they don't need to do anything special. When Army gets the puck deep,  all BC's defense has to do is get it to the walls and start a quick breakout. That will allow the forwards to create plays through the neutral zone. Last season, we didn't have enough guys that could make plays in transition. Now we do. If the Eagles avoid turnovers inside their own blue line and put a on dumb penalties, they should be able to win this game.

In terms of special teams, it will be interesting to see what happens with the power play. They worked on it a good amount in practice this week but who knows if that will transfer over to a game. The staff has the luxury of trying different guys in certain spots if they want to. For example, maybe Cangelosi or Wood will get a shot on the second unit if things don't pan out early in the game. Unless something changes between tonight and 7 PM tomorrow, Brendan Silk will get the nod as fourth line right winger. Sophomore forward Alex Tuch missed Wednesday's practice but I think it was just precautionary after his injury at World Jr Camp in August. They seemed pretty set on going with Travis Jeke as the 6th defenseman but I thought Couturier had a solid week of practice so maybe give Jeke the green light tomorrow and the freshman out of Newburyport the start on Sunday. If anything changes, I will certainly tweet it.

I can't tell you what is going to happen a half a year from now in April but I can honestly say that I have never been more excited for the start of a BC Hockey season. This team, I would argue, is the most talented group of players Coach York and his staff have ever assembled. Tomorrow night is a special opportunity for everybody in that locker room to set this program back on the path towards greatness. Army is going to come out swinging like Mike Tyson, especially considering it is the biggest game they've hosted in years. Will this BC team, the youngest in college hockey, be up for the challenge? We'll see.

Scouting Army- 

2014-15 record- 8-22-4

Top returning scorers- Tyler Pham (accounted for 16% of team scoring), Connor Andrie (4-13-17), Joe Kozak (7-8-15).

2014-15 offense- 2.00 goals per game (53rd)

2014-15 defense- 3.18 goals per game (47th)

Top returning goalie- Parker Gahagen (2.83 GAA, .913 save percentage)

2014-15 power play- 11% (54th)

2014-15 penalty kill- 78% (51)

Keys for BC- 

1. Get a first line established early. One would hope that the Bracco, Tuch, and Sanford trio takes the game over in the first period.

2. The more penalties BC takes, the harder it will be to win. This team's formula for success revolves around persistent offensive zone pressure. That ain't happening if they're killing penalties all night.

3. Don't let this be a game in the third period. If the crowd is into it and Army is only down a goal or two, anything is possible. Let's put them away early.

Go Eagles.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Staff Lands Top 2001 Forward

Remember when a certain blog kept complaining about the recruiting? How things have changed.

The staff received a commitment from the top 2001 forward in the United States this evening, Nobles freshman Pat Moynihan. The Minuteman Flames product reportedly received offers from all the big time programs, including arch rival Boston University.

What can I say? BC's teams for the next couple years are going to be very, very good thanks to what the staff has done on the recruiting trail. Moynihan, Knight, and Samuelsson all have the chance to be big time players when they arrive at BC. It's hard to label such a young kid as a "game changing" recruit but this certainly is one of their biggest wins in a long time. USHR described Moynihan as "the most complete player at this stage in his development and a standout player on a very strong team."

Obviously, a lot can change between now and the time this kid arrives on campus but for now, BC has itself one heck of a hockey player.

Walsh, Tortora, Moynihan, Giles, Cassetti, and McPhee on the same team? You?

Go Eagles !!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Another Big Get

Boston College continued it's hot streak on the recruiting trail as they received a commitment from top 2000 defenseman Adam Samuelssson, brother of former Eagle Philip and son of Rangers legend Ulf. The youngest Samuelsson, a product of the Connecticut Jr Rangers, is a 6'3 mammoth that, according to those who have seen him play, has a solid stride and can move the puck. It appears that he plays a style similar to that of Steven Santini. Over the Boards described him as "another serious pick up for BC, imposing, high end defender." Samuelsson will be a strong candidate for the National Development Program next season.

In my opinion, things are really looking good on the recruiting trail. After a couple of rough months last winter, the staff has received several big time verbal commitments from Samuelsson, Pat Giles, Jake Tortora, Joe Cassetti, and Spencer Knight. Obviously, a lot will change between now and the time these guys arrive on campus but the coaches have done a terrific job of solidifying the future.

The two big names to watch out for now are 2001 forward Pat Moynihan of Nobles and 2000 forward Joel Farabee of New York. SB Nation's Jeff Cox reported this afternoon that BC has offered Moynihan who also has interest from several Ivy League schools and arch rival Boston University.

We shall see what happens but as of now, all is well in BC Hockey world.

Go Eagles.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Observations From Exhibition Game

The Eagles suffered a 5-2 setback at the hands of New Brunswick last night. I did not see the entire game but  what I saw was exactly what I expected. BC looked a bit out of sorts which is fine considering they haven't been able to hold an official practice yet. Here are a few quick notes I gathered.

1. Demko looked perfectly healthy when he was in. The first portion of the opening period was all Varsity Reds and they nearly had a goal to show for it (got reversed). I wouldn't read too much into the fact that he wasn't on the bench for the final two periods as he probably getting some care in the trainers room. I would not be surprised if the staff gave him a couple days off early this week to get ready for Friday.

2. I was very impressed with the freshmen, especially Miles Wood. It was an exhibition game versus bigger and older kids so it is no surprise that BC's biggest and oldest newcomer performed the best. The speed his able to generate through the neutral zone is borderline insane for a kid of that size. I think they should put him on the power play because it could really help them transition from break out to set up but what the heck do I know.

3. They need Birdsall to be better. I know the game doesn't matter at all but freshman goalie Chris Birdsall struggled a bit in his first go around. There is no way Demko can go the entire season without skipping a beat so hopefully Birdsall improves as the year goes on. Although I wasn't there to see it, apparently Birdsall was relatively solid in the third period which is a good sign.

4. The most important thing about these type of games is that no one gets hurt. We will see what happens this week in practice but as of now, they should have a full roster for Friday night.

5. Both the power play and penalty kill need some fine tuning. When you consider the fact that they haven't been able to work on either one of these much during practice then it is not a big deal. I think they will experiment with different units throughout the week and see what works and what doesn't.

6. The staff has a tough call to make with regards to the fourth line. I thought Silk was okay but Dudek was better than I expected him to be. That will be an interesting battle to watch as the week progresses.

That is all I got. Game week baby!

Go Eagles