Thursday, February 4, 2016

UNH Preview


No matter the opponent, the Friday game between Beanpot Mondays is one of the toughest to get ready for all season-especially when the opponent waiting in the wings is archrival Boston University. Nevertheless, Boston College will look to hold onto the #1 spot in Hockey East when the UNH Wildcats come to town looking to avenge an early season loss to the Eagles.

New Hampshire enters this game fresh off a stunning upset victory at Providence on Saturday night, after falling to the Friars just 24 hours earlier. It has been a down year for Dick Umile's squad as they currently sit in 10th place with a 9-13-4 record. Despite the rough go, UNH boasts the top two scorers in the league- Andrew Poturalski (41 points) and Tyler Kelleher (37 points). Both are undersized forwards who can fly up the ice and create plays with their uncanny vision- I would not be surprised if either of them inked NHL contracts this summer. Outside of those two however, UNH doesn't have much firepower. The Cats suffered a midseason blow when sophomore Warren Foegele signed with the Kingston Frontenacs (QMJHL) and ever since then, they have had a tough time putting the puck in the net but the more obvious problem is in their own end. In years past, the blue and white possessed some terrific defensemen such as Kessel, van Riemsdyk, and Pesce but they haven't had one guy take the reins and lead a unit struggling to find its identity. Speaking of past years, I think it's sad to see what is happening up in Durham because a couple years ago, BC-UNH contests were some of the best hockey games I have ever seen, especially those battles late in the season. Hockey East is undeniably a better conference when New Hampshire and Maine are competitive so hopefully, they can find a way to right the ship. In saying that, I sure as heck hope they don't get back on track with a victory tomorrow night.

As for the maroon and gold, obviously, things are looking up after wins versus Notre Dame and Harvard. The goal for the remainder of the regular season should be to get a #1 seed (preferably the #1 overall seed) and in order to do that, they have to beat teams like UNH. As of tonight, BC sits at #5 in the pairwise but thanks to those quality wins in January, they are a lot closer to the one seed pedestal. A loss against a team as low as UNH flips them back to a low 2 or high 3. In terms of team health, they're dinged up. I can't get into specific names but I would not be surprised if one or two regulars are in the stands in order to be ready for Monday. Don't expect either of the backup goalies to be behind the bench either- manager Charlie Van Kula practiced with the team all week as Ian Milosz suffered an upper body injury in warmups versus Notre Dame. My only concern is that they overlook this game because of what lies ahead. I think the staff has done a great job of focusing solely on UNH, as was the case last week with Notre Dame, but it's up to the players to come in and play at the level they're capable of.

Scouting UNH- 

Record- 9-13-4 (36th in pairwise)

Top scorers- Andrew Poturalski (19-22-41), Tyler Kelleher (7-30-37), Dan Correale (15-5-20)

Team offense- 3.31 goals scored per game (12th)

Team defense- 3.42 goals against per game (49th)

Power play- 25.7% (6th)

Penalty kill- 79.5% (46th)

Shots on goal per game- 28.73 shots per game (45th)

Keys for the Eagles- 

1. Use last change effectively versus Kelleher and Poturalski. UNH's big guns have been on the same line all season and assuming that doesn't change tomorrow night, I expect the staff to have McCoshen and Fitzgerald out there to combat their speed and playmaking abilities.

2. Production from the fourth line. I actually thought Chris Brown and company did a fine job when out there against Harvard but BC needs them to start scoring.

3. Stay out of the box. Not counting the third period versus Notre Dame, the Eagles have been much better with regards to avoiding costly penalties. UNH has one of the best power plays in the country and I expect them to take advantage if given the chances.

Notes- They might hold one or two guys out for precautionary measures. Gametime decisions. Ceremony for Coach York starts at 6:30.

Go Eagles!









Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Staff Adds Finnish Defenseman

Defenseman Jesper Mattila committed to Boston College last week, giving the Eagles their fourth blue liner in the 2016 freshman class. The Finland product has recorded 16 points in 28 games for the Ilves U20 team and also participated in Finland's World Jr Camp this year- he is projected to be a 5th or 6th rounder in the 2016 NHL draft.

 I have not seen Mattila play but those who have call him an "effective, puck moving defenseman that is a strong skater." It seems to be another quality get for BC but as I have said many times, next season's outlook will depend on who stays and who goes.

Here is the Harvard recap I posted earlier- LINK 

Go Eagles

One Down


Photo from BC Athletics
After a one year hiatus, the Boston College Eagles are back in the Beanpot finals as they held off a dangerous Harvard squad by a score of 3-2 last night at the TD Garden. The Eagles will face archrival Boston University next Monday night at 7:30 as the Terriers defeated Northeastern 3-1.

I thought last night was the tale of two different games. BC got on the board a minute and a half in thanks to a bomb from Casey Fitzgerald but immediately after that tally, the Crimson took it to the maroon and gold. Harvard controlled the puck for a good chunk of the first, they just could not get any good looks on Thatcher Demko. Harvard clearly had a plan to throw BC off by using their speed on the forecheck. BC withstood any Crimson pressure until freshman forward Ryan Donato made a terrific play, blocking a Mike Kim shot at the BC offensive blue line and then beating out Colin White in a race for the puck through the neutral zone. When you're playing fast teams, such as Harvard is, you can't give them chances through the neutral zone by failing to get pucks deep in the offensive zone and that is precisely what happened on that play. Harvard continued to control the play and were rewarded once again when Kyle Criscuolo redirected an Adam Baughman shot from the point. If you look at the replay, it is clear, at least in my view,  that Jimmy Vesey interfered with Demko's ability to play the puck, in fact, it looks as if Vesey was the one who tossed Demko's stick to the other side of the zone which had an obvious impact on whether or not Demko was going to make a play on the puck. Even if you go back to what happened before the puck went in the net, BC had good coverage at the top of the offensive zone when Vesey broke over the blue line. Kerfoot beat BC's defenseman to the puck and sucked all the white jerseys below the dots before dishing it out to Baughman at the point who recorded his first point of the season. I actually thought it was going to be waved off but when is Blogger ever right?

The second and third periods were perhaps BC's best of the season. The obvious concern coming into the game was whether or not BC's relatively young defense would be able to contain Harvard's top line. Not only did they stop Vesey and company, they made sure the best player in college hockey had zero impact on the game. They didn't give him much room to operate, especially in the neutral zone where he is known to create odd man rushes. The staff mixed and matched which units went out there against Harvard's top guys, sometimes it was White's line but Cangelosi, Wood, and Gilmour also played a major role. I thought an underrated aspect to the game was the fact that Harvard's second line of Esposito, Malone, and Blackwell did practically nothing. All week, we heard about how Harvard was one of the only teams in the country who could roll three top scoring lines like BC but looking back, there was a clear difference in the depth on both ends. Depth aside, the reason why BC won the game was special teams. Whomever won the penalty battle was going to win the game and it came down to the simple fact that BC converted on their chances while Harvard did not. Coach Brown's power play looks lethal right now and they did a great job of getting pucks to the net, especially on Sanford''s tally where BC's guys just outworked Harvard's defenseman in front. It wasn't the prettiest goal you'll ever see but it did the job and that is all they ask.  Just a few minutes later, Colin White gave BC the lead for good when he walked right in and fired one past Harvard netminder Merrick Madsen. Nothing to it except for a terrific player taking advantage of a clear defensive lapse by Harvard- how can you let someone of that caliber walk in like that?

The final twenty minutes contained some of the best defensive hockey I have ever seen. Outside of a couple point shots, Harvard couldn't get the puck past the red line. BC just keep the puck below the goal, cycled it well, and always kept a third forward high to avoid giving Harvard odd man rushes. The turning point in the game was when the Crimson were awarded a power play off a bogus call on Austin Cangelosi because at that point, BC was skating all over Harvard and that was the latter's chance to tie things up. As has been the case all year, the penalty kill came up huge and held the Crimson off the scoreboard, in fact, I don't know if Harvard generated one quality look over the entire two minutes. They had one open net but thankfully, their defenseman's stick broke and the Eagles got out of the dilemma alive. Usually, the last minute of a Beanpot game is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences for any fan or player but BC literally would not allow Harvard to get the puck past center ice. It was incredible. Every time Vesey brought the puck up, someone was there to meet him and quickly pick his pocket.

All in all, I'm very proud of the way BC battled. Playing that type of defense takes just a little more heart and they didn't just keep one of the best offensive teams in the country at bay, they shut them down for forty minutes. Over the summer, opposing fans and bloggers questioned whether BC would be able to defend at the level needed to win hockey games after the departures of Hanifin and Matheson. Let me ask you a question, have you ever seen a BC Hockey team play better in their own end than these guys do? The goal scorers always get the credit but Ian McCoshen, in my mind, might be the most valuable player in this league. Throughout his entire career, he has been paired against the Eichel's and Vesey's of the world and has outplayed them on a consistent basis. On the offensive side of things, Zach Sanford and Colin White stole the show. I think there is a direct correlation between the rise in Sanford's production and the upswing in Alex Tuch's play- they don't score that second power play goal if Tuch doesn't make a tough play to get it out to the point. The issue with Tuch last year and the first half of this season was that he was playing a bit "soft". If you ask me, no player looks like they're playing harder than #12- he brings it night it and night out. As for Sanford, I absolutely love the way he plays the game. He reminds me a bit of Kevin Hayes-slick hands, length, and top of the line offensive instinct. I am biased, but I think he is one of, if not the best, forward in the country. Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first) but I truly believe that. You can tell me how others have more points and all that but I would be willing to bet that no player does more for their team than #24 does for BC- he plays a major role in every key situation- five on five, power play, penalty kill, and late game, no matter what the score is. When it comes to Colin White, what else is there to say? The kid is simply ridiculous. Outside of Eichel, has there been a better freshman in Hockey East since Kariya? Probably not.

 Don't look now but UNH is coming off a big win at Providence on Saturday so they will certainly be ready to play this weekend.

Blogger had homework last night, anybody know who we play on Monday? Northeastern?

Why BC Won-

1. Complete defensive effort. Vesey didn't produce but you can tell how special a player he is. Pleasure to watch. Penalty kill at the end of the game was enormous.

2. Power play. It has been buzzing as of late with a goal in 3 of the past 4 games. Sanford's unit was especially good.

3. Cangelosi's line was great. They didn't put anything on the scoreboard but they were flying all over the place. Outside of Sanford and White, Wood was BC's best forward.

Problems- 

1. What is up with the $45 parking and $5 waters at the Garden? Horrible.

Players of the game- Sanford and White

Notes- Calnan didn't play much due to an ankle injury. Both backup goalies are hurt- hopefully they're back soon.

Next- UNH on Friday














Sunday, January 31, 2016

Harvard Preview


For the 64th time, four of Boston's finest institutions will return to Causeway Street to face-off in college hockey's greatest tradition. The Beanpot gets underway tomorrow evening when two of hottest teams in the country, Boston College and Harvard, go head to head. The Eagles will be looking to avenge last year's sudden loss to Northeastern in the first round, a defeat that ended their streak of five consecutive championships, the longest in school history. The Crimson will be attempting to shake off past disappointments and find a way to win the coveted trophy for the first time since 1993.

Ted Donato's squad is one of the best offensive teams in the country and they will be led by superstar forward Jimmy Vesey. The Belmont Hill product is second in the country in terms of points per game with 1.68. Aiding the Nashville draft pick will be fellow senior Kyle Crisuolo and talented junior Alexander Kerfoot. Outside of perhaps the Motte-Compher-Connor line out at Michigan, Harvard's top trio is the best in country and they will be handful for BC's stingy defense. While they are a deep team up front, the Crimson live and die off the success of their top three players, particularly Vesey, who is one of those guys you have to keep an eye on every time he is on the ice. As I just alluded to, Harvard has a lot of talent at forward, they're probably the only team in the country that can roll three legit scoring lines outside of Boston College. Their second line will consist of Luke Esposito, Sean Malone, and Colin Blackwell, all dangerous scoring threats in their own rights. Blackwell is one of those guys I have always been impressed with, even though he has had terrible luck with injuries over his four years in Cambridge. He doesn't jump out at you with his size but his speed and stick skills seem to have an impact on every game for Donato's team. When I look at Harvard, obviously their offensive firepower stands out and it will win them a lot of games this season. However, they are not nearly as deep on the backend or in goal, where Donato has rotated goalies for a good portion of the season. They don't have one "dominant" defenseman, I mean, Jaw and Bergin are big kids that can throw the body around but they have not yet played against the type of speed they will see tomorrow night. Sophomore Merrick Madsen will make his Beanpot debut against the Eagles. The California native has posted solid numbers up to this point, recording a 1.85 goals against average and .936 save percentage in just 15 games played. The one thing I noticed from watching Harvard is they tend to turn every game into a track meet- they want to play as fast as possible and against good teams, it has led to a lot of goals and defensive breakdowns. For example, they blew a two goal third period lead against BU a month ago and gave up a combined 9 goals in their two meetings with #1 Qunnipiac.

I say this everyday and you are probably sick of hearing it but BC will not win this game if they give Harvard a power play every five minutes. Not only do the Crimson have the #3 power play in the country, they have a first unit that is as deadly as I've seen. BC has been solid on the penalty kill, but, this is a different beast. I would be willing to bet that whichever team takes more penalties is the team that will come out on the losing end because in this tournament, power plays seem to swing momentum in a matter of seconds. BC cannot run around taking boneheaded penalties against a team of this caliber.

No matter what happens, I think this will be an unreal game between, in my opinion, the two best teams in college hockey. BC got some good news last week when awarded last change which means the staff can put McCoshen out there against Vesey and company. I don't think they will do this often but they could pair Santini with McCoshen at certain points in the game to try and stop that line. In terms of forwards, I would be shocked if Cangelosi, Wood, and Gilmour don't get a chance to go against the Hobey Baker favorite- the staff has had them out against opponents' top lines all season. Hopefully Chris Calnan will be back after suffering a lower body injury because if he is able to go, the staff can put the fourth line out there to match up with Harvard's bottom unit.

Scouting Harvard- 

Record- 12-4-3 (5th in pairwise)

Top scorers- Jimmy Vesey (16-16-32), Alex Kerfoot (4-20-24), Kyle Criscuolo (14-7-21)

Team offense- 3.84 goals scored per game (6th)

Team defense- 2.32 goals allowed per game (15th)

Power play- 32% (2nd)

Penalty kill- 85% (10th)

Shots on goal per game- 31.92 (18th)

Keys for BC- 

1. Have to stay out of the box. I could copy and paste this 1,000 more times. They cannot give these guys more than three or four chances on the man advantage or they will be in big trouble.

2. Attack Harvard's defenseman. While Vesey could pose problems for the maroon and gold, BC's top three lines could wreck havoc on Harvard's relatively weak blue line. Get pucks to the net on this first time Beanpot starter and see what he's got.

3. An early lead will get Harvard out of synch. If the Crimson go down a couple goals early in the game, they will pull the kitchen sink and that could lead to a boatload of odd man rushes for BC.

Notes- BC is still banged up but everyone should be a go. I would be surprised if Calnan is out again.

 Go Eagles!







Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Place



Photo from ND Athletics
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish entered Friday's contest in the midst of the nation's longest unbeaten streak. By 10 PM, the run was no more as the #5 Boston College Eagles exacted some revenge and totally dominated the Irish, en route to a 4-0 victory over their Holy War rivals. In what was their biggest game of the season, the Eagles came out and delivered a clutch performance, getting goals from four different players and outshooting the Irish by a 39-28 margin. The win moved Boston College to first place in Hockey East, one point ahead of Lowell, whom BC has a game in hand on.

Everybody was just settling into their seats (Blogger included) when Austin Cangelosi banged home a rebound off a Steve Santini shot that redirected off the boards just 16 seconds into the game. It was a heads up play by Cangelosi, who has been one of BC's best players over the past month, but the Eagles did catch a break as the play was clearly offsides, which the TV broadcast pointed out after the period. Although the scoresheet may not indicate it, I thought Notre Dame took it to BC for about five minutes after the goal, helped by a Mike Kim tripping penalty. The Eagles were looking to sustain some offensive pressure when Colin White, who did not play much in the first period due to injury, put home a beautiful pass from Miles Wood, giving the birds a commanding 2-0 lead just after the ten minute mark. In the first matchup between the teams, BC was missing Wood, Tuch, and Calnan which impeded their ability to get out and create chances off turnovers in the neutral and defensive zones. This time around, I thought BC did an excellent job of pressuring ND at certain points and forcing turnovers that led to a plethora of odd man rushes and eventually, a few goals. Speaking of White, he did not play at all from his first shift to his goal and then once he celebrated the tally, he appeared to fall and came off the ice favoring his left leg. He went to locker room but came back onto the ice for the second period.

The middle 20 minutes were arguably BC's best this entire season, evident by the 18-5 shot differential. When the Eagles shut out an opponent, something they did for the 8th time last night, Thatcher Demko gets the majority of the credit and rightfully so, he has been outstanding. However, BC's play in their own end should not go unnoticed as I would argue it was their best defensive performance of the season. Outside of a few flurries in the first period, I can't recall any "grade A" chances Notre Dame had. The Irish typically rely on the senior trio of DiPauli, Lucia, and Fogarty, and perhaps my eyesight isn't top notch but I didn't notice one of those guys last night due to BC's stringent defense. After blowing a two goal lead in the first meeting, you knew BC was itching to get that third goal before the end of the period and they did just that when Adam Gilmour beat a pair of defenders and notched his 7th goal of the season. I have been impressed with Gilmour's game ever since he was moved up to the Cangelosi line- he looks more confident with the puck and is generating chances, which is huge for BC. After the third tally, Notre Dame began to press and that resulted in a long 5 on 3 for BC, an opportunity which they were able to take advantage of when Zach Sanford banged home a beautiful pass from Alex Tuch, putting the game out of reach. Given the amount of chances they had, I thought BC's power play was okay, but it needs to be better on Monday night because Harvard can put the puck in the net as well as any team in the country. In one of the strangest TV moments I have ever witnessed, Colin White was awarded a penalty shot as the period expired (his fourth of the year) but the NBC crew refused to show it and those who were watching did not realize they had called it until the period was over. White missed and the Eagles headed to locker room with a 4-0 advantage.

Nothing of much importance to note in the third period except for the fact that BC took a couple of stupid penalties. Coach York did not appear happy when Tuch was called for interference on the other end of the ice and how can you blame him? If they take those type of penalties against the Crimson, they are going to have a tough time. Outside of that, it was as close to a perfect game as it gets. Obviously, White, Cangelosi, Wood, and Gilmour played well but in terms of guys that you might not find on the scoresheet, I thought Scott Savage played one of his best games of the season-he was the only BC defenseman at +2 for the evening. When the Eagles are playing at that pace and defending well, they are a very tough team to beat. I don't know if Notre Dame forgot to show up or if they were caught off guard by BC's speed, but whatever it was, they were not ready to skate with the maroon and gold.

Great win- onto Monday.

Why BC Won- 

1. Total domination. It was a lot like last Friday night, just against a better team. All aspects of BC's game were clicking.

2. Tough defense. The Eagles didn't give the Irish anything for much of the second half of that game.

3. Forward depth on display. They played three lines for much of the contest and each one had great nights.

Negatives- 

I got nothing.

Notes- Calnan was out with a lower body injury- he should be okay for Monday as he skated for much of the week. White seemed to aggravate his hamstring in the first period but played the rest of the game.

Player of the game- Colin White

Next- Beanpot on Monday, 5 PM.

Go Eagles






Friday, January 29, 2016

Notre Dame Preview


No program has had BC's number over the past few years more so than Notre Dame, who the Eagles will face-off against tonight in South Bend. Dating back to 2013-14, the Irish have won of 5 of 7 meetings versus Boston College, including a stunning 4-3 come from behind victory on December 10th in Chestnut Hill. Tonight's game will be a bit more intense as the teams are right next to each other in the pairwise and Hockey East standings.

Jeff Jackson's squad is the hottest in college hockey, riding a 12 game unbeaten streak dating back to a November 27th loss at home to Harvard. After the departures of Vince Hinostroza and Robbie Russo, among others, many figured ND would take a step back but they have done anything but that. Sophomores Anders Bjork and Jake Evans are leading the team in scoring but ND has talent spread all throughout their roster. That being said, the Irish are very experienced up front with four of their top nine guys being seniors. For comparison's sake, Boston College's only senior forward will be Teddy Doherty. Unlike past years when they had guys like Tynan and Lee, the Irish don't have one go to forward, they just have a lot of solid ones. They're right there with BC and Providence in terms of forward depth and although they lost their top blue liner from a season ago (Russo), Notre Dame has gotten tremendous production out of their young back end. Freshman Bobby Nardella and sophomore Jordan Gross are two of the top scoring defenseman in the league while also thriving under Jackson's system. In net, look for Cal Peterson, a Buffalo draft pick, to get the start. The sophomore out of Waterloo, Iowa has recorded a .927 save percentage and 2.15 goals against average so far this season.

I don't think it would a stretch to say this is BC's biggest game of the season. Forget about the Beanpot right now. If the Eagles win this game, they're not only giving themselves a tremendous chance at a #1 seed in the NCAAs, they will have completed the toughest part of their league schedule with 8 of possible 12 points versus BU, ND, and PC.  We know how good BC can be when everyone is on the same page but the problem hasn't been a lack of chemistry due to poor play, it's been the constant juggling of lines due to absences. The Eagles have lost just one game (RPI) with their full compliment of players available. I know you are all wondering about Santini and Casey Fitzgerald but I don't have an update so we will just have to wait and see what they come up with tomorrow night. Injuries aside, this is going to be a fantastic game between a pair of teams that have developed a fierce rivalry over the past few years. Every time you play ND, you have to be aware of their defensive trap and tendency to dump the puck in and hang five guys in the neutral zone. In the third period of that game in December, we saw them implement an aggressive forecheck that led to mistakes from BC and an eventual ND victory. Perhaps the Irish will stick with the same strategy. I thought BC did a much better job of avoiding the penalty box last weekend, particularly against UConn, but, they still gave up a game tying power play goal late in the third period. Even though they are not always known for their offensive prowess, Notre Dame has the 9th ranked power play in college hockey, led by the duo of Lucia and Thomas DiPauli. BC isn't going to win important games like this by spending the entire game in the box or allowing opponents back into contests with multiple power plays. It has been an issue the staff has addressed all year long and if they want to have success over these next few weeks, they need to stay out of the penalty box.

Scouting Notre Dame- 

Record- 14-4-7 (7th in pairwise)

Leading scorers- Anders Bjork (10-16-26), Jake Evans (5-20-25), Thomas DiPauli (9-14-23)

Team offense- 3.52 goals scored per game (11th)

Team defense- 2.28 goals allowed per game (15th)

Power play- 24% (9th)

Penalty kill- 83.7% (24th)

Shots on goal per game- 32.68 (15th)

Keys for the Eagles- 

1. If they have a third period lead, they have to finish the job. This has become a lingering problem as UConn was able to come back on Saturday night in Chestnut Hill. I know everybody remembers what happened in the third period the last time BC and ND played.

2. Change things up a bit in terms of speed. In December, BC was missing three key players-Wood, Tuch, and Calnan. If they have a mostly full lineup, especially up front, they can play at a much faster pace.

3. Coverage in front of Demko. Two of UConn's three goals were the result of poor net front coverage by BC.

Notes- Game is not on TV but ND has an online stream.

Go Eagles






Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another Three Point Weekend


It was a frustrating night of hockey for the Boston College Eagles as they tied 7th place Connecticut just 24 hours after blowing out UMass to give Coach York his 1,000th win. Not to anyone's surprise, Cav had his guys ready to play from the get go. I thought UConn played a tremendous hockey game, throughout the entire 60 minutes. They were fast, physical, and defended well in their own end versus the high powered Eagle offense.

UConn controlled the first fifteen minutes of the game and finally broke through when Jesse Schwartz fired home a redirected Derek Pratt point shot. For whatever reason, BC just forgot about Schwartz who was camped out in front of Thatcher Demko and once the puck came to him, he was able to roof one top shelf. Perhaps the best part of the night for BC was how well the fourth line played as Travis Jeke notched his second goal of the season to even the score late in the opening stanza. With Steve Santini going down to injury (we'll get to that), the staff had to rearrange the lines and the bottom trio did not get much time in the third period but I thought they played hard all weekend.

If there was one Eagle who stood out tonight, it was Alex Tuch. I would go so far as to say it was his best game in a BC uniform- he absolutely dominated every shift he was out there. Make that two nights in a row where he has bombed one home from just inside the circle, a play BC fans have become familiar with over these past two seasons. The only problem for Tuch was that he and Zach Sanford could never get accustomed to having one linemate because once Doherty went back to the blue line, the staff had to rotate both of those into the fourth line and it became somewhat of a mess. Needless to say, they can't afford to lose Santini and Casey Fitzgerald against Notre Dame and Harvard.

BC had a chance to take a two goal lead after Colin White tipped home a puck in front of the net during a delayed penalty on UConn but they were unable to capitalize on the ensuing power play. Unlike earlier in the year when BC wasn't getting any looks on the man advantage, I thought they moved the puck around well and tested sophomore goalie Tanner Creel but weren't able to get out to that all important two goal advantage. With it being a one goal game heading into the third period, you knew Cav and company were going to find a way to come out with a point or two and honestly, they played well enough to get the victory. With just over 9 minutes to play, Austin Cangelosi took a tripping penalty behind the BC net and the Huskies capitalized when Max Letunov banged home a Tage Thompson pass, which would end up being the game's final tally. BC did a better job of staying out of the box and avoiding dumb penalties and this wasn't one of those unnecessary infractions away from the puck so all you can do is tip your cap to UConn.

The Eagles controlled the overtime period, headlined by a prime scoring chance from Ryan Fitzgerald, but Creel stood tall and the Huskies came away with a huge road point.

Overall, I don't think anyone can be "upset" at the result given how well UConn played and the fact that both teams were without some of their best players. When fully healthy, BC is one of, if not the best, team in the country but when they're missing two top guys like Santini and Fitzgerald, every night is going be a grind. I didn't see what happened to Santini but I saw them looking somewhere around his neck and shoulder on the bench. Coach York said the junior out of Mahopac, New York would be evaluated today. Outside of Tuch and Sanford, I didn't think many guys played at the top of their games but with all the mixing and matching of lines, that is to be expected. They have their two biggest games of the season coming up, staring next Friday night @ Notre Dame so hopefully they can get healthy.

Positives- 

1. Alex Tuch was a monster. Totally different player from earlier in the season.

2. I like the way BC fought through the injuries. They could have packed it in and said it was UConn's night but instead they came away with a point and moved up a spot (7th) in the pairwise.

Negatives- 

1. There were too many players who looked off. It wasn't a "letdown" but not all the pieces were there and they won't be able to beat Notre Dame if they can't get everyone on the same page.

Note- No update on Santini yet.

Go Eagles






Saturday, January 23, 2016

Staff Picks Up Canadian Forward

The staff received a commitment from St. Andrews College (Canada) forward Mitch Martan who has recorded 28 points in 28 games played for coach David Manning's squad. Martan shined at a couple of tournaments over the past few months. The first was in August when he recorded 5 goals in the Road to College showcase and just a few weeks ago, he was one of the top forwards at the St. Sebastian's Christmas tournament.

Over the Boards said of Martan- "Great balance, good speed, vision and awareness. Calm with the puck and competes hard." The Eagles currently have six forwards lined up in the class of 2017 and I think that will number will increase over the next couple of years because they will lose a large amount of guys on the current roster.

Congrats to Mitch on the commitment. Go Eagles.


The Greatest

Photo from BC Athletics

As the clock struck 0:00 in last night's game versus UMass, every BC player skated towards Coach York and congratulated him on 1,000 wins, one of the most incredible feats anyone can accomplish in college sports. However, as the handshakes and congratulations kept coming, the Head Coach's reaction was no different than any other victory, just a couple pats on the backs of a few players and words of wisdom for the opponent in the handshake line. There was no two minute ceremony after the game, no formal announcement. Teddy Doherty presented the BC bench boss with a game puck and then it was off to the bus and time to focus on UConn.

I just want to congratulate Coach York and his family on this incredible accomplishment. There are a lot of good ones out there- Nick Saban, Pat Summitt, and Coach K to name a few- but in my mind, this guy is the best to ever do it. Not only does he win more than anybody else, he has built BC Hockey into a national powerhouse by doing things the right way. We are truly blessed to have this guy heading our hockey program and more importantly, as an ambassador for Boston College.

As for the game, you couldn't ask for a more complete effort from the maroon and gold. The first period was similar to the one versus UConn a couple months back. The Eagles just pounced on the Minutemen from the get-go, forcing turnovers, not allowing any quality chances, and capitalizing on nearly every golden opportunity the home team gave them. Amazingly, in the 8-0 victory, there were eight different goal scorers and not one player had more than two points. The most notable name on the points list was Michael Kim, who played his best game of the season and recorded his first two assists in a BC uniform. I am amazed at how well Kim has played despite being thrown into the middle of the fire. He is a bit undersized but he compensates for it with his speed and skill. His decision making has improved over time and I think we will see him get even more playing time as the season progresses. Ian McCoshen and Steve Santini continued to carry the load on the back end as McCoshen recorded a goal and a helper, giving him seven points in the past three games. The Sheriff was +5 on the night, highest of any BC player. Again, they don't keep track of these things but with Casey Fitzgerald out (precautionary upper body), it seemed as if one of those two was out there every shift. Josh Couturier also logged a solid night, going +3 and adding an assist. 

I'm not sure if I would be a proponent of BC implementing olympic ice but it sure makes their penalty kill look good. Coach Ayers' unit went 4 for 4 on the night and added two shorthanded goals, thanks to terrific plays from Miles Wood and Austin Cangelosi. UMass tried to make some fancy plays at the top of the zone and you just can't do that against these guys because once they get possession, there is no way you will be able to catch up. Just seconds after Cangelosi's tally, Wood once again came in shorthanded looking for his second of the night, only to bang one off the post. It could have been three goals on the man down which might have been some type of record. 

On the offensive side of things, I thought the fourth line played well. One of the positive side effects of moving Doherty up to forward is that Calnan makes the bottom line a formidable unit. He, Chirs Brown, and Travis Jeke were all over the ice last night and it might have been the first game all year where they completely dominated time of possession. It was nice to see those guys rewarded with a goal in the first period because they work as any trio on the team. BC's best line was Doherty-Sanford-Tuch, which combined for five points. I continue to think that Sanford is one of the top players in the country, let alone this team, but Alex Tuch's progression from October to January has been nothing short of remarkable. As I said last week, I think the World Jr snub has a lot to do with it because he just looks a little bit more "angry" and is attacking the puck all over the ice. His goal in the first period was off of a shot that might have broken the glass it was so hard. Not to be overlooked, the captain had a goal and a helper of his own. In reality, there wasn't much of a difference in the amount of scoring chances created by the top line and the fourth line, which is something you like to see because the more help they can get from the Brown unit, the more dangerous BC will be. 

Thatcher Demko was his usual, standout self. BC's defense did not allow UMass to generate much offense, especially on the power play where the Minutemen recorded just 4 shots and zero goals on four chances. On the other hand, BC posted four shots and two goals on those very same UMass power plays. 

In the end, this night was all about saluting the greatest college hockey coach of all time.  I have to say, I was disappointed that UMass did not take a minute to congratulate Coach on his record breaking feat. If an opposing coach had reached some type of hallmark at Kelley Rink, Coach York would go out of his way to make sure that coach was recognized. I try not to comment on opposing teams but that was the worst performance I have ever seen out of a Hockey East opponent versus the Eagles. I can understand why they wouldn't want to be on the ice versus the maroon and gold, I mean, BC is loaded, but at least look like you give a crap. There are UMass fans that drove two hours to watch that team play and Micheletto allows that type of effort? The way they play is borderline barbaric and it is clear that the players want nothing to do with the coaching staff. Can you honestly believe they hired that guy over Mike Cavanaugh? It blows my mind.

Speaking of Cav, the longtime BC assistant will bring his Huskies to Chestnut Hill tonight. 

Why BC won- 

1. Total domination. Every aspect of the game was controlled by the visitors- it could have been 15-0 if not for a few saves and posts in the third period. 

2. Penalty kill looked like a power play. BC now has eight shorthanded goals this season, which ranks second in the country behind Penn State. 

3. All four lines were clicking. Eight different goal scorers for the Eagles. 

Negatives- 

1. UMass' effort. Total no show. 

Notes- Casey Fitzgerald suffered an upper body injury last weekend vs BU but he could return tonight (probably not). It is not a long term problem. Adam Gilmour did not play in the third period but I think he is okay. 

Alumni Game note- 11:30 today at Kelley Rink.

Player of the game- Coach York 

Congrats to Coach York. Go Eagles!