Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Photo from Hartford Courant
About five minutes before last night's game began, the scoreboard operators at the XL Center thought it would be a good idea to show the highlights from UConn's dramatic win over BC last season. Just as the run through of former Eagle Evan Richardson's power play goal came onto the screen (the only goal scored in that game), Coach York and company hit the ice. As the players made their way to the goal line for intros and the staff glided over to the bench, they could not help but look at the tape from perhaps the most devastating regular season loss in recent memory. The play by play of the last ten seconds engulfed the entire rink and fans began to cheer. If all went according to plan, it would be another magical night for the Huskies and their fans.


Thanks to goals from Austin Cangelosi, Colin White, Josh Couturier, Miles Wood, and Matty Gaudreau, the Boston College Eagles won their tenth straight game and at 11-1, are off to the best start ever under Coach York. I can't remember a time like the first period in which BC looked so much better than an opponent. In fact, I'm not sure UConn registered a shot within the first ten minutes, they certainly didn't get any qualities looks. Even though Cav has always been a proponent of playing an uptempo style of hockey, I figured he would have the Huskies playing conservatively because nobody can beat BC in a track meet. For whatever reason, UConn kept trying to make fancy passes through the neutral and offensive zones which resulted in almost a dozen odd man rushes for the maroon and gold. Austin Cangelosi, who played his best game of the year, got the Eagles on the board after digging for a loose puck in front of the UConn goal. There were no highlights and I did not get a good look at the play from where I was sitting but the refs did not blow the whistle which allowed BC to hammer away at the puck and eventually, it crossed the goal line. Under a minute later, UConn was breaking into BC's end but another turnover at the blue line resulted in a three on one for the maroon and gold. None other than Colin White, who continues to scorch the rest of the country with three points on the night, fired home a Ryan Fitzgerald pass to make it 2-0. BC continued to dictate the play when Josh Couturier recorded his first goal which was followed by a bullet from Miles Wood that almost took Rob Nichols' head off. I'm not sure how much they talked about last November coming into the matchup, but clearly, BC was ready to play last night. You're not always going to play at your highest levels because the parity in college hockey is so great these days- but, the first twenty minutes last night should serve as a reference point to how good this team can be. They have showcased their abilities to the full extent at some times this season such as last night, the first period vs Denver, and the second period vs UMass, but if they were able to play at that level for sixty minutes, it would be an impressive sight. I'm not sure why UConn came out so flat. With their season beginning to fall apart, I thought they would be ready to play the best team in the country on their home sheet. For whatever reason, that was not the case.

Although the Fighting Cavs were not able to keep up with the Eagles in the first period, they carried the play in the final two. As was the case vs Michigan State, BC began to feel that the game was over (who can blame them) which allowed the Huskies to manufacture grade A chances in front of Thatcher Demko. Fortunately, the BC netminder continued his stellar play and allowed just one goal on thirty shots. The biggest difference between last night and Saturday was that BC didn't unravel by taking loads of penalties. In fact, the Eagles gave their opponents just four power plays. For the first time all season, the staff rolled three lines as neither Peter McMullen nor Travis Jeke saw any ice time. Joey Dudek was out there for three or four shifts once BC's power plays expired. UConn  became a little more physical and started finishing their checks as the game wore on, which left some BC players visibly frustrated. The Huskies were unable to inch any closer in the middle stanza but sophomore forward Spencer Naas found a hole in the BC defense early in the third to make it a three goal game. Just minutes later, UConn had another golden opportunity when a rebound found it's way to one of their forwards who had all day to fire it home, only to be denied by a Demko diving stop. Perhaps Connecticut would have been able to make it a barn burner if BC had taken a large amount of penalties but for the first time all year, they avoided that predicament.

I thought Colin White, Ryan Fitzgerald, Matty Gaudreau, and Miles Wood were BC's best forwards. The two freshmen make all the difference in the world with their speed and playmaking abilities. It takes special players to raise the levels of those around them like Miles Wood and Colin White have. It's not just their offensive capabilities though, it's their defensive awareness and relentless pursuit of the puck that have made an immediate impact. Ryan Fitzgerald continues to be a magician with the puck as he morphing into an elite playmaker while his linemate, Matthew Gaudreau, has been by far and away the biggest surprise thus far. If you told me in August that he would have a seven game point streak going, I would have wondered if you were on drugs.  UConn did not have a lot of time to make decisions with the puck, particularly in the first period. The reason? BC refused to give the opponent any leeway when breaking the puck out of the defensive zone. As for the blue line, solid as usual. Josh Couturier and Scott Savage were both tremendous as they were a combined +5 on the night, highest out of any defensive pairing. Savage's +3 rating was the best on the team. Demko was awesome as always.

Little bit of a different car ride home for blogger compared to last year. Onto RIT.

Why BC won- 

1. Their top two lines were dominant in the first period. Chris Brown filled in admirably for Calnan as there were no steps back for that line while Fitz/White/Gaudreau controlled the play every shift.

2. Demko held down the fort after the first period.

3. They stayed out of the box. UConn had only four power plays.


1. They can play a heck of lot better than they did in the second and third periods. I would not be surprised to see them roll four lines for the majority of the game on Saturday. Once Calnan (or Silk) is back, they will be able to go with four deep.

Player of the game- Cangelosi (White to, but he gets it every game)

Next- RIT on Saturday

Happy Thanksgiving. Go Eagles !

Monday, November 23, 2015

UConn Preview

I've been following BC Hockey for a long time and have experienced a few excruciating losses. The Beanpots pre-2008 were always difficult to swallow, the 2006 Hockey East Championship was painful (the week after wasn't bad though), Colorado College was shocking, and of course the 2006 and 2007 National Championships top them all. Last November's loss at UConn ranks right up there as the most agonizing regular season loss I have ever seen. I don't know what it was. BC played well and dominated the majority of the game but for one reason or another, the Huskies came out on top, winning the inaugural meeting between the two schools.

Fast forward a year and things are drastically different. BC has a pretty good team this season (we're working on understatements in my English class) while the Fighting Cavanaughs are off to a rough start. I know some BC fans despise UConn because of issues surrounding the basketball and football programs but, I don't. Mike Cavanaugh is an awesome guy who gave a lot to this program. Without his hard work, you would not see four of those five banners hanging over Conte Forum. For that, BC fans should be thankful.

Despite all that, hockey is hockey and when the puck drops tomorrow, old friendships will be put aside. You know Cav will have those guys ready to run through a brick wall in front of what is sure to be a packed crowd. On the other end of the spectrum, Coach York probably has not forgotten the way the Huskies celebrated that victory last season- you would have thought they won the national title. Connecticut enters the contest on a seven game losing streak, highlighted by a stunning upset at the hands of Army two weeks ago. UConn started the season off well, sweeping Alabama-Huntsville on the road before pulling off an upset of Boston University. However, it's been all downhill after that win over the scarlet and white. They have been outscored by a 29-13 margin during this losing streak, which includes an 8-2 drubbing versus Notre Dame. The Huskies are led by former Terrier recruit Max Letunov who was forced to withdraw from BU over the summer due to an issue with his application. The freshman out of Russia has fourteen points this season which is six more than the second guy on this list, fellow freshman Tage Thompson. UConn will be one of the most inexperienced teams BC plays all season as five of their top six leading scorers are underclassmen. They have had a week to prepare for the Eagles after falling to Quinnipiac last Tuesday but as good as the Bobcats are, their team speed is nowhere near the level UConn will face tomorrow night. A year ago, the Huskies, a slick team in their own right, were able to play an uptempo game versus BC and with the Eagles being slow (for BC's standards) UConn was able to generate a lot of chances off the rush. If they try to play that north-south style tomorrow, it won't be pretty. On the defensive side of things, the home team will be without one of it's top defenders- Penguins draft pick Ryan Segalla was suspended one game by Hockey East which means the Huskies will likely be going with two freshmen, three sophomores, and a senior on the backend. BC fans will remember goaltender Rob Nichols who turned in one of the best performances I have ever seen last fall when they beat the Eagles. The junior netminder has posted a .898 save percentage to go along with a 3.17 goals against average thus far.

As for the visitors, they will be without senior Brendan Silk (separated shoulder) and junior Chris Calnan (upper body). The staff will go with the same lineup as Saturday night with the only exception being Peter McMullen taking Chris Brown's spot on the fourth line. Brown will play with Miles Wood and Austin Cangelosi. I think BC's going to be fired up to play tomorrow; nearly every guy in that locker room was there to witness that loss last season and they know it wasn't your typical Hockey East road letdown. UConn tends to play an aggressive style, their defensemen often jump in to try and make plays in the offensive end, and their forwards are, for the most part, small but quick. Another familiar name in their lineup will be Evan Richardson who played his freshman year at the Heights before transferring to Connecticut. I bet this sounds repetitive because I say it every week but the key for this Eagle squad continues to be staying out of the box. They remain the national leader in penalty minutes and gave UNH ample opportunities to tie the game on Saturday due to their inability to avoid dumb infractions. I love the physical brand of hockey they bring to the table each night. I don't think anybody would refute that their style of play is at a higher level than perhaps we've ever seen it. But, in saying that, they keep giving their opponents chances to win hockey games by spending twenty five minutes in the box per game. It doesn't hurt much when you have a terrific penalty kill but let's face it, Calnan was arguably their top killer and now, for the time being, he's not there. I think Brown is perfectly capable of taking that spot but if they give the Fighting Cavs the same amount of chances they gave UNH, the Huskies could certainly take advantage.

Scouting UConn- 

Record- 3-9-0 (52nd in pairwise)

Top scorers- Max Letunov (6-8-14), Tage Thompson (4-4-8), Joe Masonius (3-4-7)

Team offense- 2.50 goals scored per game (38th)

Team defense- 3.68 goals allowed per game (52nd)

Power play- 17.6% (34th)

Penalty kill- 77.6% (47th)

Shots on goal per game- 26.50 shots per game (53rd)

Keys for BC

1. Stay out of the box. They will not win if they continue to take penalties at this rate. Doesn't matter how good you are, you can't kill penalties all day.

2. Score the first goal. Boston College is 9-0 when scoring before opponents. The crowd is going to be rowdy tomorrow night. Hopefully, BC is ready to go early on.

Notes- Calnan and Silk are out.

Go Eagles

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nine In a Row

Teddy Doherty had two goals for BC
In front of a packed crowd of 6,269 at the Whittemore Center, Boston College picked up its ninth consecutive victory, defeating New Hampshire 6-3. The Eagles had tallies from Ryan Fitzgerald, Teddy Doherty (x2), Matt Gaudreau, Adam Gilmour, and Miles Wood. I've said it over and over again but I love the way this team competes. That was not a 6-3 game, it was a battle right up until Gilmour tipped home a Casey Fitzgerald slap shot with under five minutes left to make a three goal game. Give UNH a lot of credit because, despite their rough season thus far, they played a tremendous hockey game. They were fast, physical, and forced BC to take an astonishing fourteen penalties. The trips to the box are a huge problem for BC as they continue to put themselves at risk of losing because of unnecessary infractions. They're going to play a lot of good hockey teams in March and April and if they keep going to the box, they won't be able to win those games.

I thought the first two periods were very even, evident by the 18-18 stalemate in shots. BC's penalty kill continued to light the world on fire as Ryan Fitzgerald rifled one over the shoulder of Daniel Tirone just 6:23 into the game, giving BC a 1-0 lead. The outlet pass from Colin White created the  play but it's astonishing how aggressive the Eagles are, even when a man down. Instead of changing once White got possession of the puck, Fitzgerald had the presence of mind to bolt across the neutral zone and try to make something out of nothing. Heck of a play. The Eagles continued to apply pressure on the UNH net but they were not able to take the two goal advantage. Late in the period, Zach Sanford was called for goaltender interference and the Wildcats capitalized, scoring the first "bad" goal Demko has given up all season. It was an odd angle shot which BC probably should have blocked (something they didn't do a good job of last night) but it wasn't the goal that was tough to swallow, it was the call. I try to avoid negative commentary about the officiating but that call against Sanford was one of the worst I have ever seen. He made a power move to the net and made barely made contact with Tirone, how is that goaltender interference?

The pace of play reached an even higher level in the middle stanza. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Chris Calnan was caught in the middle of a scrum and after being shoved to the ground, appeared to have separated his shoulder. He will miss an extended amount of time but hopefully they can get him back towards the end of January when the schedule gets tough. BC was handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when UNH took a pair on penalties within forty five seconds of each other. Although they moved the puck around beautifully, the maroon and gold were unable to find any twine, resulting in a momentum swing towards the home squad. I don't think UNH cleared the puck out of the BC end and the Eagles certainly had four or five high quality chances but the puck just would not go in. An Ian McCoshen hooking penalty negated the remainder of the power play. A minute after killing off McCoshen's minor, the Eagles were handed another power play and this time they came through as Teddy Doherty potted his fifth of the year with the helpers going to Tuch and Sanford. This was the second straight game in which the Tuch-Sanford-Gilmour line was a force on the ice, they created some terrific grade A chances and maintained possession for the majority of their ice time. There was one mishap in the third which led to a UNH goal but other than that, I liked the way they played. After Doherty's goal, BC started to take control of the game on both ends. Their defensive prowess began to show as UNH did not generate many five on five chances.

Do you remember what happened two years ago when BC played at UMass? The Eagles held a lead midway through the third period when the Minutemen appeared to tie the game. They reviewed the play but since there was no goalie interference or high stick, everyone figured they would call it a goal. It was offsides. No goal. John Micheletto, the UMass coach, looked as if he was going to kill somebody after the game. History almost came back to haunt BC as Matty Gaudreau tapped home a Colin White shot but UNH immediately called for a review. This time around, we all knew what they were reviewing. After a lengthy review, it was called a good goal. Those watching on TV thought it was certainly off but the bad camera angle most likely played into the ref's decision to uphold the call. That makes up for the Sanford penalty. Everything appeared to be fine until UNH capitalized on a BC offensive zone turnover and made it a one goal game with ten minutes to go. I thought BC's forwards could have done a better job of backchecking but they were in the midst of a long shift and probably didn't have enough left in the tank. The two defenseman did a good job of playing their assignments but when it's a 3 on 2, you need the first forward back to pick up that trailer and for whatever reason, it didn't happen. Given the way the Sanford line played, it's not all that big of a deal. The outcome was still up in air until Miles Wood made a sensational play, stopping midway through a rush in the offensive zone and firing a pass to a wide open Teddy Doherty who sent UNH fans to the exits with just over five minutes to go. Just a minute after that, Adam Gilmour tipped home a Casey Fitzgerald bomb to put a bow on the contest. Both teams would add late tallies to make the final 6-3.

I love the way this team battles. They lose one of their top nine forwards, they're on the road, and seemingly can't stay out of the penalty box; yet, they continue to score clutch goals, kill off crucial power plays, and most importantly, they have a goaltender who makes up for any glaring mistakes. I think Thatcher would like to have that first one back but other than that, he was very good. He made some unbelievable saves on a UNH power play in the second period when BC could not clear the puck and also late in the game when the Cats were buzzing. I thought Casey Fitzgerald and Steve Santini were terrific as the former is clearly comfortable with taking the puck up the ice and creating offense while the latter had a terrific bounce back game with three assists and a +3 rating. Ian McCoshen and Ryan Fitzgerald were the only other Eagles to be +3. In terms of forwards, it was the usual cast of characters. White and Fitzgerald led the way, Matty Gaudreau extended his point streak to six games (!!), Tuch continues to improve, and Wood was a force in the second and third periods. The Calnan injury is a bit of blow, especially considering that it was due to a post-whistle skirmish. Look for Chris Brown to take his spot on the third line while either Chris Shero or Peter McMullen fill Brown's void on the fourth line.

The Eagles will head to UConn on Tuesday night. We all know what happened there last season. Let's hope for some revenge on the Fighting Cavanaughs.

Why BC Won- 

1. Great all around play from the blue line. Doherty was the player of the game but Fitzgerald, Santini, and McCoshen were also tremendous. The Savage and Couturier pairing continues to become more reliable as the season progresses.

2. White, Fitzgerald, and Gaudreau are looking like the best line in Hockey East. White is probably the best player in the league but Fitzgerald is giving him a run for his money. Oh, and Matty G is on a roll.

3. Special teams were great. Both the power play and penalty kill are leaps and bounds better than they were last season.


1. They take so many penalties. Sure, there were some bad calls (Sanford) but for the most part, BC takes the most unnecessary penalties imaginable. If they stay out of the box, they'll blow everybody out of the water.

Player of the game- Teddy Doherty

Next- @ UConn on Tuesday. In case you needed a reminder- LINK 

Great win for Michigan yesterday as well!

Go Eagles.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

UNH Preview

Tonight will mark the 146th time Boston College and New Hampshire meet on the ice, with the Eagles leading the all time series 68-63-14. BC is 10-1-1 in the last twelve matchups. After years of not being able to win anything at UNH, Boston College is 8-1-1 in the past ten meetings on Lake Whitt.

UNH is off to an up and down start, going 3-4-3 in their first eight games. They blew a late lead last night at home vs UMass, a team they allowed to comeback from a 6-1 deficit just over a month ago. UNH lost a good amount of scoring from last season as seniors Gryason Downing, Matt Willows, and Casey Thrush all graduated. On top of that, junior defenseman Brett Pesce signed with Carolina last spring and sophomore forward Warren Foegele signed with Kingston (OHL) just two days after Bracco left BC. While they may be struggling to defend, an issue that could be exposed against the high powered Eagles, UNH boast the top two scorers in the league, Tyler Kelleher and Andrew Poturalski. The dynamic duo has combined for thirty eight points thus far while the next guy on the list has just eight points. The defensive side of things is where Dick Umile's squad has had the majority of it's problems. They're a young group on the backend with just one senior and three underclassmen who are surely to have never faced the type of speed they will see come seven o'clock. Their best defenseman is junior Matias Cleland who will give BC fits with his skating ability and tendency to rush the puck up the ice. On the big sheet, decision making from defenseman becomes critical because odd man rushes are more common with the increase in turnovers. Throughout the season, Umile has placed Kelleher and Poturalski on the same line which doesn't do much in terms of overall depth but they do carry a pair of NHL draft picks in Shane Eiserman (Ottawa) and Marcus Vella (San Jose) on their third and fourth lines. In net, expect to see sophomore Daniel Tirone who has a .876 save percentage and 3.88 goals against average to begin the season.

The #2 Eagles are fresh off a five game home stand in which they outscored their opponents by a 22-7 margin. We all know how well they have been playing as of late but there were certainly some glaring issue in the final two periods of that Michigan State game, a squad that swept UNH two weeks ago. In August, we talked about how there are only two ways this team is going to lose a hockey game- taking dumb penalties and turning pucks over. For a good chunk of that MSU game, they played sound defensive hockey but then gift-wrapped a couple of goals that allowed Sparty back into it. They can't turn pucks over tonight, especially when Kelleher and Poturalski are on the ice. It will be difficult for the staff to get the matchups they want vs that line because they don't have last change but I expect McCoshen and Fitzgerald to be out there as much as possible versus those two playmakers. They could pit Santini and Doherty vs them but that pairing struggled a bit versus MSU so I'm not sure if they will continue to see minutes vs opponents' top line. This will be BC's third game on an olympic surface (Colorado College twice) so hopefully they can make the proper adjustments. In theory, the wider sheet should help them because it creates more room to skate and make plays. When you're fast, such as BC is, you can use that to your advantage.

This should be a fun matchup to watch because both teams play at a high pace and create lots of offense. It will be a reunion of sorts for Coach Ayers as he returns to the school he led to the Frozen Four in 2002 and 2003. I don't anticipate any lineup changes. Ryan Fitzgerald and Scott Savage missed some practice time earlier this week but they should be good to go.

Scouting UNH

Record- 3-4-3, 25th in pairwise.

Leading scorers- Tyler Kelleher (5-15-20), Andrew Poturalski (8-10-18), Dan Correale (6-2-8)

Team offense- 3.60 goals scored per game (10th)

Team defense- 3.70 goals allowed per game (T-53rd)

Power play- 24% (T-13th)

Penalty kill- 81% (31st)

Shots on goal per game- 28.22 per game (43rd)

Keys for BC- 

1. Try to shut down UNH's first line. Poturalski and Kelleher will get tons of ice time, especially if it is a close game. BC might not be able to completely shut these two down but if the staff is able to throw McCoshen and Fitzgerald out there along with the Wood line, it should wear them down.

2. Pucks to the net. Tirone has had a rough start to the season with a sub .900 save percentage. Even if they're from bad angles, BC should do everything they can to get pucks on net.

3. Stay out of the box. Guess who has the most penalty minutes per game in the country? Yup.

Go Eagles !

Friday, November 20, 2015

Staff Adds Defenseman for 2016-17

After missing out on top recruit Dante Fabbro, the staff was in need of a fourth defenseman for next year's recruiting class. It appears as if they have found their man. 1995 birthdate Michael Kim out of the Boston Jr Bruins committed to BC this morning. Kim, a Toronto native, has recorded twenty three points in twenty games for BC alum Peter Masters' squad, which is good for ninth among all league players. Masters described his top blue liner as "a gifted skater and smooth two-way defenseman." Kim was Josh Couturier's partner last season.

This is one of those low risk additions but in all honesty, nobody knows what BC's defense will look like a year from now. Doherty is obviously gone, McCoshen will likely sign with Florida, but I think there is a solid chance Santini returns for his senior season. They bring in four guys, all with very different skill sets. Luke McInnis and Connor Moore are a tad undersized but they're both terrific skaters that will help move the puck of the ice. Mike Campoli, perhaps the best player in the incoming class, is a stay at home guy who plays similar to Santini. I have not seen Kim play so I won't pretend I know a lot about him.

UNH preview tomorrow. Go Eagles.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Recruiting Update

As you may have noticed, I have not been able to post much during the week, but that will change as the season goes on. Tonight, we will take a look at how BC's recruits are faring in their respective junior leagues all across the country.

2016 Class-

David Cotton- The 6th round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes has recorded ten points in fourteen games for the Waterloo Blackhakws (USHL). Cotton will certainly compete for a top nine spot when he arrives next fall.

Graham McPhee- The son of former Capitals GM George McPhee has notched five points in sixteen games for the NTDP U18 squad. Most scouts project McPhee to be selected in rounds 4-6 of the NHL Draft.

Luke McInnis- After a solid season at Dexter, McInnis moved out to Youngstown (USHL) where he is paired with fellow recruit Connor Moore. He is off to a solid start this season, potting eight points in fourteen games.

Connor Moore- The top defenseman in prep hockey a year ago, Moore left the Brooks School in order to suit up for Youngstown (USHL). So far, the Cummings, Georgia native has five points in fourteen games.

Michael Campoli- A 6'2 defenseman out of Pointe-Claire, Quebec (same hometown as Mike Matheson) and the NTDP, Campoli is a stay at home blue liner who is not necessarily a major point producer. His style of play is similar to that of Steven Santini. Many pundits believe he will picked in the top three rounds of the NHL draft.

Joseph Woll- The Missouri native has split time in net with BU recruit Jake Oettinger for the NTDP, but is off to a nice start with a 1.90 goals against average and a .914 save percentage through seven games.

Zach Walker- The Boise, Idaho resident and NTDP forward has notched two goals in sixteen games thus far.

2017 class 

Monte Graham- The staff could hold back Graham one more year but the former Thayer Tiger has recorded one goal in fourteen games with the Tri-City Storm (USHL). He's one of the younger players in the league so it will take him some time to develop.

Joseph Cassetti- The 6'2 power forward out of California has posted seven points in fourteen games for the NTDP U17 team. At the U17 World Challenge, held just two weeks ago, Cassetti recorded three points in five games.

Jacob Tortora- Perhaps the next undersized superstar, Tortora, a 5'6 forward for the NTDP U17 team, has ten points in seventeen games this year. He was one of the top scorers for the US at the U17 World Challenge, recording five points in five games.

Logan Hutsko- BC's newest recruit out of North Caldwell, New Jersey is another top scorer for the NTDP U17 squad with eleven points in eighteen games thus far.

Chris Grando- Like Monte Graham, it is still in the air as to when Grando arrives in Chestnut Hill. The Islip, New York native has two points in nine games with the Green Bay Gamblers in 2015.

2018 class

TJ Walsh- After transferring from Shattuck St Marys to Cushing Academy due to injury, Walsh has not yet begun skating. He will be one of the top players in the New England Prep circuit this winter.

Patrick Giles- The towering 6'3 forward (he's only fifteen years old) is off to a fantastic start for the Skipjacks Hockey Club (USPHL U16) with twelve points in eleven games.

Adam Samuelsson- Another big-time recruit, the 6'3 defenseman has seven points in twelve games for the Connecticut Jr Rangers.

2019 class- 

Patrick Moynihan- No stats available since Nobles has not begun their season.

Spencer Knight- I could not find any stats online. That is not uncommon for a 2001 birthdate.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Character Win

Photo from BC Athletics

In one of the most unusual hockey games I've ever witnessed, Boston College extended their winning streak to eight games, defeating Michigan State 6-4. First of all, I thought MSU played outstanding hockey in the final forty minutes. They took it to BC for parts of the second and a large portion of the third. I didn't expect them to forecheck as hard as they did, especially early in the game but their aggressiveness resulted in far too many BC turnovers. As impressive as it was for BC to rebound from MSU's comeback, Sparty's ability to rally from a three goal deficit in under two minutes is not something that happens often in this building. Give their players and staff a lot of credit.

The first period was BC's best twenty minutes of this young season. They absolutely dominated the green and white, outshooting them by a 17-6 margin. After killing off an early penalty, the Eagles were rewarded with a power play of their own, doing everything but scoring on the man advantage. The staff went with two set units- White, Wood, Cangelosi, Savage, and Casey Fitzgerald as the "first" unit and Ryan Fitzgerald, Sanford, Tuch, McCoshen, Doherty as the "second" unit. Despite just one goal (and it was a big one) both lines moved the puck around well on the power play, as I thought they generated multiple grade A chances throughout the night. They tried to set up Savage and McCoshen for one timers and although some pucks got through, MSU did a terrific job of keeping most point shots away from Hildebrand. The fact that Michigan State got out of the first period without surrendering a goal was nothing short of a miracle.

The visitors controlled the middle period, gaining a majority in shots by quite a large margin (16-8). There is only one reason BC was able to escape the frame with a 2-1 lead, Colin White. The Hanover native continues to be on a tear as he recorded two goals to go along with an assist on Fitzgerald's first strike. That is twelve points in the past five games for the Ottawa Senators draft pick. To be honest, there weren't a ton of guys who played their very best tonight, in fact, the only ones who stood out were White, Wood, Tuch, Gilmour, and the Fitzgerald brothers. Speaking of Alex Tuch, outside of his second period penalty (was not a good call), he played his best game of the season, recording a goal and an assist.

After Michigan State tied the game no sooner then thirty seconds after White's first tally, the Eagles were forced to kill of a Joey Dudek hitting after the whistle infraction. As they have done all season, the penalty kill came through, not allowing a goal for the fourth consecutive game. They're 20/20 since Denver's Will Butcher notched a goal on October 30th. Just minutes after Dudek's penalty expired, White came through once again, finishing a highlight reel goal to regain the lead heading into the third. He is currently tied for the league lead in points with fifteen.

The third period had to be one of the most chaotic I've ever seen. Fitzgerald gave the Eagles a two goal cushion just 1:24 in and that was followed by Tuch's breakaway snipe which seemingly put the cherry on top. Not for Michigan State, as Sparty responded with three goals in under two minutes to tie the game 4-4. I can't remember the last time BC's allowed something like that to happen, especially on home ice. After the fourth MSU goal, Coach York called a timeout and the hockey Gods responded with a BC power play opportunity. After dozens of near misses, Miles Wood was able to redirect a Casey Fitzgerald shot, giving BC the lead for good with 1:56 to go. We could talk all day about the freshmen and their contributions to the team but I've only seen one rookie in this league look like he's on such a higher level than everybody on the ice. That guy was the #2 overall pick in this year's NHL draft. I'm not saying Wood or White are as good as Eichel but no one was expecting either of them to come here and be the top two players in Hockey East so early in their careers.

Being one of the youngest teams in college hockey, there are going to be times when BC is going to face adversity. The fact that they can recover from blowing a three goal lead in under two minutes is a testament to their resiliency and Coach York's ability to keep them fired up despite the devastating blow they had just been dealt. As I alluded to earlier, I thought Alex Tuch was a force out there for all sixty minutes. When he's playing at that level, it adds another weapon the already powerful arsenal. Hopefully it continues. Defensively, there were more miscues than what we've been accustomed to seeing. MSU's second goal was a result of BC not putting any pressure at the top of the zone and refusing to block a shot, the third goal was just a bad break as Fitzgerald lost an edge near the BC bench, and the tying goal was the byproduct of BC failing to rotate around the zone and provide coverage in front of the net. You cannot fault Demko for any of the tallies as I thought he played rather well for the majority of the game.

This concludes BC"s five game home stand as they will travel to New Hampshire next Saturday before heading to Connecticut the following Tuesday. A year ago this week, BC was in the middle of a four game losing streak. Ironically, that skid was ended with a 3-2 win at Michigan State. What a difference a year makes.

Why BC Won-

1. White, Fitzgerald, and Wood were tremendous. Ryan Fitz led the way with four points but I thought Colin White, once again, was their best forward. I've never seen a freshman get so much ice time; he plays power play, penalty kill, and in late game situations.

2. Power play performed when it mattered. If they continue to make plays and get pucks to the net like they did last night, they will become on the most potent units in the country.

3. They were able to bounce back after Michigan State tied it. I wonder what Coach York said during that timeout because they came out of it a totally different hockey team.

4. Penalty kill looked absurdly good. They didn't give up many grade A chances on the man down which is a positive sign.


1. There were too many defensive breakdowns. I know Demko is the best goalie in the country but even when it's 4-1 in the third, you can't expect him to stop 2 on 0's and point blank shots from eight feet out. BC has to do a better job of defending.

2. They have to stop taking so many penalties. As of this morning, Boston College is the second most penalized team in the country, averaging 23.20 minutes per game.

Notes- White and Tuch were both shaken up in the third period but they did not miss a shift.

Player of the game- White

Next- @ New Hampshire on 11/21

Go Eagles !