Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Why It's Not Time To Panic

Sunday night Boston College suffered one of the most embarrassing and lopsided losses in a long time as they suffered an 8-1 beat down at the hands of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Let me start off by saying this. That Gopher squad is one of the best college hockey teams I have seen in a long time and I would absolutely shell shocked if they're not in Pittsburgh when it's all said and done. However, I am not going to sit here and say that BC could not beat that team if they were playing at full strength and were at a neutral site. If you look at the past few years, BC has actually had some pretty bad performances over Christmas break. Last year they fell to Michigan, the year before they won the Ledyard Bank Tournament but almost fell to Colgate, and the year before that they got killed by St .Lawrence and the University of Denver. No, I did not think BC was going to beat the Gophers on Sunday night but I definitely thought they would make some sort of a game out of it. They obviously did not and because of it, they head back to Chestnut Hill with lots of question marks but even in defeat, it's not time to panic and make lots of changes. Here's why.

First of all, the Eagles were without the best player in all of college hockey this weekend and it clearly hurt them. Johnny G adds something to this team that cannot go unnoticed and without him, it seemed to effect the play of all four lines, not just the first line. Even with Johnny G, I'm not sure the Eagles could beat that team in Minnesota but I do think they would have a chance at home or at a neutral site. I wouldn't count out seeing that team later on in the year. Secondly, having 5 freshman play against the most potent offense in the country was a complete disaster. As time goes on, I think you will see guys like Jeke and Sullivan improve and become more reliable but right now, they are still adjusting to the college game and if they don't adjust quickly, this team could be in big trouble. The best news is that BC will not have to face another team like that for the rest of the season (unless of course they meet in Pittsburgh). There is no team in Hockey East that can match the offensive talent and skill that the Gophers have but with a complete roster, I'm fairly certain that BC could give them a run for their money. This weekend, BC will take on ECAC foe Yale and will be at home for the first time in a month. To date, Boston College has not lost a home game since early December of last year when they fell to archrival Boston University. BC will not be able to get a victory this weekend if they don't do something about their totally inept penalty kill. Over the past couple of seasons, that unit has been one of, if not the best PK units in the country but over the past few games, it has got increasingly worse. The main reason the Eagles got blown out of the building on Sunday was because they took 8 penalties and were punished big time as the Gophers scored on 4 of those 8 man advantages. Sure, the penalties need to come way down but I must say I'm a bit surprised by how much the PK unit is struggling.

Look, Sunday was not what anyone was hoping for but maybe it will be a good wake up call for a lot of guys on this team. Every game is a big one but Friday is going to show us a lot about this Eagles squad. Baring an upset by  the Czech Republic tomorrow morning, the Eagles will most likely by without Johnny G once again. Yale is a good hockey team but they're no Minnesota and with BC being at home, they should be able to beat them even without their star forward. Hopefully a strong week of practice will lead to what would be a big time victory on Friday night.

Go Eagles.

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