The Kevin Hayes-less Boston College Eagles blew a late lead up in North Andover on Friday night as they fell to the Merrimack Warriors 2-1 in overtime. I'll make this post short so I can get on to my UNH preview later today. I thought BC battled real hard Friday night. They played well in their own end, created some chances here and there, and kept Merrimack from generating anything on the PP for a long period of time. Unfortunately, you can't give your opponent 9 power plays and expect to win the game. Whether the refs were good or bad (and let the record show that it was the worst officiated game of all time) the bottom line is you can't take penalties, especially in OT. For the first 8 Merrimack power plays, BC did a phenomenal job as they kept the MC scoring chances to a bare minimum.
On the offensive end, it was clear that BC missed Kevin Hayes and until he comes back, there could be some real struggles on the scoring end. I thought Destry Straight played one of his stronger games of the year in place of Hayes but the bottom line is he can't fill those shoes. The Hayes, Arnold, Whitney line was probably one of the strongest in the nation. When you lose a guy like Kevin, it just changes everything. He is a magician with the puck. He has some of those attributes that you just can't replace, no matter who you put in there.
Merrimack is a really tough place to win and give them credit, they played the game at their pace and eventually took advantage. Honestly, it's like playing golf and missing their straight putts do to lip-outs. That's what it felt like. BC would create chances and have the puck in the Warrior end for long periods of time but they just couldn't avoid staying out of the box. Actually, a lot of the calls were ones that were totally unnecessary ,such as the final interference call on Pat Mullane in OT. Now, I'm not going to say that BC would have won this game if it wasn't for the refs and all that because that would be taking away from Merrimack's efforts. They played really hard and their goalie made some phenomenal stops, including a handful of breakaway saves on Johnny G.
I'll have my UNH preview later.
Why BC Lost-
1. You can't give your opponent nine power plays. Who cares if they were bad calls or not ? You've got to stay out of the box and limit other teams chances.
2. BC couldn't find a way to get some separation. You just knew Merrimack was going to eventually tie the game. Thanks to some great saves from Marotta, the Eagles could not find a way to make it a two goal contest.
3. They were missing one of the elite play makers in the country. You just can't replace a guy like Kevin Hayes. Hopefully, he gets his act together and comes back ASAP.
I thought BC played extremely hard two nights ago. They battled to the very end and it was clear that the effort was there in both ends. If they can continue to play like that night in and night out, I think they'll keep winning hockey games.
UNH preview up later.