Saturday, March 16, 2013

Eagles Escape With Game One Win

Pat Wey was +3 on the night for BC.
The Boston College Eagles extended their unbeaten streak to three games as they defeated the Vermont Catamounts in the first game of their Hockey East quarterfinal matchup on Friday night by a 4-2 count. It was actually a tale of two different games for the Eagles as they played some really solid hockey for the first 40 minutes but reverted back to some bad habits in the third, only to barely escape with the W. In the opening stanza, I thought Vermont actually held BC at bay for the majority of the period but the Eagles were able to get out of it with a 1-0 lead thanks to a great individual effort from Brooks Dyroff. Last weekend it was Whitney, Johnny G, Arnold, and Mullane leading the way. Tonight, it was BC's secondary group of forwards that were able to lift the team to victory. In the playoffs, getting balanced scoring is absolutely crucial so it was nice to see guys like Dyroff, Spiro, and Brendan Silk contribute on the scoring sheet. The staff  gave the fourth line of Jeke, Silk, and Spiro a lot more playing time than I thought they would but it was well deserved because I thought they played exceptionally well.

The second period was the type of period this team is going to need to be playing on a regular basis if they're going to try and win a couple of trophies this year. I thought BC's best line was Smith-Mullane-Whitney as they seemed to be the ones with the puck inside the Vermont zone for the most amount of time. Even though they didn't score, all three of them had a couple of great chances, only to be denied by Brody Hoffmann. Earlier this week, Coach York noted how this team is as healthy as it has been all year and to be honest, it was evident last night. Guys who were banged up (Whitney, Matheson, and a handful of others) looked much better than they did last week. Before Spiro's goal made it 3-0, Mike Matheson pounded a slap shot home on the power play, giving the Eagles that all so important two goal cushion. Besides a minute and a half portion of the period in which Vermont held the puck in BC's end, I thought the Eagles played some fantastic hockey for the majority of the second period, the type of hockey they're going to need play from here on out.

The third period, to put it simply, was not good. I mean, if Vermont had a couple of minutes left on the clock, they probably would have either tied or won the game. I'm sure the biggest thing the staff told the players before hitting the ice for the third was don't take any penalties. Lucky, UVM didn't score thanks to some unbelievable penalty killing by Billy Arnold, Quinn Smith, and Isaac Macleod on a long 5 on 3 for the Catamounts. Unfortunately, Steven Whitney and Mike Matheson combined for 6 penalty minutes in the third period, so basically BC was down not only their best Penalty killers but two of the most explosive players in the country in a close game in the third period of the playoffs. That cannot happen. Those guys are great players and what they have done this year is special but under no circumstances should they be in the box during the third period of a close playoff game.

All in all, starting the playoffs out with a win is great and it's good to see that this team can still dig deep during the latter parts of close game. I thought a lot of guys played well last night but there were also some mistakes, turnovers, and penalties that almost cost this team in the end. The key tonight is just keep those three things I mentioned above down to a minimum and if they can do that, I think we will be at the Garden next weekend.

Why BC Won-

1. Secondary scoring. It wasn't just the goals from Spiro and Dyroff, it was the way a lot of guys  on the bottom two lines played last night. I mean, in the final minute of a one goal game, the staff had Pat Brown out there, shows how far he has come this season. Certainly well deserved.

2. Great penalty killing. A couple of weeks ago, BC's penalty kill was as bad as it has been all year but now, they're killing off everything. I thought BC did a great job of getting in front of shots and clearing the puck when they need to last night.


The third period was not good. Periods like those are not going to win you Hockey East or National Championships.

Player of the game- This is really tough. I'm going to go with Pat Wey as he was the only guy with a +3 rating last night.

Go Eagles.

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