Last night, the Eagles played well enough to take 2 points away from the Vermont Catamounts but they let one point slip away as the Cats battled for a tie, putting BC's run for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, in jeopardy. To be honest, I thought BC played a good game from start to finish but they continued to take penalties and give up a couple of soft goals that could have been prevented with better defensive zone play. It was a thrilling game as neither team was able to get more than a one goal lead. If I could use one word to describe the contest it would be frustrating. Unlike last Saturday's game vs Providence, BC played well enough to win this game, especially in the offensive end. Johnny G and Steven Whitney played some phenomenal hockey, which is something BC needs if they're going to win anything this postseason. I thought BC's bottom couple of lines were also solid for the most part but it was BC's defense that struggled last night. Most of Vermont's goals were a results of just poor back checking and guys forgetting to puck up their man. I thought BC' PK was solid for the most part but the one power play goal they gave up was just awful. The UVM forward basically skated right in front of Milner without any competition and fired a wrist shot right by him. I'd have to see the replay to be sure but it looked like he just walked right in for the corner boards, something that is a huge no-no on the penalty kill.
BC's power play was probably the brightest spot on the night as they went 2 for 6. Both units seemed to move the puck really well but if there is one complaint, it's probably that guys were taking some shots that they probably shouldn't. There were a couple of instances where guys were just randomly firing pucks from the blue line, most of which were eventually blocked. Anyways, this tie wasn't for a lack of effort from the Eagles. They only played three lines for 85 % of the contest, something that probably caught up to them at some points in the contest. Tonight, Brendan Silk will return after his one game suspension by Hockey East. Like they did last Friday @ PC, I expect that the staff will roll three lines, while mixing things up as the game goes on. One thing that really stood out to me last night was that the staff decided to keep Linell at defense while putting Colin Sullivan up at forward. Sullivan played so obviously he is not hurt but Linell is one of those guys that is explosive when he gets into open ice with his speed. I'm not saying he would be the absolute difference maker in the game but I think he provides some intangibles such as his speed, that some of the other bottom 6 forwards lack. With Silk back tonight, it will be interesting to see if the staff moves Linell back up and Sullivan back to defense.
I say this way to often around this time of year but BC has got to find a way to win tonight. A tie or a loss actually puts them dangerously close to the NCAA tournament bubble and if UNH and BU win, the Eagles will be going on the road to either Agganis, Schneider, or The Whit. Not good. Everyone wants to talk about all these scenarios and stuff but for BC, it's simple. Win this game, and you get home ice next weekend. If we go on to win the regular season title, great. If we don't get it but win tonight, that is perfectly fine with me.