Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hot Start Leads Golden Gophers Over Eagles

Photo from Minnesota Athletics

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers took the series finale between them and the Boston College Eagles on Sunday afternoon by way of a 6-1 drubbing of the young Eagles. If you wern't watching and just glanced at the score, you'd immediately think that UM dominated the Eagles in every way. Not the case, actually BC played pretty well for most of the game but they had three or four really bad defensive breakdowns that allowed for some easy Gopher goals. Look, I sat on a plane last December wondering if the Eagles were ever going to recover from that 8-1 drubbing. I leave Minneapolis with a totally different feeling this time around. BC played toe to toe with the best team in college hockey, on a big sheet, in one of the toughest environments in college hockey. Sure, losing 6-1 stinks but as Coach York said after the game, it's about the process of getting better right now, not necessarily the results. We want this team to be in a position to win trophies come February. There is a reason the staff schedules games versus four of the best teams in college hockey right off the bat. Guys gain valuable experience from these types of trips. BC's play in that game does not reflect the effort the team showed today. Last year, there effort wasn't good enough, today the Gophers just executed better than we did. 

The negatives are obvious. First of all, the power play was all over the place. It was not good. At all. I thought Minnesota did a great job of putting sticks in lanes within 5 or 6 feet from the net, an area where BC likes to try those one time passes. Since they clogged it up down low, it gave BC's defensemen a lot of time at the point and they actually got some nice shots through and created some juicy rebounds but Gopher goalie Adam Wilcox was absolutely sensational. It's the best I've seen a goalie play against us in a long time. Another adjustment that Don Lucia and his staff made was being physical with Johnny G. He wasn't a factor out there tonight because every time he had the puck, there was a white shirt ready to hit him off the puck and send it the other way. In order for him to be as good as he is, he needs space. He didn't get any today from the Gophers. I thought it was nice to see Evan Richardson score his first colligate goal as he replaced Chris Calnan on the second line. Not sure what the staff is going to do there but I would bet Calnan plays Friday night vs Northeastern. 

Look, when it's all said and done, thats a heck of a hockey team we just played. They are fast, physical, have a great goalie, and know how to execute on special teams. Right now, they're just a couple notches above the Eagles but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we see those guys again in April. 


1. Power play needs serious work. BC had two chances to cut the Gopher lead in half on the power play but both times they came up with nothing. Sure, Wilcox made some great saves but guys have to find a way to put the puck in the net. 

2. Defensive breakdowns. A couple of them were real bad. Going to be lots of tape watching this week.....


1. BC generated a lot of quality scoring chances. Sometimes you just run into a hot goaltender. That happened tonight. 

2. The BRUTAL schedule gets a bit easier. Next four games- NU (x2), BU, and Army. 

Next Up- Friday vs Northeastern. 8 PM start time. 

Go Eagles. 

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