Going into this season, I think everyone around the BC Hockey program believed that they had a team that could do some serious damage come February, March, and April mainly because there is as much talent on this roster as there was on a couple of BC's National Championship teams. Unfortunately, when you have a young team, you are prone to some really bad letdowns. In it's most basic explanation, the game on Saturday was a letdown of epic proportions. There was not one guy that was ready to play, especially BC's top guns. The first line of Johnny G, Bill Arnold, and Austin Cangelosi was a combined -9 on the night. Not only that, but they gave up a lousy goal just thirty seven seconds into the game. In order for BC to be successful on both ends of the ice, they need these three to be playing at a high level. It starts and ends with your stars and BC's just flat out didn't play like they normally do.
If there is one word to describe BC's defensive effort, it would be "exposed". Maine made BC's defense core look like a bunch of high schoolers out there. Sure, it would have helped if Santini was back there but with the way some others guys performed, I'm not sure Nick Lidstorm would have made a difference. For example, Maine's first two goals were just a result of their forwards outworking BC's two defensemen. The Eagles have to make a better effort to separate body from puck and not let guys get a free pass to the net. It seemed that there were more white shirts in front of Billett than there were maroon shirts for the majority of the night. Ok, maybe having their most physical guy back there on Friday could help just a wee bit.
Thirdly, the staff has got to figure out the power play. Yes, both units have made steps in the right direction as it seems that BC is spending a lot more time in their opponents end but still, there is too much perimeter passing and not enough quality chances. If you have no talent, then blasting bombs from the point may work out once and a while but when you have a couple of magicians up front, they why are you not generating more chances below the dots ? You're not going to win every game, even if you have a potent power play but if you can score clutch goals on the man advantage, you are going to give yourself a chance to win every game in this league. The Eagles didn't do that on Saturday and obviously they got blown out of the water.
Lastly, a handful have emailed me about the goaltending situation and after thinking about it for a little while, I think it would be unfair to simply write off Billett. Sure, he has struggled against good teams but he played well in the games he needed to play well in. The biggest problem he has right now is his rebounding control. Everything seems to be falling out of his glove and it was the sole reason for Maine's fourth (and game clinching) goal. If he can get that sorted out, everything will be fine.
Anyways, let's hope for a big win on Friday to get back on track going into a huge home and home next weekend versus New Hampshire. Expect Demko to be back in net.