Some hockey games are fought between two evenly matched teams but a lot of times the score won't indicate it. On other occasions, the lesser team may catch the favorite on a bad night and sneak one out. Other nights, there is one team that is clearly more talented, faster, smarter, and just flat out better. That was the case tonight @ the Jack Parker Rink as the #8 Boston College Eagles embarrassed the #19 Boston University Terriers by a 5-1 count in front of a sold out crowd. Going in, I was confident that BC was the more skilled team but no matter how good BC is our how bad BU is, you know the Terriers are always going to bring their best vs the Eagles. Tonight BU was flat out awful. BC wasn't tremendous by any stretch of the imagination. They're just the better team at this point in the season.
We could go through all the X's and O's and we'll dive into a few of them later on but the bottom line is that Johnny G was too nifty for BU. He made some of those defensemen such as Noonan and Grzelcyk look like orange cones out there. The pass he made to Billy Arnold on BC's third goal was just something I don't think any BC player, ever, could have made. Not Gionta, not Gerbe. Only him. He's that good. Last weekend, Northeastern did a great job of taking time and space away from him. If you're going to give "G" space, then you've got to have a lot of quick guys that can catch up with him and be physical. Teams like Minnesota have that. BU certainly does not. They failed greatly in trying to contain Johnny Hockey.
Other than Johnny G, I was very pleased with the way Ryan Fitzgerald, among others, played tonight. He was +1 on the night but played a vital role in some key BC penalty kills. He's got that nice mixture of offensive firepower and defensive intelligence. A lot like Billy Arnold, just a great two way player. I'm not sure many people expected him to have six points in eight games. Not to mention that slick pass he made to Kevin Hayes to put BC on top 4-1. Speaking of Billy Arnold, I thought he played his best game of the year tonight, evident by his +3 rating and three points. You know Hayes and Johnny G are always going to bring it on the offensive end but when Arnold brings his offensive skill set with him along with his already tremendous defensive zone play, it equals a dangerous combination.
It's no coincidence that just days after I write a few paragraphs on the third D pairing of Isaac Macleod and Danny Linell, they go out and play their best games of the season. Both guys were +3 tonight. When BU started to press late in the second period, I thought these two, especially Macleod, were tremendous. Isaac is not a great skater but his extra long stick makes him a big asset on the penalty kill. He must have had three or four really key poke checks that eventually led to momentum killing clears. The key to BC's transition game is the breakout. Nobody did a better job of starting those breakouts than Danny Linell did tonight. He has come a long way this season. Give him credit.
Finally, I thought Thatcher Demko played sensational. Sure, BC's defense was really tight but BU had a ton of power plays, including a full minute of 5 on 3 with three minutes left in the second, down just two goals. Thanks to a couple of blocked shots and one or two big glove saves from Demko, the Eagles were able to maintain their two goal lead going the third.
All in all, it doesn't get any better than humiliating that team and their fake fans @ that rink. BC is now 10-3-1 @ Agganis since 2005 when it was built. This team is starting to play some really good hockey and tonight was another step in the right direction but remember, it's a process. Sunday is another step in that process. Awesome win. See you Sunday.
1. Johnny G was Johnny G. If there is anyone in the country that doesn't think he is the best player in college hockey, they ought to check into a hospital.
2. Penalty kill/Demko came up big when they needed to. If BU scores on that 5 on 3 late in the second, it's a different game. Once BC got out of that, there was no looking back.
3. The Macleod/Linell defensive pairing. They get criticized a lot but they played their best in the biggest game. That's all the staff ask of them.
1. Any time we beat that team @ that rink by that score, there won't be any complaints from blogger. PP was better, still not good.
1. BC moves into first place in Hockey East with the win.
2. Billy Arnold recorded his 100th point as an Eagle tonight. Congrats Billy !
3. Johnny G is good at hockey.
4. BC only allowed 6 shots when the teams were both at even strength
Player of the game- "G"
Go Eagles !!!!!