Friday, December 27, 2013

Eagles Advance To Three Rivers Classic Final

G scores BC's first goal. Photo from Dave Arnold. 
Thanks to seven combined points from the big line of Johnny G, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold, the Eagles advanced to the Three Rivers Classic championship by way of a 5-0 victory over the team Coach York led to the 1984 National Championship, Bowling Green. Considering the fact it was BC's first game in over two weeks, guys had to fly in from all over the continent to get here, and we were missing two of our best defensemen, I thought BC played real well. The first line was obviously spectacular. I'm sitting in the elevator going back up to press box after Coach York's post game presser and two guys next to me were comparing Hayes and G to Malkin and Crosby. Let's not get carried away here but still, both of them, along with Billy Arnold, were really good. That line has now consisted of 40 % of BC's goals, 38 % of assist, and 38 % of points. Yup, they're pretty good.

With the exception of perhaps Ian McCoshen, none of BC's defensemen have been that involved in the offense so far this season. That changed in a big way tonight as Travis Jeke scored his first goal of the season (in his first game, in his hometown), Teddy Doherty scored his second goal in three games, and Scotty Savage recorded his third goal of the season. That ties him with McCoshen for the team lead amongst defensemen. Defensively, Coach York was extremely pleased with the way Isaac Macleod played in his own end as he was +2 for the game, making him +5 over the course of the last three games. If BC is going to continue to win games, they need Mike Matheson to contribute to the offense. He is probably the best skating defenseman we've had around here in a long time and the move he made on the Bowling Green defenseman in the third period shows just how much potential he really has. The one downside about today was he took another penalty, catapulting him into second on the team with 29 penalty minutes on the season.

Perhaps the biggest bright spot tonight was the penalty kill. They killed off all three Bowling Green power plays, making the season total for the year 74/82 (90%). The Eagles have killed off twenty straight penalties. The last power play goal a team scored vs BC was Harvard's lone tally on November 20th, a 5-1 BC win. It was a bit of a work in progress at the start of the season but I think the guys are beginning to pick up on Coach Ayers' system. It's a bit different from the one Coach Cav had when he was here but right now, we're seeing the same results.

All in all, extremely pleased with the victory. Say what you want about the tournament and the field but tomorrow night is a chance to win a trophy. It's our first "major" of the year. Probably not the Masters (that's the National Championship) but certainly a British Open or Players Championship (I know, it's not technically a major). We shall see how this young team performs under the pressure of winning a tournament championship tomorrow night versus either Robert Morris or Penn State.

Why BC Won- 

1. First line. I mean, we had a couple Penguins media guys comparing Hayes and G to Malkin and Crosby. What else do you want me to say ?

2. Penalty Kill. Really solid. I think BC blocked something like 15 shots tonight including 7 in the first period. Billett also made some timely saves when the Falcons were pushing in the second.

3. Defensemen stepped up and played a big role in the offense. In order to win a National Championship, you need defensemen that are not afraid to step up and make plays in the offensive end. BC needs guys like Matheson and Doherty to continue to score.


1. Thought the power play moved it around really well on both opportunities, especially the first one where the puck was in the BGSU end the whole time. Only thing left to do is actually put the puck in the net.

Player of the game- Johnny G.

Next up- Championship tomorrow night vs either Penn State or Robert Morris. Look for my thoughts on the CONSOL Energy Center later tonight in the Road Trip section.


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