I don't actually know if we're technically halfway through the season yet but honestly, I don't care. I'm calling this the halfway point so we will work from that. First of all, I think the overall outlook heading into a big month vs teams like Providence, Notre Dame, and Boston University has to be a positive one. As long as there are no injuries to anyone going to Sweden for the World Jr's, BC should have a full arsenal ready to go for a stretch that could go a long way in deciding their NCAA faith. Although there were three months of hockey, each game tough in it's own right, I thought the final weekend of the semester was by far and away the two biggest wins BC has picked up so far this season. Listen, no matter what way you want to draw it up, that loss to Holy Cross was embarrassing but for the guys to come back and (barely) escape the weekend with four points over what I think is a really good hockey team, is a huge step in the right direction. Of course, the goal of the regular season is try and put yourself in a position to win a regular season title but I think the two most important things BC has to be concerned with right now is clinching a spot in the NCAA tournament (with a big emphasis on trying to get a #1 seed) and clinching a first round bye in the Hockey East playoffs (top four teams).
Although all signs are pointing in the right direction, this team still has a lot they need to improve on. I know we've got the number one offense in the country but besides the first period on Saturday and the second period on Friday, I don't think the Eagles generated as many scoring chances as they wanted to. Of course, getting a few power plays would certainly help the cause. I like the way all the freshmen have acclimated to the system so far but I still think the staff should give Richardson a chance on the third or fourth line. He will get his chance in Pittsburgh so if he plays well, he could see some more ice time as the season goes on. I'm not a huge fan of putting the big three together but I think it would be good to give them two shifts every period. Keep the opponent guessing as to when they will come out. If BC can get some more scoring out of guys like Smith, Brown, and Gilmour, I think they have a chance to win some trophies. Three guys (G, Hayes, and Arnold) are not going to win the National Title....well maybe they can.
On the defensive end, I think the staff has to be pretty pleased with the progress everyone has made. Of course, you've got pretty much every diehard fan ranting on the message boards about Linell playing over Savage but other than that, I think everyone is happy. To be honest, I really liked the way Savage played in some games this year, particularly the ones vs RPI and BU and I think he should be an everyday guy but I don't think they will sit Linell and play him. I don't see how they can bench Doherty after this weekend but I guess you never really know. Of course, Linell, Savage, and Doherty will all play in Pittsburgh. I would expect Jeke to be the 6th defenseman.
I know we've got two weeks and we'll prepare for it after Christmas but after what happened vs Holy Cross, I don't think there is any possible way BC can walk into a rink and believe they can beat anyone just by showing up. All three of these will play their tails off vs the Eagles in order to gain some national notoriety. Hopefully BC doesn't sleep walk through the first half of the game like they did two weeks ago.
All in all, I think we've all got to be pleased with where this team is right now. I feel like we've got the two best playmakers in college hockey, the best offensive defenseman, the best defensive defenseman, and a pair of goalies that can keep us in any game when they're playing at a high level (like Friday and Saturday). The biggest surprise to me was that Johnny G has been pretty much a non-factor over the course of the last four games. Maine and UNH completely shut him down and he had one nice period vs Holy Cross but still didn't find the back of the net. BC has not lost this year when G has scored a goal. This team will go as far as he, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold, can take them but I don't know if those three combined can do something like Nathan Gerbe did in 2008 when he single-handily won a National Title but I think if the Eagles can get some more support from their bottom six guys, they have a shot. And all you need is a shot.