Saturday, January 11, 2014

Eagles Extend First Place Lead With Big Win

I'm not going to sit here tonight and lie to you anymore. I've always loved Johnny Gaudreau (that's the first time I've ever called him by his name) more than other player in my time watching BC hockey. I think the kid has this thing about him that makes him different. I'm not sure exactly what it is however. No, my love for G is probably no secret therefore it is no lie. The one thing I refused to do, whether it was in a conversation, a blog post, or a tweet was to compare Johnny to the two greatest players players I have ever seen put on the maroon and gold. Nathan Gerbe and Brian Gionta. As the final buzzer sounded concluding tonights huge 5-2 victory over the #6 Providence College Friars, the first thought that entered my mind was this kid is the greatest I have ever seen. I know, it's a team game and overall, I was very impressed with the way BC played tonight but let's get one thing straight, no one is supposed to put up four points vs a great defensive team like PC and score at least a point in 15 straight games. The college hockey record for consecutive games with a point is 31, held by Maine's Paul Kariya, without a doubt the greatest college hockey player of all time.

I've watched a lot of BC Hockey over the years so I'm not surprised anymore when the guys come out and play great in big time games but tonight was on a whole other level. The score of that game should have been seven or eight to one. I think Providence is a great hockey team that should compete for a Hockey East championship but without Gilles, I'm not so sure they're top four teams in the league. They play a tough, grinding style of hockey but they need to learn that you can't bend for so long and expect to win against BC, especially @ Conte Forum. The Eagles were all over them for the first ten minutes of the game. In fact, I don't know if Providence had a quality scoring chance until their first goal with six minutes to play in the period. They covered the middle of the ice in their owen end relatively well but BC's play in the neutral zone, along with the power play were the differences tonight.

Don't worry, you don't need to call your doctor. I actually said the power play was good tonight. In fact, it was the best I have seen a BC power play look in quiet sometime. I mean, the newly formed top unit of Kevin Hayes and Mike Matheson on the point along with G, Arnold, and Pat Brown was absolutely absurd. Give all the credit to Coach Brown. They did a great job of entering the zone with relative ease, made a couple of real nice passes, and shot the puck when they had actual shooting lanes. Guys were not trying to force it through tight spots in which the odds were very high that the puck was going to be blocked. The biggest problem with the power play so far this season has been the decision making. Tonight, guys knew what they wanted to do with the puck before they got it. It was a treat to watch.

I thought both Providence goals were the result of bad defensive breakdowns by BC in their own end. Danny Linell has been playing surprisingly well as of late but he struggled mightily in his own end tonight. Versus teams like Providence and Minnesota, both of which have a handful of big, strong, and powerful forwards, Danny has had a tough time. Hopefully he will improve tomorrow night @ Brown. Mike Matheson is getting back to becoming a real force on both the offensive and defensive ends. There are so many times in a game where either he or another defenseman slips up at the offensive blue line but he is able to turn on these jets that are rarely seen in a defenseman and catch up to the guy. Really impressive tonight.

Overall, this was without a doubt BC's best game of the season. It wasn't a fifty or thirty minute effort. It was a full, start to finish display of pure will that enabled them to drastically outplay one of the better teams in college hockey. The difference between good and great teams are the ones that can come back from a big win and top it off with an even better effort the following night. We shall see what tomorrow night brings.

Why BC Won- 

1. First line/Matheson combined for eleven (!) points on the night.

2. The power play was sensational.

3. A bunch of role players had strong games. Pat Brown is not really a "role" player but he doesn't get a lot of credit for what he does. He played great tonight.



Player of the game- G

Next Up- @ Brown tomorrow @ 5 PM.

Go Birds

1 comment:

  1. The G, Arnold, Hayes Line is unlike any line in years. In the first period watching Hayes in the offensive zone, spinning around the net in circles, just pushing guys off of him. He is just a monster. Arnold is similar, gouging it out in the trenches and fighting for it along the boards. HE was making Friars' lives absolutely miserable and occupying 2 or 3 of them to get tons of space open for Johnny/Matheson/Hayes. All this physicality and size complemented by Johnny who by contrast is just elusive and electric every time he touches the puck. Is going to shoot? Is he going to thread some needle across ice to Arnold? Is he going to drop off to Matheson? Is he going to just play with it behind the net a la Gretzky and pass to one of the three monsters in front for a slap shot? And when he's not darting around the ice he's drawing 2 or 3 penalties a game from guys just trying to slow him down. He was so on last night the only negative is that he was even faking out his own teammates and they missed his passes sometimes. He is absolutely unpredictable as a playmaker as well as a scorer and that, IMO makes him a better all-around guy than Gerbe, by a hair. He's like a Gerbe-Ben Eaves hybrid. And the line itself is far better than the next-best BC line of recent years (the Gerbe, Whitney, Ferreiro line) mostly because of the size and talent of Hayes and Arnold.

    On the whole, if they can 1) keep the young defenders heads on straight, 2) keep up the PP and come even close to years past (years we won the NC), and 3) stick with the offensive plan that is scoring almost FOUR AND A HALF GOALS A GAME (which is insane in its own right) then going into the Beanpot season, when we traditionally step up anyway, this year could be something special...