Saturday, February 15, 2014
This One Is For DK
We all know Hockey East games in late February/early March are some of the most important games of the season due to Hockey East standings and major pairwise implications. A pair of wins this weekend for Vermont would pretty much cement them a spot in the NCAA tournament and by the way they played last night, they certainly deserve to be in that tournament. But for BC, this wasn't an ordinary late February Hockey East game. No, they were playing for something greater than Hockey East and pairwise points, they were playing for perhaps their most loyal fan who peacefully passed away Friday morning. To honor Dick Kelley, the Eagles had a black sticker on the back of their helmets with the letters "DK" written on them.
As for the game, I thought Vermont came out really hard. They dominated the first ten minutes of the first period and if it wasn't for some key saves from Thatcher Demko early on, UVM could have built up a substantial lead. The Catamounts actually did take a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period when BC lost a clean faceoff in their own end and UVM captain HT Lenz fired one by Demko. After the UVM goal however, I liked the way BC responded. They pressured UVM in their own end, generated some quality scoring chances, kept UVM away from the grade A areas, and were eventually rewarded when Austin Cangelosi pounced on a rebound with about seven minutes to go in the period. It wasn't a great period as the first half of it the guys looked half asleep but once they got going and had a few quality chances on net, they turned the momentum around.
The second period was undoubtedly BC's best of the game. The Eagles were rewarded with a power play late in the first and Johnny G capitalized with his 26th goal of the season, extending his point streak to 25 games. I thought the most disappointing part of the period was BC's inability to extend their lead with a couple more power plays midway through the stanza. The first unit moved it around quiet well like always but the second unit was just a little bit too predictable, too stationary. Vermont had a huge 5 on 3 for well over a minute with about six minutes left to go in the period. They had one or two really good chances but the puck took a couple lucky bounces and hopped over their forward's sticks in front of the net. Credit to Pat Brown, Bill Arnold, Johnny G, Isaac Macleod, and Steve Santini, they were the five guys that were out there for the majority of the kill. The most important thing about killing a lengthy five on three is the momentum it gives your team. BC has always made it look easy but killing penalties is really tough. You need guys that are willing to sacrifice their bodies, a goalie that makes big saves, and a little puck luck. BC got that last night. For the second time in five days, Pat Brown scored the game winning goal off a beautiful tip with just ten seconds to go in the second period. A huge dagger in the heart of Catamount country.
I thought the third period was a well played twenty minutes of hockey. Neither team had a power play and they scored goals within thirty seven seconds of each other. UVM scored two minutes into the period but Ryan Fitzgerald made a nifty pass to Brown, who put it home to give BC back the two goal lead. BC really did a great job of shutting down Vermont's first line of McCarthy, Bradley, and Puskarich all night, especially in the third period. McCarthy, a former BC commit, is by far and away their biggest threat and for pretty much the whole night, he was kept out of the prime scoring areas. Give a lot of credit to BC's defense, besides the second Vermont goal, they played great all night.
When it's all said and done, the bottom line is that the Eagles are just two points away from clinching a Hockey East regular season title. They have a tremendous opportunity to win another trophy tonight in what is sure to be another hostile environment. Let's see if the streak continues.
Why BC won-
1. Thatcher Demko made some huge saves, especially in the first period.
2. Pat Brown's line had it's second consecutive big game.
3. The return of Ian McCoshen makes BC's defense a heck of a lot deeper. I would like to see them put Linell back to forward and Savage back on D, however.
4. The PK
1. Couple of bad breakdowns. The faceoff goal wasn't pretty, I think it's the first time a team has scored off a draw vs BC this season. Also, the UVM second goal was not good. Two guys got beat badly.
Player(s) of the game- Demko and Brown
Go Eagles !