For the third straight season, the Eagles dropped their opening game, this time it was a league contest in front of a packed crowd @Tsongas Center vs Lowell. First off, give Lowell and their fans a tremendous amount of credit. The crowd was loud, energetic, and certainly had a big part in their club's victory. The Eagles started off well with a goal from Chris Calnan but three straight defensive lapses allowed the River Hawks to garner the victory. I thought the first couple shifts were real good, filled with pressure but all the sudden BC dumped the puck into the zone, Lowell takes it out going the other way and two BC forwards collide at center ice, giving the River Hawks a 4 on 2, and an easy goal. If you look at it, Lowell has numbers but one of BC's defensemen just let's their forward go right around him without an effort, that results in a mini 2-1 and an eventual goal. Nothing Demko could do. The second goal featured the same defensive pairing as Lowell swung the puck around the net, BC lost a battle on the half wall which could have led to a clear, next you thing you know the puck ends up in the back of the net. BC looked totally lost in their own zone for large portions of this game. The strength of this team is supposed to be their ability to keep opponents off the scoreboard with their aggressive defense and consistent goaltending. Neither of those were present last night, especially the defense. On the third goal, we actually had the puck deep in their end but after a lousy pass, they take it up the ice with numbers and instead of staying with the winger that was breaking down the ice, one of our defenseman shifts over to the guy with the puck which forces the back checker (Smith) to somehow pick up the guy that's already five feet in front of him. Everyone is going to think it was Smith's fault but it's not because he didn't try. He was the one that turned the puck over initially but for some reason, both of our defensemen decided to converge on the puck carrier.
After a rough first period and a half, I thought Ryan Fitzgerald's line really picked it up, evident by Fitzs' goal with under two minutes to play in the second stanza but BC just never got in a rhythm offensively or defensively. Winning a road game in Hockey East is impossible if you take stupid penalties and turn the puck over. BC turned it over more last night than they did in any game last season. I was totally wrong about Lowell's forecheck, they were aggressive all night with two guys in hard on the puck and a third waiting on the wall to pick off a pass. Once BC transitioned up the neutral zone, they generated some quality chances, especially early in the third when McCoshen and Spiro barely missed out on goals, but the defensive zone play was painful to watch for a long time.
The first five minutes of the third was all BC but a bad icing led to a face-off with tired guys on the ice which led to another horrible turnover on the wall which resulted in the game ending goal. Frustrating. Really frustrating.
Early in the third I noticed that Zach Sanford and Michael Sit were out. I can tell you that Sanford suffered an upper body injury and Coach York said he was experiencing some "dizziness" after the second stanza. No word on Sit. The Eagles have the next six days off before making the trek up to Rochester to play RIT.
Obviously, not the way we wanted to start the season but the mistakes are ones that can certainly be fixed. Less turnovers, less penalties, capitalization on the power play, and more experience for the younger guys should led to positive results in the near future. It will be interesting to see what the staff does as far as line changes go for next week.
Why BC Lost-
Next up- @ RIT next Saturday