Sunday, October 19, 2014

Win #1

In what was a dominating defensive performance, the Boston College Eagles picked up their victory of the season last night, defeating RIT 6-2 in front of 10,556 rowdy Tiger fans @ Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. First of all, I thought the atmosphere was absolutely tremendous, credit RIT for going out and scheduling games like that for their homecoming. Rochester is certainly a hockey hotbed where Coach York has had a lot of success on the recruiting trail (two Giontas, Reasoner) so hopefully that game last night can help enhance not only RIT's hockey program, but hockey in Rochester as a whole. As for the game, I thought BC was as good as they could be in their own end for large portions of the contest, particularly in the first period in which it seemed like the Tigers couldn't get a shot on goal to save their lives. They came out and tried to set the tone early with a lot of big hits but BC countered with a super aggressive forecheck that had the opponent running around their own end like chickens with their heads cut off. The breakouts, the forecheck, the turnovers, and the execution was leaps and bounds better than it was @ Lowell.

We said at the beginning of the year that BC had no shot to a win a National Title if they didn't get production from their stellar group of defensemen. Well, last night they combined from six points and had four goals from Matheson, Doherty, Santini, and McCoshen. Not only were they contributing to the offense in a big way, they started to look somewhat comfortable in their own end. Last weekend, they moved the puck like it was a hot potato and it led to countless turnovers and eventually a couple of River Hawks goals. That wasn't the case last night. For all the talk about Matheson, Hanifin, and McCoshen, it's the undrafted, 5'9 Teddy Doherty who leads all blue liners in points thus far. It doesn't hurt when his partner, Ian McCoshen, plays about 15 times better than he did vs Lowell. It's tough for Ian because he's such a big, physical guy and the tight rules of college hockey really affect him and the team sometimes. Overall, that's the exact type of game the staff wants the defense to play like, no turnovers, no stupid penalties (iffy call on Hanifin in first), and joining the rush when they can. Perfect night. 

Up front, it was Zach Sanford and Ryan Fitzgerald who led the way. The other prediction I had at the beginning of the year along with the one stated in the second paragraph is that BC couldn't survive without points from Sanford and Alex Tuch, the two highly touted freshmen forwards. Maybe it was the first game jitters or the effectiveness of Lowell's forecheck but whatever the case, Sanford, Cangelosi, and Fitzgerald generated a lot more scoring chances in game two than they did in game one. Quietly, Brendan Silk, Cam Spiro, and Mike Sit combined for four points and the bottom six forwards combined for six shots. They had just one a week ago. From my point of view, Chris Calnan has been the most improved forward through two games. He didn't have any points but he did have  three shots on goal and barely missed out on scoring in back to back games on multiple occasions. He doesn't really need to be a multiple point per game guy like Fitzgerald, Gilmour, and Tuch need to be but he does need to be one of, if not the best, forecheck on this team. He certainly was last night. 

Overall, I'm really excited about the way the team played as a whole. My only two concerns are the power play and penalty kill, both of which seem a little out of synch. The departures of G, Arnold, and Hayes hurt this team on the power play more than anywhere else because last year's second unit, this year's first unit, really hasn't gelled yet. They always figure special teams out at one point or another. I'm not too concerned. 

Why BC Won- 

1. Defense leads to offense. When the guys on the blue line are playing like that, beating BC is going to be very, very tough. Not only are they skilled on their feet when controlling the puck, they've got a little bit of a nasty side to them. Super skilled but also tough to play against. 

2. Sanford and Fitzgerald were on fire. They combined for five points. 

3. They turnovers were cut substantially. Small amount of turnovers=win. 


1. Power play and penalty kill are a tad off. McCoshen had a nice bomb from the point with under two minutes to play, giving BC their first PP goal of the year.

Player of the game- Teddy Doherty 

Next Up- Colorado College on Friday. UMass on Saturday. Both at home. 

Go Eagles. 

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