Thursday, January 22, 2015
Going into the second half of the season, we knew that BC would at least have a golden opportunity to make the NCAA tournament due to their home schedule to finish up the season. They have four potential tournament teams all coming to the not-so friendly confines of Kelley Rink either in January or February. Merrimack, Providence, Vermont (x2), and Lowell are all teams that would have been in the NCAA tournament, had it started yesterday. Thanks to a terrific defensive effort and goals from the two Nobles guys, BC was able to jump one more spot in the pairwise (from 19 to 18), while at the same time, forcing Merrimack to drop from 13 to 17. On a note of much less importance, the Eagles moved into third place in the Hockey East standings, meaning they would host a second round playoff series.
Right off the bat, I thought BC came out and looked like the better hockey team, something they have done in pretty much every game over the course of the past month with the exception of maybe the Dartmouth game. When you have a young squad, I think it really increases the importance of not only getting off to a good start skating wise, but also doing everything you possibly can to score that first goal. BC is 8-0-1 when leading after the first period, 1-4 when trailing, and 5-4-1 when tied up. Although they didn't go ahead in the first twenty minutes, they thoroughly outplayed the Warriors and would have had two or three goals if it wasn't for some tremendous saves from MC goalie Rasmus Tirronen.
With the exception of the first forty minutes last Friday night, the second period was possibly the best period of hockey this team has played all season. They were all over Merrimack, I mean the blue and gold had the puck in our end for maybe two minutes? It looked like men against boys and leading the way was BC's ever developing top line of Alex Tuch, Adam Gilmour, and Zach Sanford. With the absence of Cangelosi on Sunday, the staff mixed up the lines and had Tuch with Straight and Fitzgerald. All everyone has been talking about is how we don't have a "top" line that can compete with other quality teams' top guys. Don't look now but BC's top unit is as hot as any in the country as Gilmour has 8 points in the last 7 games, Tuch has 7 in his past 7, and Sanford has 6 in his past 7. The Eagles finally broke the ice when Gilmour tapped home a rebound off a Noah Hanifin (also starting to put points on the board) shot from the point. BC dominated the entire middle period but amazingly, Merrimack almost tied it up when they were awarded a penalty shot thanks to a BC turnover just outside their offensive blue line. Like he always does, Demko came up with a big stop. Two minutes after the save, Chris Calnan continued his red hot streak when he sent a Scott Savage pass through Tirronen's five hole, putting BC up 2-0 after forty.
Give Merrimack credit because they came out ready to play in the third period. After a Steve Santini hooking penalty, the Warriors capitalized on what seemed like a well covered play. Their forward beat one of our guys wide but our guy was still on him enough to force the MC guy to the outside but unfortunately he threw what seemed like a bit of a blind pass in front of the net and it slipped under the stick of one of our defenseman and next thing you know, it's a one goal contest. In all honesty, BC didn't have a great third period but it wasn't just because of what Merrimack did. Approximately three minutes after MC's goal, Destry Straight sent a low slap shot on goal, the puck deflected to the right of Tirronen while Ryan Fizgerald was shoved down in front of the crease area, he clearly did not make much, if any contact with the goalie, he certainly didn't "interfere'" with him. A split second later, Austin Cangelosi, the one guy we absolutely need to start scoring, put the puck in the net. Astonishingly, the officials waived off the goal due to goaltender interference, and I'm not kidding when I say this because I say it a lot and usually it's a joke, but that was the single worst call I have ever seen in hockey. I don't even want to keep talking, it's just mind-boggling how often the refs in this league make calls that for one reason or another, have enormous impacts on the outcome of the games that we play in. Think about the call @ UNH, just worst. Here is a link to the replay thanks to the boys @ BCI.
Anyways, really proud of the way BC gutted out a victory last night. Merrimack was buzzing towards the end but BC hung on and picked up another HUGE victory. They're winning (with the exception of Maine) the games they're supposed to win and I don't see any reason as to why we can't run the table at home from here on out. On another note, Saturday night is as big of a revenge game as it gets. I love Coach Cav more than anybody but we can't let him come in here and beat us again, I mean, that loss @ UConn is the most upset I've ever been over a game and I'm not kidding. They MUST win.
Why BC Won-
1. Defense and Demko were tremendous.
2. First line played at a really high level.
3. BC generated a ton of shots from the grade A areas. I know, two goals is somewhat disappointing but we would have had five goals if it wasn't for the game their goalie played.
1. Something needs to be done about that call on our third goal. What if Merrimack came back and won the game? We've been completely screwed on two calls this year and I'm sick of it. Needs to change.
Player of the game- I don't know, Calnan, Gilmour, and Demko were all great.
Next- UConn Saturday night. Cav !!
On a sad note, it would be awesome if you could keep the family of Erin Van Flandern in your prayers this week. She was a 17 year old student at Newton Country Day who passed away suddenly shortly after BC's victory @ BU on Friday night. She is survived by two sisters, a brother, and her parents. Rest in peace, Erin.