Saturday, February 7, 2015

Quality Road Win

Coming off one of the tougher losses of the season, BC got things right back on track with an important road win tonight @ Merrimack, moving them into 11th in the pairwise. Obviously, I probably take the Beanpot a little more seriously than others who are smart enough to know that the whole point of the regular season is to position yourself to win a National Title. To be honest, things could have really fallen by the wayside if BC got caught up in the officiating errors (we'll get to that)  and let Merrimack back into that game. Over the course of the next few weeks, you'll probably hear the term "pairwise" more than any other but as long as BC continues to win games vs quality opponents, something they will have to do over the course of these next four games, then they will be in the dance.

I thought BC came out and played an exceptional first period, perhaps one of their better opening twenty minutes of the season. Merrimack controlled the first five minutes but after Alex Tuch tipped home an Ian McCoshen one timer on the power play, the Eagles got rolling. They continued to keep the pressure on MC and once again, Tuch redirected another shot from the point, this time from Steve Santini, to give BC a 2-0 edge heading into the second period. BC's record when leading after the first period is now 9-0-1. I have never seen a team play with so much more confidence when they score the first goal and tonight was another great example of that. If Merrimack comes out early and sets the tone, after what happened earlier this week, then that could have been a real red light early on. 

The second period was without a doubt the longest period of the year as it seemed like it took close to an hour to complete. Halfway through the first, the staff made an interesting, but in my opinion smart move, by knocking Teddy Doherty up to fourth line forward in place of Peter McMullen who didn't get much, if any, playing time. The move payed off when Dots made a terrific centering pass to Austin Cangelosi, who was originally moved down to the fourth line to begin the evening, giving BC a 3-0 cushion. Perhaps they were trying to send Cango a bit of a message before the game started or maybe they just changed their mind as the game wore on but whatever they did with Cangelosi, it worked as he played a solid game. After the goal however, all hell broke lose as a giant scrum took place in front of the BC bench, resulting in a 10 minute misconduct for Ian McCoshen and a handful of other penalties for the Eagles. The teams played three minutes of four on four but that soon changed into a minute of five on three for Merrimack when Adam Gilmour was whistled for an elbow in the offensive zone. The Warriors, who had made it a two goal game shortly after Cangelosi's goal off a neutral zone turnover, cut the lead to one when they banged home a rebound off a shot from the point. Sure, they gave up a power play goal but I thought BC's penalty kill was a lot more aggressive tonight than it was against Northeastern as you could tell they placed an emphasis on covering the points while being physical in front. Certainly a much better effort from that unit. 

Not surprisingly, the third period was perhaps the least entertaining one goal hockey third period I have ever seen mainly because BC just completely packed it in. They blocked literally every good chance Merrimack had. I especially liked the efforts of Quinn Smith and Chris Calnan who each played exceptionally well even though you won't find them on the scoresheet. In fact, BC had just one shot on goal in the third and they kept Merrimack to just five even though they only played five defensemen except for the final ten minutes when McCoshen was allowed back. 

All in all, nice to see them get a win against a team that had only one loss at home this season. As I said earlier, the W catapults them into 11th in the pairwise, one spot above Monday's opponent, a Harvard squad that is starting to struggle with putting the puck in the net as they lost 3-0 to Yale tonight. BC also takes over soul possession of second place in Hockey East thanks to BU's win at Lowell. 

Why BC Won- 

1. Great first period, especially from Tuch. 

2. Blocked a ton of shots in the third. 

3. Merrimack was 1 for 6 on the PP. BC has also allowed just 2 goals or less in 13 of past 15 games, Eags are 10-3-2 in that stretch. 


1. No comment on officials. It's just embarrassing. 

Player of game- Tuch 

Next- Harvard on Monday at 4:30.

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