In what was a tale of two totally different games, Boston College and UMass Lowell settled for a 2-2 tie on Friday night @ Conte Forum, dropping the Eagles down to 12th in the pairwise. I thought it was the type of game in which both teams had a bunch of good spurts and a couple portions where they got vastly outplayed. In BC's case, it was a combination of bad penalty calls, a lack of focus for a few seconds, and some tremendous goaltending from Kevin Boyle that led to the disappointing result. Obviously, I can talk about a couple of mistakes BC made, especially in the early part of the game, but last night should be the final straw with the officiating because it is astonishing how bad it was. Just off the top of my head, I could name five awful missed calls on Lowell but for some reason, they whistled every one of our infractions. Over the course of the past five games, BC has had 12 power plays while their opponents have had 25 (!!!!!). Blaming the officials is something Coach York would never do but it is quiet obvious that this has gone on long enough and BC needs to start talking with the league.
I thought the first period was relatively even but they totally outplayed us in the second in terms of possession, shots (10-9), and made sure that all of our scoring chances came from the outside. In fact, BC's two goals were results of shots from the point so give credit to Lowell for playing so well around their net. I don't think I can remember a season in which opponents' goalies have played their best games of the season vs the Eagles. After a rough couple months, UML's Kevin Boyle came to play as he made 37 saves. I thought the best part of BC's game was their penalty killing as it was a lot more aggressive, in fact, a friend of mine who has only been to one game this season kept asking me why they were so aggressive on the PK which is exactly what they need to be doing. Of course, you're never going to kill off every penalty and it gets a lot harder when you have to spend so much time running around your own zone and blocking shots but job well done last night. Lowell's first goal came just a couple seconds after a penalty to Noah Hanifin (who played great) but I'm not exactly sure what happened as their guy was left wide open in front of Demko and we somehow didn't have anyone there to intercept a cross ice pass in our zone.
The final twenty minutes was perhaps BC's best all around period of hockey in a long time but unfortunately, a mental error on the power play came back to haunt them. As talented as BC's back core is, they have way too many moments in which they keep trying to reverse the puck in their own zone and they got burned because of it last night. Outside of that error, BC's power play continues to be red hot but they can't make a difference in a game because they have half as many opportunities as the opponent does. It is a complete joke and it's going to end up killing our season. Ian McCoshen (+2 and a goal) continued to display why he is BC's most pro ready player while his partner Noah Hanifin was also very solid. Like I said last week, I think part of the reason for the struggles of Matheson and Santini are because they are not with familiar with each other. They compliment each others games rather well but haven't played together at all since Santini's arrival. Hopefully they can get Linell or Silk back soon to enable Doherty to go back to defense.
Anyways, really frustrating result but it didn't have much to do with the way BC played. Once again, they played hard but just didn't put the puck in the net. We said this at the start of the year and it rings truer now more than ever. In order to win games, these guys not only need great goaltending but they have to limit their opponents chances on the power play while at the same cashing in on PP's of their own. Unfortunately, because of outside forces, they once again are getting short ended. Big one on Monday vs Harvard.
Who to root for tonight-
1. Penn State to beat Minnesota (currently 3-2 PSU)
2. Northern Michigan to beat Bowling Green
3. UMass to beat PC
1. Penalty kill was great. They were aggressive, fast, and ferocious but it doesn't help when they are out there the whole game.
2. Demko played much better. I would give Barone or Billett the start on Monday. Demko needs rest and it is going to be brutally tough next weekend.
3. Hanifin and McCoshen were great.
1. First two period were not very good. They had the puck a lot more than we did and seemed to have a lot more grade A scoring chances. Need the second line to be better.
Next- Harvard on Monday.