Before you check into the hospital because you can't believe the BC Hockey Blog isn't going bananas over a loss, let me just say that this was arguably the best game BC has played all season yet they just ran into one of the best goaltending performances I've seen in a long time. If you ask people that know me, I'm sure they'll tell you that I probably get more upset than the players and coaches do about a loss (I mean, you see what I write). Bottom line is that I never, ever, take any positives out of seeing another team walk off the ice with more goals than the maroon and gold. Well, that all changed tonight. BC played it's fastest game of the year, they generated 56 (!!) shots, and defended as good, if not better, than they did yesterday. So, why did they lose? Cal Peterson turned in a goaltending clinic for the ages while Thatcher Demko is probably wishing he had all three of those goals back because all of them were very fluky. Watching that game tonight, I felt comfortable with the way they were rolling all four lines because each one seemed to have a scoring chance every time they were out there and that certainly hasn't happened all year. I thought the line of Mike Sit, Chris Calnan, and Quinn Smith was absolutely tremendous all weekend so hopefully they can parlay that into some strong play two weeks from now. The other reason BC fans shouldn't be too down about tonight's events is because they had very little effect on the Eagles' NCAA tournament chances. Sure BU won the Hockey East regular season title, congrats to them that is all great but at BC, we don't play for regular season titles or Hockey East titles, we want a National Title. This is the FIRST TIME all year I have walked out of a rink thinking this BC team could actually stand a chance to win the whole thing because if they play the way did tonight in the NCAA tournament, then it's two straight National Titles for the Eagles (next year has already been rewarded).
It is quiet clear to me that no player in the entire league could use these two weeks off more so than Thatcher Demko. Simply put it, he looks flat out exhausted. He makes that save on their second goal 10 times out of 10 when he is at full strength but today he certainly was not anywhere near that level. Even some shots that didn't go in, they were kind of slipping by him and you could just tell he was just a bit off although he made some great saves in the third period to keep it at a one goal difference. Don't get me wrong, the kid played fine but he's exhausted and needs these two weeks to gear up for a big run. Admittedly, much was made after the first UConn game about BC's new commitment to size instead of speed. Well, I was flat out wrong. Tuch, Gilmour, and Sanford have developed into three of the top 10 forwards in this league over the course of the past couple months which is a testament to the staff's always strong development model. It's easy when you have kids like Eichel, Tuch, or Hanifin, guys that are already on such a higher level talent wise than anyone else but it can be tough when you have guys like Sanford or Gilmour who are right there, ready to take that next step but they just need some proper development. That is what they have gotten in their first year at BC. Throw in a certain three headed monster next fall and.....well you know how I feel about next year.
Now, let's look at where BC stands in the Hockey East playoffs. The Eagles clinched the #3 seed thanks to Providences' cupcake scheduling. I mean, they get to finish with UMass and Maine while we get Lowell and Notre Dame? You know that BC, BU, ND, PC, and either UML/UNH/NU are going to be in the mix every year so why not have Providence play a contender instead of a cupcake? That stuff drives me nuts. These will be your 5-12 matchups next week. I think all the higher seeds will win relatively easily which means that BC would host the biggest non BU series ever when Northeastern comes to town. Revenge.
5 Notre Dame vs 12 UMass, 6 Northeastern vs 11 Merrimack, 7 UVM vs 10 Maine, 8 UNH vs 9 UConn.
While the bye week is nice for rest, it's possibly the biggest week of recruiting for the staff. Even though the Eagles won't play next weekend, Coach Brown and Coach Ayers will probably be all over the map with the prep playoffs and USHL/NTDP seasons winding down.