Friday, March 13, 2015

Eagles Take Game One

Photo from The Heights
I am going to keep this one short because I've got to get up bright and early tomorrow but BC recorded it's third straight solid game en route to a 4-2 win over Vermont in game one of their Hockey East quarterfinal series. Of course, the two guys that immediately stood out were freshmen Zach Sanford and Noah Hanifin, both of whom were absolutely terrific all night long. BC came out with the same type of speed and intensity they brought to South Bend only this time they were rewarded when Hanifin went end to end before roofing one top shelf past UVM goaltender Mike Santaguida 10 minutes into the game. Of course, the goal will probably be on Sports Center tomorrow morning but anyone can talk about the kid's skating ability and skill. If you ask me, it's his decision making that has improved so much from opening night to this point. He knows when to take it and go, he knows when to get it deep, he knows when to pinch at the offensive blue line, and he knows where to go with the puck on a breakout. After Hanifin's goal, BC spent what seemed like the final ten minutes of the period buzzing around Vermont net but unfortunately they had nothing to show for, until the second began.

The Eagles opened the middle stanza with a complete assault on the UVM net and were rewarded with three goals in the first four minutes, two of which were from Zach Sanford and the other from Ryan Fitzgerald (on the power play). Hanifin and Alex Tuch were rightfully two of the most talked about freshmen in the country outside of Eichel but no one said anything about Zach Sanford. To be honest, I didn't even think he would crack the lineup in July before Milano decommited. He has proven just about everybody wrong. Unlike 99% of BC's recruits, Sanford wasn't someone who was coveted by the big guns such as BU, Michigan, or Harvard. He had a couple of minimal offers from UNH and Lowell but outside of that, not much. What a steal he turned out to be. He makes so many smart plays with the puck, they can put him in any type of situation, and he is starting to develop into a prolific producer for this club. Imagine what will happen next year. On the downside, BC let Vermont back in the game after a shot from outside the blue line somehow sneaked by Demko followed by bang-bang goal less than five minutes later. Credit Vermont, they battled hard after Fitzgerald made it 4-0 but I also loved the way BC's goaltender got in his groove after UVM's second tally. They had a couple of large scrums in front of our net and two power plays to end the period but Demko was there to make all the stops in order to lead his squad to victory. He won't get any consideration for the big awards but if BC does some damage in the NCAA's (and they could do a lot more than damage), then this kid deserves all the accolades you can possibly give out. He has been so good all year long.

In the end, I thought BC did a nice job of getting to the locker room up a pair of goals after two and then going back to their style of play in the third. It was more structured, less shots, less grade A chances, and less penalties. They're doing a better job, with a couple exceptions, of getting the puck out of their zone and creating odd man rushes through the neutral zone. However, while the win is nice, there is still work left to be done in order to clinch a spot at the Garden next weekend and more importantly, a spot in the big dance in two weeks. With Providence's loss to UNH, the Eagles jumped from 10th to 9th in the pairwise. Being above PC when it is all said and done could have major implications as to which team goes West and which stays home.

Why BC won- 

1. Hanifin and Sanford were by far and away the best players on the ice.

2. Penalty kill looks absolutely phenomenal. No room at the points anymore. It's attack, attack, attack.

3. I thought Demko came up huge at the end of the second and early in the third.


Bad crowd. Hopefully they can get some more students to the game tomorrow.

Players of the game- Hanifin and Sanford

Next- Vermont tomorrow @ 7.

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