For the second consecutive season (stunning, absolutely stunning) Boston College will not be part of the Hockey East final four as the Vermont Catamounts came into Conte Forum and defeated BC tonight 1-0 to take the best of three series. I'm at a loss for words as for what happened tonight because I thought once again, the effort was there but you just can't the horse race when you don't have the horses, I guess. It's easy for me to sit here and say that BC doesn't have enough good players to score more than 2 or 3 goals a game but look at it this way, are there not 40+ teams in the country that would not take our forward core over theirs? There is something missing here because even when you have a weakened forward group of "just" three or four potential NHL players, you should still be able to score more than one goal over the course of seven periods of hockey. Not to mention, they've got some of the best offensive defensemen anyone can ask for yet they still can't put the puck in the net! Why? Who knows.
Here are a couple of thoughts on the game.
First off, give Vermont and their staff all the credit in the world. They played so hard throughout the whole weekend and in my opinion, they deserved the series win. I don't know if they played harder than we did because I thought we played very hard but they executed when they needed to, we didn't. I thought their penalty killing was exceptional. They kept us to outside for the entire game and as they say, you need your best killer to be your goaltender and Hoffmann certainly was tonight for the Catamounts. It's amazing how many times we have run into a hot goaltender this season.
As for our lines, the top three guys were better but you could tell that UVM's size and strength was wearing on them, particularly Sanford. He had such a good game on Friday that they really zoomed in on him and got it to a point where he wasn't nearly as much of a factor as he needs to be. Tuch, after two tough games, was much better as he seemed to have the puck on his stick almost the entire game but in the end, no points for him on the weekend. I thought the line that struggled the most was the all senior line of Straight, Smith, and Sit which is unfortunate because that is the last time they will ever play in Chestnut Hill. Vermont's first line outplayed them for a large majority of time on the weekend. On defense, I thought Hanifin was solid as usual as were McCoshen and Savage but other than that, it just wasn't where it needed to be. Too many turnovers, too many careless plays at the offensive blue line, I mean, how do you allow a breakaway like that at that time in the game? Very frustrating to say the least. Everybody knows how upset I get when they lose and sometimes I go on these unwarranted rants but tonight there is nothing else to do but to tip your cap to Vermont. They just played better than we did and we didn't play half bad. Other years, our 70% game will beat pretty much every team in this league. This year, our 70% game won't beat many, if any, of the teams in this conference. Of course, that will all change next October.
Everyone has been texting me or emailing me about BC's NCAA chances. Put it this way- I would be absolutely shell shocked beyond belief if we are not in the tournament. There is a 99% chance we get in so I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. Yes, it is going to feel VERY awkward walking into an NCAA game as a giant underdog but I can promise you this, not one team in the country wants to see the maroon and gold in the NCAA tournament. I have learned a lot in my time watching BC Hockey but one thing that stands out more than any other is that never doubt Coach York. Are they going to win the thing? Probably not, but are they going to be more prepared and more fired up that any other team in the tournament? Yes. There is a formula which we can use to win a couple games in this thing but it is going to take an enormous amount of work, effort, and luck. Let's see what he's got up his sleeve this time around.