For the third consecutive year, the longest drought since 2001-2008, Boston College will go without a national championship in men's ice hockey thanks to a disappointing 5-2 loss to Denver in the East regional semifinals. Give credit where it's due as the Pios were absolutely tremendous all night long. I thought they were fast, aggressive, physical, and skilled, all the ingredients you need to win in this tournament. Lots of credit to Jim Montgomery and his staff for getting those guys to play at such a high level in what was a de-facto road game in the national tournament for them. I would not be the least bit shocked to see them in Boston next weekend for the Frozen Four because they're that good, although Providence seems like they're also playing some good hockey as of late.
As for BC, it's almost a fitting ending for what was one of, if not the toughest, season in a long time. We knew going into the year that goal scoring was going to be a huge problem and it turned out to be our unescapable kryptonite. Whether it was last night vs Denver, the Beanpot vs NU, or the series against Vermont, we just could not score big goals in big situations, which is something we always saw during the Johnny Gaudreau, Chris Kreider, and Nathan Gerbe years. The bottom line is that you can't rely on sophomores and freshmen to come in and produce like those guys mentioned before, as underclassmen. I thought the fresheman class was a huge plus all season long, except for maybe the last two or three games. Alex Tuch, Zach Sanford, and Noah Hanifin came in here and displayed exceptional talent which I believe will carry each one of them a long ways in their hockey careers.
Going forward, I think the biggest question in everyone's mind is with regards to the sophomore class which was one of the largest and most heralded of the Coach York era. Interestingly enough, their production dropped significantly from last year to this year even though they were given more playing time but I think that might be the root of the problems right there. If Gilmour, Fitzgerald, Cangelosi, and Calnan aren't your "go to" guys but the guys that can create an enormous amount of depth and skill on the top three lines, such as they did a season ago, then you've got a heck of a team but they were just worn out when they had to go against guys like Eichel, Roy, Rau, Fasching, Moore, and Heinen week in and week out. The thing is, there was such a drop off in production from the freshmen and sophomore classes to our junior and senior classes that if Gilmour, Tuch, Fitz, Cango, etc had off nights, then we were in huge trouble. Amazingly, there were games in the 2014 season when G and Hayes were off but those guys picked up the slack because at the end of the day, they're still very, very good hockey players. They just don't match up well against the highest of the high end guys like they had to so often this year. Of course, as juniors they will be asked to be the forefront of the team because of such a small senior class but only next year they will have a lot of weapons surrounding them, something they did not have this season.
It put a big smile on my face to see Mike Matheson play one of, if not his best, games of the season in what will probably be his last time ever wearing the maroon and gold. I would say that there has never been a player, at least in my memory, that has been scrutinized as much as #5 has but at the end of the day, he is one heck of a hockey player and despite what a ton of other fans say, he made our team a lot better than it would have been without him. I don't think he will come back but I hope he at least considers it because as I said, he's a great player and was a terrific captain this season. Obviously, I don't want to see next year's senior class be the first in Coach York's tenure to never play in a Frozen Four so I look for them to really step up and take control of what will be a young but extremely talented squad next season.
I want to take this paragraph to thank Michael Sit, Destry Straight, Quinn Smith, Danny Linell, Brad Barone, Brian Billet, and Cam Spiro for all they have done for BC Hockey. Yes, many critics will talk about the lack of production and all that stuff but the bottom line is that you represent Boston College with class and dignity both on the ice and off and I believe this class did that. They worked harder than any group of seniors I have ever seen at BC but it just wasn't meant to be for them. I wish them all the best of luck in whatever lies ahead and hopefully they will continue to be terrific representatives of Boston College and it's hockey program.
At the end of the day, it goes without saying that this was as tough a season to be a BC Hockey fan as it gets. Not only was it a tough year for the maroon and gold, the only thing worse than BC losing is seeing BU win and unfortunately, it seems like it's their year. I've always said this and I think a lot of fans are starting to realize it now. If we don't have a good year and we're the 58th best team in college hockey but BU is 59th, then everything is okay but when they're winning Beanpots and making Frozen Fours, I don't think that is something that anyone at BC will accept. Sure, all the losing this year stunk but I can't help but think that it will motivate the players and coaches to come back next year and light the world on fire. We will see where all the dominos fall as the summer goes by but right now, there is a chance for next year's squad to be the most talented team Coach York has ever had. I have 100% confidence that the staff will go out and build teams in the future that will consist of speed, toughness, determination, and most importantly, talent. They have done a terrific job of bringing in some high powered reinforcements for the 15-16 season but it's about what the players do from now until October 9th that will determine just how many games this team can win next season because if you ask me, there is no reason why they can't run the table.
Let a brand new era in BC Hockey commence.