|Photo from Dustin Saltoff and BC Interruption|
As for that hockey team from Chestnut Hill, they're pretty, pretty good. I could not have been more impressed with some of the freshman tonight. Miles Wood was the best player on the ice, Casey Fitzgerald was arguably BC's top defenseman, Chris Brown recorded his first goal, and the NTDP duo of Jeremy Bracco and Colin White was as good as advertised. I thought BC struggled a bit out of the gate as Army really took it to them but Demko was his usual, solid self all night long. Due to Army's imposing size, BC had a tough time in their own end for much of the game as there were a fair amount of turnovers that certainly could have been avoided with a simple chip off the glass. Some of the younger guys had a tough time figuring out whether the defenseman from the blue line was going to come crashing down on them so instead they just fired the puck towards the middle of the ice, which resulted in some quality chances for the Black Knights. On his first shift of the season, senior Brendan Silk was injured and did not return. I do not know the extent of the injury but since he is out, I assume Joey Dudek will get the start on Sunday afternoon at RPI. Almost exactly midway through the opening stanza, Miles Wood ripped home a horrible Army turnover in their own end. This was the start of a big night for the Nobles product and Devils draft pick who led the team with three points.
I thought BC dipped a little at the start of the second but after about five minutes, they really took it to the Black Knights. As a result of the Silk injury, the staff had to jumble around the lines and there were no set pairings but there was one shift when Bracco, Tuch, and Sanford were out there for close to a minute and a half just firing the puck all across the West Point end. Although there weren't any points to show for it, it doesn't take an NHL scout to know how much skill Jeremy Bracco possesses. Some of the passes he made on entries into the zone were borderline Gaudreau like. Tuch and Sanford were fine but it is clear that Army made a point in hitting those two every where they went so by game's end, BC's two sophomores were pretty banged up. Army came very close to tying the score up before junior Chris Calnan ripped home a nasty wrist shot from the top of the circle twelve minutes into the middle period. From what I could tell, it didn't seem like Calnan got a ton of playing time in the first twenty minutes but after the goal, he started to find his stride and ended up playing a pretty good game. As time ticked down in the second, Casey Fitzgerald buried his first career goal with the assists going to Wood and Scotty Savage. McCoshen and Santini were terrific but it was Fitzgerald who really stood out on BC's blue line. He had very few turnovers, some great rushes up the ice, and made a lot of smart decisions at the blue line. I was impressed with his game.
The third period turned into a bit of a wrestling match as Army tried to edge their way back into it. BC gave up it's first power play goal of the season after Sanford was whistled for a stupid slashing penalty. However, the maroon and gold responded well as Sanford exacted a little revenge with a goal the very next shift, putting the game out of reach. After that, the Black Knights really went hard after BC's guys, particularly the freshmen. Miles Wood was cross checked to the head three times in a ten second span after a whistle, resulting in a 5 on 3 for the Eagles. They did not convert. All in all, I'm very pleased with the way things went tonight. Let's be honest, a win over Army isn't anything to crown ourselves over but BC played a heck of a lot better than I thought they would. It's amazing how they take one line off and they come right back out with a some more highly skilled NHL draft picks. The depth up front is better than anything Coach York has had in his tenure at the Heights but in order to win a championship, he is going to need the D to play better. If they turn the puck over the amount of times they did in the first period versus teams like Denver and Lowell, they'll pay for it. Anyways, they'll get the day off tomorrow and prepare to face what is sure to be a hungry RPI team on Sunday. Great start.
Why BC won-
1. The freshmen were spectacular. Wood, Bracco, White, Fitzgerald, and Brown were all over the ice.
2. Demko looks like he could offset a lot of defensive miscues. Look, we're young on the blue line. There are going to be some growing pains back there as the year goes on but when you have a goalie like that, things won't look so bad.
3. Special teams were pretty good for the first game. I thought the first power play unit was the better of the two but the second did record a goal (C.Fitzgerald). PK was fine, going 5 for 6 on the night. I think we will see different personnel rotate in and out for the first month or so on both the PP and PK.
1. There were certainly a couple of bad defensive zone turnovers but it's the first game so that is to be expected. They will clear it up.
Player of the game- Miles Wood
Next- @ RPI Sunday 2 PM.