Saturday, October 24, 2015
Eagles Take Game One Vs CC
Thatcher Demko became the first BC goalie to record back to back shutouts since Parker Milner did it in 2012-13 vs Lowell and Northeastern as Boston College defeated Colorado College 3-0 on Friday night. Ryan Fitzgerald tallied BC's first two goals while Zach Sanford recorded his 3rd goal of the season late in the final period. Freshman Jeremy Bracco was the most impressive forward on the night as he assisted on all three tallies.
First of all, I thought Demko was spectacular. Colorado College doesn't have the horses BC has but they played an absolutely terrific hockey game. If it wasn't for Demko's performance, CC could certainly have won that game. I'm not sure how much the offseason hip surgery has helped Thatcher but he is playing the best he's ever played at BC. Of course, part of the reason for BC's low goals against total is their stout defensive play (and the teams they're playing) but #30 is playing as well as anybody in the country at the moment which certainly makes for a scary combination. Defensively, I think the Eagles are continuing to make a lot of progress. I was a little worried about the olympic sheet and how it would affect BC's coverage but they always had two guys back which prevented CC from getting the amount of odd man rushes the Eagles had. I particularly liked the way Scott Savage played tonight. He made a lot of smart decisions in his own end, got rid of the puck at the offensive blue line, and threw some huge hits. Outside of Demko, the best part of BC's game right now is their penalty kill as CC was 0 for 4 on the night. If you think about it, this team is built for killing penalties. Not only are they the fastest team in college hockey, they're one of the biggest. Their ability to get in shooting and passing lanes is intimidating but the constant pressure they apply in all three areas is a day and night difference from the passive system they had to use a season ago. Towards the end of the 2012 season, it got to a point where even if BC was shorthanded, you knew they had the potential to strike. It's been a long time since we've had that sense of optimism for a penalty killing unit but with all the speed and depth on this team, they are capable of scoring whenever.
On the offensive side of things, Jeremy Bracco stole the show. Although he had been held off the score sheet in the first three games, many felt the Maple Leafs pick had been playing at a high level, there was just nothing to show for it. That changed tonight as he made three beautiful passes, particularly the one on Sanford's goal which was highlight reel material. Even if you took away the assists, anyone watching the game could see how the freshman out of Long Island was able to slow the game down to his pace, much like G did when he was here. There was one play in the first period when he was behind the net and kept skating towards one side of the ice but had the capacity to do a behind the back pass that should have ended up in the net. It was a treat to watch. Obviously, Ryan Fitzgerald is playing some terrific hockey as he had two deadly snipes from inside the dots. Those two, along with Colin White (1 point), were BC's best line tonight. Cangelosi, Wood, and Calnan continue to play at a high level although they were held off the scoreboard. No one is going to talk about this but I can't get over how well the fourth line is playing. Yes, he's only been in for three games but Joey Dudek has made tremendous strides in just two weeks. Chris Brown and Matty Gaudreau were all over the ice wrecking havoc on CC's defense and even creating a couple odd man rushes of their own. The biggest complaints from fans (and bloggers) the last two seasons was the inability to roll four lines such as the 2010 and 2012 squads were able to. If Brown, Dudek, and Gaudreau keep this up, they'll get a lot more than their fair share of minutes. I thought the second like of Tuch, Gilmour, and Sanford was average, maybe slightly above. Zach Sanford sure looks like a force out there but his linemates are not yet on that level right now. I'm not worried though, they'll be a high scoring machine in the Spring.
It's only been four games so of course BC still has a lot to work on. They're taking some bad penalties, the power play looked out of synch for the first time all year, and they committed a few too many turnovers in their own end. They're a young team that just played it's first game on an olympic sheet so growing pains were expected. However, it is quite obvious that the team speed, combined with Demko's surreal play, help offset a lot of giveaways. Anyways, winning on the road isn't easy in this sport. Back at it tomorrow.
Why BC Won-
1. Demko is playing out of his mind. I believe it's been 137 minutes of shutout hockey for BC's junior netminder.
2. Jeremy Bracco was off the charts good. He's like a magician with the puck, it's incredible to watch. It doesn't hurt when he has a guy like Ryan Fitzgerald to give the puck to. #19 was also spectacular.
3. Penalty kill didn't give CC anything. Not many quality chances for the black and gold tonight on the man advantage.
No glaring issues. 0 for 3 on the PP but that is the last thing I'm worried about with all this talent.
Players of the game- Demko, Bracco, and Fitzgerald. Couldn't make a decision.
Next- Vs CC tomorrow at 7:07 Mountain time. 9:07 Chestnut Hill time.