Saturday, October 17, 2015

Freshmen Lead Boston College Past Wisconsin

Chris Calnan had two assists 
The #1 freshmen class in the country proved to be just that once again as Miles Wood, Casey Fitzgerald, and Colin White combined for six points to lead the #3 Eagles to a 6-0 win over Wisconsin. Thatcher Demko recorded his fourth career shutout, making twenty saves on the night. If you just look at the box score, you would automatically assume that Wisconsin was horrible and BC was tremendous all night but I didn't think that was the case. Ok, Wisconsin was really bad, perhaps the worst college hockey team I have seen in quite some time, but I would argue that the Eagles played better last Sunday than they did in parts of tonight's game. Don't get me wrong, BC played great but they can certainly take it up a few more levels on the offensive side of things.

The crowd was just settling in when Austin Cangelosi notched his first goal of the season, twelve seconds into the contest. That goal really set the tone for the rest of the night as the line of Cangelosi, Wood, and Calnan was all over the ice, especially in the opening twenty minutes. One of the biggest question marks coming into this season was whether or not Cangelosi and Calnan would be able to elevate their games and so far, they have done just that. It certainly doesn't hurt when your freshman linemate is playing like the best newcomer in the country at the moment. It has only been three games vs a couple of relatively weak opponents but there aren't many people who would have thought Miles Wood would be the leading scorer on this team. There was some blogger who had been trying to tell you Wood was real deal but he never knows what he is talking about. Anyways, three minutes after the Cangelosi goal, Steven Santini was whistled for roughing in front of the BC net. Under a minute into the penalty kill (which continues to be tremendous), Teddy Doherty sent a harmless wrist shot in from the red line only to see it take a weird hop right into the net, giving the Eagles a 2-0 advantage. Wisconsin senior netminder Adam Miller was immediately pulled from the game, his first career road start. Towards the end of the period, the Eagles had a chance to make it a three goal lead on the power play but they were not able to capitalize thanks to some quality killing by the Badgers. 

The second period was much less lopsided in terms of puck possession but unfortunately for the visitors, BC's  playmaking abilities up front and stellar goaltending prevailed. If you asked me who the best player on this team is right now, I would have to flip a coin between Miles Wood and Colin White. While the former was terrific in the first period, the latter was easily BC's best player throughout the final forty minutes. After Ryan Fitzgerald and Cangelosi increased BC's lead to 4-0, White scored the goal of the year (to this point) when he split a pair of Badger defenders and fired a wrister past backup goaltender Matt Jurusik. I couldn't have been more impressed with the Hanover native's play over the course of the past two games, he's been absolutely exceptional. On the defensive side of things, I loved what I saw from the entire unit. I know Wisconsin is not the Montreal Canadiens but BC gave up the fewest amount of "grade A" chances they have all year. Even Wisconsin's power play, which entered the game at 30% for the season, couldn't generate anything in the high quality areas. The two guys that stood out to me tonight were Casey Fitzgerald (2 assists, +3) and Scott Savage who made some key plays in his own zone. Towards the end of the first period, the Badgers had a chance to create a 2 on 1 from the BC blue line in but Savage made a terrific play with his stick, clearing the puck out of the zone and keeping the red and white off the board. 

The final twenty minutes were as boring as it gets. Wisconsin stepped up their physicality while BC was just trying to get out of there without any injuries. Ian McCoshen was assessed a ten minute misconduct for contact to the head after one of UW's forwards exchanged a few pleasantries with Demko. He will not miss next Friday's game @ Colorado College due it to being a misconduct, not a disqualification. The league could theoretically review the situation and hand McCoshen a one game suspension but that seems highly unlikely. 

All in all, very pleased with the way BC played, especially in their own end. Demko didn't have to do much but when he was called on, he performed, like usual. The fourth line of Dudek, Brown, and Gaudreau continues to be a major upgrade over what they had last season as all of three of those guys are doing good things in each facet of the game. The power play moved the puck around well, notching a goal in the third consecutive game as Colin White banged home a Ryan Fitzgerald pass on the two man advantage. The penalty kill was probably the best part of BC's game as they killed off every Wisconsin power play, including three minutes of McCoshen's major (the other two were offset by a UW penalty). Nice to get the first home victory out of the way. Onto Colorado College. 

Why BC Won- 

1. Second and third lines were dominant. Austin Cangelosi had by far his best game of the season, Calnan's play has drastically improved since March, and of course, the two Nobles freshmen aren't half bad. 

2. Defense shut Wisconsin down. BC has gotten better in the turnover department throughout the young season. The Badgers weren't able to generate much of anything.

3. The Fitzgerald brothers continue to turn in big performances. Casey is second in terms of Hockey East defensemen scoring while Ryan recorded his first goal and added two assists. 


First line was not great but give it time, they will start putting the puck in the net sooner or later. 

Player of the game- Colin White 

Next- @ CC next Friday and Saturday

Go Eagles !