Saturday, October 31, 2015

Jeremy Who?

Austin Cangelosi had two points for BC

Captain Teddy Doherty echoed the words felt by many in BC Hockey world after the game tonight, "if you don't want to be here, you don't want to be here." Thanks to his outstanding leadership, terrific nights from Miles Wood and Austin Cangelosi, and some late game heroics from Matty Gaudreau, Boston College won it's fourth straight, a 4-3 decision over Denver. We can talk about all the qualities Coach York looks for in a captain for days but all I know is Teddy Doherty loves being a hockey player at Boston College more than anything in the world. He would take a bullet for this program and with that type of mentality from the top dog, I know this team can go a long, long way.

As for the game, it was certainly one of the best I've seen in some time. Both teams were fast, physical, and aggressive. Denver's Danton Heinen is on the list of top players I've seen play against BC, perhaps in the last ten years. He not only skated virtually the entire game, he looked sensational all night long. I can't think of many players where once they got control of the puck, I would roll my eyes and sigh "here we go again." Eichel obviously, Abbott maybe, other than that, there aren't many. Henien, a Bruins draft pick, is going to be a star in this city someday. BC had a difficult time with Denver's super-aggressive forecheck and after five games against teams that just sat back and played trap hockey, can you blame them? The Pios constantly had three forwards attacking the puck at all times but unfortunately for DU, they gave the Eagles one too many odd man rushes. After Denver broke Demko's shutout streak thanks to a filthy play from Henien, the Eagles responded when Cangelosi threw a cross ice pass to Miles Wood who put home his second of the season on a breakaway. Wood, through six games at least, is the best player on the team. I've only seen one guy have that type of skating ability coupled with that size in my time watching BC Hockey. He's doing pretty well for the New York Rangers at the moment. We always knew Cangelosi was a reliable defensive stalwart on the penalty kill but his offensive game is beginning to flourish, due in part to Wood's arrival. Chris Calnan has been, outside of perhaps Cangelosi, the most improved player thus far. I like the way he is progressing. 

The second period could not have started out much better as Doherty fired home his second of the year on the power play, BC's sixth power play goal on the young season. Zach Sanford made a nice cross ice pass at the blue line before Doherty shot it high, almost looking like he intended to bang it off the glass. Somehow, the DU goalie never caught sight of it and just like that, it was 2-1 good guys. After about ten minutes of up and down play following the tally, the Eagles began taking non stop penalties. To their credit, BC was able to kill off a long 4 on 3 after Scott Savage took a tripping penalty but the Pios answered when Adam Gilmour was called for elbowing two minutes after the Savage penalty expired. Of course, it was Henien who made the play just thirteen seconds into the minor, launching one over Demko's left shoulder. The Eagles were given a power play of their own at the period's end but as was the case for most of night (outside of the Doherty goal), both units struggled to muster much of anything. 

If you're going to show a video promoting college hockey, you might as well roll the tape of that third period. I'm usually not a fan of the term "playoff atmosphere" but it really felt like a big time game over those final twenty minutes. Wood returned the favor to Cangelosi on yet another odd man rush, giving BC their second lead but once again, Denver responded. After Ian McCoshen was whistled for a questionable interference call with 6:35 left to go, DU defenseman Will Butcher beat Demko short side late in the power play. Guess who had the assist? Yup, Heinen. If you think about it, those final couple of minutes were a microcosm of BC's week. Things were looking great for so long but then they get hit with a bit of adversity, how would they respond? The maroon and gold from a year ago might have thrown it in towel but not this time around. With just thirty six seconds to play, Matthew Gaudreau beat a DU defender to a loose puck and potted his first point of the season. It could not have come at a better time. How cool is it that the player who replaced Bracco in the lineup steps up and nets the game winner in a contest that will have major pairwise implications? You couldn't script it any better in a movie. 

Overall, I thought it was an absolutely terrific hockey game. There is no doubt in my mind we will see those guys again down the road because they're a highly skilled team that could beat BU tomorrow night by four or five goals. Because of the different skill sets each team is able to recruit, you don't see a lot of those high paced games in college hockey these days but when you get two high powered offenses like that, it's a treat to watch. Obviously, the Wood-Cangelosi-Calnan line was BC's best but I also liked the way Gaudreau-White-Fitzgerald performed. BC had a tough time getting their first line going, mainly because they were up against Henien for much of the night. I've already said this numerous times, they aren't going anywhere without Alex Tuch scoring goals. Although he doesn't have anything through six games, I think he is just a little snake-bitten. Zach Sanford gave him a pair of beautiful looks right in the slot but it appears Tuch barely missed his mark. I thought BC's 5 on 5 defense was tremendous, as it has been all year. Outside of DU's first line, which accounted for nearly a third of their shots, BC was able to shut down the high octane Pioneers. As does every team in the country, the Eagles have a lot to work on. The penalty kill, which I actually thought was very good in the first half of the game, gave up two goals, including one from the blue line. The man advantage looked out of synch for much of the contest, despite Doherty's second period goal. With the way they're playing, I think it may be time for the Wood-Cangelosi-Calnan line to see increased PP minutes. The problem for the Eagles has been their entries into the zone, it certainly wouldn't hurt if you had the two fastest guys on the team to help bring it in and set it up.

All in all, I'm very proud of the way this team competed. It is not easy to come out and play top notch hockey against one of the best clubs in the country after what happened on Wednesday. Give all the credit to Coach York and Teddy Doherty for getting these guys ready to go. The Eagles are off tonight but will face an undefeated UMass team on Tuesday night.

Why BC Won- 

1. Exceptional leadership from Teddy Doherty. I could not be more impressed with the way he has handled all of this.

2. Wood and Cangelosi are playing as well as anyone in the country. Remember when ISS didn't have Wood on their top 30 freshmen list? Yikes.

3. Matty Gaudrerau made a heck of a play late in the game. It wasn't a highly skilled play, just an unbelievable effort from a guy who deserves a goal in that moment more than anybody.

4. I thought Travis Jeke played very well in his first game at forward. The fourth line continues to be a drastic improvement over last year's.


Special teams were not very good. 5 on 5, I think this is the best team in college hockey but as I said before the season, they will only lose games if they shoot themselves in the foot. A couple of bad second and third period penalties almost gave DU the win. I will be interested to see if they switch up power play personnel.

Player of the game- Wood and Cangelosi were terrific but Doherty deserves it. They wouldn't have won without his guidance.

Next- UMass on Tuesday at 7PM.

Here are Coach York's quotes regarding Bracco, his first such comments on the situation.

Go Eagles....Great going Merrimack !!!