|Photo from BC Athletics|
That same term can be applied to last night's game, just with a different player-Thatcher Demko. The BC netminder recorded his fifth shutout in six games, denying all thirty Black Bear shots. It's obviously way too early to start talking about the Hobey Baker but if he keeps this up, he will certainly be in consideration for the nation's top award.
Give Maine a lot of credit because I thought they came out and played a tremendous hockey game. It was the first time all year BC played back on their heels at times, especially in the first period. It isn't fun playing against a team that implements the 1-3-1 forecheck but how else is Maine going to compete with BC? They forced turnovers, did a good job of blocking shots, and laid down a lot of hits but they just could not find a way to solve BC's stingy defense. If they play like that tomorrow, they will certainly have another chance at taking down the maroon and gold.
I thought the first period was a bit of a struggle for the Eagles, in fact, Maine outshot BC by an 11-8 margin. That was the first time BC has been outshot in the first period all season. Early on, BC was awarded their first power play of the game but they couldn't muster much of anything in the Maine end. However, just two minutes after the penalty expired, Steve Santini potted his first goal of the season after making a couple of nice moves at the blue line. Colin White and Matthew Gaudreau recorded their second assists in as many games. Other then killing off a Travis Jeke penalty late in the stanza, BC didn't do much to separate themselves from the pesky Black Bears after a period of play, much like Tuesday night vs UMass.
The second period was probably one of the longest periods of hockey I have ever witnessed. In total, there were four misconducts and one player was ejected. In the opening minutes, the Eagles came down on an odd man rush but after White just missed on a quality chance, he bumped into the Maine goaltender which resulted in another Black Bear power play. I understand why the refs have to make those type of calls but when a player cannot physically stop himself from making contact with the goalie, should it really be a penalty? I don't know. A few minutes after the penalty, Maine's Josh Perez cross-checked Zach Sanford from behind in BC's zone which prompted everybody to lose their minds. Sanford and McCoshen were handed misconducts for the Eagles while Mark Hamilton and Perez were handed the same punishment for the Black Bears. Perez was the only one tossed from the game. As a result, BC was given a two minute power play (because the original penalty was on Maine) but they couldn't muster much of anything, an unfortunate theme for most of the night. As we talked about in the preview, when teams try to go after BC, the Eagles aren't going to just lay back and let it happen. They've got a little bit of nasty in them this season and they most certainly won't let a team like Maine come in here and try to knock them around.
I thought the final period was one of BC's best defensive efforts so far this year. I think a lot of people in the rink were surprised it even was a one goal game at that point but the home team certainly did not let things get any closer that that. With all the penalties at the end of the second, the refs were looking to call anything borderline and that resulted in three third period power plays for the Black Bears. But, as they have done all season, BC's penalty kill came up in the clutch, preventing Maine from putting anything on the scoreboard.
Looking back on this game, I think it's apparent that BC can play at a much higher level, especially on the offensive side of things. Twenty nine shots vs a relatively below average Maine team is not what this team should be striving for but you have to give their goaltender Rob McGovern a lot of credit. Maine did an exceptional job of shutting down BC's top trio of Miles Wood, Austin Cangelosi, and Chris Calnan, all of whom were held off the scoresheet for the first time since the RPI game. The Eagles put a lot of pressure on Maine's defense, especially at the blue line, but they did not give BC as many 2 on 1's or 3 on 2's as the Eagles were hoping for. I thought Alex Tuch, Zach Sanford, and Adam Gilmour played very well in their own end. Tuch, who scored his first goal of the season on an empty netter, made a couple of key blocks on the penalty kill immediately after White scored to make it 2-0. Gilmour made perhaps the play of the night when he stopped what would have been a three on one for the Black Bears midway through the third period. Colin White was BC's best forward for a second consecutive game, recording a goal and an assist which catapults him into the team points lead (10). He plays a very intelligent brand of hockey and is proving to be an invaluable asset on both the power play and penalty kill. White's linemate, Matty Gaudreau, continues to quietly produce as he has now recorded four points in the past three games. Gaudreau is just another player who has taken his game up two or three notches this fall. Playing with a guy like White helps but Matty G looks more confident with the puck as each game passes which is key for a BC squad that will be looking for production out of him come March and April.
Tomorrow certainly presents itself a prototypical trap game. One team is flying high off of six straight victories while the other is still looking for their first of the season. I expect BC's offense to play little better with their top playmaker (Fitzgerald) back in the lineup but it will be interesting to see if Demko can stay fresh after two games in a span of four nights. He certainly hasn't looked out of sorts at any point this season.
Why BC Won-
1. Demko's just a brick wall back there. One way or another, he makes save after save. It's ridiculous.
2. Penalty kill was buzzing. Coach Ayers' unit held the Black Bears without a goal on six attempts. Tuch, Calnan, and Gilmour all had great defensive games.
3. White is budding into a superstar. Obviously I am biased but if you ask me, we have the top three players in this league in Demko, Wood, and White.
1. Power play struggled. In the second period, they started going with set units which resulted in more chances but McGovern stood tall in-between the pipes.
2. I don't think they played a terrific game by any means and a lot of that has to do with Maine. However, a so-so game last season meant a 3-0 loss. This year, it's a 3-0 win.
Player of the game- Demko
Next- Maine tomorrow at 1 PM.