Monday, December 7, 2015

York Magic

Matty Gaudreau had the game winner for BC.
Hockey is a funny game because momentum can shift within a matter of minutes, perhaps even seconds. For the first five periods between last night and this afternoon, the Northeastern Huskies, a team trying to salvage its season, dominated the Eagles, but thanks to an incredible third period, BC was able to escape with a massive victory. I don't care what anyone says about BC's schedule- winning in this league is tough and when it comes to Northeastern, no matter how good or bad they may be, BC always seems to have a difficult time. You have to give the Huskies a ton of credit for the way they battled, especially given the fact that they were without two of their top nine forwards. I could not have been more impressed with the way they played in their own end for the first two periods of tonight's game as BC couldn't generate any offense, especially in the middle of the offensive zone. The Eagles like to work the puck down low behind the net before coming out and attempting one-timers from the slot but they didn't do that once all game thanks to NU's defensive prowess in the early goings.

The penalties, once again, were a huge problem. On Friday, the majority of the calls against BC were obvious and could not be debated but tonight, that was not the case. The cross checking call on Steven Santini was a complete joke, Northeastern slashed BC's guys the entire game but only Tuch gets whistled for it? The linesman called BC for too many men but when Northeastern had six guys on the ice it somehow went unnoticed. Trust me, I have made a significant effort over the past year to clean up my comments about the officials but when BC has three powers play (one lasted 5 seconds) and NU gets ten in a span of two games, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. NU clearly made some adjustments to their power play. The Eagles scored their second shorthanded goal of the weekend when Ryan Fitzgerald pounced on a turnover in the NU end but shortly after, the Huskies potted their power play goal. It looked like BC was scrambling around the zone and were unable to get a clear which led to another pretty passing play, giving the Huskies a 3-1 edge heading into the third.

I'll be perfectly honest with you- I didn't think BC had a shot to win that game heading into the final period. NU appeared to be the faster, more determined team throughout the weekend and there wasn't any reason to believe the Eagles would right the ship before it got too late. The thought of some York magic never crossed my mind. Mistake.

The box score says BC outshot the Huskies 13-9 over the course of the final period but I can't remember one "grade A'  chance NU registered. The Eagles defense kept all shots to the outside, and once they were able to transition through the neutral zone, they started to post some high quality chances. Josh Couturier released a bomb to make it a one goal game before Alex Tuch posted an outstanding individual effort the knot the game at three. BC had a lot of guys that played well in the third but there are three I want to point out. Tuch's past six games have been leaps and bounds better than what we saw earlier in the season. It's not just the production- he looks locked in and ready to go every shift, he's playing physical along the boards, and he's becoming someone the staff can rely on in the defensive zone. Anybody want to take a guess as to who the only BC players to have a plus minus over +1 were? If you guessed Couturier and Savage, you are correct. Some fans were questioning whether or not Couturier could come in and play top six minutes right off the bat but he has exceeded everybody's expectations. His partner, Scott Savage, has been BC's most improved defensemen from last March to now. His decision making has been superb, he's making plays at offensive blue line (assist on game winner), and is improving in the defensive end.

All in all, that is a heck of win for the maroon and gold. With the Fighting Cavs picking up a sweep over Lowell, BC is now just two points out of first place with four games in hand on the River Hawks. That being said, there is a ton of room for improvement. One issue I have not discussed all season is face-offs. BC gave up two goals this weekend right after losing a defensive zone draw but not all the blame falls on the shoulders of the centremen. Today's goal (NU's first) was a shot that should have been blocked at one point or another. They have too much speed and skill not to attack the point which would inevitably lead to more odd man rushes the other way. Onto Notre Dame. Huge game.

Why BC won- 

1. Matthew Gaudreau has been unreal. Who is the last BC forward to improve so much from year to year. It is incredible what Matty has accomplished thus far.

2. Tuch-Sanford-Gilmour line had a fantastic weekend. Nobody played as well as those three did, particularly Tuch who I thought was the best player on the ice.

3. Couturier and Savage stepped up. Awesome game by both of those guys. Must have been nice for Couturier to notch a goal versus the team he was previously committed to.


1. Penalties. We've been over it a million times. They'll figure it out.

2. Face-offs. I can't find the exact numbers but they could not have been pretty.


1. Calnan did not play but I don't think he did any more damage to his shoulder. Should be okay.

2. Jeremy Bracco was not named to the US World Jr team camp roster. No comment from blogger.

Player of the game- Alex Tuch

Next- Notre Dame on Thursday.


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