Sunday, January 24, 2016
Another Three Point Weekend
UConn controlled the first fifteen minutes of the game and finally broke through when Jesse Schwartz fired home a redirected Derek Pratt point shot. For whatever reason, BC just forgot about Schwartz who was camped out in front of Thatcher Demko and once the puck came to him, he was able to roof one top shelf. Perhaps the best part of the night for BC was how well the fourth line played as Travis Jeke notched his second goal of the season to even the score late in the opening stanza. With Steve Santini going down to injury (we'll get to that), the staff had to rearrange the lines and the bottom trio did not get much time in the third period but I thought they played hard all weekend.
If there was one Eagle who stood out tonight, it was Alex Tuch. I would go so far as to say it was his best game in a BC uniform- he absolutely dominated every shift he was out there. Make that two nights in a row where he has bombed one home from just inside the circle, a play BC fans have become familiar with over these past two seasons. The only problem for Tuch was that he and Zach Sanford could never get accustomed to having one linemate because once Doherty went back to the blue line, the staff had to rotate both of those into the fourth line and it became somewhat of a mess. Needless to say, they can't afford to lose Santini and Casey Fitzgerald against Notre Dame and Harvard.
BC had a chance to take a two goal lead after Colin White tipped home a puck in front of the net during a delayed penalty on UConn but they were unable to capitalize on the ensuing power play. Unlike earlier in the year when BC wasn't getting any looks on the man advantage, I thought they moved the puck around well and tested sophomore goalie Tanner Creel but weren't able to get out to that all important two goal advantage. With it being a one goal game heading into the third period, you knew Cav and company were going to find a way to come out with a point or two and honestly, they played well enough to get the victory. With just over 9 minutes to play, Austin Cangelosi took a tripping penalty behind the BC net and the Huskies capitalized when Max Letunov banged home a Tage Thompson pass, which would end up being the game's final tally. BC did a better job of staying out of the box and avoiding dumb penalties and this wasn't one of those unnecessary infractions away from the puck so all you can do is tip your cap to UConn.
The Eagles controlled the overtime period, headlined by a prime scoring chance from Ryan Fitzgerald, but Creel stood tall and the Huskies came away with a huge road point.
Overall, I don't think anyone can be "upset" at the result given how well UConn played and the fact that both teams were without some of their best players. When fully healthy, BC is one of, if not the best, team in the country but when they're missing two top guys like Santini and Fitzgerald, every night is going be a grind. I didn't see what happened to Santini but I saw them looking somewhere around his neck and shoulder on the bench. Coach York said the junior out of Mahopac, New York would be evaluated today. Outside of Tuch and Sanford, I didn't think many guys played at the top of their games but with all the mixing and matching of lines, that is to be expected. They have their two biggest games of the season coming up, staring next Friday night @ Notre Dame so hopefully they can get healthy.
1. Alex Tuch was a monster. Totally different player from earlier in the season.
2. I like the way BC fought through the injuries. They could have packed it in and said it was UConn's night but instead they came away with a point and moved up a spot (7th) in the pairwise.
1. There were too many players who looked off. It wasn't a "letdown" but not all the pieces were there and they won't be able to beat Notre Dame if they can't get everyone on the same page.
Note- No update on Santini yet.