Is it time to panic yet? Friday and Saturday, the University of Maine handed Boston College its first weekend sweep of the season.
Despite scoring 3 goals Friday and 4 goals Saturday, our best offensive outputs since December 6th against Providence, and being tied with just a few minutes to go in each game, BC couldn't salvage a single point on the weekend. The loss dropped us to 7th in the Pairwise Rankings.
I'm going to forego the usual goal-by-goal recap to talk about the big picture. It's safe to say that at 6-9-1 since early November, BC is in more than just a slump. That is some long-term futility. We have some specific issues on both offense and defense.
First, we are giving up way, way too many odd-man rushes. It seems like 75% of the goals we give up are the result of a 2 on 1 or a clean breakaway. These defensive mistakes (tonight's assist from the linesman notwithstanding) are absolutely killing us. And not that our goaltender situation is easy to figure out by any stretch of the imagination, but hanging your goaltender out to dry on a dozen odd-man rushes per game is not going to make anyone look like Tim Thomas. Our goalie rotation might be feeling a bit like Russian roulette lately, but ask yourself, how many soft goals have you seen? Not too many. Now, think back to how many times you've resorted to a facepalm after another ill-advised pinch at the point resulted in an all-too-easy breakaway goal. Yeah... now you're catching my drift.
Second, despite the extra production this weekend, our goals per game are way down. As the NESN announcers pointed out during the game today, that puts a lot of pressure on the goalie - whoever it happens to be in that particular game. It's easy for me to sit here and say "score more goals!!" But clearly it's been a problem. Where to begin? We have stretches of brilliance, but it often looks like we're just lackadaisically (thank you, spell check...) floating around trying to move the puck. Plus, we can't get the puck cleanly into our offensive zone to set anything up.
It's not a good combination... giving up prime scoring opportunities and not getting enough of our own. When BC has played at its best, it felt like we were one pass away from scoring throughout the entire game. Lately, every scoring chance has felt like a miracle.
It's not panic time yet, but it's getting close. We could be on the verge of either going on a rampage into the postseason like we usually do, or carrying this frustrating slump to the end and (worst case, yes) dropping out of consideration for NCAAs entirely like in 2009. I might lose my mind on twitter once or twice, but I won't be really worried until we get post-Beanpot. If we haven't had a 2-win weekend by then... it might be time to panic.
Why not start this weekend? BC comes back to Conte Forum on Friday for the first game in a home-and-home with New Hampshire. We're rumored to be wearing our new alternate jerseys on Friday... you know, the ones we have a perfect record in. At this point, anything less than a weekend sweep for the Eagles will keep the panic alive. Hopefully we're able to get something going to get a little momentum heading into the Beanpot.