What is it with BC and midseason slumps? It seems every year we go through a stretch where it just seems like nothing can go right. Tonight was more of the same as BC fell to UMass 5-2 in our first home loss in over a calendar year.
There were a lot of glaring issues in this game. First, the team didn't show up to play in the first period. BC once again played from behind most of the game -- not a formula for winning hockey. UMass scored early, just 6 minutes into the game, to go up 1-0, and scored again late in the period to head into the locker room 2-0.
BC roared back to tie the game... Unfortunately, late in the third period, UMass scored completely against the run of play to retake the lead for good at 3-2. The Minutemen iced it with a couple late insurance goals for the 5-2 win.
Less seasoned BC fans might start to get worried about the team right now, going 3-4-2 since late-November, and no one would blame them. It can get frustrating. But this is pretty much par for the course for Boston College. Start out strong, go through a mind-knumbing mid-season stretch where we are frustrated at times and God-awful at others, and then go on a huge 2nd half run. BC actually made ANOTHER comeback after trailing early, so it's clear the talent is there.
Oh, and by the way... BC is somehow *still* ranked #4 in the Pairwise Rankings after the loss today.
BC plays Northeastern tomorrow at 7pm.
Sound familiar? Well it bloody well should. I typed nearly the exact same article one year ago after a similarly frustrating loss again Michigan. Lest we forget, Boston College hockey does this every single season, folks. How about another history lesson?
Need something to make you feel better? In the 2009-2010 season, BC went through an almost identical stretch where they went on a tear, going 6-0-1, only to go 2-5-0 over break. Two of the losses were to, barf, BU, plus we had a rough showing in the holiday tournament. Starting to sound familiar? That BC team went on to go 17-2-1 following that rough stretch, starting immediately after the break, including 12-0-1 in its last 13, to win the national championship. How about 2007-2008? A late mid-season 1-5-1 stretch didn't stop us on our way to a national championship that year as well. 2006-2007? A 2-4-0 midseason slump that "propelled" us to the national finals. What about 2005-2006? A late season brush with futility featuring a 4-7-1 record didn't manage to stop us from going to the championship game that season either. You get my point. These late- to mid- season slumps have become a bit of a calling card for Jerry York. Mix up the lines, find our balance, find out who plays well with who, and set yourself up for a run.
I'm sure it also helps dull the pain that, despite the slump, BC is still sitting as one of the four #1 seeds in the national tournament.
We can of course tack on to this the National Championship team of 2011-2012 that started out 8-1-0, had a lengthy 6-9-1 mid-season brush with futility where we looked lethargic at times and downright terrible at others.
The 2012-2013 campaign has started out remarkably similar to all of those other seasons. Great 10-1-0 start, followed by a 3-4-2 stretch where at times some fans with short-term memory spans wonder how in the world we could ever beat anyone again.
Those people seem to forget that this is the same team, the same roster, that has beaten Boston University (twice), New Hampshire, Notre Dame, Dartmouth, and Yale. Only a single team has more wins against Teams Under Consideration than us -- Quinnipiac. I hardly think a short stretch of suddenly terrible play is reason to think we're never going to beat another good team again.
If we aren't winning again by the Beanpot, maybe it'll be time to start to worry. But until then, we're deep into our annual slump where it doesn't look like we're ever going to win again.
Just remember -- it isn't going to last forever.