On this sad day in Boston College athletics, the games certainly feel small. But as always, the games go on.
For the Boston College men's hockey team, that means a difficult road trip to Burlington, Vermont to take on the resurgent, #12 Vermont Catamounts, bouncing back from two terrible seasons with a campaign that has them in the mix to return to the NCAA tournament.
BC Roster Notes
Ian McCoshen is back after missing three games. His return will allow Danny Linell to slot back in at forward.
Game Time: 7:00 PM
TV: UVMAthletics.com live stream (free)
Radio: WEEI 850 AM and BCEagles.com
Record: BC: 22-4-3..... UVM: 15-9-3
KRACH: BC: #1.... UVM: #12
BC:127 GF (1st in HEA), 61 GA (4th in HEA), +56 (1st in HEA)
UVM:78 GF (8th in HEA), 60 GA (3rd in HEA), +18 (6th in HEA)
Last Time Out: BC defeated NU Monday night 4-1 to win the Beanpot. UVM is coming off an impressive two-game sweep at UNH.
Storylines: BC's "magic number" to eliminate UMass-Lowell and clinch the Hockey East regular season title is 4 points - either 2-0 on the weekend, or 1-1 with a Lowell loss to UMass-Amherst. Also, Johnny Gaudreau brings his 24-game point streak into the house of one of the nation's toughest defenses.
Fun Fact: Vermont's last 0-2 weekend was Nov. 15-16 in a two-game sweep at the hands of Providence.
Players to watch: Vermont's leading scorer, senior Chris McCarthy, has 31 points on the year. Freshman Mario Puskarich has added some punch to UVM"s offense with a 13-13--26 line.
Can Thatcher Demko keep up his stellar play between the pipes? Will this be the weekend BC locks down more hardware? How well will McCoshen work back in with the defense and Linell with the forwards?
Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes
In Hockey East, Notre Dame travels to Providence in a matchup of two teams badly in need of points. Meanwhile, UMass-Lowell looks to keep the regular season league title race alive with a home game against UMass-Amherst.
Out of conference, Quinnipiac faces Yale in the biggest game of the night. While the Q remains in contention for a 1-seed, Yale is simply clinging to hopes of returning to the NCAA tournament; a win over their rivals would go a long way toward moving them on to the right side of the tournament bubble.
Minnesota hosts Michigan in a B1G matchup.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
I haven't been to Burlington since the fall of 2009, when I enjoyed a pre-game trip to the Vermont Pub and Brewery, with a massive in-house beer selection. Burlington is a great town with lots to see and do, and would be well worth doing the two-game trip some time (even though I'm not a huge fan of the actual arena).
Joseph Gravellese -
Vermont brings to the table one of the nation's top defenses. (Though, suddenly, so does BC.) They have been remarkably consistent, which has allowed them to plow up the rankings despite never really jumping out at you with results; they've not been swept in a weekend series since November, and I don't suspect that will start now at home.
BC is too mentally tough of a team to have a "Beanpot letdown," I think. Any thoughts the team may have had about their ability to just show up, go through the motions and win certainly disappeared on Black Friday and their hunger in each game since has been evident.
Both teams will play well this weekend and I'm going to predict a split. FRIDAY: 3-2 BC. SATURDAY: 3-1 Vermont.
Grant Salzano -
A pair of 3-0 victories for BC.
Dan Rubin -
BC 4-2 and Vermont in an upset, 3-2. BC needs to lose before hockey east playoffs and coming out of the beanpot this is it.
Also - Vermont is a weird state.
I agree with Dan, I think the streak ends this weekend.
Vermont wins tonight 3-2 and BC wins tomorrow night 3-2.
AJ Black -
UVM 3 BC 2 on Friday. BC 6 UVM 1 on Saturday.
BCI Prediction Standings
5 points for a correct prediction, minus one point for how far off you were from the victory margin. i.e., predicting a 4-goal win and it ends up being a 2-goal win = 3 points. Also, 1 bonus point for getting a team's score correct. Enter this week's contest by leaving your predictions in the comments.
THE BEANPOT CHALLENGE also featured bonus points for picking the Eberly Trophy winner and the Beanpot MVP, as well as all four games.
And the winner of the Beanpot Challenge is...
AJ BLACK with 21 points. We had a lot of entries and a few close calls (giantsfan428 ended with a near-miss 20 points) but AJ got the win, largely on the strength of correctly picking Hayes as MVP and Demko as Eberly (5 points each). He also nailed the 3-goal BC win in the final and got all four games correct. Congrats!
Grant - 3.5 wins (Week 5, Week 9, Week 11, Week 12 (tie))
Brian - 3 wins (Week 3 tie, Week 4, Week 6 1/2, Week 14 (tie))
Joe - 2.5 wins (Week 1, Week 7, Week 15 (tie))
AJ - 2 wins (Week 3 (tie), Week 14 (tie), Week 16)
ACal6888: 1 win (Week 10)
giantsfan428: 1 win (Week 8)
Conrad - 1 win (Week 2)
BCEagle74 - 1 win (Week 13)
BCJacket5 - 1 win (Week 6)
JCNG - 1 win (Week 12 (tie), Week 15 (tie))
Leave your thoughts on the game below and see if you can climb up the BCI leaderboard, to win all sorts of fabulous invisible prizes. Actually, you know what, I'm making up a prize, right now. The winner of the BCI prediction game for the season gets a 15 minute interview done by New Guy on BCInterruption Radio at the end of the season. Yes, New Guy, I'm committing your time and your studio technology without your permission. Go Eagles!