Todd Huxley Smith
#1 Boston College men's hockey and #6 Boston College women's hockey both won huge games against top competition.
Whew. All kinds of stress tonight for Eagle nation.
The ladies came into the night off a loss to a Minnesota-Duluth team that was unranked, but a traditional powerhouse. A split was absolutely necessary to keep the season from going into total panic mode. As the only two games against western competition, BC really needed to make their mark on the west for the pairwise points.
Despite the loss last night, BC managed to split the weekend by pulling off a solid come-from-behind victory tonight. After going behind 1-0 to the Bulldogs early, two goals in the second period from Skarupa and Motherwell put the Eagles ahead. A third period goal from Carpenter on the power play to start the third period put the game out of reach, and the Eagles would hold on to win 3-2.
Skarupa leads the team in shots and scoring as a freshman and appears to be the real deal. Good to see the top players produce to get the win, but BC still has a losing record and has a huge weekend against Boston University next week. The Terriers are ranked #3 in the country and took the first game of the season against BC.
Split weekends aren't going to turn the season around. Anything less than a sweep, and there will continue to be plenty of concern on the Heights.
The men didn't need to come from behind tonight, but there was no shortage of stress.
BC faced off against #11 UMass-Lowell on the road at Tsongas Arena, which, as Joe puts it, "has been a black hole where BC momentum goes to die." The game stayed scoreless through two periods, in a game that Joe summed up pretty well in the second intermission:
There wasn't really much to say beyond that. Milner and Carr were both sharp, and there were few, if any, odd-man rushes for either team.
Finally, BC broke through in the third period when Stephen Whitney put home a feed from Johnny Gaudreau (who now has at least one point in every game this season) to net the one and only goal of the game. BC managed the rest of the game pretty well until a Lowell flurry with the extra attacker, but that was all she wrote. It was a big win against a very good team in a building that has given us fits of late -- not much more you could ask for.
There were a few things of note in this one:
1) BC didn't get a single power play in this game. This wasn't a result of bad refereeing -- just good discipline from Lowell, really. It was a clean, well-played game by both sides.
2) On the other side of things, BC was 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Two of the penalties were a direct result of Doherty having some freshman moments getting burned to the net by the same Riverhawk, but the BC penalty kill looked fantastic and only got better as the game went on.
3) BC got wildly outshot in this game, a stunning 38-20. I don't remember the last time BC got outshot so badly. You can't really blame it on killing penalties -- there were only four, and we probably had the puck as much as they did during them -- but it was, to be frank, a bit of a concerning day for the offense. The vast, vast majority of shots came from wide of the faceoff circles, rather than the high-quality plays to the slot we were accustomed to seeing during the 19 game run last year.
But, we can nitpick all we want. Milner got his second shutout, and the biggest question mark going into the season, the defense, has played really rather well. We're going to need to get some scoring from the lower lines to sustain success, but there is plenty of time to shuffle lines and find chemistry.
The Eagles and Riverhawks have the day off tomorrow before coming to Conte Forum Sunday at 4pm to wrap up the weekend series. A win to clinch the season series against the consensus #2 team in the conference would be huge after a less-than-perfect, but nonetheless successful, start to the season.