Hockey Banter, Week XV: The Schedule Softens

via @BCHockeyNews

This week we look back on the split with UNH, look ahead to UMass & Northeastern, and marvel at the Scorched Earth tour of the women's hockey team.

Joseph Gravellese: So, you know how I know we're getting really close to The Games That Matter?

Grant Salzano: How do you know?

JG: I Know because I left Saturday night's game so pissed off that I wanted to punch a wall. Games against UMass-Lowell in November don't do that to me, that's for sure.

GS: Ah yes. That feeling. I've missed that feeling. It's funny you say that though because I *didn't* feel that way.

I was annoyed that we didn't win but it felt like a decent split against a good team.

JG: I wasn't pissed at the team for their performance. Matheson, maybe, for getting ejected again. but I was pissed that we lost. And I'm still angry about Goumas.

With a little perspective from the car ride home I came eto the conclusion that I was very happy with the split. I definitely would have taken two points on the weekend if you'd asked me about it beforehand.

GS: Okay. Goumas. One of two things had to have been true there:

1) He was really hurt up high, and as such should have gone to the quiet room for concussion tests.
2) He was faking.

HE WAS FAKING.

JG: VERY, VERY FAKING.

They had already called a penalty, and he was staying down to try to get someone ejected from the game. That's shameless.

GS: There's not too much I can say about that other than it was horrible, and the dive he took to earn the 5 on 3 was Terrierable.

JG: It was almost like rubbing BC's nose in it that not only was he out there looking good on the ensuing power play, but he took a nosedive to draw a BS penalty to put UNH up 5-on-3.

Just to put the cap on it. And of course, the officials bit on the whole thing.

GS: Dumb. But what are you going to do. I thought we played well. I care more about that than anything.

JG: I agree. If you take out the second period, it was a pretty decent road performance on a big ice that, this year anyway, doesn't suit our game.

Especially given that we were down an additional d-man for most of the game once Matheson got tossed.

GS: AGAIN.

I'm more upset that I had to watch BC struggle down a D-man again for an entire period, just like the Yale game, than I am upset at Matheson.

We'd better not get any further injuries to the D.

JG: I was terrified to see Wey have to go to the bench for a few minutes after getting slashed in the wrist. He's pretty much #3 at this point on the list of people we can't afford to lose.

GS: Speaking of people we can't lose, Johnny didn't make the scoresheet but, at least according to my eyes, he was flying. Almost had a couple breakaway goals.

JG: It was kind of funny that he tried the same move on DeSmith on a breakaway that he scored with on Friday. Some people criticized him for it, including some of the UNH and BC fans around me at the game. But game theory suggests it's not the worst idea.

GS: Plus you aren't exactly given a 30 second timeout to decide what play to make.

JG: That too. It always amazes me that anything other than HOLY CRAP SHOOT happens on breakaways. (Except when it's Daniel Paille for the Bruins, then that's pretty much what always happens.)

Friday night was really nice to see after the recent slumpish games. They really dominated UNH in just about every facet of the game, despite being outshot.

GS: Yeah that was a much needed effort. It numbed the pain of the loss Saturday because I thought they did play really well overall throughout the weekend.

Gaudreau really came back like a man possessed.

JG: Yes he did, and made it crystal clear that he's college hockey's most indispensable player. Though it should be said that the second line had a huge night, which is critical.

Having Gaudreau back to complete the top 6 and make both lines stronger definitely contributed to that.

GS: If Gaudreau plays well and the 2nd line ALSO plays well, forget it.

JG: We need all six of those guys firing, at this point. There's no two ways about it. Unless the bottom six gets a lot better offensively, in a serious hurry.

GS: I think we're at the point where we should probably stop expecting too much from them. They have their roles. We are tied for 1st in the Pairwise with these guys playing in their roles and playing them well.

Put another way -- this team isn't winning a national championship just because Brooks Dyroff is able to put a couple more goals in.

JG: Though that was a nice snipe by him on Friday night. He whacked that thing like he was hitting off a tee in the driving range.

GS: This team is living or dying on the success of those top two lines' scoring and the bottom two lines locking down. It's time we embrace it.

JG: As you mentioned, BC retains the #1 spot in the PWR. Tied with UNH and Quinnipiac. That's a nice spot to be in with the schedule about to lighten up.

GS: Absolutely. It'll be nice not having top end talent as our opponent for once. It feels like months since that's happened. Huntsville doesn't count.

JG: Alright, so I don't even want to think like this too much, but how concerned are you about the fact that York is missing another weekend?

GS: Uhhhhh... I'm really not sure. I wish I knew more about detached retinae (did I do that right?). BC's release made it sound like it was a planned follow-up, but I guess we don't really know, do we?

JG: And I'm sure it's by design. I was told by several people that this is a normal thing that happens, so I'm going with that. But it's definitely concerning. The team is in good hands, but it would be really bad news if there were any more complications or follow-ups necessary. Let's just hope for the best, and Respect His Privacy (TM).

Of course the worst thing about this is that lots of people who bought tickets to see a sold-out night honoring Jerry York are now just going to a game against UMass. Hahaha...it's like getting Punk'd.

GS: Oh well. At least they get to watch a BC hockey game. It's not like they got totally jipped.

UMass and Northeastern, by the way, still kinda stink. I would be very surprised with anything other than four points this weeked. Even with Matthews Arena being out house of horrors. Northeastern is just terrible right now.

JG: I'm going to say our chances are improved since I'm not going to be in attendance, hopefully that solves the Matthews jinx. UMass and Northeastern are bad but they always give us their A+ game, especially NU at Matthews. I'm not going so far as to predict a weekend sweep. I'll be content with three points and no more ejections.

GS: Stop for a second.

Would you really be content tying UMass or Northeastern?

JG: I'd be angry, at the time.

But when we're sitting down doing this next week, if I'm looking back on a three point weekend, I'm content with it, yes.

Because it means we either:

1) Tied UMass at home? WTF!!! and then recovered to win at a place we almost always lose.

or,

2) Took care of business and beat UMass at home to continue our winning ways at Conte, and then picked up a draw at a place we usually lose.

GS: I would be angry at the time and also following the time. If we're a Natty caliber team, we need to take these games we're supposed to take. Especially with this weak upcoming schedule. Bad ties or losses are going to destroy our PWR standing.

JG: Obviously I'm hoping for the four points, I'm just not getting greedy. We don't know if this is a national championship caliber team yet, and we also don't know if they're fully out of this Funk Of Sorts, yet.

GS: The women continued their scorched-earth tour of America If Not The World last weekend by utterly pancaking Vermont and then winning a thriller against #4 Cornell. Two big ones this weekend at #7 Mercyhurst.

Prediction?

JG: I think they win both. But let me first reflect on Sunday.

What a game. BC's down one with under a minute left. I spent most of the afternoon bopping back and forth between my laptop and a family party in the living room where everyone was watching the Falcons game. I didn't want to be too antisocial, so I missed watching most of the game, but I tuned in for the end and was just pumped to see Haley Skarupa tie it up late, thinking at least the unbeaten streak will continue.

Then when Emily Field broke in and ripped home the game winner, I shouted. Not like, the twitter ALL CAPS e-shouting I usually do after goals, but actually shouted in my living room amongst a room full of confused people watching football. This team really has something special going on right now.

They are just a joy to watch. You can't take your eyes off the game for a minute because every line is a threat to pump shot after shot on goal.

GS: You're spot on in that they are just such an enjoyable team to watch. They're an offensive juggernaut.

I watched the Cornell game from tape to tape and it was one of the best I've seen in years.

JG: From what I saw, it was a level of women's hockey we rarely see in Conte. Cornell is a truly elite team -- and so is BC.

GS: On your prediction, I agree with you (shocker). I think BC takes both games this weekend. I'm traditionally very low on Mercyhurst, who plays in a terrible conference and makes a living beating up on some really bad hockey teams. But I'm even more down on them this year than usual.

BC should really handle this team, despite both games being on the road.

JG: Absolutely. Plus I'm still annoyed about when Mercyhurst beat us in OT at home last year for that game you came up for, when we outshot them like 51-25 but still lost. Remember that? That sucked.

GS: It did suck. But given how much better we are this year and that Mercyhurst is a bit worse -- this should be a good weekend for us I think.

Wow I can't believe we outshot them like that, even last year. This year we've been outshooting people so much it's not even fair.

JG: The interesting battle is the battle to be BC's top scorer. Skarupa has taken a one point lead, 39 to 38. But Carpenter has that long streak going.

GS: What a problem to have, huh?! Skarupa is tearing it up with now as much as almost anyone in the country -- including Minnesotans (well, kind of) -- and Carpenter just can't keep herself off the scoresheet.

JG: That would be nice.

On we go! And be on the lookout for some great hockey content soon, including an appeal to raise money for CEO4Teens whenever Dyroff gets on the scoresheet, a look at BC hockey alumni around the pros as the NHL gets underway (!!!) and of course, coverage of all this weekend's games.

GS: HOCKEY! I'm glad it's not break anymore.

That should just about wrap things up this week. Hopefully we've got four big wins to talk about next week.

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