Same game story, different day. Despite the score being slightly different, you could basically take last night's game story, replace the goal scorers with Jon Swavely, Connor Leen, Jon Swavely again, and Pat Brown, and have a pretty good understanding of how the game went down. After a 4-1 win last night, Maine completed the sweep with a 3-1 takedown of BC.
It really was the same story. Maine capitalized on its chances, and BC couldn't buy a goal for all the tea in China (that's still a thing, right?). Brian Billett played fine in goal. He wasn't the problem. Then again, Parker Milner hasn't been the problem either. But we all know that.
Even the makeshift defense wasn't really the problem. Before the game it was announced the BC defenseman Colin Sullivan would be out with the dreaded "unspecified upper body injury" leaving us with just four defensemen in Isaac MacLeod, Teddy Doherty, Patrick Wey, and Travis Jeke. Coach took Steven Whitney off the top line and brought him back to the blue line.
There were a couple defensive miscues, sure, but again, it wasn't the reason we lost.
We lost because we can't score. That's not for lack of chances -- I think by the time we had our 3rd or 4th shorthanded chance I was nearing the point where I would have put my head through the drywall -- but everything is getting shot into the goalie's chest or ripped 30 feet wide or something.
John Gaudreau himself was kept off the scoreboard the whole weekend, prompting some taunting by a Maine player on twitter after the game. But at least half of our chances over the entire weekend series were from him. It was a continuation of the common theme -- Just Can't Find The Back Of The Net.
So now we move on in the hopes that next week's flip-of-the-calendar is enough to persuade Jerry and the team to flip The Switch.
A few random comments before we put this horrible weekend behind us:
-- This weekend was an example of how just a funny game hockey can be. BC didn't play bad this weekend at all, I thought. Not championship caliber, no, but not bad. The lack of continuity is to be expected from having completely makeshift lines thrown together when most other teams are in mid-season form. But the effort was there, and the energy was there... it's just that a pass just out of stride or an inability to send a blind pass to a teammate because the guy you're used to is on another line -- things like that, can have quite an effect on the flow of your game.
-- People calling out the team and saying they "suck" are completely misguided. There is talent on this team to make a deed run into the tournament, and once you hit the Frozen Four it's all about which team is hitting on all cylinders at the right time anyway. A reasonable argument can be made that this BC team does so well in the postseason not because they have the best talent in the country (though let's state the obvious here, it's clearly a big reason for it, duh) but because our coaching staff is one of the best in the country at getting our flow just right at the right time.
-- I am of the opinion that the talent is there for this team to make a run, and that all that's necessary is for everyone to hit their stride at the right time. But the common response I've been getting is "we're not as talented as last year." Is that the case? Yeah, probably. But even so -- just look at the Pairwise Rankings. Despite having not quite as good a team as last season (and I haven't even mentioned injuries once at this point) we're sitting in a tie for 5th in the rankings -- pretty much exactly where we were at this point last season, after hitting rock-bottom getting swept by these same Black Bears up in Orono. Clearly, if we're not as good as we were last year, neither is the rest of the country.
It took us until about 3 minutes to go in the following game against UNH last season until we finally started seeing some real signs of life. It can, and will happen.
Just remember. We've been saying all season that when the top two lines aren't on, this team is going to struggle.
Well, guess what? The top two lines aren't on. A shot just off target here, a pass too far in front of a linemate there... it all adds up to making us look like a pretty bad hockey team.
But it's January. we don't need our top lines to be on right now. Give it a few more weeks. Jerry's almost done tinkering with this club, and just about ready to start pumping the "prime" button on what will, in time, become a well-oiled machine. Because a well-oiled machine will perform better than a broken hot rod any day.
BC faces Vermont at Conte next Friday.