Hockey Banter, Week II: On To The Next Rodent

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

After absolutely eviscerating the Badgers, BC heads to Mariucci Arena for two against the #1 team in the nation

Joseph Gravellese: While BU beating up on Wisconsin on Saturday night takes the tiniest bit of luster off of BC's 9-2 win over the "was #2, but not for long" Wisconsin Badgers... it doesn't take much of the luster off. That was as complete a performance as I've ever seen from the Eagles at Conte Forum. A complete masterpiece from start to finish -- and a game that changes the conversation about BC hockey at this point in the season.

Grant Salzano: It does change the conversation, but it's a subtle change -- now, I think, we're talking about "are these freshmen really this good and are we really this deep?" rather than "are the freshmen going to live up to the hype?"

The 13 players to score a goal in the last two games has to be a record. It absolutely has to, no?

JG: If it's not, I'd be surprised. I think what's most exciting about this is that Arnold and Gaudreau are united as a veteran-laden, savvy, and dangerous first line, without having to worry about not having scoring options on other lines.

That's just a matchup nightmare, even for the best teams. With Minnesota having last change this coming weekend, it will be interesting to see if they match up specifically against the Gaudreau line... or if they determine that trying to play that game against BC isn't worth it when they're coming at you with three lines who can score.

Actually, four lines, I should say, since Michael Sit scored his first career goal on Friday night to put a cherry on top of the rout.

GS: The thing that gets me is how remarkably similar Cangelosi is to Gaudreau. He is going to have a monster year.

He's small, quick, fast, fast, and fast. And an incredible puck handler.

JG: That was some kind of shift he had when he scored the two goals. Absolutely electric.

Cangelosi being on a line with Kevin Hayes has been excellent for both of them. Hayes has been immense so far and was a real playmaker on Friday night. He also has finishing ability that should help Cangelosi be a sparkplug offensively; having another creative freshman in Fitzgerald on that line could make them a fun one to watch.

GS: It appears York will be going straight-rotation with the goaltenders for the time being, which would mean first Demko and then Billett this weekend. Any issues with this?

JG: No. Especially now that they both have wins under their belts. Conrad's assessment of Billett on Friday was accurate; someone asked how Billett looked, and Conrad said "bored, mostly." You couldn't make a fair judgement based on that game.

I suspect if they both play against Minnesota, both will be tested.

GS: Yes, I agree. No need to make any big decision in goalies yet. Plus it's kind of nice having the luxury if keeping the guys fresh.

Poor Billett, he really could have taken a nap against Wisconsin if he wanted to.

I'm sure he's not complaining.

JG: With Sit scoring on Friday night, safe to say the fourth line has earned its place for next weekend, or do you expect changes?

I'm still on board with wanting to see Spiro play. But I'm predicting we will see the same lineup on Friday night, but swap in Demko for Billett.

GS: I'm at the point where I just throw up my hands and say "whatever." Everyone is contributing, so I think we'll be okay with whoever gets thrown out there.

I have to say I would like to see Spiro though, if I'm being honest.

JG: The biggest lineup shift that has made a difference so far has been putting both Santini and Savage into the lineup, which we didn't see in Michigan. Those two guys have really added a lot to the blue line for BC, offensively and defensively. Santini had another nice play on Friday for an assist, and Savage got on the board with a goal. But they aren't just puck movers, they're physical. That's something that was missing on the blue line for the most part last year and it's been a huge help.

Minnesota stayed unbeaten this weekend wth a sweep of Bemidji State, and was rewarded with the #1 ranking in the new poll that just dropped on Monday. BC is #5.

UMass-Lowell has tumbled almost completely out of the top 20 to 18th after being swept by Quinnipiac. It means nothing at this point in the season, but that is quite the impressive fall.

GS: Those rankings seem pretty accurate. What an opportunity for BC to go into the #1 team's arena for two games. No one is expecting BC to sweep, but boy what a statement that would be if they did.

And does anyone have nearly as difficult a schedule as BC to start the year? There can't possibly be anyone close to us in SOS -- #12, #16, #2, #1, #1... Uncle!

Even our opponent after Minnesota, Northeastern, cracked the USCHO Top 20.

But the chances of them staying there long term: Poor.

JG: This is definitely one of the toughest schedules I can remember any team having to start the season and the RPI boost from having such a strong strength of schedule should persist for quite some time, especially if BC can at least get a split out in Minnesota. Things soften up considerably on the nonconference front after this series, but still.

Minnesota is The Real Deal. They were The Real Deal last year, as our team found out all too dramatically in that rout last season in Minnesota. They're loaded all over the place and it will be a tough challenge for BC's young defense on the Olympic-sized ice surface.

GS: Sure will be. A sweep would be a great weekend. The high we're on right now from trucking Wisconsin will probably fade a little bit with a split, but that would still be a good result.

Having said that... Man, a sweep would be incredible for our pairwise down the road, particularly with how much the out-of-conference strength of schedule drops after this weekend.

JG: I'm going to disagree slightly. I think a split would maintain the positive vibes from last week and ensure a bevy of confidence going into conference play.

As long as one of the games isn't a repeat of last year's fiasco.

GS: What fiasco

JG: I see what you did there.

Last year in Minnesota really was the perfect storm of exposing how thin and weak our defense was. That situation only managed to repeat itself in several other big games, but Minnesota's speed, skill, bloodthirsty home crowd and revenge factor added up to it being the biggest exposure. Needless to say, this will be an instructive weekend.

And a televised one!

GS: Twice!

I am very excited. I love playing the Gophers. Usually after the game I hate them for a little bit, but I eventually come around.

JG: Gopher fans are probably going to hate us after the article I post midweek (teaser!) but it's all in fun. I love watching them play too and I can't wait for their return trip to Conte. Although given that it's Minnesota, expect them to hold off on this for as long as possible.

I should point out that Mariucci Arena is by far my favorite place I've ever gone to see an away sporting event. Just... mecca, if you're a hockey fan. If you're going out there this weekend: I'm jealous. Have an amazing time.

GS: Ditto. What an amazing venue.

Bite me, Wisco/NoDak elitists.

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