With their shiny new Three Rivers Classic Championship trophy in tow, the Eagles resume the heavy duty work of Hockey East play tomorrow night, taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Fenway Park. As the second half of the season gets underway, BC will be riding a little bit of momentum in the form of a four game winning streak, with a sweep over UNH right before the break, and wins over Bowling Green and Penn State last weekend.
BC Roster Notes
Apparently, there's a scramble to try to get Steve Santini, Ian McCoshen, Thatcher Demko and assistant coach Greg Brown back in time from the US's bounced World Juniors squad to participate in tomorrow night's game, but the difficulty of flying into Boston today is adding another wrinkle. Presumably, Notre Dame is also trying to get DiPauli and Hinastroza back from Sweden as well.
The big question is now, if everyone is back, who sits on defense? As far as I'm concerned, you can't sit Teddy Doherty after he stepped into the lineup and produced in each of the last four games. So who sits? Based on the way the staff has managed the roster thus far, I'm going to guess Savage. The other question is who plays in net. Even if Demko's back, I'm thinking Billett will get the start on the heels of his Hockey East award for best goaltender in December. Then they can resume the rotation next weekend with a series vs. PC and Brown.
Projected Lines (if the players are back)
(if the defensemen aren't back):
Game Time: 7:30 PM
TV: NESN in New England; NBC Sports Network nationally
Radio: WEEI 850 AM and BCEagles.com
Record: BC: 12-4-2.... ND: 10-7-1
KRACH: BC #5.... ND #14
BC:80 GF (1st in HEA).... 41 GA (7th in HEA).... +39 GD (1st in HEA)
ND: 54 GF (7th in HEA).... 38 GA (T-4th in HEA).... +16 GD (5th in HEA)
Last Time Out: BC swept through a weekend tournament, beating Bowling Green 5-0 and Penn State 8-2. Notre Dame hasn't played since a weekend split with UMass on Dec. 6-7.
Common Foes: Notre Dame and BC share three common opponents so far - UMass, NU and Minnesota. ND went a combined 2-3 against those teams. BC went 3-1-2.
Storylines: With the outdoor hoopla surrounding this game, it's safe to say this won't be a usual game, but it will be an important one for both teams as they get the second half under way.
Fun Fact: Each of the last two times BC played in an outdoor game, they went on to win the National Championship.
Players to watch: If they're back, Tommy DiPauli and Vince Hinastroza are electrifying young players for Notre Dame who just starred for the US at world juniors. T.J. Tynan and Mario Lucia are also among ND's high scorers.
Will the returning players from Sweden be back on time? Who will start in goal? Who will sit on defense after impressive performances in the absence of Santini and McCoshen?
Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes
College hockey is back! The other Hockey East tilt comes between Providence and Merrimack in the first half of the Frozen Fenway doubleheader. PC will certainly be hoping Gillies is able to go after losing to Air Force in his absence and fall from #1 to #4 in the PWR.
BU travels to Harvard in a matchup between two teams who could certainly use a lift. Vermont hosts defending national champions Yale with an opportunity to continue their strong season. For Yale, time is slipping away to put a jolt back into their title defense. They sit in 24th in the PWR despite a 7-3-3 record.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
It's Fenway, so there's an embarrassment of options and you can't really go wrong. Cask 'n Flagon is a Boston classic and odds are, if you're a Red Sox fan, you've been there before and don't need me to tell you about it. This summer I discovered that, despite being rather annoying after 9 PM or so, Jillian's is a great place to go pre-game before a Sox game as it's usually far less crowded than the Cask, Beer Works, Remy's etc. and has pretty good food at reasonable prices.
Really though, you can't go wrong just about anywhere around the park, unless you're lame and go to Bertucci's.
Boston College 5, Notre Dame 1
Optimism! I think BC jumps on the Irish early and keeps them out throughout. The Eagles are a superior team and will demonstrate as such. Obviously the outdoor element makes this game even harder to predict than a usual hockey game, but I feel confident that BC is ready to re-start the Hockey East season with a bang.
We're the second game but its going to be REALLY cold... I think the ice is better than we're expecting it to be. Not great but well playable. 4-1 BC, probably ENG.
BC 3, ND 2.
BC 5. ND 2
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.
Last week was a "special edition" for the tournament. If you have 1/2 teams right in the final, you get half-points for your score prediction. 0-of-2, you get nothing.
BC 5-BGSU 0
Penn St 3-RMU 2
BC 8-Penn St 2
Joe: BC 5-BGSU 2 (4 points).... PSU 3-RMU 2 (0 points, but I was so close!).... BC 4-RMU 3 (0 points) --> 4 points
Grant: BC 6-BDSU 2 (4 points).... PSU 3-RMU 2 (7 points, ugh)..... BC 7-PSU 0 (4 points)......-> 15 points
New Guy: BC 5-BGSU 3 (3 points)... RMU 3-PSU 1 (0 points).... BC 6-RMU 1 (2 points) ->5 points
Brian: BC 4-BGSU 2 (2 points).... PSU 5-RMU 4 (5 points).... BC 3-PSU 1 (1 point) ---> 8 points
BCMike22: BC 3-BGSU 1 (2 points)... PSU 3-RMU 2 (7 points).... BC 7-PSU 1 (5 points)---> 14 points
BCEagle74: BC 6-BGSU 0 (5 points).... No prediction on PSU-RMU, but had Penn State winning so let's say three points, because why not..... BC 4 PSU 2 (2 points)....->10 points
Grant wins, everyone run and hide.
Brian - 2.5 wins (Week 3 tie, Week 4, Week 6 1/2)
Joe - 2 wins (Week 1, Week 7)
Grant - 2 wins (Week 5, Week 8)
Conrad - 1 win (Week 2)
BCJacket5 - 1 win (Week 6)
AJ - 0.5 win (Week 3 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!