What is it with BC and midseason slumps? It seems every year we go through a stretch where it just seems like nothing can go right. Tonight was more of the same as BC fell to Michigan in the Great Lakes Invitational semifinals, 4-2.
There were a lot of glaring issues in this game. First, the team didn't show up to play in the first period. BC once again played from behind most of the game -- not a formula for winning hockey. Michigan scored early, just a minute and a half into the game, to go up 1-0, and scored again on a 5 on 3 late in the period to head into the locker room 2-0.
BC thought it would be a good idea to show up for the 2nd, and show up they did. In what was, for the most part, an absolutely sparkling period for the Eagles, BC roared back to tie the game. First, on easily the best shift of the game, BC managed to get the puck in the net after a full minute or two of possession in the Michigan zone. The Wolverines were completely gassed by the time the rubber hit the twine, and those on the ice were only too happy to take a seat. A few minutes later, BC got the equalizer on a power play.
Unfortunately, late in the third period, Michigan scored on a 2 on 1 break completely against the run of play to retake the lead for good at 3-2. The Wolverines iced it with an empty netter in the third.
Those odd-man rushes were really the story of the game. It's partially a product of BC's up-tempo style of play, but it just seemed like Michigan had a 2 on 1 or a clean breakaway every minute or two of this game. It was a theme all night and was the primary reason we lost the game. The biggest goals of the game - the first and third ones - were both the result of Michigan 2 on 1s.
Aside from those goals and the goal Michigan scored on the two-man advantage, Billett was superb. I know, I know, it's a classic "other than those times he wasn't good, he was really good." But the fact of the matter is, without Billett in net, BC probably loses this game by a lot more. His rebounds were also much improved - much, much improved - though the second goal was a direct result of a bad rebound bouncing two feet from the goal line in the blue of the crease... *Facepalm*.
Less seasoned BC fans might start to get worried about the team right now, going 4-6-0 since mid-November, and no one would blame them. It can get frustrating. But this is pretty much par for the course for Boston College. Start out strong, go through a mind-knumbing mid-season stretch where we are frustrated at times and God-awful at others, and then go on a huge 2nd half run. BC actually looked like a national championship team for the first 16 minutes of the 2nd period, so it's clear the talent is there. Also, the addition of Bill Arnold, who is representing the USA in World Juniors, would definitely have helped.
Oh, and by the way... BC is somehow *still* ranked #3 in the pairwise rankings after the loss today.
BC plays Michigan Tech (Really? Michigan Tech?) in the GLI Consolation Game tomorrow afternoon.