Now that we're off and running on the 2nd half of the college hockey season, it seems like as good a time as any to catch up on the world of BC hockey.
Rough Stretch: BC's most recent tie to dropping-like-a-brick Merrimack left us a Terrierable 5-6-1 (see what I did there?) since the beginning of November. This was after a stretch where we went 6-0-0 and looked like world beaters. Tying "The Mack" has done nothing at all to calm the concerns of fans who expect a pair of tallies in the win column each week, regardless of the opponent, and haven't gotten a two-win weekend since the Texas Rangers thought they still had a shot at winning the World Series.
Need something to make you feel better? In the 2009-2010 season, BC went through an almost identical stretch where they went on a tear, going 6-0-1, only to go 2-5-0 over break. Two of the losses were to, barf, BU, plus we had a rough showing in the holiday tournament. Starting to sound familiar? That BC team went on to go 17-2-1 following that rough stretch, starting immediately after the break, including 12-0-1 in its last 13, to win the national championship. How about 2007-2008? A late mid-season 1-5-1 stretch didn't stop us on our way to a national championship that year as well. 2006-2007? A 2-4-0 midseason slump that "propelled" us to the national finals. What about 2005-2006? A late season brush with futility featuring a 4-7-1 record didn't manage to stop us from going to the championship game that season either. You get my point. These late- to mid- season slumps have become a bit of a calling card for Jerry York. Mix up the lines, find our balance, find out who plays well with who, and set yourself up for a run.
I'm sure it also helps dull the pain that, despite the slump, BC is still sitting as one of the four #1 seeds in the national tournament.
Boston College Holiday Tournament: Brian broached this topic last week. A spirited twitter chat got us talking about a new idea: With all the outdoor hockey nonsense seemingly getting a bit too gimmicky, what might be needed for the "outdoor hockey" idea in general is to stop making it a gimmick and make it more of a tradition. Imagine Boston College hosting an annual hockey tournament at Alumni Stadium. Coach York knows the importance of bulking up BC's non-conference schedule. With this idea, he could truly pick and choose who gets on BC's schedule. Possibly hold the game just after break when the students come back with no finals on their plate or mounds of homework to keep them in their dorms. Talk about a "welcome back" party...
If done properly, an event like this could become an enormous success in short order. BC could engineer some pretty intense marquis matchups, perhaps annually bringing one team from each of "new" major conferences - NCHC, WCHA, and B1GHC.
Turning the game from a gimmick into a tradition could be just what the outdoor hockey fad needs, and there is no better place for an outdoor hockey game than Alumni Stadium. For one thing, the stands start about six feet off the ground, so there would be no issue with fans in the lower levels not being able to see gameplay because they are below the boards. Second, the seats are right on top of the field. And third, the sight lines for almost any seat in the house (don't even get me started on the first few rows of the upper deck... drool) would be good to excellent.
Maybe that's why Gene DeFilippo put so much effort into finding a new, more durable surface for Alumni Stadium!
Frozen Fenway 2.0 Jerseys: Yesterday, the @BCHockeyNews twitter account retweeted a comment noting that BC will be using more of a throwback jersey for this edition of Frozen Fenway. I will say right off the bat (HA, get it?!) that I really, really did not like the original Frozen Fenway jerseys. Yes, I like the idea of gold third jerseys for BC to use on (very) special occasions. But really, we just slapped the regular logo on there and called it a day?! If they had used our normal "BOSTON COLLEGE" font on the front and made them that color, I would have probably have had a much different opinion. But as it were, those jerseys just seemed thrown together for the sake of having a special jersey thrown together.
Now, these throwback jerseys we are supposedly using this weekend... *that's* what I'm talking about! If they do indeed go throwback, with the old-school font and all, put the ties on the neck, maybe throw in the old logo that was on there on the shoulder (okay, maybe I'm getting greedy...), we could be talking about a fantastic jersey. But, I'm cautiously optimistic. It's easy to mess up a throwback by not actually making it a throwback. If it's a true throwback jersey like the ones in the picture that was tweeted... I would do quite a bit to get my hands on one of those jerseys.
TV Coverage For Fenway: It baffles me that, to my knowledge, there is still, really, honestly, for real, not going to be TV coverage for this game. What?! A game between the two worst teams in the conference gets picked up by NESN and a battle between two schools that actually play in Boston isn't? Huh? Apparently BC's basketball game is on NESN at that time. Fine. No local coverage at all though? The ratings for this game just from Northeastern fans alone for their first game at Fenway should be enough to justify this one being televised.
From what I understand, the only way BC fans will be able to watch this game is to shell out the money to watch it via BC's website. So there's that. Yay? The most maddening thing about this is that Northeastern isn't/can't cover the game on their own feed! Their new online stream is 1) free and 2) absolutely *gorgeous* high-def quality. Why is BC able to stream this game online but Northeastern isn't on their *far* superior technology?
BC Hockey at UMass, Friday at 7pm: Before we get too into Frozen Fenway, we have a "normal" hockey game to deal with first. UMass is coming off an emotional overtime win against Vermont in their own edition of Frozen Fenway this past Saturday. A full week of prep for this game should yield very little hangover from their win, however.
The Zoo at the Mullins Center is always *packed* for games against BC (that is, until we hang 4 goals on them in the first period and the students all leave to drink away their sorrows). But, BC need only look back to the start of the very slump they're in to see that they need to take UMass seriously. UMass took that game 4-2 at the Mullins center and was the very first game in BC's current 5-6-1 stretch. But, I'm looking for a very strong effort for BC in this game. BC's power play has been struggling but has been showing signs of life for several games now. UMass is just the kind of weak team that could finally allow BC's power play and offence to stretch its legs and really get itself going again. BC takes this one, 5-1, with two power play goals.