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Hockey Banter, Week I: And They're Off

In our first regular season hockey banter, we look back at RPI, Michigan, and the women's hockey sweep of St. Lawrence

Graham Beck, BC Heights Sports

Joseph Gravellese: Let's try to bring ourselves back.

Way back.

To, like, 5PM Sunday.

Which feels like many, many days ago.

Many, many, many.

Grant Salzano: Alright I'm there.

JG: Let me start off with this: as a BC hockey fanatic, I'm really happy that Sunday's game served as a footnote (or a header, I guess) to a truly remarkable day of sports. It already feels like this game was ages ago, but I'll always associate it in my head with Sunday's insanity in Boston.

After the first period against RPI -- and for most of the second period -- I was feeling pretty terrible. BC looked absolutely futile trying to get any sort of sustained offense going. Then they finally got those two quick goals in the second period - one after another, in classic BC fashion - and it seemed like they had their confidence back.

It wasn't nearly as dominating a performance as a 7-2 score would indicate, but it was a really solid win against a very good RPI team.

I'm going to pat myself on the back here because I said BC would put up a touchdown and that multiple freshmen would get on the board. A few RPI fans on the internets thought I was crazy for thinking BC could light up Kasdorf, but honestly, I really felt strongly like BC would have a tough game Thursday and then really bust out Sunday... regardless of who was in net.

GS: Yeah, yeah, you did pretty good on your predictions there. I did get one of my 5-2 scores right with the first women's game.

Lots of hockey this weekend. Where should we start?

JG: Well let's start with how we're feeling about the Eagles right now after their outburst. I'll be honest, I was yelling for Spiro halfway through that game. And wondering why Doherty was put in the stands ahead of Linell. I guess now that BC has so much depth, there's going to be a lot more room for debate over who plays and who doesn't.

I do think the line of Sit, Silk and Straight may well be considered the "get it together" line because between Spiro, Richardson and a couple of others, there's a lot of competition for those spots.

(Now that I'm on the record as saying that, I'm sure the three of them will be the heroes of the game on Friday night.)

GS: Well, just so we're clear -- I've been able to watch just 40 out of 120 minutes of men's hockey this year (and none of the exhibition) because of lack of video or technical difficulties on BC's stream. And it's also not particularly clear who's who because we're still in 90s lo-def.

I'm feeling... okay. I was brought back to reality a bit by the loss to Michigan and the slow start against RPI. We could very well end up being the best team in the country before the year is out, but there is definitely a learning curve with the freshmen.

I do think it's remarkable how many different guys have scored already. It was just like the exhibition. I really hope that becomes a trend, because if so we are going to be very good as the season progresses.

JG: I think it's noteworthy that Kasdorf ended the game with a .500 save percentage but you couldn't really blame him for the goals. Once BC got opportunities, they were lethal. Gaudreau was nasty as usual; Hayes was on fire; Fitzgerald is looking confident; Arnold had a sweet move for a goal.

GS: Lots of talent. So why are we struggling (relative to past great BC teams) to put up shots?

JG: Well, first of all, it's been two games. So. BC had 11 shots in the 2nd, 10 in the 3rd. That's pretty good. It was really just the first period when they couldn't get out of their own way.

When you're letting the other team run around in your zone like they're on a power play -- which is how a lot of the first period went -- you're not going to get a lot of shots. That was on both the forwards and the defensemen.

GS: We were outshot pretty handily by Michigan if I recall.

It's just a bit disconcerting. You're right though, just two games. And against good teams.

JG: We were outplayed pretty badly by Michigan by the sounds of it, honestly. Of course, I didn't see the game, so I don't have too much to say about that. But I had a feeling all summer that we would lose that game in Michigan. Going into Yost to beat a team bent on avenging last season was always going to be a tall ask of a team full of freshmen.

GS: One thing I noticed in the RPI game -- Gaudreau had a couple of breakaways and STILL has been able to put one in. What is it with him and breakaways? This is going back to the middle of last season now.

JG: It seems like goalies kind of have a book on him on breakaways now.

American goalies, anyway. Scrub countries like Latvia and Poland and Canada bit every time during World Juniors.

GS: Ha.

He'll bust out soon. And that's really the crazy thing is that he puts up 2 points a game without breakaway points. We're talking about 1-2--3 day like it's just another day at the office.

JG: It kind of was, for him, in non-conference play.

If he's doing that and has a supporting cast (other than just one player), then BC can beat anyone this year.

GS: #HobeyGensler tho.

More like #NObeyGensler, amirite??

JG: Ha. Actually a really nice weekend for the AHA. "AHA," as in, the sound everyone was making in the general direction of Lowell on Friday night.

GS: Badum-CHHH

JG: Even Deadspin picked up that story of Lowell losing to Sacred Heart. That one is going to live in infamy.

Thankfully for Lowell, there's no better cure for sports blues than playing against UMass-Amherst in something, and they had the honor of facing the Minutemen the next day and getting their season on track with a big win.

GS: New Guy made a comment about how Not Bad Sacred Heart was last year. "They played like 53 minutes of good hockey and then 7 minutes of really, really bad hockey every week!"

Bro they started last year 0-25-3.

JG: Didn't New Guy say last week that Malden Catholic would beat Sacred Heart? Jesus Christ, New Guy.

GS: Jesus Christ...

I did enjoy our 15-3 transitive thrashing of Lowell. 2-1 SHU over Lowell, 6-0 RPI over SHU, and 7-2 BC over RPI.

BU let Holy Cross hang around but at this point in the year, and with SHU's upset in the works at the time, I'm sure Terrier fans will take the win and move on dot org.

JG: Lowell's loss was the only big shock of the weekend in the conference, really. Providence sweeping Minnesota State was impressive, but I definitely figured they had a good chance of doing it.

UNH went toe to toe with Minnesota but lost to them 3-2 in the Icebreaker final. Nice weekend for UNH, though.

GS: And on the women's side -- a couple nice wins for the Eagles over a decent SLU team. Skarupa with a hat trick in game one, though game 2 was closer than it should have been.

Minnesota Women's Hockey swept their weekend again to remain unbeaten and untied since the Polk administration, this time over Wisconsin. But once again it was two close games.

Skarupa is ridiculous.

JG: I think I'm discovering how guilty I was of not appreciating how good she is. She's nasty, man. You need to put together a post that updates with .gifs of all of her goals this year. Of the 5 (5! in 3 games), 3 or 4 of them were Gerbe-ish.

GS: Yeah count me in as one of the people who underappreciated how good she was.

I think what happened was a combination of two things:

1) The natural improvement (at least the improvement you hope for) between year one and year two. Her development is remarkably like Carpenter's.

2) She was hurt and playing at less than 100% for a good chunk of last year. Easy to forget that.

It's really remarkable how this hockey season could potentially turn out. BC could realistically win the men's national title, women's national title, Hobey Baker award, and Patty Kazmaier award. And even more crazy is that a men's national title -- as realistic as it is -- is probably the least likely thing of the four.

JG: That is pretty crazy, haha. Never thought of that.

Let me comment on one off the ice thing before this gets too tl;dr.

Sunday games: WOOF. I think the crowd was 3,500? Not good. And completely predictable. NFL Sundays in America have become, at this point, the dominant thing in American culture, let alone American sports culture. Even WITHOUT a Pats home game, attendance is going to be killed.

It's just stupid. I know BC doesn't set 100% of its own schedule. But they must have enough input to prevent a direct conflict with a Patriots game.

Honestly if they have to have Sunday games, Sunday night might actually be the best time.

GS: But even then, you have Sunday Night Football, and obviously the added difficulty of it being a work night.

It does seem a little weird that we keep schedule these Sunday games.

Bates, get on that.

JG: I think another thing that depressed attendance is that in many ways yesterday's game felt like a dry run for Friday, Jerry York night against Wisconsin. I mean that as no disrespect to RPI. As true college hockey fans, you and I both recognize that RPI is a good team... but next weekend is the one you're traveling to Boston for, and I'm sure you're not the only one.

And needless to say, I'm already really excited for that one.

Wisconsin picked up a couple of wins over the weekend against Northern Michigan, setting them up nicely to come in to Boston with a 2 0 record.

GS: Huge marquee matchup, with Wisconsin coming into Conte as the #2 team in the country. Who starts in net?

JG: That is the question, isn't it. I say Demko. I didn't see Billett's performance on Thursday, but on the radio, it sounds like he did a great job. I think they'll both get cracks out in Minesota, but I feel like coming off the win, York will give Demko a B1G test on Friday night.

GS: Really tricky call, and I doubt York makes that call until Thursday night.

Honestly I would be fine with either choice. I find myself leaning toward Billett, on a hunch, though I am all aboard the Demko bandwagon.

JG: I agree; it's the young defense that will make all the difference on Friday night, not the goalie; both would do a fine job, I think.

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFF the new USA Hockey poll came out WHILE WE WERE TYPING THIS and Lowell was dropped to #9. Ouch. Wisco comes in as #2, behind Miami; BC is #6.

GS: 9th??? Jesus that is BRUTALITY

JG: Ouch indeed.

We'll get to our Wisconsin predictions in Final Thoughts later in the week, but the women have a big game coming up on Wednesday night at home against UNH. Prediction? Do they keep up their undefeated start to the season?

GS: Yes, UNH is probably a half step below SLU at this point. This should be an easy win. I've got BC on top 4-1.

JG: Let the .gifs flow.