Boston College hockey fans have been saying repeatedly lately that it's been a long time since we've seen a player like Johnny Gaudreau, and wondering how long it will take to see another like him. Those comments are probably all true; what Gaudreau is doing is pretty mind-boggling, and he seems poised to become the first Eagle to win the Hobey Baker award since Mike Mottau, should the rest of the season go as planned.
But let's not forget we were saying similar things not too long ago about Nate Gerbe, who lit up Conte Forum like nobody else during the run that brought BC back over the hump and helped them lift the championship trophy in 2008 - paving the way for the "BC dynasty" to cement itself as a dominant force, rather than a team that happens to be in the mix most years.
He also provided an insane amount of highlight reel moments, some of which BC documented as part of the 2008 Hobey campaign:
Nathan Gerbe: 2008 Hobey Baker Award Finalist (via EAGLESATHLETICS)
Gerbe was up to his old tricks yesterday, scoring this ridiculous, between-the-legs goal for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Philadelphia Flyers. After being cut loose by the Buffalo Sabres this past offseason (because obviously the Sabres have an over-abundance of skilled players lol lol lol) Gerbe has re-established himself with a bang. Last night's goal was his tenth of the season, and it's worth watching on loop. So go ahead.
As for news about the current crop of Eagles on ice:
To stop Boston College, it looks as if you're going to have to stop the line of Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes, who were thrown together after a 5-4 loss to Holy Cross on Nov. 29. In its past nine games, the trio has scorched opposing nets for 20 goals and 33 assists combined. In Saturday's 7-2 whitewashing of then-No. 19 Maine, Hayes went haywire, scoring a hat trick and adding two assists. Gaudreau had five assists.
In averaging 2.26 goals per game this season, Penn State ranks 50th in the nation in team offense.
With a battle looming at Pegula Ice Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday against No. 2 Boston College, the Nittany Lions will need every goal they can muster.
Women's ice hockey head coach Katie Crowley discussed the two home victories over Vermont, explained how the team was able to step up and overcome injuries, and previewed the upcoming home-and-home series with New Hampshire.
The question I have is whether this is a temporary slip, or a sign of greater difficulties. You had signaled BU as an overachiever for its great first half with the personnel losses it had to graduation and the Olympics. Can the Terriers regroup and win Hockey East?
Arlan: My first reaction is an emphatic, "No," but I can probably talk myself into believing BU still has a good shot at the Hockey East regular season. The Terriers still control their destiny in that regard. If they won out, they would overcome that five-point deficit by winning the two games versus BC and cashing in the points from the game in hand they hold over the Eagles. However, it is a less-believable scenario now that BU has proven to be vulnerable against teams like Providence and Northeastern
And a future Eagle, incoming recruit Alex Tuch:
"First off, you do notice his size out there. But really, Alex has really good hands and vision. He's becoming more physical,'' Cole said. "He's a good scorer. He's got a real heavy shot. More important, his hockey IQ is really good. He wants to be a hockey player, but he's also aware that there's a lot of work that goes into that.''
The big news on the football side of things was the release of the schedule, and the story in the local printin' press is about the clash of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' two (for now) FBS (or whatever we're calling it now that there's a playoff) programs.
The Eagles begin the year at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 30 against UMass, which is no longer an FCS team but has struggled in its two season at the FBS level and would likely struggle against its old America East schedule. Six nights later, they'll host Pittsburgh in a game nationally televised by ESPN.
With a new slate of Thanksgiving weekend rivalry games that will include Syracuse-Boston College, Pittsburgh-Miami and Wake Forest-Duke, NC State vs. UNC could be the most promising now and for the future (followed closely by Pittsburgh-Miami). NC State struggled in its first year under Dave Doeren, but the addition of Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett at quarterback should do wonders for their offense. The Tar Heels finished the season by winning six of their last seven games, and will be looking to carry that momentum into 2014.
Miami and Pitt and Boston College and Syracuse will also close out the year against one another for the second season in a row.
And because what could be more exciting and full of optimism, some basketball:
As much as the game might have been a relief - and it certainly was - it says something about Tech and where it is right now that it has to shoot 53.3 percent from 3-point range to beat one of the worst teams in the ACC. If Tech had missed two more 3-pointers along the way (6-for-15 would still be outstanding), the Jackets might not have pulled it out.