One game is in the books for the Boston College hockey team, and it wasn't a great one. While there were some positives to build off of in the second and third periods, BC largely struggled in a 5-2 loss at UMass-Lowell to start the season. It was the Eagles' third consecutive season-opening defeat, in case that makes you feel any better.
Perhaps the worst thing about the tough start is that BC has a long wait - 8 days in total - before they can get back on to the ice and try to get in to the win column. BC had just the one game last weekend, and now this weekend coming up, the trip to RIT is their only game (Saturday at 7 PM). If BC fails to win on Saturday it will be another 6 days' wait before the home opener against Colorado College, followed by another very winnable home game against UMass the next day.
On paper, the Eagles have the edge in this weekend's matchup at RIT, who went 12-20-5 and finished 7th place in Atlantic Hockey last season. But given that it's early in the season, BC is making a long trip, and RIT will be hosting this game at a sold out, 13,000-seat Blue Cross Arena, playing in perhaps the biggest non-conference home game in team history, this could be another tricky game for BC. The Tigers are also coming off a decent weekend against a pair of ECAC teams, drubbing St. Lawrence 5-2 before falling to Clarkson 3-1 on Saturday. RIT is not far removed from a run of winning seasons, including their run to the 2010 Frozen Four, and with a sparkling, new on-campus facility recently opened up, expectations are high for RIT as they seek to reestablish themselves as a power in the AHA.
Making the road a little bit tougher for BC is the injury bug which appears to have hit early. Brendan Silk missed the exhibition and the season opener. Michael Sit and Zach Sanford both suffered injuries during the game at Lowell and are question marks for Saturday. That leads to some serious roster-juggling questions for the coaching staff. If two (or more) forwards are not able to go, does McMullen slot in to the lineup? Does BC roll three lines? Do they get creative by doing something like moving slick-skating Travis Jeke to forward?
There's plenty to discuss this week both within the world of BC hockey and in the larger Hockey East world, which saw nearly every conference team that played out-of-conference games have a subpar weekend. We'll be chatting about it all week, with Hockey Banter tomorrow, a Q&A with RIT's broadcaster to talk Tigers, and final thoughts and predictions on Friday. Here's hoping that next week BC will have win #1 in the rear view mirror.