Michigan State may not be the Michigan State of old, but a road win is a road win, and Boston College's narrow 3-2 victory on Friday night brought a merciful end to the Eagles' four-game losing streak and leveled BC's record at 5-5-0 after ten games this season. Zach Sanford got his first collegiate goal, Matt Gaudreau scored again, and Thatcher Demko returned between the pipes and put in yet another solid performance. Good stuff all around.
Now BC goes into a big weekend of conference play staring down two winnable games and looking to improve on their 1-3 record in Hockey East games. Nothing is going to come easily for the Eagles this year, and these two games should be no exception.
On Friday night, the Eagles travel to the Mullins Center to take on UMass-Amherst. It's always a hostile environment when BC travels to Amherst, but BC has found a lot of success there in recent years. Last year, BC won 2-1 at Mullins, in a game that featured the hilarious goal/no goal/offsides/not offsides/reviewable/not-reviewable incident, wherein Hockey East eventually put out an official apology for the fact that their officials accidentally got a call right to disallow a Minuteman goal.
UMass-Amherst is coming off, essentially, two bye weeks. They were off last weekend, and the week before hung 7 on AIC. UMass-Amherst's last full weekend of play was two weeks ago at Alfond Arena, where the Blackbears swept them in a pair of one-goal games. The Minutemen have a 3-5-0 record on the season and I would say have generally looked better than some of the pundits might have predicted. BC handled them 4-1 at Conte Forum back on October 25.
Maine is in the midst of a brutal part of its schedule. Two weeks ago they traveled up to Vermont and got swept. Last week, they lost at home to BU, dropping their record to 3-7-1 and undoing some of the minor momentum they had built up with wins over UMass-Amherst and Alaska-Anchorage. Now this weekend they have two games in Boston, facing BU on Friday, then BC on Saturday.
Two storylines to keep an eye on this weekend will be the BC power play—still mired in a long, scoreless slump—and the play of the bottom two lines, which had one of their best performances of the season on Friday night, putting on 12 shots on goal combined against Michigan State, and with Gaudreau and Smith hitting the back of the net.
Tomorrow, we'll assess where BC's at in Hockey Banter, back after a brief hiatus caused by midweek games and Grant going on vacation.
Thursday will feature a Q&A on Maine hockey, and a new episode of the Eastern Bias Hockey Podcast.
Friday we'll have our last thoughts on this week's games before the puck drops in Amherst. Then we'll do the same on Saturday for the home game. How about some power play goals this week...please?