For the first time since traveling to Brown in January, BC failed to win a game last Saturday night in a 2-2 tie against Lowell. Of course, with the tie (and the previous night's win) the Eagles' unbeaten streak extended to 19. BC long ago locked up the Hockey East regular season crown, but they are in a tight dogfight for the #1 overall seed with Minnesota and a loss to the Irish could put them behind the eight ball.
Meanwhile, for Notre Dame, the stakes are incredibly high: they sit in eighth place in Hockey East and are just barely on the right side of the NCAA bubble. They really need a win here.
It's Senior Day on the Heights tomorrow - a chance to honor yet another senior class with a tremendous set of accomplishments: four Beanpot titles, two Hockey East tournament titles, three Hockey East regular season titles, a national championship, and three NCAA appearances.
It should be a fun day of hockey; the game is sold out, and will air live on NESN.
BC Roster Notes
Reportedly, Mike Matheson will return to the lineup tomorrow. So let's go with the (possibly wishful thinking) assumption that the lineup will go back to how it briefly was when everyone was healthy, with Linell at forward.
Game Time: 4:00 PM
Radio: WEEI 850 AM and BCEagles.com
Record: BC: 25-4-4..... ND: 19-12-2
KRACH: BC: #1.... ND: #12
BC:141 GF (1st in HEA), 69 GA (t-3rd in HEA), +72 (1st in HEA)
ND: 99 GF (4th in HEA), 67 GA (2nd in HEA), +32 (2nd in HEA)
Last Time Out: BC is coming off a 1-0-1 weekend against UMass-Lowell. Notre Dame swept BU last week by identical scores of 2-0 in each game.
Storylines: BC pretty much needs to win this game to retain hopes of earning the #1 overall seed, crazy as that sounds, because of the implications on the Common Opponents comparison with Minnesota. BC's loss to Michigan to start the season is really hurting them here in the Common Opponents category. As it is, if Minnesota wins out (including two more wins against both Penn State and Michigan), they will pass BC regardless of what the Eagles do. No need to make it any easier on them. And of course, we continue to track Johnny Gaudreau's 28-game point streak. He's putting the finishing touches on his Hobey campaign and ending the regular season with points in 29 straight games would certainly help his cause.
Fun Fact: Notre Dame may be 8th in the league standings, but KRACH says they're 4th best. Go figure. Out of conference success has not translated to league success for the Irish, but they are on a positive run lately.
Players to watch: Lennay Kekua? Also, leading scorer T.J. Tynan, and World Junior participant Vince Hinastroza, who power the Irish offense.
Can Notre Dame pick up a crucial "quality road win" in the Pairwise? Will BC finish the regular season unbeaten at home in league play? Can Thatcher Demko continue his great play and outduel Steven Summerhays?
Scoreboard Watching: Out-Of-Town Notes
The league schedule winds down with crucial matchups:
Northeastern / Boston University
New Hampshire / Merrimack
Providence / Maine
Lowell / Vermont
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
Saturday is "Take Back Cleveland Circle" as the students head out to their godless Spring Break revelry. BC young and young-at-heart alums will be filling up the old gathering places - MA's, Roggie's and Cityside.
Joseph Gravellese -
This is a tough one to call because it means so much to Notre Dame, and BC couldn't really be faulted for looking to ease off the throttle a bit going into the bye week. But I don't think the Eagles' leadership will let that happen - especially with the implications for the #1 overall seed.
I expect this to be a tight, low-scoring game. That's been the trend lately, and Summerhays and Demko have been two of the better goalies in the league. Jeff Jackson's ND teams play a version of the trap that often slows games down and keeps down scoring, but they also have firepower to run with BC if the game opens up like we saw at Fenway. However, I think defense will prevail in this one.
BC 2, ND 1
Grant Salzano -
BC 4, Notre Dame 0
Dan Rubin -
BC 4, ND 2
3-1 BC. Johnny scores again.
AJ Black -
ND 4, BC 2 *ducks*
2-0 Boston College. BC has to lose a game at some point -- Grant's head explodes -- but not this one.
BCI Prediction Standings
5 points for a correct prediction, minus one point for how far off you were from the victory margin. i.e., predicting a 4-goal win and it ends up being a 2-goal win = 3 points. Also, 1 bonus point for getting a team's score correct. Enter this week's contest by leaving your predictions in the comments.
Airforce987 crushed it last week, correctly picking a three-goal home win for BC on Friday, and a tie on Saturday. Well done! The race remains wide open with four weeks of picking to go before we shift gears to the NCAA bracket challenge. Next week, we will do an #Octofinals pick 'em challenge.
Brian - 4 wins (Week 3 tie, Week 4, Week 6 1/2, Week 14 (tie), Week 17)
Grant - 3.5 wins (Week 5, Week 9, Week 11, Week 12 (tie))
Joe - 2.5 wins (Week 1, Week 7, Week 15 (tie))
AJ - 2 wins (Week 3 (tie), Week 14 (tie), Week 16)
airforce987 - 1 win (Week 18)
ACal6888: 1 win (Week 10)
giantsfan428: 1 win (Week 8)
Conrad - 1 win (Week 2)
BCEagle74 - 1 win (Week 13)
BCJacket5 - 1 win (Week 6)
JCNG - 1 win (Week 12 (tie), Week 15 (tie))
Leave your thoughts on the series below and see if you can climb up the BCI leaderboard, to win all sorts of fabulous invisible prizes. Actually, you know what, I'm making up a prize, right now. The winner of the BCI prediction game for the season gets a 15 minute interview done by New Guy on BCInterruption Radio at the end of the season. Yes, New Guy, I'm committing your time and your studio technology without your permission. Go Eagles!