Unfortunately, there was no slam-dunk pick for Team of the Year this year. Nobody won an NCAA title, or went so far above and beyond expectations that they were simply the can't miss team of this vote. Football was close, in terms of exceeding expectations, and as such, they were one of the legitimate nominees for the award. The only others, really, were the three teams that made it to the last eight in their sport - women's hockey, women's soccer, and women's lacrosse - and the one team that made it to the last four - men's hockey.
I didn't expect men's hockey to win the vote, and I in fact voted for women's soccer myself, thinking that the Frozen Four had become pretty much the bare minimum of expectations, fair or not, and that reaching that plateau but coming short of the big prize would not be enough to get the votes.
But looking at it that way is probably not a fair assessment of the great season that BC hockey put up from start to finish. Certainly, we will all look back for a long time at the season Johnny Gaudreau put up, which will go down as one of the great seasons in college hockey history. Even throughout this dominant run under Jerry York, having players make the Hobey Baker hat trick has not been a given, and Gaudreau managed to break through and become the first Eagle to win the coveted award since Mike Mottau.
The Beanpot is another one of those things that has sort of unfairly become an expectation, with BC now winning 5 straight. But even though none of the other teams in the tournament were quite of BC's caliber this year, we all know that crazy things happen come Beanpot time, and it would have left a bitter taste in our mouths if Northeastern had managed to squeeze home a late game winner instead of Patrick Brown. Extending the program's Beanpot streak should not be overlooked, given for how long even good BC teams failed to lift that trophy.
The team's insane unbeaten run throughout the second half of the season was also incredibly impressive, not only because they just kept winning, but also because they were routinely blowing teams out. There was a point where BC was averaging over 6 goals per game at home. I think the final number ended up between 4 and 5, but still - it was a season where you really got your money's worth at Conte, where the team made even strong opponents like Wisconsin, UMass-Lowell and Providence look foolish and helpless.
Of course, there was one opponent that BC could not make foolish at home... and that was Notre Dame. And therein lies pretty much the one blemish that really mars the whole outlook on the season - the 3 losses in 4 games at home to Notre Dame, getting unceremoniously bounced from the Hockey East tournament in the quarterfinal round. That sort of killed all the buzz. I feel like if BC had gotten through that series and got beat by Lowell in the Hockey East championship game, but then bounced back to beat Lowell in the NCAAs before going out to a tremendous Union team in Philly, everyone would look back on this as a great year. After all, Notre Dame really was the only blemish.... nobody was beating Union this year. Nobody.
The team showed great resilience in bouncing back from that Notre Dame series to throttle Denver in the first round of the NCAA tournament, then beat UMass-Lowell in one of the best hockey games I've ever seen - firmly stating BC's claim to be the league's best team, taking home the regular season title and carrying the Hockey East flag into Philadelphia for the Frozen Four. They gave Union a hell of a fight, but in the end, they were no match for the Dutchmen, nor were the Golden Gophers.
In retrospect, it really was a fantastic season, and the exploits of Gaudreau, Arnold and Hayes will be long remembered at Conte Forum. For the whole body of work, rather than just focusing on what happened against Notre Dame, the men's hockey team is deserving recipient of the Team of the Year award.
The Final Vote
Men's hockey - 3
Women's lacrosse - 2
Women's soccer - 2
Football - 1
Comments from the Panel
Dan Rubin: "I know it's kind of hard to say this because they didn't win the national title, but let's take into account what men's hockey did. They lost two games in what might've been the toughest league in the nation. I think it was close to 20 games without a loss in the middle of the year. Even though they lost in the Hockey East tournament before ever making the Garden, they destroyed Denver in the tournament and took out UMass-Lowell in a game that I didn't feel was as close as the score indicated. Even though it was tight, I never really thought BC was going to lose because they were BC. And while they lost to Union, they still had three 50-point scorers, and two statistically decent goalies. Considering all they'd lost from the team that won the 2012 national title, this was as close to reloading as someone can get. So I'm going men's puck for team of the year."
Brian Favat: "Lacrosse - rose to #4 in the country, set a program high for wins, made just third NCAA Tournament in program history, won first NCAA Tournament games x2 and advanced to quarters for first time ever."
BCI Jeff: "Football- becoming relevant again, had us believing they'd go to USC and win, and should have beaten Syracuse for 8 wins."
Best Moment of the Year, tomorrow at 9 AM
Schedule and Awardees:
Monday, July 21
-Best Female Athlete - McKenzie Meehan, Women's Soccer
Tuesday, July 22
-Best Male Athlete - Andre Williams, Football
-Best Individual Performance in a Game - Andre Williams vs. NC State
Wednesday, July 23
-Coach of the Year - Steve Addazio, Football
-Team of the Year - Men's Hockey
Thursday, July 24
-Best Moment of the Year
-Worst Moment of the Year
Friday, July 25
-Play of the Year
-BCI Post of the Year
Monday, July 28
-Biggest Story of the Year
-Most Disliked Opponent of the Year
Tuesday, July 29
-Game of the Year (football)
-Game of the Year (men's hockey)
Wednesday, July 30
-Game of the Year (men's basketball)
-Game of the Year (all other sports)