So much of the narrative around this year’s Boston College hockey team is about youth - and rightfully so. As has been well-documented, this year’s Eagles are the youngest and most inexperienced team in Hockey East by far. Any success this team achieves will be dependent upon getting big contributions from freshmen.
But let’s not forget that the Eagles also brought back a smattering of the best returning players in the conference.
Oddly enough, given this team’s youth, this is the first season in several years in which BC can expect their senior class to really lead the way in terms of scoring. That manifested itself last night in Portland, when Austin Cangelosi, Ryan Fitzgerald and Chris Calnan imposed their will on Maine in a 6-1 win.
After an early stumble to fall behind 1-0 (on a power play goal by Maine, naturally), BC took control, and the game got almost comically uneven whenever those senior stars were on the ice.
Austin Cangelosi got the party started with a natural hat trick, spanning the first and second periods. Cangelosi scored a pair of spectacular goals: one, a shorthanded goal while getting hooked, leading to a Maine penalty; another on a dizzying play in front of the net during another delayed-penalty scramble.
Those two goals, combined with an overall dominant second period effort in which BC outshot Maine 13-4, killed any semblance of momentum Maine had, and the Eagles really picked them apart in the third.
Chris Calnan scored an easy dunk on Maine just 1:04 in to the third, cashing in on a sweet feed from Ryan Fitzgerald. Calnan has used his frame and his strength to balance out the BC top line nicely, and seems to have earned his spot on the wing with Colin White and Fitzgerald for the time being.
After David Cotton added a power play goal for BC’s fifth, Ryan Fitzgerald closed out the scoring at 7:07 of the third period, making it 6-1 and completing Maine’s misery for the evening. After that, BC took their foot off the gas and cruised the rest of the way.
Three of BC's four leading scoring forwards are now seniors, with Matt Gaudreau, Cangelosi and Fitzgerald pushing their way up the national leaderboards. The mix of veteran contributors and newcomers has combined to get BC off to a solid start at 7-2-1.
The Eagles have not played a murderer’s row of a schedule to start the season, but the numbers are the numbers: BC is +20 at 5-on-5 this season - tops in the nation. The next best mark in Hockey East? Lowell at +7. They’ve imposed their will on lower-level teams, and there are plenty of those in their conference this season - so continuing at this level of performance should put BC very much in the tournament mix.