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Boston College Men’s Hockey Weekend (and Monday) Thoughts

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Some good, some bad, some in between

COLLEGE HOCKEY: FEB 10 Beanpot Tournament - Consolation Game - Boston College v Harvard Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two more games are in the books for the Boston College men’s hockey team, and just like last week, let’s take a look back at a split from the past few days.

BIG STRETCH COMES TO A CLOSE

Back on January 10, BC started what definitely looks like their toughest stretch of their schedule, playing some of the best teams in their conference and a few rivals too. In the past month, BC played three games against UMass Amherst, two against Lowell, BU, and Maine, and one against Harvard. In those ten games, BC went 5-5 (technically 5-4-1 but we all know the Beanpot game against BU was a loss).

That’s...that’s fine, right? Taking 2 of three from UMass Amherst and splitting with Lowell and BU feels fair. The losses to Maine kind of stick out and you can make the argument that Harvard maybe shouldn’t be included in this grouping of teams, but for the sake of discussion, let’s look at it as a ten game stretch.

Look, I’m with you in wishing they went 10-0 and blew out every team they played over the last month, but when you play good teams, they’re just going to get you on some nights. Doing better than .500 on this stretch would have been nice, but it’s not like they didn’t play some good hockey in a few of those loses. BC had a chance to make a real statement over the last ten games, and they didn’t do that. Nor did they tank their entire season because of a few two game losing streaks. For the past month, they were just fine. Not great, not terrible, just fine.

ALEX NEWHOOK IS COOKING

One player who has been more than just fine in recent weeks is the freshman Alex Newhook. Newhook has been playing the best hockey of his young career, scoring seven goals in the aforementioned ten game stretch including each of his last four games. He capped it all off by scoring shorthanded goals in back-to-back games, opening the scoring on Friday against Lowell before finishing an unassisted effort in Monday’s Beanpot consolation game.

Newhook has been good pretty much all season, but this recent stretch has started to show us why he was selected #16 in last year’s NHL draft. He gets time on the power play in addition to the penalty kill and he’s good in all three zones, and with all respect to BC’s first line has maybe been BC’s best player since the calendar turned.

Newhook’s recent hot streak has him tied for third on the team in terms of points with 26 and tied for second with 13 goals scored. It’s been great to see him find another gear as the season has gone on.

PK CONCERNS

Now this is a legitimate concern.

BC’s powerplay has allowed at least one power play goal in six of their last seven games, and have conceded a total of eight in that time. The penalty kill is now a tick below 80 percent on the season after a mostly good start.

That’s probably a fatal problem if it doesn’t get fixed. BC is good at even strength this season, but you can’t be giving up power play goals at this rate and expect to go far.

So why is this happening? Well, for my money (and I have nothing to back this up but the eye test), it feels like teams are able to enter the offensive zone and set up a lot easier than they have in the past. The best BC penalty kills were always great at denying zone entries and forcing teams to regroup and waste time before gaining the blue line. Seven games is a short sample, so this could just be a blip, but it’s certainly concerning, short sample or not.

LET’S STOP WITH THE FOG MACHINE

Look I don’t want to discourage anything cool or fun from the game day experience, but the fog machine thing just doesn’t do it for me. If you haven’t been to a home game recently, it’s just what it sounds like, BC skates onto the ice through a fog. It was awesome when BU came to town, but that was with a full building and a packed student section. The majority of the home games - including the Friday game against UMass Lowell - have been sparsely attended at best. It feels like setting of fireworks for a noon kickoff against Maine. I like the idea for bigger games, but every time? I could pass on that.

MATT BOLDY WATCH

More and more I feel like people are getting frustrated with the lack of production from BC’s other big freshman forward Matt Boldy, so I’m going to plug him for what seems like the fifth time this season. Boldy had a goal and three assists this weekend and brought his point totals to 14. He has eight of those points in his last six games. His shooting percentage for the season is still south of four percent.

I truly think he is playing good hockey and that he’s got a multi goal weekend incoming. I’m taking a victory lap if that happens, save these receipts if it doesn’t.