Well last night was terrible, but Friday was fun!
Some thoughts on the last two games.
FRESHMAN MOMENTS FROM AN UPPERCLASSMAN
It’s never fair to pin the result of a game on one moment. So much happens over the course of a hockey game that no one play, no matter how spectacular or egregious, will ever be enough to determine the result on its own.
But man, Luke McInnis just cannot do what he did during Monday night’s Beanpot.
With BC leading 3-1 more than halfway through the period and on a power play, McInnis took an interference penalty in front of the BU net. It was a no doubter too - he was nowhere near the play and just smacked the stick out of an opponent’s hands. By the time he stepped back on the ice, BU had scored a 4-on-4 goal and a power play goal and the game was tied.
You just...you can’t do that. Up two goals late in an important game with a chance to bury your opponent, you just can’t take a penalty 180 feet from your own net. It’s the kind of penalty you’d expect a freshman to take, not a senior who has played more than 100 games in his BC career.
Let’s be clear, that penalty alone wasn’t why BC lost. The 4-on-4 and eventual penalty kill wasn’t good enough and the Eagles had plenty of chances to put this game away early, and even late. But if you want to point to moment where the momentum swung, this is it.
NEW RULES LEAD TO SOME CONFUSION
After regulation ended on Monday night, the BU players started heading back to the locker rooms to prepare for overtime. They didn’t get very far, however, as they were quickly brought back to play a five minute period during which neither team was able to score. After that, both teams got their full intermission and returned for a 20 minute second overtime period that we’re more used to seeing in the Beanpot.
Don’t worry though, that’s not where it ended. That first five minute overtime period exists so the Beanpot can mimic other regular season games across all conferences. Since neither team scored in those five minutes, the game was recorded as a tie. No statistics after the first overtime counted and all the two teams were playing for was the right to advance in the tournament.
So there you go, you just watched the most disappointing tie ever.
FRIDAY NIGHT A TEXTBOOK WIN
Even though it feels like it happened about a month ago, BC did move into first in Hockey East on Friday night, and they did so in a big way. The Eagles went to UMass Amherst and blanked the Minutemen 3-0, tying them in points in the conference with two fewer games played.
Friday night’s game was not BC at their absolute best, but after two losses to Maine, it was a nice reminder of how well they can play. BC went into the building of one of the better teams in the conference, played three periods of solid hockey, and walked out with a win in front of a silent crowd. If they can find that level of play consistently, they’ll be in good shape going forward.
GRAHAM McPHEE, HEATING UP?
In what has mostly been a very strong season for BC, one of the more disappointing stories has been Graham McPhee’s continued struggles. McPhee had a disappointing junior season in 2018-19 after posting double digit goals as a sophomore, putting up just three goals and nine total points. His senior year had been looking even worse until last Saturday’s game against Maine, when he scored his second goal of the season and first since late October.
One Friday night against UMass, McPhee scored again, giving him goals in back to back games. He still only has three goals on the season, but it would be great to see him and his line really get going. BC’s top line has been great all year and the line of Mike Hardman, Alex Newhook, and Aapeli Rasanen has come together nicely. If the trio of McPhee, Matt Boldy, and Jack McBain can start chipping in a bit more regularly, BC could regularly roll out three legitimate scoring lines. The three were mostly silent on Monday night (Boldy had a power play assist), but they’ll have a chance to make their mark going forward.
So BC’s first goal on Monday night was one that was probably forgotten hours later when the game finally ended, but it’s one that deserves mention.
This is an absolutely gorgeous goal, but my favorite moment happens about eight seconds into the clip. Marc McLaughlin, about to win a race to a loose puck, takes a quick look over his shoulder and sees Patrick Giles. Giles follows McLaughlin, keeps his stick on the ice, and McLaughlin makes a gorgeous pass for a slam dunk goal.
Whenever someone uses the word chemistry to describe linemates, that’s what they mean. McLaughlin took one quick glance and knew where Giles would be when he got to the puck, and Giles anticipated the play perfectly. It was an unreal pass to set up the goal, but it was all made possible by what happened a few seconds earlier.