It’s been almost a week since coronavirus cut the men’s hockey season short and I haven’t been able to come up with a better summation of my feelings than those two words. From the moment that the NBA hit pause on their season — and honestly, probably before that — the clock was ticking on BC’s season, and while the decision was certainly one that had to be made, it didn’t make things any easier in the moment. BC lost a good shot at making a run at a national championship, and we as fans lost the chance to watch a really exciting team for even a few more weeks.
But it would be unfair to dive right into the untimely ending to the season without talking about what came before it. Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
The 2019-20 men’s hockey season was nothing but a success. After a few down seasons, the Eagles were back in a big way this year, and man did it feel good to watch. From the opening night statement win over Wisconsin, to a gutsy comeback road win over Harvard, to clinching the Hockey East regular season title with a win on BU’s home ice, this team was all kinds of fun.
The first dozen games or so were enjoyable enough, but the first time that I thought this year’s team may be more than just good was the two game series against Notre Dame back in December. BC dominated a decent opponent and a true rival for three periods at home, then hopped on a plane to South Bend and smacked them around for another 60 minutes. Those games came towards the end of a ten game winning streak and the middle of winning 13 in 14.
To be sure, was a major letdown in the Beanpot game against BU, but there were far more highs than there were lows. After November 1, BC only lost a total of four games and only lost back-to-back games one time. They won the Hockey East regular season title with an entire weekend left to play and they were a lock for the NCAA Tournament after a three year absence that felt closer to a decade.
They went from a team that had to scrape by with one line to a team that could win in a variety of different ways. In consecutive nights, they beat Northeastern 3-2 on the road and 10-1 at home. They almost doubled up their opponents in number of goals, had strong special teams play all season, and started a freshmen in net who ended the season as one of the best goalies in the country. For a season that ended so early, it feels like they accomplished an awful lot.
Which brings us back to the opening of this column. This sucks. It sucks for us as fans, it sucks for the coaching staff, and it sucks for the players. It’s probably the worst for the senior class, who absolutely earned a chance to play for a championship for the work that they’ve put in over the last four years. It’s a shame that we’ll never get to see stars like David Cotton or Julius Mattila play in the NCAA Tournament, but it’s just as hard to see how abruptly things ended for someone like Zach Walker or Mike Merulla, who likely do not have NHL futures. That the seniors will be leaving without a Beanpot, Hockey East Tournament, or NCAA championship — it’s just a hard pill to swallow.
I wanted to see this team keep playing for as long as possible. They weren’t going to enter the tournament as the favorites like some of the BC teams in the past, but they were deep and they were fun and they were damn good all the same. They deserved a shot and it sucks that they aren’t going to get it.
What they did get was 34 games together. From their opening night win over Wisconsin to their season ending tie with New Hampshire, we got to watch this team go 24-8-2 and remind up what it’s like to have a true contender on the ice in front of us. It was worth every single second of the investment.
I just wish we got a few more before saying goodbye.
ONE LAST THING
Just to try and end on a slightly more upbeat note, I’d like to sincerely thank you guys for reading these columns every week. They were a blast to write, and though I wish I wasn’t writing this for another few weeks, I’m glad this format seemed to work. Whether you agreed or disagreed with what I wrote, I appreciate the support and can’t wait to write another one.
Next season can’t get here soon enough.