The Boston College men’s hockey team played their first two games of the season, and man does it feel good to be back. The Eagles beat Quinnipiac in a shootout on Friday night (which technically goes down as a 2-2 tie) before knocking off Holy Cross 5-1 in a pretty dominant showing on Saturday. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an encouraging weekend considering some of what BC has lost since last season. So here’s some of what stood out over the first two games and some of what could be worth looking for as the season rolls on.
WARREN SHINES BOTH NIGHTS
Wow did Marshall Warren look awesome this weekend. The junior defenseman played well in his first two seasons, but this was something else. Warren ended the weekend with a goal and two assists and he was just everywhere for the Eagles. He almost won the game for BC on Friday with a shorthanded rush with under a minute left in regulation where he beat multiple defenders to create a breakaway, but just missed being the hero when he hit the post. On Saturday, he put up a goal and an assist within the first two and a half minutes of action to help BC jump out to their early lead.
The version of Marshall Warren that we saw over the weekend looks like a legitimate stud and someone who can be a huge part of this team going forward. If he plays like that consistently, he’s going to have a monster season.
BOTH GOALIES IMPRESS IN SEASON DEBUTS
With the departure of Spencer Knight, it was reasonable to be concerned about the state of BC’s goaltending. Eric Dop was brought in as a graduate transfer from Bowling Green and Henry Wilder looked decent enough in a few appearances last year, but it was hard to expect them to live up to Knight’s consistent level of brilliance that we saw over the last two seasons.
The goalies looked pretty good in the first two games, however, with Dop getting the start on Friday against Quinnipiac while Wilder got the not in Saturday’s matchup with Holy Cross. Dop was the busier of the two, stopping 31 shots to Wilder’s 18, but both looked solid enough to inspire some confidence going forward.
It will be interesting to see how Jerry York uses his goalies this season. As the NESN announcers mentioned a few times during the broadcasts, York typically likes to have a starting goalie that he can lean on instead of playing a tandem. We’ll see in the coming weeks if he already has one in mind or if it’s still a competition that either Dop or Wilder can win with more strong showings.
FRIDAY SLOPPINESS MOSTLY CLEANED UP
Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead on Friday, BC looked uncharacteristically sloppy for the majority of the game. There were long stretches where the Eagles struggled to break the puck out or string passes together or even just gather a loose puck cleanly. And it wasn’t all that surprising to see. There are a lot of new faces getting their first live action outside of a scrimmage, so it’s probably going to take some time before everyone is clicking. And some of it was probably due to the fact that they were playing a strong opponent in Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac really took it to BC after the Eagles got up 2-0, and ended up outshooting them 33-19 over the course of the game.
For the most part, BC looked a lot crisper on Saturday night. They jumped out to another quick lead, but this time they didn’t let their opponent get back into the game at all. Holy Cross didn’t even register a shot over the first half of the first period, largely thanks to BC’s strong play in the neutral and defensive zones. Even ignoring the final scores, Saturday was a much better performance by the Eagles.
Hopefully we see more of what we saw on Saturday going forward, especially with some difficult games coming up on the schedule. There will probably still be some bumps in the road, but it was encouraging to see that they were able to clean some things up as quickly as they did.
ARGETINA MAKES A BID TO STAY IN THE LINEUP
One of the new faces we got to see was Matt Argentina, a freshman forward who was actually not in the lineup on Friday night. He got his chance on Saturday, however, and he certainly made the most of it, scoring a great goal and turning in an overall impressive performance in his debut.
There’s some competition for spots at the bottom of the lineup, and Argentina probably bought himself a longer look with his showing on Saturday. Hopefully he can keep up the strong play we saw in his first game.
SOME INTERESTING SHOOTOUT CHOICES PAY OFF
Eamon Powell and Casey Carreau shot third and fourth in Friday’s shootout ahead of guys like Jack McBain and Colby Ambrosio. And the both scored! Those weren’t the guys I expected to see in that situation, but it sure worked out in the end. Some nice call there by Jerry York to get the shootout win.