Last night’s 5-1 win for Boston College men’s hockey over #8 Denver not only represented a great bounceback from two losses, and a win over a quality opponent, but also the end of a long string of futility against the NCHC, college hockey’s dominant conference in recent years.
You have to look back to the Icebreaker tournament of 2016-17 for BC’s last win over one of the NCHC’s power programs, when BC topped Denver 3-1 at Magness Arena. A few weeks later, the Eagles beat the NCHC’s Colorado College 4-1 at home. But after that it was a lot of pain vs. those programs:
2016 - North Dakota 4, BC 3
2017 - St. Cloud State 5, BC 2
2017 - St. Cloud State 3, BC 1
2017 - Denver 6, BC 1
2018 - St. Cloud State 7, BC 0
2019 - Denver 3, BC 0
2019 - Denver 6, BC 4
2021 - St. Cloud State 4, BC 1 (NCAA tournament)
2021 - Colorado College 5, BC 3
That stretch featured not only an 0-9 record against the NCHC, but also a number of ugly and one-sided games.
Though Denver was coming off a tough loss at Providence, the Pios’ offensive output this year - 29 goals in 5 games prior to the BC game - combined with the Eagles’ struggles in recent years to keep NCHC programs off the board meant that BC’s outstanding defensive performance on Saturday came as a pleasant surprise.
Time will tell just how good Denver (or BC) can be this year, but for now, it’s a nice milestone for the Eagles to finally get over the NCHC hump and hopefully go in to a few weeks of conference play with some confidence in their ability to play a strong 60 minutes against anyone.