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Boston College Men’s Hockey Weekend Thoughts

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Final thoughts after a weekend split

Boston College v Massachusetts-Lowell Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The Boston College men’s hockey team took on two out of conference opponents this weekend, dropping Friday’s game against Colorado College 5-3 before bouncing back and taking down Denver in an impressive 5-1 win on Saturday. The Eagles are now 3-2-1 through their first six games with conference play about to get underway for real. But before we look ahead to seeing some familiar foes, let’s take a look back at these last two games and some of what we learned from them.

DOP GETS BOTH STARTS

Let’s start by talking about the goalies for the third straight week. After Eric Dop and Henry Wilder split the first four games, Jerry York gave Dop the net for both games this weekend. Dop struggled a bit on Friday, letting in four goals on just 19 shots, but he rebounded nicely on Saturday and turned in what was probably his best performance of the season so far, stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced.

It’s been mentioned before, but York usually doesn’t go with goalie tandems, and instead prefers to have a definitive starter who he can play on both nights of a weekend. It looks like Dop might be that guy going forward, with Wilder serving primarily as his backup. It was encouraging to see Dop play so well on Saturday night, and he’s been pretty good overall through four games, so that choice makes some sense. Hockey East play really gets rolling next week, when BC travels to Vermont for two games, so we’ll see if Dop can keep it up and if he continues to get the majority of the starts.

BIG WEEKEND FROM NESTERENKO

Nikita Nesterenko was a bit quiet through the first four games of the season, putting up just two assists to start his sophomore campaign. After a strong freshman season where he scored eight goals and 19 points in 24 games, Nesterenko had some expectations that he hadn’t quite lived up to early on in the season.

That changed in the two games against Colorado College and Denver, with Nesterenko scoring three goals and looking good all throughout the weekend. He scored in a variety of ways too, which is always encouraging to see. His goal on Saturday night came on a breakaway while his two goals on Friday came from in close after winning some battles in front. We talked about this a bit in our season preview, but one of the big factors in how good BC can be this season is how the sophomore class of forwards performs, with Nesterenko being a key member of that group. This weekend was a nice step in the right direction, and hopefully we’ll see more of this kind of play in the coming months.

POWER PLAY COMES THROUGH IN A BIG SPOT

BC’s 5-1 win over Denver looks like a blowout on paper, but Saturday’s game was very much in doubt well into the third period. BC entered the third with a 2-0 lead, but Denver scored early to make it 3-1 and that’s how it stayed for a while. With 6:40 left in the game, BC got a power play chance after Drew Helleson drew a tripping penalty from behind his own net.

Jack McBain cashed in on the chance with a goal from right out in front, batting the puck out of mid-air for his second goal of the season. The power play has been underwhelming for a few seasons now, but it’s looked a little bit better early on. Not great maybe, but a little bit better. The Eagles are just 3 for 16 so far, but they’re at least moving the puck pretty well and getting some looks at the net. It can still be better, but they came through in a big spot on Saturday, and hopefully that can be a bit of a turning point going forward.

COLBY AMBROSIO: TWO SPORT ATHLETE?

This play was so absurdly cool

Hockey’s a really hard sport to play and Ambrosio just kicked the puck into a perfect spot for Trevor Kuntar to fire a one-timer. And he did it while being held. Not something you see every day.