The Boston College men’s hockey team hit the road for two games in Vermont over the weekend and came back with three of a possible four points. They dropped the opening game on Friday 5-4 in overtime before coming back with a 3-2 win on Saturday night to improve to 4-3-1 on the season. We’re starting to get an idea of just what this team is going to look like with eight games in the books and there’s plenty that we can take away from this past weekend, so here are some final thoughts with Hockey East play now fully underway.
JACK MCBAIN STAYS HOT
It was pretty clear that with some of the departures from last year’s team, BC was going to need someone to step up and have a big season if they were going to succeed. Enter Jack McBain, who had a decent junior year in 2020-21 with 19 points in 24 games, but who some people thought had another level he could get to. Through the first eight games of the 2021-22 season, it looks like he’s gotten to that level, as he’s put up five goals and 14 points already. McBain is en route to blow past his career high of six goals (which he’s actually put up in each of his first three seasons) as well as his sophomore year mark of 21 points. He’s doubled up the second place scorer on the team to this point and he played a big role in BC’s weekend series against Vermont, scoring three goals including two on Saturday night.
With so many new faces on the team, BC needed a start like this from someone in the early season to avoid getting off to a slow start. McBain has been everything the Eagles could have hoped for so far, playing what is probably the best hockey of his college career and emerging as a real leader among the forward core. His two goals on Saturday night both came on the power play and, more importantly, both tied the game after BC had fallen behind. He’s scoring big goals in important situations and his line has probably been the best on the team so far. It’s great to see someone like McBain really stepping up and being a key part of the team, and hopefully he can prove that this is sustainable in the coming weeks.
FRIDAY NIGHT A BAD LOSS
On paper, Boston College is a more talented team than Vermont. You could see that on the ice for the majority of both games, as BC really controlled things from a possession perspective and spent the majority of the game in the attacking zone. On Friday night, they got up 3-0 early in the second period and seemed to be coasting to an easy win. And then in the span of about 20 minutes of in game action, Vermont flipped the script and scored four goals to take the lead. The Eagles did get a late goal from Patrick Giles to force overtime and secure a point, but Vermont got the game winner with a power play goal in overtime to take the series opener.
That’s a bad loss. Vermont has been in the basement of Hockey East for a few years and came into Friday night’s game 0-4 on the season. You shouldn’t be losing to them in a game where you have a three-goal lead. The top of the Hockey East standings are always clustered at the end of the season, and BC just dropped a point that could absolutely come back to bite them in a few months. We’ll see if this turns into a game that we can just forget about or if it does end up hurting them, but in real time, it just felt like a bad loss that really shouldn’t have happened.
EARLY CONCERNS IN NET?
Some early caveats before we get into this one. Eric Dop has only started in six of the eight games so far this season and he’s had a few really good starts. He looked awesome last week against Denver and solid in the season opener against Quinnipiac and he’s got a pretty good track record from his time at Bowling Green. He’s probably going to be fine going forward.
He’s also got a save percentage of .877 and has let up five goals twice in his six games. That’s just not very good even if some of the goals haven’t been his fault at all. Spencer Knight’s save percentage was north of .930 in both of his two seasons, and while it’s probably not fair to compare the two goalies, that’s an awfully big difference between those two numbers and it’s going to show up in the win/loss columns if it stays that way. Again, it’s early and Dop has shown enough to inspire some confidence so far. But that save percentage is going to have to come up pretty substantially if the Eagles are going to do much this season.
EAMON POWELL, OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN
This is such a ridiculous pass
What a find by Powell and Kuntar buries it glove side pic.twitter.com/W4cUK3fLns— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) October 31, 2021
I was a big fan of Powell’s game in his freshman season, but he hasn’t been quite as noticeable so far in year two. Hopefully this gets him going.