We’re right back into hockey season with Boston College dropping their opening game of the season 4-0 to Quinnipiac. BC entered the 2022-23 season with a lot of questions, and Friday gave us our first look at some answers that we might not like. There’s a long season still ahead of us, but there simply wasn’t a whole lot to like from what we saw on Friday. Here’s a look at some of what stood out from the first game of the season.
LAST YEAR’S PROBLEMS STILL HERE
In a lot of ways, Friday night’s game felt similar to many of the games that we sat through in the 2021-22 season. BC kept it close for a while and generated a few decent chances, but once the score got to 3-0, there was no path for them to get back into things. Even at 2-0 it felt mostly like the game was already out of reach.
It’s just hard to see where the goals are going to come from this season. There was no depth scoring last year and the first game didn’t do anything to make you think that that would change in 2022-23. Large portions of the game just felt listless and outside of a few moments towards the end of the first period, it never really felt like they were going to score. The Eagles ended up with just 16 shots on the night, half of which came in the opening 20 minutes.
To be fair, this was just one game. BC was without Cutter Gauthier, who is probably their most talented forward, so their lines weren’t exactly what they project to be when everyone is available. But it certainly wasn’t an encouraging first game, even considering the fact that Quinnipiac is a top 10 team with a legitimate chance at a Frozen Four appearance. Hockey East play starts this weekend, so there’s not a whole lot of time to clean things up.
DEFENSE ALSO A CONCERN
Just to be clear, the 4-0 final score could have been a lot worse if Quinnipiac finished on some of their early scoring chances. The Bobcats had some A+ chances after taking a 1-0 lead that barely stayed out of the net or the game would have been over a lot sooner than it was.
This, however, is something that probably should get cleaned up as the season goes on, at least a little bit. There were two new faces on the blue line on Friday in Charlie Leddy and Lukas Gustafsson and two more in Mitch Andres and Cade Alami who weren’t getting regular playing time last year as well. The listed top pairing of Aidan Hreschuk and Eamon Powell was made up of two players who probably shouldn’t be on a top pair while Marshall Warren was skating with Leddy, a freshman who he still needs to build some chemistry with.
I don’t know if this is a defensive group that can ever be all that good, but the bar has to be higher than what we saw on Friday night, which was ugly for stretches of time. BC isn’t going to score enough to get by with allowing four goals per game, so hopefully the defense can start coming together sooner than later.
FIRST LOOK AT MITCH BENSON
For the second year in a row, BC is putting their faith in a transfer to be their number 1 goalie, this time with Mitch Benson, formerly of Colgate. Benson put up strong numbers in his last two year’s at Colgate, so there was some reason to be optimistic about what we would see at BC.
His first appearance didn’t quite live up to those expectations, however, as he let in 4 goals on 29 shots for an .862 save percentage. He probably could have had a few of those goals too, which could have made things a bit more interesting down the stretch.
BC needs Benson to be great for them, especially early in the season, and that’s probably unfair to him. He’s been a good goalie for his entire collegiate career, but asking him to carry a team while they figure things out is a bridge too far. He can and will be better than what we saw on Friday night, though, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough for the team to start winning.
STUDENTS SHOW UP
Say what you will about the quality of the product that they’re watching, but the student sections have been packed at football games so far this season, and they were packed on Friday night as well. These games are a lot more fun when the students are there and making noise, and that hasn’t always been the case for really several years now.
We’ll have to see if the 4-0 loss scares some of them off going forward, and the next home game isn’t until October 23, a Sunday, but they deserve a shout out for creating a fun environment for the season opener.