Boston College Women’s Hockey is back in action this weekend with a surprisingly importantly pair of games against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Why are they “surprisingly important,” you ask? Well, it’s not often that you get games against a ranked team when you schedule someone from the CHA, first of all, but more importantly, Penn State provided us with what might be the season’s biggest upset right from the get-go when they stunned #2 Wisconsin 4-1 in the first game of the year. That means in addition to being one of the few ranked teams the Eagles will face this season, it also gives BC a chance to compare favorably to a top team in the WCHA. And who wouldn’t want to see that?
No. 11 Penn State Nittany Lions (2-4-0, 0-0-0 CHA)
at No. 14 Boston College Eagles (3-1-0, 2-0-0 WHEA)
An important bellwether weekend of hockey
Chestnut Hill, MA
Friday, October 14, 2022
Saturday, October 15, 2022
HOW TO WATCH
LAST TIME OUT
Penn State has a wildly misleading record at 2-4-0, which includes a much-better-than-it-looks 0-2-0 last weekend. The Nittany Lions have played easily the toughest stretch of games of any team in the country so far, and their pair of one goal losses to #6 Colgate impressed the voters enough to hold them at 11th in the USCHO poll.
Boston College had a really nice weekend against a bad team, taking 4-1 and 4-0 wins against Merrimack to start off their conference schedule. It’s not going to impress many people getting wins against a Hockey East bottom-dweller, but both games were nonetheless more impressive than any game BC had against the Warriors last season. So, we’ll certainly take the progress.
THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE
Bellwether Hockey. I mentioned in one of my Slack chats that I thought this weekend against Penn State was an important litmus test to see how the team had progressed both from last season and over the first few weeks of the year. The first response was “I’m sick of litmus tests; we never pass them.”
To put it bluntly... that’s pretty true. The last couple seasons, BC has handled bad teams and struggled mightily against teams that have a hint of a pulse. A good example of this was last year against Mercyhurst — a conference mate of Penn State’s and a team that, at the time, sat roughly where the Nittany Lions do this year in the polls — when BC got absolutely dee-stroyed in the shot count 51-26 in a 4-2 loss.
Can the Eagles finally pass one of these tests? The Quinnipiac game was one of the biggest disappointments in recent memory. Penn State isn’t nearly at the same level as the Bobcats, so can BC take a little more control in these games? If not, we could truly be looking at Last Season v2.0 this year.
GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK
Coleman Hell — Devotion
Well, you knew my reputation
But you loved me anyway
Now you have your reservations
But I want you, but I want you to stay
This an opportunity for BC to shake this reputation of not being able to show up in big games. This isn’t even really much of an upset opportunity — Penn State is no juggernaut, but they’re good, and they are a team BC is going to really have to be sharp against to get any wins.
So far what I’ve seen out of BC is that they are marginally better than, but still in the same ballpark of, their quality from last season. That’s not really that great, to be honest, but they can really change the conversation by coming up with a sweep here against a really solid team. Let’s continue with the “slightly better than last year” theme and call for BC to get a couple of 3-1 wins and improve on last year’s pair of 2-1 wins over the Nittany Lions. We’re all aching to believe in this team — it’s time for them to show us something.