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Boston College Men’s Hockey Midweek Thoughts

Some final thoughts on the past few games for the Eagles

Providence College v Boston College Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Boston College men’s hockey team, with Hockey East play fully underway and a few genuine surprises at the top of the standings so far. The Eagles are currently right in the middle of the pack in the conference, sitting at seventh with just a few points separating them from a few teams above them. BC’s record of 5-5-4 isn’t particularly inspiring, but there’s been some good things happening on the ice to this point. Let’s take a look at some of the good and some of the bad with just one game left before the team is off for a few weeks.


I was a bit down on Mitch Benson’s first month of the season, so full credit to the graduate transfer and what he has been able to do over the past few weeks. He’s allowed more than two goals just once in his past six games and his performance in the weekend series against Providence was his best work of the season.

Let’s be clear, BC should have gotten blown out on Friday night and while they were a little bit better on Saturday, Providence was still easily the better team. But Benson had enormous games on back-to-back nights, stopping 39 shots on Friday and 33 on Saturday as he dragged his team to a pair of ties.

Benson’s numbers on the season don’t quite blow you away, but he save percentage is up to .909 and climbing more towards the numbers he had in his three seasons at Colgate. He’s been good at making saves in traffic and his rebound control has been impressive as well, as he allowed almost nothing in terms of second chance opportunities over the weekend. He’s almost certainly not going to keep up his .931 save percentage pace from the past five games, but he’s proving that he can be exactly the player that BC hoped he was when he transferred; a dependable #1 goalie.


Let’s zoom out for a second here. BC has played 14 games so far this season. They have five wins in those 14 games. They have scored more than three goals four times. They have scored two or fewer goals seven times. There’s just not much firepower at all up front, and that’s noticeable pretty much every night.

Cutter Gauthier is living up to expectations, leading the team in both goals and points. His most frequent linemates, Colby Ambrosio and Nikita Nesterenko have been fine. Trevor Kuntar has had a few nice moments and he’s one of the best goal scorers on the team. Beyond those four players, no one else on the team has more than two goals. Cam Burke and Christian O’Neill, two more graduate transfers, have combined for no goals and five assists despite regularly getting big minutes. Andre Gasseau and Oskar Jellvik have both shown some nice flashes as freshmen, but they’re not exactly lighting up the scoresheet on a nightly basis.

To be fair, BC did actually get some much needed scoring from down the lineup on Saturday night. The Eagles’ two goals came from Connor Joyce and Matt Argentina while Argentina also added the shootout winner for the extra Hockey East point. But these kind of moments are sticking out because of how rare they’ve been so far. And it’s hard to see much of a path to winning games that isn’t relying on the top line to put up two or three goals every night. And as we’ve seen in past seasons when BC teams have had similar issues, that doesn’t feel like a very reliable strategy.

It’s also probably worth mentioning that Argentina’s goal came while he was on the ice with Nesterenko and Ambrosio, so even if it is a goal from a depth player, a lot of the work was done by the guys we expect to be creating chances. Although in fairness to Argentina, he scored on one heck of a shot


One area that BC hasn’t struggled to score goals, however, is on the power play. Twelve of the team’s 35 goals have come on the man advantage, and seven different players already have at least one power play goal.

The Eagles aren’t blowing teams out of the water when they’re on the power play, but they look good. They look a lot better than they have in some previous seasons. The passing is faster, there seem to be more set plays looking to get dangerous shots, and they’re forcing goalies to move across their crease with traffic in front of him to make saves. Eamon Powell has had a nice season overall and has looked great as the lone defenseman on the top unit. Cutter Gauthier leads the team with four power play goals, but he also has a sneaky good slap pass that he’ll try on occasion. He tried it at least three times over the weekend against Providence, one leading to a goal that was called back for an offside call and the other two leading to dangerous scoring chances. They need goals to come from somewhere at this point, so the power play clicking has been a good sign.

Equally as impressive has been the penalty kill, which is operating at about an 85 percent success rate. This was a huge weakness last season, where opponents scored on just about one out of every four power play chances that they were given. Everyone deserves some credit for this one. Benson has been strong in net on the PK but he’s also generally been allowed to see the puck pretty cleanly, which is a testament to the four guys playing in front of him. And while BC hasn’t been particularly dangerous themselves while shorthanded -they had six shorthanded goals last season and none so far in 2022-23 - this still feels like a pretty major step forward in fixing what was one of the biggest issues with last year’s team. They killed all six of Providence’s power plays over the weekend, so let’s hope that trend continues.