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Boston College Men’s Hockey Midweek Thoughts

Catching up with the Eagles after two straight wins

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

The Boston College men’s hockey team has been playing well since returning from their holiday break, with three wins in four games. An overtime win over Sacred Heart this weekend has them on a two game winning streak with a real chance to extend that when they jump back into Hockey East play against Vermont on Friday and Saturday. It’s been a few weeks since dove into what has been going on in these games, so let’s jump back in and take a look at some of what has been working on this recent hot streak.


A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Matt Argentina was performing well in his spot next to Nikita Nesterenko and Colby Ambrosio after BC juggled their lines a few weeks ago in an attempt to redistribute some of the scoring. Not in a way that was lighting the world on fire, but playing well enough to make you think BC might have something with their new look lineup.

Well, Andre Gasseau’s last few weeks are even more encouraging in that manner, as he has been playing some really good hockey since being put on a line with Cutter Gauthier and Trevor Kuntar. In the five games since he was put on Kuntar’s line (he has only been with Gauthier for three because of the World Juniors), Gasseau has two goals and four assists, good for exactly half of the 12 points he has so far on the season. He was also the big star for the Eagles in their recent overtime win over Sacred Heart, scoring their opening goal and assisting on the next two as BC pulled out a 3-2 win in Connecticut.

For the most part, Gasseau doesn’t really play a game that is going to wow you. He’s a big forward who is strong in his defensive zone, good at winning puck battles, and someone who helps on the penalty kill. There’s usually not a ton of explosiveness to his game, but you can rely on him to give you strong play in all three zones no matter where he is in the lineup.

When I say he’s not usually going to wow you, however, that doesn’t mean he never will

Maybe the goal of the year to this point? Certainly Gasseau’s best moment of the season so far. It’s been exciting to watch him break out a bit over the past few weeks and as I said when speaking about Matt Argentina, if these lines continue to work, it could be what ends up giving BC a little bit more of the scoring balance that they were lacking earlier on in the season.


Since their ridiculous 9-6 win over BU to close out the first half of the season, BC has played in four games and allowed eight goals. They’ve allowed exactly two goals in each game and as a result, they’ve been on a bit of a hot streak, having won two in a row and three of the four since returning from break.

Maybe the most encouraging thing is that of those eight goals, five have been while BC was shorthanded, meaning they’ve allowed just three even strength goals in over 240 minutes of game time. And while it’s a bit concerning that the penalty kill that was such a strength for the first half of the season is now leaking a bit, let’s take the optimistic view of things for a second here.

Boston College’s defense was a definite cause for concern both coming into the season and honestly throughout a good chunk of the first half. Individuals were playing well enough, but there were a lot of breakdowns that lead to great chances or easy goals and making it all that much tougher for the Eagles to win these games. And while the opponents BC has played in recent weeks haven’t exactly been the kind of teams we can expect to see competing for a championship in a few months, their game in their own end of the ice has been a lot cleaner.

Take their Fenway game against UMass from a few weekends ago. The Eagles came out of that with a 4-2 win and the Minutemen scored both of their goals on the power play. BC took six penalties and UMass put up a total of nine shots in just over 10 minutes while on the man advantage. In the other 50 minutes, BC conceded a total of just 16 shots. They gave UMass virtually nothing for the entire game when they weren’t a man up. That’s how things looked for most of the series against Arizona State and even though it wasn’t quite as clean, that’s mostly how things looked against Sacred Heart. The Eagles have been allowing an average of just about 24 shots per game since returning to action, and while it’s hard to imagine that number staying quite that low as they get back into Hockey East play in the coming weeks, that’s a really good sign of how the team defense has looked in the past few games.


So the defense at even strength has been pretty solid recently, but the penalty kill has been a bit of a different story. The Eagles have given up five power play goals in their four games since returning from break after allowing just eight in their first 15 games. They’ve allowed at least one in all four games and they’ve dropped below an 80 percent success rate on the penalty kill for the season.

There’s every chance this is just some noise due to a small sample size and the team looked good enough on the penalty kill in the first half of the season to earn a bit more leash before getting truly concerned about this, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. The Eagles need to keep stringing some wins together, especially with conference play right around the corner, and it’s going to be hard to do that if they’re letting up a power play goal in every game. It hasn’t really hurt them in recently, but it’s going to if they can’t clean things up.