The Boston College men’s hockey team got the second half of their season underway over the weekend with a two game series against Arizona State. The Eagles started things off strong with a 5-2 win on Friday before dropping a frustrating 2-1 game on Saturday despite winning the shots battle 43-18. Still, there was more good than bad on the whole for the weekend, and considering that BC was without Cutter Gauthier for both games, a split is far from the worst result. So before the team moves ahead to their Frozen Fenway matchup with UMass and the rest of the season, let’s take one last look back at the final games from 2022.
SOLID PERFORMANCES, SPLIT RESULTS
The Eagles played two strong games over the weekend, and easily could have come away with a pair of wins if things had gone a bit differently on Saturday night. BC dominated both games in terms of possession, shot attempts, and scoring chances, and yet they ran into a hot goalie and had to settle for a split.
Friday night was just about the best case scenario. BC took the lead early, got scoring from all over the lineup, and pretty much had the game wrapped up for the majority of the third period. It might have been the best sixty minutes the team has put together all season, and it was a great way to get the second half of the season started.
Saturday was the night that you could tell they missed Gauthier. The Eagles were facing a goalie on his A-game and they just couldn’t get more than one past him despite all of their shots and scoring chances. The power play was one area that Gauthier clearly could have helped, as BC went 0-5 in both games and 0-3 in the third period in Saturday night’s loss (although their final attempt was for all of nine seconds at the end of the game). With that said, sometimes you just run into a hot goalie, and there was a lot to like from how the team looked in these two games and plenty of reasons for optimism going forward.
A MUCH NEEDED BIG TIME WEEKEND
After getting off to a pretty nice start with five goals in his first nine games, Colby Ambrosio hadn’t found the back of the net since the middle of November headed into these two games. The junior forward had a big weekend against Arizona State, however, putting up a goal and an assist in Friday’s win and scoring the only goal for the Eagles on Saturday night. The three-point weekend brought Ambrosio up to 14 in his 17 games so far, and will hopefully give him some momentum as BC will look to start stringing some wins together as the second half continues.
Ambrosio might have been the best player for the Eagles on a weekend where they badly needed someone to step up for them. His two goals both showcased just how skilled of a player he is (the hand-eye coordination on display for his goal on Friday was ridiculous) and he looked dangerous pretty much every time he was on the ice. After a first half of the season that was decent but not spectacular, the hope has to be that Ambrosio can use this as a bit of a springboard to becoming the consistent scoring option that the Eagles badly need him to be.
MATT ARGENTINA PROVIDING ANSWERS
BC has had serious issues with secondary scoring (and really scoring in general) for most of the season, but Matt Argentina has quietly been making a case that he might be part of the solution going forward. He had a goal and an assist on Friday night and now has four points in his last four games, giving him a total of five in 11 games so far to match his freshman season total of five in 29.
These aren’t eye popping numbers and Argentina’s game certainly isn’t flashy, but this kind of production could go a long way of answering some of BC’s biggest problems up front. After playing most of the first half with Cutter Gauthier, Nikita Nesterenko, and Colby Ambrosio on the first line, BC shook things up before the break and put Argentina with Nesterenko and Ambrosio. And in their few games together, the trio has been producing. If they stay together when Gauthier returns and if you assume that Gauthier’s line will produce, then suddenly there might be two lines you can reasonably expect to score on a consistent basis. We’ll see how long that remains the case, but for now at least, the Nesterenko-Ambrosio-Argentina line is providing a nice little answer that BC didn’t have for most of the first half of the season.