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Jacob Fowler Impresses but the Top Line Struggles: Boston College Men’s Hockey Weekend Thoughts

Boston College v Massachusetts-Lowell Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images


We’re at the ten game mark here for BC and Jacob Fowler has been in net for every one of them so far. And there’s really no other way to say it, he’s been about as good as we could have hoped for to start his collegiate career. His .924 save percentage is good for 15th best in the country and second best among freshmen. He’s allowing just over two goals per game and he’s looked comfortable in net from the first period of the first game of the season.

One of the things that has been most noticeable about Fowler’s game early on is something that was noticeable a few years back when Spencer Knight came in as a freshman. Fowler always seems to be square to the shooter, he’s never recovering or scrambling to get into position because he’s already there. He’s so quick when he’s moving in his crease that it makes difficult saves look a lot more routine than they should be.

His rebound control has also been a huge plus so far in the season. There haven’t been a lot of second chance opportunities for opponents, mostly because Fowler has either been freezing pucks or sending them into non dangerous areas. Nothing he does is particularly flashy, but he’s so fundamentally solid in just about every area of his game. There have been a couple goals that have gotten by him that he probably wants back, but his weekend series against Maine was about as good as we’ve seen him. Fowler stopped 67 of the 71 shots he faced over the two games and came up big a number of times to keep the Eagles in a close game. And he stopped six of the eight shots he saw in the shootout on Saturday night to help BC pick up an extra point in Hockey East play. He’s impressed every weekend so far and has very quickly made it clear that goaltending should be a major strength for Boston College moving forward.


This could easily end up being one of those things that looks like just a blip in a few weeks, but it has now been four games since Cutter Gauthier’s line has scored at even strength. Gauthier has spent most of the season with Jack Malone and Andre Gasseau and while have decent enough statistics through 10 games, most of their production is coming on the power play. Eight of their combined 14 goals have come on the man advantage with another from Gasseau having come while shorthanded. That means they have just five goals while playing at five-on-five this season and none since Malone scored a third period goal against Michigan State back in October.

None of this is to say that any of Gauthier, Malone, or Gasseau are playing poorly, but it’s hard not to come away from some of these games wanting a bit more from them. While the all freshman line has looked dynamic in just about every game so far this season, Gauthier’s line has been a bit more hot and cold. Against Maine, they were definitely more cold. The trio was mostly invisible at even strength on Friday night (Malone did have a goal on the power play after a nice passing play) and the coaching staff noticed, bumping up Oskar Jellvik to play alongside Gauthier and Malone on Saturday night. The change didn’t amount to a whole lot, however, as all three players were held off the scoresheet in BC’s shootout win.

I don’t think this is a trend that is going to last a whole lot longer and if Gauthier can remain lethal on the power play, BC might be able to overcome the five-on-five issues even if they do persist. But it’s worth noting that what has been listed as the top line in every game before Saturday night against Maine has been pretty steadily outplayed by the three highly touted freshmen.


Speaking of that all freshman line, Gabe Perreault has somewhat quietly quietly become BC’s leading scorer on the season with a four point weekend against Maine. After being held off the board in the first two games of the season, Perreault has points in eight straight games and at least two points in six of those eight. For the season, he’s got two goals and a team best 13 assists and his goal in the fourth round of the shootout on Saturday night kept BC alive before Lukas Gustafsson netted the game winner.

He also scored their first goal of the night in the Saturday game with an absolutely perfect shot

15 points in his last eight games is a ridiculous pace for Perreault but with how well he and his linemates are playing, it’s hard to be surprised that they’re all putting up big numbers.