The Boston College men’s hockey team picked up two more wins over the weekend, winning at Harvard on Sunday afternoon after blowing out Notre Dame on Friday. That makes it four wins in a row for the Eagles, who now sit at an impressive 11-2-1 on the season. A lot went right over these two games for BC, so let’s take a last look at some of what stood out.
FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS
I was a little bit down in this column last week when looking back at two wins against UConn. Yes, BC had done their job and taken both games from their weekend series with the Huskies, but they didn’t look great in either performance against the Huskies and if you include the series from the prior weekend against Maine, that made it four games in a row that the Eagles hadn’t really looked like the dominant team that we saw earlier in the season.
Most of those concerns vanished in about 30 minutes of game time on Friday afternoon when BC absolutely blitzed a Notre Dame team that had only one loss in their previous eight games. The Eagles scored multiple highlight reel goals in the first period and a half en route to blowing out Notre Dame 6-1. It was one of those games where absolutely everything that BC was trying on the ice was working for them and usually working so well that the puck ended up in the back of the net. Things weren’t quite so smooth on Sunday afternoon, but after two sluggish periods to start the game, BC absolutely brought it in the third against Harvard, scoring three times for a fairly comfortable 4-1 win.
After a few weeks of close games, it was nice to see BC put up some big numbers and get that goal differential up a bit. The freshman line is still killing it and the new look second line of Cutter Gauthier, Oskar Jellvik, and Andre Gasseau had a big weekend of their own with three even strength goals in the two games. Any time you can walk away from two games with a 10-2 score line, you’re going to feel pretty good about the way the weekend went.
CHARLIE LEDDY STEPS UP
Charlie Leddy has dressed in all but one game for BC so far this year, but he’s typically been listed as the seventh defenseman and extra skater. He’s had some nice moments to be sure, particularly on the penalty kill where he’s been excellent, but he hasn’t really been skating consistent shifts at even strength after a freshman season where he did see a ton of ice time basically from the first game.
That changed on Sunday afternoon, however, when Leddy was bumped up in the lineup following an early first period injury that knocked Jacob Bengtsson out for the game. Leddy slotted in to a more traditional six man defensive rotation and played a pretty strong game for the rest of the afternoon. Leddy’s style isn’t particularly flashy and he’s usually the kind of defenseman who you can say had a great game if you didn’t notice him, but he chipped in with some offense on Sunday too. On BC’s first goal, Leddy came from a long way away to jump on a loose puck and get a shot on net that Ryan Leonard deflected for BC’s first goal. It was just his fourth point of the season after having just seven as a freshman, but it was an impressive play by someone who is mostly a defensive defenseman.
We’ll see how much time, if any, Bengtsson is going to miss with his injury, but if he is out for a while, Leddy is going to be the guy who ends up taking most of his shifts. Sunday was a nice first step in reminding us that he is fully capable of doing just that.
FRESHMAN LINE LOOKS UNSTOPPABLE
The trio of Ryan Leonard, Will Smith, and Gabe Perreault have combined for 55 points in these first 14 games. They’re all in the top four in scoring on the team and scoring at comfortably over a point per game pace. Smith and Perreault were held off the score sheet on Sunday. It was Smith’s first game without a point since October 27 and Perreault’s first since October 13. Leonard has a point in eight straight games and had four goals over the weekend. They’re also doing stuff like this, which I’ve watched probably a dozen times because I’m still not convinced it’s real:
I thought these guys would be awesome for BC. I thought they’d hit the ground running and immediately help solve a lot of the scoring issues that the Eagles had last year. I did not think they’d be this good this quickly. Perreault has 20 points in 14 games, good for a 1.43 points per game pace. That’s seventh best in the country! The only other freshman up there with him is BU’s Macklin Celebrini and he’s probably going to be the #1 pick in the next NHL Draft. Leonard’s nine goals would have been the sixth most on the whole team last year in 22 fewer games. I had high expectations for all three of them and they’ve been blown completely out of the water. These guys are an absolute joy to watch together.