The Boston College men’s hockey team took care of business this past weekend, winning both games of a home-and-home series against Merrimack by a combined score of 12-6. The Eagles survived a tough back-and-forth 6-4 game on the road on Friday night before blowing out Merrimack 6-2 at home on Sunday afternoon. With two enormous games with BU coming up this weekend, let’s take a last look at some of what stood out against the Warriors before truly getting in to rivalry mode.
OFFENSE IS ROLLING AT THE RIGHT TIME
BC has played in four Hockey East games since returning from the winter break and they’ve certainly come out firing on all cylinders. The Eagles have 22 goals in their past four games and have scored six or more three times over the past two weekends. All seven of their top goal scorers have at least two goals in that time span and the team is now averaging more than four goals per game on the season as a result of this recent hot streak.
As mentioned above, a lot of this scoring streak has come from the big names leading the way. Cutter Gauthier has four goals in the last four games including a hat trick in the opener against Merrimack, Oskar Jellvik has stayed red hot for pretty much the entire season, and the all freshman line continues to do basically whatever they want any time they touch the ice. But the rest of the lineup has chipped in a bit recently as well, particularly on Sunday afternoon. Aidan Hreschuk scored his first goal of the season to start the scoring and Jack Malone scored two beautiful goals to get on the scoreboard for the first time since all the way back in November. Jamie Armstrong and Will Vote both have two games with multiple points since the season resumed after not having any in the first half. The Eagles have three of their four lines really clicking right now and putting up points, and if they can keep that going, we should be in for a really fun stretch run.
SPECIAL TEAMS UP AND DOWN THIS WEEKEND
There wasn’t a whole lot of flow to either of the games against Merrimack this weekend, and if you just take a look at the box score, you can probably see why. The two teams combined for 33 penalties across the two games which gave Merrimack 10 power plays and BC a ridiculous 15. And while a bunch of these were overlapping and didn’t last the full two minutes, there weren’t a ton of chances for either team to just roll their four lines at five-on-five.
First some of the good. BC’s penalty kill was mostly very good. They allowed an early goal on Friday night and then more or less shut Merrimack down for the rest of the weekend before allowing a late consolation goal on Sunday when the game was already determined. They also scored two big power play goals on Friday night to put Merrimack away, including one that ended with Ryan Leonard shouting at Merrimack’s goalie that might be my favorite moment of the season so far.
On the other hand, the Eagles came up empty on eight power play chances on Sunday afternoon, including some extended time with a two-man advantage. And while they still won in comfortable fashion, you’d like to see them convert at least once or twice when given that many chances. And then there’s just the raw number of penalties they had to kill. Sure, Friday’s game in particular got pretty chippy, but putting yourself shorthanded 10 times over the course of a weekend isn’t a great recipe for success. You can survive that against a middle of the pack power play like Merrimack but BU’s power play is 7th in the country and operating at over 26 percent. They’ll need to do a better job at staying out of the box this weekend.
YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED FRESHMAN LINE HIGHLIGHTS
Doesn't get much nicer than this— BC Men's Hockey (@BC_MHockey) January 21, 2024
Eagles lead 3-0 pic.twitter.com/9aXWkCc7fh
There was a lot of hype surrounding the trio of Ryan Leonard, Gabe Perreault, and Will Smith coming into this season and we’ve talked at length about how they’ve honestly surpassed most of it. But man, is it still worth mentioning how fun it is to watch the three of them play together. Those are some high skill plays that they made look easy and we get to see them do that kind of thing every time they’re on the ice. As a fan, it doesn’t get much better than that.