A couple weeks ago, before the BC Football team tripped all over itself to get smoked by Kansas, I would say a lot of Boston College Hockey fans were probably okay with the slow but steady approach of hockey season. Everyone was still hyped up on Football Kool-Aid, and the hockey would get here when it got here.
Well, then Kansas happened... and I don’t know about the rest of you, but that was the point at which the full grip of anticipation for hockey season really hit home. Our hopes for anything more than aiming for a bowl were pretty well dashed, and the hockey programs still had the whole season ahead of them — the men were named preseason #1 in Hockey East and primed to be potentially BACK!!!, and the women were ready to prove themselves that they are defined by more than just the players that departed in the offseason.
And now, here we are. Hockey season is officially here!
No. 8 Boston College Eagles (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)
vs. Merrimack Warriors (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)
The drop of the puck on a fresh-out-the-box season!
J. Thom Lawler Rink
North Andover, MA
Friday, September 27th, 2019
Saturday, September 28th, 2019
HOW TO WATCH
As of this writing, Hockey East hasn’t yet announced its league-wide streaming package with CBS College Sports Live. But the link to the game is already up on the website. Here’s a direct link to the game.
So far, the game is listed as being for free. We’re expecting the CBS College Sports Live games to change to being subscription based ($9.99 a month), but if it stays un-paywalled, well, you’ve lucked into a free season opener, my friend.
As it’s only game one of the season, we don’t have any KRACH or GRaNT projections for you just yet. Once all the teams in the country have played at least two opponents, this section will be populated with odds and score projections using MATH!
LAST TIME OUT
Seeing as how neither team won the national championship last year, both teams had their seasons end with a loss.
Merrimack was swept in the Hockey East quarterfinals by Providence by scores of 2-0 and 2-1 at Schneider Arena. The Warriors actually weren’t too bad at scoring goals last season, ranking 4th in the league at 80 goals in 27 games, so that was probably a disappointing power outage for them.
Boston College’s heartbreak was a bit more acute to end the year as it came in the national tournament. The Eagles led Clarkson 1-0 for nearly the entire game with a Frozen Four berth on the line, but gave up the tying goal with just 3 minutes to play and fell in overtime by a 2-1 final score.
THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE
The storyline for week one is going to be the same storyline for the entire season: Can the Eagles show the world that they don’t need transfers Daryl Watts and Caitrin Lonergan — to say nothing of the seven seniors who graduated as well — to be successful?
There are so many players who maybe have not been getting the playing time they’d hoped. They’re elite recruits to an elite program eager to show what they’ve got. It’s going to be fun to see what that is.
Daryl who? Caitrin who? Megan who? Kali who? Serena who? Makenna who? Molly who? Ryan who? Grace who?
RANDOM, POSSIBLY INCORRECT FACT FROM MERRIMACK’S WIKIPEDIA PAGE
GAME TIME MEAL OF THE WEEK
A Durham Fair Meatball Grinder
Anyone who’s been within 100 miles of central Connecticut know about the Durham Fair. It’s the second largest all-volunteer agricultural fair in America, and the best one. It’s just generally the shizznit (as the kids say these days... I’m told). And it’s happening as we speak!
Fair food is the best and you’ve got your pick of pretty much anything you could dream of in Durham. But for today’s meal choice, we’re going with an old standby. This was what I always got as a kid at the fair when I was growing up the next town over. My grandpa used to volunteer at the fair himself at the booth where we got them and the grinders never disappointed. If you head down to the fair this weekend, that’s your official food recommendation!
GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK
The Interrupters — She’s Kerosene
No real tears cause she don’t mean it
This landscape used to be so scenic
And he could make it out if he could dream it
Rising up from the ash, he’s a phoenix
Last year’s pre-game hype video at Conte Forum for the women’s games was set to this song. I’m not sure they could have picked a better one. Great song, and that line about rising up from the ashes like a phoenix is pretty apt for the new year after coming up painfully short.
This is a pretty weird one to predict, even aside from the usual beginning-of-the-season question marks.
Merrimack’s not a brand-new program anymore. It feels like yesterday that they joined the league, but they’re entering their 5th season in Hockey East. Last year, the Warriors had an above .500 year on the back of serious senior leadership, and played BC close in all three games: 3-1 and 4-3 (OT) losses to the Eagles, and their first win over BC as a program by a score of 1-0.
But here’s the thing — the downside of being in your 5th year means that your big inaugural recruiting class has graduated out. The Warriors graduate 11 seniors — yes, 11 — including their top scorer and very, very good goaltender.
You have to counter that with BC’s losses too, of course. But BC is an elite program that’s able to reload with elite talent. Merrimack’s strong season was largely on its senior leadership, and that’s not easily replaced. They’re not going to fall off a cliff thanks to having the extremely talented Mikyla Grant-Mentis leading the team, but I think they’re going to have a tougher time keeping up with some of the more elite teams than they did last year.
So given all that, I think BC comes out strong to open the year with a road sweep. They’ll be close games, but I think the Eagles come out on top. Let’s say a pair of wins at 2-0 and 3-2.
Let’s get things started!