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BC Women’s Hockey vs. New Hampshire: Final Thoughts & Predictions

Drop the puck!

John Quackenbos, BC Athletics

Heyyyyy we’ve got hockey!

Let’s be honest, we don’t know how long this season’s going to last, and it’s going to be a little weird (no non-conference games, no Beanpot, and who knows what a conference or national tournament is going to look like if we get that far). But we’ll take what we can get. Boston College in general has done better than a lot of schools in keeping COVID at bay within the athletic department, so there’s no reason to think that the women’s hockey team can’t keep that streak going.

Let’s look at the first weekend of season.

WHO

Friday
Boston College Eagles (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)
at New Hampshire Wildcats (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)

Saturday
New Hampshire Wildcats (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)
at Boston College Eagles (0-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA)

WHAT

The first games of the season!

WHERE

**Games will be played without fans, so don’t show up hoping to get in the door**

Friday
Whittemore Center Arena
Durham, NH

Saturday
Conte Forum
Chestnut Hill, MA

WHEN

Friday, November 20th, 2020
4:30pm EST

Saturday, November 21st, 2020
4:30pm EST

HOW TO WATCH

Both games this weekend will be broadcast live in HDTV on NESN. Expect a ton of NESN games this year for the women’s team as well as the men’s team as Hockey East and NESN further cement what should be a very mutually beneficial relationship, thanks to the NHL’s delayed start.

If you live outside of NESN’s coverage area, the games will be streamed for free at CollegeSportsLive.com.

PROJECTIONS

As we get deeper into the season, this space will be used to give you game odds and point spreads using our KRACH and GRaNT calculators. We’ll still be running them this season because even though they’ll be useless to compare teams from different conferences, they’ll be perfectly fine to use for intra-conference games... which are the only ones that will be played anyway. But, no games have been played, so we’ve got no projections just yet.

LAST TIME OUT

Boston College’s disappointing 2019-2020 season ended with a microcosm of the year as a whole. They started out in the Hockey East quarterfinals well enough with a win against UConn, but the Eagles fizzled out in games 2 and 3 of the series against the Huskies to end the year. It was a frustrating end to a frustrating season.

New Hampshire’s year ended a bit better than BC’s even though the two programs pretty much matched wins and losses over the course of the season. The Wildcats swept Providence in their Hockey East quarterfinal to advance to the conference semis, but they were blanked 4-0 by the same surprising UConn team that ended BC’s year the week before.

THIS WEEK’S STORYLINE

It’s really nice to have hockey back. The very start of the pandemic marked the premature end of hockey season back in March, with the NCAA tournament being cancelled just a couple days before it was set to begin — the tournament field had been selected and everything — as things started to get out of control. The pandemic is worse now that it was back in March, but we know a lot more about the virus at this point and know some things that can mitigate the spread. Hopefully things work out and the season plays out safely.

THE BIG QUESTION

How quickly can the overhauled roster gel? Of BC’s 25 players, 10 of them didn’t play on the team last year: There are 8 freshmen, 1 new transfer, and 1 call up from the club team. Though the core of the team is back, even those players are young — only one of the top 9 forwards, top 6 defenders, and top 3 goaltenders is a senior: forward Maegan Beres.

The good news is that the huge roster turnover means BC could be much better than last year’s roughly-.500 team. The bad news is that it could take some time to gel. A silver lining of the modified schedule is that the players have had much, much more time practicing together than they would have in a normal year, so hopefully that helps.

IN THE BEFORE TIME, IN THE LONG LONG AGO

We’ve done the “Random, Possibly Incorrect Fact From Our Opponent’s Wikipedia Page” for so many years now that at this point there’s nothing else in the wiki pages to use. So we’ll change it up, and this year we’ll talk about a women’s hockey memory from the last 15 years featuring our opponent from back when Joe Gravellese and I followed the program as students.

It might not seem like it now, but Back In My Day™ New Hampshire was the eastern women’s hockey powerhouse. For a long time, they had this ridiculous streak of having never lost a single conference game on home ice. They were a Frozen Four mainstay and beating them was akin to beating Wisconsin or Minnesota nowadays.

That streak ended a year or two after Joe and I started following the sport as the Wildcats began their decline, but the Eagles never, ever, ever managed to win a game at the Whittemore Center all throughout my four years of following the team. Even as the Eagles started their climb to become an NCAA tournament mainstay, they couldn’t knock off the Wildcats on Lake Whitt.

...Until the very last weekend of our very last season as students. Despite the year being a tough one (the Eagles were below .500 thanks to losing two players to the Olympics), Joe and I made the trek up to Durham for the last road game of the year anticipating getting walloped again by the #4 ranked Wildcats.

We were so anticipating a loss that we even hatched a plan to try and steal UNH’s stupid fish that they throw on the ice for their first goal, figuring it would get us kicked out. I brought a full suit and tie and strolled right into the Whittemore Center — because nobody questions a guy in a suit — went downstairs, went down to the Zamboni area, and tried to find the fish to steal it to throw on the ice ourselves if BC managed to score at all. Unfortunately, I never did find it and it didn’t even look like they had one for that game anyway — but it was a good thing I didn’t get kicked out, because the Eagles won on a goal late in the third period to finally get that monkey off our backs.

GAME TIME MEAL OF THE WEEK

New Haven Apizza

Gotta go high-class for opening weekend. Yeah, there’s a big fight among purists as to whether Pepe’s or Sally’s or Modern is the best (it’s Pepe’s), but every Pepe’s and Sally’s and Modern stan will tell you that in a pinch, it really doesn’t matter — New Haven style apizza is still the GOAT no matter where you get it. I don’t live in New Haven proper, but being just a couple towns up the shoreline I’m fortunate enough to have a branch of Grand Apizza within delivery distance, so that’ll be my go-to for this evening.

GAME TIME SONG OF THE WEEK

AJR — Bummerland

Bummerland, here I am
Better nix my summer plans
Bummerland, give a cheer
’Cause you’re only going up from here

This song was released in August, and while I haven’t found anywhere actually confirming that it was written about life during COVID... I mean, surely, it is about life during COVID.

It’s a good song with a good driving beat. And it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be out of place once the pandemic is over, so that’s good. Anyway, yeah, light at the end of the tunnel and all that.

PREDICTION

Being a totally new season with an almost completely new roster would normally make you pretty hesitant to predict big things, but given that last year was terrible it makes you think that change almost has to be good. Plus, the offseason was not good to the Wildcats — they lost their top four scorers to graduation, while the Eagles return 7 of their top 8.

Last year I’d have felt like a fool for predicting a sweep, but New Hampshire might have a tough go of it this year. It’ll be close at Lake Whitt with BC pulling out a 2-1 win on Friday, but I think BC wins a nice one 4-0 at home on Saturday.