Joseph Gravellese: When the time comes to make a Johnny Gaudreau for Hobey Baker highlight reel, you could honestly probably cut a video from Saturday's game and call it a day. To wit, he:
-banked a shot in off the sleeping goalie from an impossible angle on a breakaway
-added three assists, including another eye-popping assist through traffic to Steve Whitney
-threw in the empty netter to ice a win over a top team
His scoring streak has had local and national media buzzing. WBZ 4's Dan Roche tweeted that he should be called "Johnny Hockey," as the answer to football's Heisman candidate, Johnny Football, and ESPN's John Buccigross joined on that bandwagon as well. (They need to learn that the only acceptable nickname is Gaudreaubey Baker, but it's all good.)
Meanwhile, the Eagles keep rolling. 10-1, and one win from York tying the all time record. ON we go.
Grant Salzano: I was a bit of a dummy and missed this game. I was at Wesleyan watching my wife's alma mater, Stonehill, take on Trinity in some D-III action, thinking the BC game was in the evening. Oops.
Nonetheless I did catch the highlights on BCEagles.com. My favorite part was the 'doink' off Grant's (lol) head for the score from the sharp angle.
From what I heard and the highlights that I saw, the game lived up to its billing of two top-5 (in the Pairwise, anyway) teams, eh?
JG: It was one of the best games I've seen this year. I think you could make the case that Dartmouth was the best team we've seen BC play this season. Obviously BU was good, too, but I really liked what I saw out of Dartmouth (and I say that as a bonafide and continuous ECAC-basher/skeptic). They were big, they were fast, they were opportunistic, and they gave BC a run for their money for 40 minutes until the Eagles' superior talent won out.
GS: It's been a common theme -- wonder what our goal differential is in the third period so far? *Goes to look it up*
GS: Holy crap -- we're outscoring opponents 18-7 in the third period. WHAT?
And of course, 1-0 in overtimes.
JG: What's the goal differential in periods one and two?
GS: We're on the good side of 8-5 and 13-11 in the first two frames.
JG: But much better in the third. Lending credence to your theory from last week about BC being able to wear opponents down after they throw all they've got at BC early on.
GS: Indeed -- we're actually getting outshot in the first period 108-99.
For those of you who like numbers and stats and other such fun things, the stats are here.
JG: I know you didn't see the game, but I thought it was interesting that Dartmouth decided to go into very very physical mode late in the third once the game was already getting out of reach. Because that's probably honestly the way to go if you're going to try to shut down BC's #1 line. Except most Hockey East refs won't let you get away with that kind of game, thankfully for us.
GS: In other news, how about this Gaudreauing thing? Even the official BC twitter accounts are picking up on it.
JG: Yeah, it's been a good week for Gaudreauish memes. The Calgary Flames' Facebook and Twitter pages linked to the Gaudreaubey Baker shirts (Thanks guys!) and Gaudreauing is spreading.
Someone needs to do that on the jumbotron at the next home game. Gaudreauing is the new Discount Double Check.
GS: YES! If someone Gaudreaus on the jumbotron at either the home or away game, I will at least make an attempt to get you a shirt. No guarantees as I'm hoping to have the few I have in my possession sold by then... but... yeah. At least you'll get the girls for it. Or something.
JG: You were one goal away from me owing you some fried chicken as UNH tied CC before coming back to beat Denver last weekend.
GS: They look really, really good. And the east is just completely taking over the Pairwise at the moment.
JG: Yes sir. 1) BC. 2) UNH. 3) Dartmouth. 5) Yale. 6) Union. 7) BU. Are we going to count Notre Dame at 8? Why not.
And I even buy the ECAC rankings somewhat at this point. The East looks good. Eli Yale one-upped UNH last weekend, beating both CC AND DU.
GS: BOW WOW WOW, BABY!
Loving those Elis. They even looked good when they played BC last year at the Whale. Until we LOL'd on them in the third period.
Really looking forward to that one later this year.
JG: Suddenly, that home game in January is looking mighty tasty as well. Going into the season this looked like a "meh" non-conference home slate other than the Notre Dame game...but Darmouth and Yale have turned out to be big games for PWR purposes.
GS: Who knew? Not complaining. I'd love to see the east stay on top. The west dominates enough on the women's side.
JG: Yeah, like Minnesota beating UNH 10-2. OUCH.
But, at the same time, tee-hee.
Minnesota's not losing this year, by the way.
Minnesota women's hockey is like a crappy mid-major New England basketball team playing BC. Guaranteed win.
GS: I see what you did there.
I'd like to take this moment to issue a hearty LOL to my friends and enemies around Connecticut.
Not because of Louisville joining the ACC -- oh, no -- but because BC women's hockey is now officially the BEST WOMEN'S HOCKEY PROGRAM IN CONNECTICUT.
Nutmeg Classic Champs, baby. *Drops mike, walks away*
JG: It's like the Beanpot, except not.
But seriously though, I think the best part about that is how gigantic the trophy is. As you said on Twitter it's bigger than the freakin' UEFA Champions League trophy.
You can't really take much from the games because Quinnipiac and Yale are pretty bad.
GS: Jesus did you see that thing?!
That trophy can hold a lot of nutmegs.
Is that plural? Whatever.
GS: There you go.
Well anyway... we have a couple hockey games this weekend right?
Who are we playing again?
JG: I hope it's not Bryant.
JG: We haven't learned much about BU since we last played them; they beat St. Lawrence and UVM (expected), and lost to UNH (at this point, also expected). They're right where I figured they looked to be after our game with them. Good, not elite. But they'll have plenty of motivation this weekend to give BC their best games.
GS: They will, and so will BC, obviously. These games are going to be playoff intensity.
JG: Even more than a usual BC-BU game. With the bright-ish lights of NBC Sports Network shining upon them. What's the key to this weekend series?
GS: Avoid HITTING THE POST WITH THE SHOTTTTT
JG: (Yes, Doc Emrick will be calling both games. Yes, I am excited.)
The obvious answer is special teams, since we'll probably be treated to the Benedetto and/or Hansen show. Smart money is on the "and."
On a related note, can I please just say -- and I know people are going to say it's because he's almost my namesake -- but John Gravallese is one of the best refs in Hockey East, and it's always a relief when he's assigned to one of our games. He keeps the arm down unless it's absolutely necessary and avoids the goofy Hockey East specials -- makeup calls, bizarre matching penalties, two minutes for hitting hard, etc.
GS: I'm still attached to Benedetto. He was a fun dude out in Detroit when we met him at the Frozen Four Fan Fest thing.
JG: Look, I'm not attacking him as a man. I'm sure he's a good husband and father. But I shudder when he's announced as the ref.
GS: Okay, key to the game...
I think the key is going to be the top line getting multiple points. I have faith that the bottom lines can get some supplemental scoring, but the top lines are going to carry us.
I considered saying "get an early lead" but let's be real, it literally does not matter when this team gets a lead.
JG: They'll have to do so, they're pretty much the whole offense at this point. It is what it is. I think supplemental scoring will come, but yeah, probably not any time soon.
Plus "get an early lead" is the biggest cop out in sports-predictioning. That applies equally in shootyhoops, equestrian, and chess.
GS: Can you get a lead in equestrian? Or is it all about looking good?
JG: I have no idea, do I look like the wife of a failed presidential candidate?
Don't answer that.
GS: Oh politics. How you do not belong in a hockey banter.
(Yes, you do look like the wife of a failed presidential candidate.)
JG: Anyway... let's hear an off the wall prediction for this weekend.
Our OO friends know I've been feeling good about Silk's development for weeks now; while I was wrong in predicting that he'd score at Aggannis a few weeks back, I'm going to double down and say he gets on the scoresheet this weekend.
GS: Lowell takes three points from UNH. A total WTF job on the part of the Wildcats.
I think UNH is about to have a bit of a stumble. They built their early season success on defense, then all of a sudden they get a bit lucky, really, and take a 1-0-1 weekend despite giving up EIGHT GOALS -- before last weekend they'd given up just 12 all season.
So, that little fall from consistency says a stumble is in order. Just a hunch.
JG: That would really be another feather in college hockey's parity hat. I wouldn't be shocked, either. Lowell's stock will rise - it just has to. They're better than they've been playing and now they finally have a modest winning streak to build off of after beating Princeton.
And finally, time to buck up. Four points are on the table for the men (@ BU, vs. BU) and women (two at home vs. Maine) this weekend. On Sunday, we're looking back at...?
GS: Four big, big W's. This is going to be a big freaking weekend. The results will reflect that.
JG: I have to be the killjoy but I'm going to say BC and BU split the weekend. And the conventional wisdom is saying both teams win on the road, since that's what usually happens in this series. As much as I like to disagree with conventional wisdom, I think it's right in this case.
The women will have no trouble with Maine.
GS: They always have trouble with Maine, randomly, which is weird because they're terrible. But yeah, not this weekend.
JG: They dispatch them like Serena Williams playing someone in the first round at Wimbledon. 6-1, 6-love.
GS: Ooooooooh, nice one.
JG: I humbly request that you behave when you join me at Agganis on Friday night, but I give you permission to loudly snicker when they mention how you can book your company's party at Agganis.
GS: They seriously mention booking parties at Agganis?? HAHAHA
THE UNINTENTIONAL HUMOR IS AMAZING
JG: Yes, yes they do. You can rent it out for your office function or whatever.
GS: Or hockey championship party. Or whatever.
Do they charge extra for use of the penalty box?
JG: It's my understanding that you pay one flat rate to rent the whole place.
GS: I... can't really think of a joke for that.
JG: It might be worth doing to have a BCI-hosted party in honor of York breaking the all time wins record. That would be real-life trolling.