Forgive me, but I'm not going to recap 5 consecutive Providence College goals. That will tell you nothing.
I'll keep the 'game recap' short and sweet here: We lost 5-1. PC scored 1 in the first and 4 more in the third to put the game completely out of reach, and Quinn Smith put home a too-little-too-late tally to ruin Gillies' shutout late in the game. That's it.
I'm not really one to put out excuses, but BC was playing with an extremely short bench in this game. This was going to be a battle even with a full roster, and a full roster there would not be.
Aside from the obvious absences of Kevin Hayes and Patch Alber, we had two major injury stories:
Patrick Wey was originally on the line charts but was a late scratch after his skate-to-the-leg injury from Friday flared up. That left BC with Isaac MacLeod as its only non-freshman defenseman. That is, if you don't count sophomore forward Danny Linell, who was forced back to the blue line to fill a defense slot.
Steven Whitney was a bit beaten up in the Friday game but skated early in the game. About halfway through the first period, however, he was seen walking down the tunnel, not to return.
That's two huge holes in the lineup to fill at the last minute -- and seniors at that. That's a major issue.
So what can we take from this game?
Unfortunately, not much. Even less fortunately, what we *can* take out is not good.
- Special teams struggled. The power play was a robust 0 for 5 and we gave up 2 power play goals and a shortie.
- We could not break out of the defensive zone to save our lives. It was like being in hell, watching BC continuously get pinched into the boards and make a rushed pass out of the zone right onto the waiting stick of a Providence Friar.
- Matheson took a bad frustration penalty that led to PC's 3rd goal which really put the game away. With a PC player down on all fours behind the play, he gave him a nice shove, earning two minutes which lead to a Friar goal.
Jerry York calmly walked over to Matheson, put his arm around his shoulder, and said something to him. I can't even imagine what that must feel like for Matheson.
Joe and I figured Jerry must have walked over to Matheson saying in perfect French, "Vous ne devriez pas le faire." At least, that's how we imagined it going down.
- The team really mailed it in. After clinging to a 1-0 deficit most of the game, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th goals all came within 4 minutes of each other. That's pretty disappointing, to say the least.
So now what? In Hockey East, we're in okay shape, just one point behind UNH for 1st place in the conference, in a three way tie for 2nd. Fortunately, with BU's loss to Vermont, BC just needs to take two points from the Catamounts to clinch home ice in the Hockey East tournament.
The Pairwise Rankings are another story. We're sitting in 5th place still (which, I'll be perfectly honest, is pretty damn near miraculous), but had dropped to as far down as 9th -- a 3 seed -- immediately after the loss. Note that as of this writing there are a couple games still happening but I believe when the night ends BC will stick in the 5th spot after all that.
BC is teetering in a pretty dangerous spot at the moment. Our ranking is buoyed by a strong TUC record but our weak RPI feels very dangerous. A loss to Vermont could really swing us down into the bottom half of the tournament. Luckily for us, all these tournament teams can't stop losing to each other, so I do believe we're close to a virtual lock for the NCAA tournament barring a complete catastrophe.
Fortunately -- BC really isn't as bad a team as they were tonight. Let's be real here; losing Wey and Whitney was pretty close to insurmountable.
Looking for some good news?
- Whitney is almost certainly going to be back next week after several days to rest up.
- Wey is pretty much day-to-day right now but given that he almost played today, I would have to imagine he'll be back up and running next week as well.
- According to Coach York, Patch Alber has started skating again and could return for the playoffs. This could be enormous -- obviously Alber isn't going to quite be able to fill Kevin Hayes' skates as far as scoring is concerned (he's a defenseman after all), but adding a senior leader to a blue line overloaded with freshman could seriously change the dynamic of this team.
I'll be very honest -- Alber may not be Dumoulin or Cross, but I don't think it's entirely coincidence that losing a senior blueliner and the beginning of our prolonged slump happened at the exact same time.
- Finally, Vermont kind of sucks. The cherry on top of the good news cupcake (or whatever your baked good of choice might be).
So we're all put right back into "Who Are We? Well, Let's Wait And See" mode. The Kid's general feeling seems to be "let's put a nearly-full team in single elimination and see what happens." I tend to agree.
There is serious talent on our roster when they're actually able to strap on their skates. College hockey this year is a complete mess below the top 3 or so teams, and BC could truly beat any of them on a given night. All it takes is a little hot streak.