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Gopher Blitz Sinks BC Hockey

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Four-goal first period for Minnesota fuels them to a 6-1 win

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

I don't know when the next time is that BC will be playing at Mariucci Arena - my guess is in two years - but when they do, they really need to do whatever it takes (voodoo, if necessary) to not dig themselves into a deep first period hole. Because as it was last December, and as it was on Friday, BC gave up some quick early goals to fall behind at Minnesota. Unlike Friday night, there was no magical spurt to get BC back into the game, and Minnesota picked up an impressive 6-1 win, solidifying their resume as the nation's #1 team with a 1-0-1 weekend against the Eagles.

Overall, the second and third periods were pretty even, with BC playing well and generating a decent amount of scoring chances. The final shots on goal finished 32 to 32. Oddly enough, shots were even in every period: 10-10 in the first, and 11-11 in the 2nd and the 3rd. But while shots were even, finding the back of the net was another issue entirely for BC.

Evan Richardson, who was inserted into the lineup in place of Chris Calnan, picked up his first collegiate goal at 6:02 of the second period to cut BC's deficit to 4-1, but there wasn't much doing after that.

Part of the struggles for BC included ineffectiveness on the power play. Despite having several opportunities at key times to close the gap with a power play goal, BC ended the game 0-for-6 with the man advantage.

The first period blitz happened so fast that it was almost hard to believe. Minnesota put 4 of their first 7 shots past Brian Billett, which certainly fueled the chorus of fans who think Thatcher Demko should have the inside track as the starting goalie at this point in the season. After five games, BC is 1-2 with Billett in goal, and 1-0-1 with Demko. My personal opinion is that the two should split next weekend as well, but if Demko outplays Billett, he should be at least nominally the #1 going into the game at BU on November 8th.

All things considered, coming out of this five game stretch 2-2-1 to start the season was acceptable, if not overly impressive, for BC. It was as hard a five game stretch as any team could draw up to start the year, and the Eagles had flashes of brilliance, including blowing out Wisconsin and RPI and going toe-to-toe with Minnesota on Friday night.

If Northeastern stays in the Top 20 next week - debatable, after their split at St. Lawrence, though very possible - BC will start the year with seven games against ranked teams. (Eight in a row, if BU is ranked the following week.) The puck drops next on Friday night at 8:00 at Conte Forum. Methinks BC will be happy to be starting fresh in the Hockey East opener and hoping to generate a little momentum for the season.