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BC-UMass: Good, Bad, and Ugly

Three point weekend keeps BC right where they need to be atop the Hockey East table

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE


Right where they need to be: I've been pretty steadfast in the belief that Hockey East's standings are always going to be top-heavy, so it's imperative to "take care of business" against lower-echelon teams in order to focus on the teams up at the top. It means nothing if you're a team that goes 4-0-0 against PC and Boston College but gets swept by Northeastern and Vermont. But, really, I'm just joking. Nobody gets swept by Northeastern unless you play in the AHA or are Alabama-Huntsville.

BC has played four games now against teams they've occasionally had struggles with. They've played two games at proverbial houses of horror. And they've been able to walk through the valley of Northeastern and Amherst with a 3-0-1 record. Combine that with a win over BU, and all of a sudden, BC is taking care of business. If the tie game from this past weekend becomes a loss, all of a sudden the Eagles are a full game back of Providence and tied with UNH. Instead, they're still within a game of PC and above UNH. And it puts more stress on the losses by teams like Notre Dame to teams like Vermont.

As BC moves forward, they'll need to stay up on Hockey East to prepare for games against the current big boys.

Special Teams: BC held UMass to 1-for-14 on the power play throughout the weekend. The game disqualification and subsequent major to Steve Santini aside, BC was dominant on the PK all weekend. They killed four penalties off in the third period with a one goal lead on Friday, and they had stymied UMass throughout Saturday until that point. Regardless of the reason they were on the kill, they were able to hold the fort better than most.

Johnny Hockey: My opinion last year of Gaudreau was that he was an ultra-talented player that could do pretty much everything, but I felt his game was missing some type of piece. After his breakout from his freshman year, I felt he was a tremendous hockey player but would end up either falling short of NHL expectations or would lack the tools to make the jump. He was the best naturally gifted hockey player in college hockey, and I just felt he was still raw.

In his junior year, though, he's a factor in every single shift. He's turning into one of those guys that has the potential to rewrite a record book and he's increasingly turning into the building block for the Calgary Flames' future. Calgary's an extremely offensive minded team with Jiri Hudler and Mike Cammalleri, and Sean Monahan is my pick for the Calder Trophy to start the NHL season. They're doing all of this with plus/minus levels well below zero.

With a team built around offense, every time Gaudreau steps on the ice, he's going to make it very hard for Calgary to not try and sign him this year (lest they lose another year off his entry-level deal). He and Greg Carey are head and shoulders above everyone right now in scoring (with 20 and 21, respectively).

Brian Billett: Brian Billett played both games for the first time all season, and he did exactly what he had to do. He had a .952 save percentage on the weekend to raise his season percentage to .911. He lowered his GAA to 2.56, and finally his statistics resemble Thatcher Demko's. Both guys have moments that will leave fans with some heart attacks, but by and large, take away that last penalty to BC, and he walks away with a two-win weekend.


Penalties: BC is the 20th most penalized team in the nation and has spent the fifth most amount of time in the box in Hockey East. They spent too much time in the third period in Amherst on the kill. They took an embellishment penalty, which is one that grinds my gears to no end (there's never a need to take that penalty). And they gave UMass too many opportunities. Against better competition, they have to stay out of the box.


Referees: It's been covered ad nauseum, but they did their best ECAC officiating impression. At least they admitted how wrong they were, even if it did cost BC a point.