We all knew this day would come. I just don't think anyone expected it to be so soon.
Wednesday night at a sold out XL Center in Hartford, the Eagles dropped a tough 1-0 contest to UConn, giving the Huskies their first home win as a member of Hockey East.
All did not start well for the Eagles, as the Huskies came out and matched BC stride for stride in the first period. UConn goalie Rob Nichols did what he had to do against the few BC chances, and after a Ryan Fitzgerald roughing penalty midway through the first period, the Huskies converted to take a 1-0 lead.
Of course the goal scorer was former Eagle Evan Richardson, who transferred to UConn from BC, likely for playing time. Richardson was one of UConn's best skaters and fired a nice shot over Demko from mid range for the power play goal.
Thatcher Demko got the start in goal after pre-game rumblings that he would be rested in favor of Brad Barone. Whether it was gamesmanship or whether Barone had late issues preventing him from taking the ice, it was a good thing Demko was between the pipes for BC. He kept the Eagles within 1 late in the first period, committing an absolute highway robbery of a high glove save with just 45 seconds to go in the first.
BC would improve in the second period and started to get a few chances. But they struggled breaking out of their defensive end and struggled to maintain pressure on the forecheck. They were better, but the 16-6 second period shot advantage is probably a bit misleading.
The third period was more of the same, but instead of UConn retreating into its shell and trying to withstand a BC attack, they took it to the Eagles. This was no prevent defense. Another period where the shots were misleading--this time, 10-3 BC--but despite knocking on the door a few times, and despite Destry Straight missing on a wide open net late on a shot that managed to go in front of the goal and completely behind Rob Nichols, the final buzzer sounded with the XL Center whipped into a frenzy over a program-boosting 1-0 win.
The main issue tonight, other than the general lack of offense, was the power play. BC is now on a brutal stretch of 16 consecutive power plays where they could not score. That includes a lengthy 5 on 3 against the Huskies tonight that BC couldn't convert.
The defense, fortunately, played quite well again, so that's not an issue. BC has allowed 2 goals or fewer in each of its last 5 games since the season opening loss to Lowell. But as we've known since Johnny Gaudreau signed on the dotted line for the Flames, the Eagles are going to struggle to score. BC got 2 shots combined from its bottom two lines--it is really tough to generate offense like that.
But BC will have to move on with this weekend's upcoming game against BU looming large. The puck drops at 8pm at Kelley Rink, televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.