It was a pretty good first weekend for BC hockey, all things considered. The Eagles may have tripped up on Sunday at RPI, but it was the ultimate "that's just hockey" game; BC dramatically outshot the Engineers but some clutch shot blocking and great goaltending helped RPI skate off with the upset win. No big deal. Tonight provides a perfect chance to get back on track: a home game against a team BC should be able to beat. Let's take a last look.
Wisconsin Badgers (0-0-2) at Boston College Eagles (1-1-0)
Friday, October 16, 2015, 7:00 PM, Kelley Rink, Boston, Mass.
Coming home: BC has a phenomenal record at home in recent years and is 6-1-1 in their last 8 home openers. The Eagles are also two wins away from their 300th all time victory at the rink (298-111-37). Hopefully the students will respond to the start of hockey season and the hype surrounding this year's team and show up in force to provide a home ice advantage.
Casey Fitzgerald: The week 1 MVP may well have been Casey Fitzgerald, because defense was most certainly a question mark for BC coming in to the season. Noah Hanifin and Michael Matheson will be tough to replace but Fitzgerald did a heck of a job filling at least one of the gaps in week 1. Can he follow it up with another strong performance?
The 6th Defenseman: Will it be Travis Jeke or Josh Couturier? Neither one really stood out but neither played poorly in their opportunities last weekend.
Dudek on duty: Poor Brendan Silk just can't catch a break. With a separated shoulder he's now going to be out for a bit, giving freshman JD Dudek a chance to seize a role on the fourth line wing. Let's see what he can do in that position alongside fellow freshman Chris Brown.
Eaves on the hot seat: The Eaves family is a familiar one for BC fans, with Pat and Ben both plying their trade for the Eagles under coach Jerry York. Mike Eaves has accomplished a lot as Wisconsin's head coach but having a season as bad as last year's is unacceptable for a program of Wisconsin's caliber. They'll be looking to make some waves this weekend, but traveling to face BC and BU is a tough gauntlet for this team.
Obligatory Game Day GIF/Video
I seem to remember a recent meeting between Boston College and the University of Wisconsin that was quite fun and enjoyable to attend in person and presumably to watch on TV as well
Jerry York's Three Classy Keys To The Game*
Hello again BC Interruption. Have I mentioned recently how excited I am that it's hockey season? The only thing more terrific than having hockey season back is getting to play in front of our great fans at the Kelley Rink. We can't wait to get out there on the ice.
Here are my three keys to tonight's game.
1. Loud but respectful fan support: Remember two years ago, we had a big home game against Wisconsin on a Friday night in October, and wow, our fans were just terrific. They really provide a great lift to all the kids on the team. But there was some language used by some of the fans that I thought was not really appropriate, you know, with the kids and everything. We represent Boston College so we should always represent our alma mater with pride and class, so let's hope our fans are loud tonight but respectful of the opponent and fellow fans.
2. Not getting out-coached: You know, Mike Eaves, he's just a terrific hockey coach, truly one of hte best in the business, so in order for us to get the two points tonight we are all going to have to be at the top of our games.
3. Giving back: It's important that our kids know how important it is to play hard for our terrific fans at the Kelley Rink. Everyone knows how great our fans are. Among the great atmospheres in the world of sports, you've got your Fenway Park, your Lambeu Field, you know, Death Valley in Clemson, and then Kelley Rink, where our fans are always so passionate and the students never leave the game early or go silent for 20 minutes just because we fall behind 1-0. We need to respect and appreciate this great support we get by playing hard in our home opener.
*Jerry York did not actually say these things.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
I'll throw out a personal plug today for the Pike's Peak Hockey Club (full disclosure: I am a board member of the organization), the booster organization for Boston College Hockey. One of the benefits of membership, along with funding scholarships, programming, and charitable endeavors for the hockey program, is access to the Father Shea room pre-game, where dinner, beer and wine are served. Given the paucity of options to eat or drink within walking distance of BC, it's a nice option to have available. Membership for the year is $250.
#CATPREDICTIONS, By The Cats Of The Gifford Cat Shelter
Take it away, Laura...
"Last week Bowser went 0-2 on hockey, but DID get adopted. You win some you lose some?
This week it seemed only fair to let Savannah, self proclaimed Queen of Gifford, have her time in the spotlight. Savannah always has a lot to say (see video), so I knew she'd want to get in on predicting. It took her a while to make her choice and I had to move her options from the floor to her cat tree because #diva, but she picked BC to win. Then she wouldn't eat the Wisconsin treat until I fed it to her by hand. Also she is rubbing herself against my arm/phone right now which is making this difficult to type."
prediction cat from Joseph Gravellese on Vimeo.
You can visit Savannah and friends at The Gifford Cat Shelter, located right across from BC at 30 Undine Road in Brighton. Founded in 1884 it is the oldest no kill and cageless shelter in the U.S. More information is available at http://www.giffordcatshelter.org/.
The Last Word
BC 6 - Wisconsin 0: I was feeling a little blue right after Sunday's game, but the more I look back on BC's performance, the happier I am. I think BC is close to really breaking out and putting up a gigantic number on a team. Let's see it happen tonight. Wisconsin might be much improved from last year, but they're still a team I feel good about BC beating at home.
Bowser had a rough weekend last week, going 0-2 and putting the cats of Gifford Cats in to last place. His human friend Laura did better, correctly pegging the BC-Army score to take the lead in the season-long predictions contest. A reminder of the scoring system:
Predict the correct winner: 1 point
Get the margin of victory right: 2 points
Nail the correct final score: 3 points
||In section OO, which will be emptier than usual as most of my compatriots are traveling to Clemson. Nonetheless pumped for the home opener, let's goooooooooooooooooooooo wooo wooo wooo
|Grant's digging the shutout pick, too. He'll be in Hartford at the Arizona State vs. UConn hockey game. Melt the Ice Bus!
||AJ will be at the hockey game this week! Hanging with Joe, naturally. BCI love, even at hockey games this year. What world.
|New Guy||5-2||New Guy will be keeping an eye on the scoreboard while providing his dulcet tones to the listeners of the Bentley vs. Northeastern hockey game. Go Falcons!
||Mets Guy is still too excited about the Mets to offer cogent hockey thoughts||1|
||The new leader in the prediction contest will of course be in the house at Conte Forum||3|
|Coach John Fidler
||Until this team proves they can score..which I think they will..keeping big margins down, even against bad teams. Hard to believe Wisconsin is bad..again.
||If you didn't send a prediction this week, you're predicting whatever Bowser is predicting.
|Savannah the Cat/ Gifford Cat Shelter||
||Meow||At the BC-Clemson game, hoping for a miracle!
Staff Prediction Summary:
BC (8) - Wisconsin (0) - Tie (0)
Fan Prediction Standings after last week:
mig1168 2 points
princisb 1 point
airforce987 1 point
Leave your thoughts and predictions on the game below.. Can BC repeat what they did two falls ago and beat Wisconsin at Conte?