We're back. Boston College Hockey returns to the ice tomorrow night at Conte Forum, taking on one of the best teams in Canadian college hockey, the University of New Brunswick. UNB is undefeated in preseason play, including a win last night over the AHL's Portland Pirates. They will not be the kind of joke opponent teams sometimes face in these preseason contests. It will be a good test of the young Eagles' mettle to face an older, battle-hardened team.
#1 Boston College Eagles vs. University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 7:00 PM, Conte Forum
Thatcher Demko's Health: We don't know yet if Thatcher Demko will play or not tomorrow night, but if he does, all eyes will be on his health and his flexibility. After undergoing offseason hip surgery, Jerry York hinted at media day that he might not be ready to go until later in October/early November. However, by all accounts he's looked good in practice so far. Expect him to play a period at the most. If he can't play, expect an extended look at freshman Chris Birdsall, followed by a period for Alex Joyce.
The Speed Matchup: The University of New Brunswick is considered a fast team by CIS standards... or, as their broadcaster David Kilfoil puts it, "average by NCAA standards." BC has often blown away Canadian teams on the speed front, but didn't last year in their narrow win over UNB. Will BC have a clear speed edge this season? Will the infusion of guys like Bracco and Wood clearly make the team look faster and more dangerous on the rush?
The Blue Line: BC lost arguably their two most talented defensemen, so fans will be focused on how their replacements, freshmen Josh Couturier and Casey Fitzgerald, perform in their first test as Eagles. Travis Jeke will also certainly get some playing time. Can he be a factor?
The Battle For Fourth Line Spots: As we mentioned the other day, we have a decent idea of who BC's top nine will be, but it looks like we could see a bit of a battle for playing time on the fourth line, which will most likely come down to JD Dudek vs. Brendan Silk, with the veteran having the inside track. With 15 forwards on the roster, I'm thinking we might see 5 lines to start with, with the "fifth unit" getting more limited minutes.
Obligatory Game Day GIF/Video
So, BC and Uinversity of New Brunswick seem to have quite a bit of mutual respect for one another, facing eachother several times in recent years. However, we are now facing off in a VERY IMPORTANT game that has many implications for something or other. So, it's important to let them know that we're not their friends, buddy; or their buddies, guy.
Jerry York's Three Classy Keys To The Game*
Hi everyone, well, it's just terrific to be back here, it really is, and just a real joy to be ready for another season of Boston College hockey, we've got a real talented group of kids and they're just really excited to get out there on the ice and represent BC. We think we've got a real nice club this year that can hopefully get on down to Tampa, and as I always tell the kids, you know, when you play at BC, that's what it's all about, that and getting a great education of course. This weekend we are playing just a fantastic team in the University of New Brunswick, here are some kids that work real hard, really don't make things easy on you, they really show you how hard you have to battle each and every night to get two points. Here are my three keys to the game:
1. Respect the school colors: You know, some people say, you know "this is an exhibition game, it doesn't count," but our kids, you know, they don't really think like that, I always tell them, "when you wear Boston College across your chest it means something." The kids out there, they're representing their school and their classmates and it's just really important to go out there and wear it with pride.
2. Foster international cooperation: You know it's just terrific to welcome our friends from Canada here, we love having them in. Canada's a great country with great people, stand-up guys like Mike Matheson, Chuck Kobasew, Brock Bradford, real, good quality young men.
3. Value your education: These kids from the University of New Brunswick, it's great to see, you know, they might go years away from school pursuing their dream of a pro career, but then they go back to school and get their degrees from a prestigious institution like the University of New Brunswick. Some of these guys might be 25, 26 or 27 years old so it's a nice preview for playing great teams in our league like UMass-Lowell and Merrimack. It's a great lesson for our kids, no matter what happens you always want to finish your degree.
*Jerry York did not actually say these things.
The Pre-Game Watering Hole
Our Canadian friends in town from New Brunswick will probably be tweaking out a bit from having not had poutine in at least 2 or 3 days, so I've got the cure for them: Saus, located near Faneuil Hall, has arguably Boston's best french fries, and a number of delicious Poutine options. They have beers on tap too, but I'm not sure about Molson. Just make sure to get there early so you can hop on the B-line in time to get to the game. Saus Boston, 33 Union St., Boston. www.sausboston.com
The Last Word
OK so predicting an exhibition game is admittedly a pretty silly endeavor but I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway. Last year's UNB team was very good - they made it to the CIS final - but BC did manage to beat them even in a "down year." UNB will probably be a little tired after taking on the Portland Pirates Thursday night, and they seem to have gotten banged up a bit in that game too according to David Kilfoil. So I'm going to predict a BC win: Boston College 5, U. of New Brunswick 4, in a game that could open up quite a bit.
Congrats to Blogdad Emeritus Brian Favat for winning last year's prediction contest, edging me out by a full two wins. This season, we're rolling out a new, simpler scoring system for all you folks who want to play along at home.
Predict the correct winner: 1 point
Get the margin of victory right: 2 points
Nail the correct final score: 3 points
And instead of tallying up wins all season long, we'll tally up the raw point total and award a winner that way. Sound good?
||5-4||I will be at the game at Conte Forum, but not in Section OO since TeamOps usually doesn't open the balcony for exhibition games. Boo, TeamOps, boo.
|At home, watching on my laptop, still GIFing all the goals from BC women's hockey's shellacking of Minnesota-Duluth. BC will add an empty net goal in the win.
||7-6||This is the football thread, right? 7-6. I'll be on a bar crawl in Salem
|New Guy||3-1||BCHockeyBlog will quit after this game
||4-4||I'll be behind the net in Conte Forum on the Alumni Stadium side.||0|
||4-3||Advance warning that I will never predict BC hockey losing. I'll be at the game as soon as they let me in/ as soon as I get out of my Saturday make-up class
|Coach John Fidler
||I can't remember the last time BC lost to one of these Canadian teams, but these guys look pretty good.||0|
||100-0||Please note, BCI Staff, when you don't make predictions, I reserve the right to make a goofy prediction and comment on your behalf. This week, I am saying that you are predicting BC to lose 100-0. If their snarky comment is in italics, that means I made it, not them.||0|
||100-0||At the BC-Duke game, where 99% of the fans in attendance will not know what a "hockey" is, though they have tailgated at a Hurricanes game before||0|
||100-0||Keeping the New Brunswick players' grammar in check and deleting all the unnecessary "u's" they put in words||0|
Staff Prediction Summary:
BC (5) - UNB(2) - Tie (1)
Leave your thoughts and predictions on the game below. Will BC start off with an exhibition win?