This past weekend, Boston College went 1-1 at the IceBreaker, dropping the opener to Air Force before rebounding in a big way with a win against host Denver in the consolation game. What were the main takeaways from BC’s first two real games?
1 >> Joe Woll is your #1 goalie: We weren’t 100% sure going in to the weekend if goaltending duties were going to be split early on, or if (presumably) Woll would be given a chance to take the job and run with it. As it turns out, BC went with Woll twice in two days — and they ended up being very glad that they did.
In game two against Denver, Woll put up a stellar performance by any standard, not just the standard held for a freshman in his second collegiate game. Woll made 40 saves on 41 shots, including turning aside 23 Denver chances during a third period onslaught to nail down the win
Woll looked sound, confident, and in control. So long as he keeps playing like that, he’ll be your #1 goalie.
2 >>> BC is still mixing and matching with their top line: In the exhibition and in the opener against Air Force, JD Dudek flanked Colin White and Ryan Fitzgerald on the top line. In the second game, it was Matt Gaudreau who was dropped in on their wing. On Friday night with Dudek, the trio combined for 15 shot attempts. They were quieter on Saturday, combining for 7. In neither case did they light the lamp.
BC was forced to make some changes to their forward lines on Saturday due to Chris Calnan being held out, but it seems likely that the Eagles will try a few things with their first line until someone really clicks with White and Fitzgerald.
3>>> The penalty kill looks good: The Eagles killed 13 of 15 penalties they took on the weekend, and largely looked good doing it. One of the two goals they gave up was a 5-on-3 goal on Friday night, and the other was an absolute rocket by Will Butcher from the point, one of those what-can-you-do goals. But other than those goals the PK looked solid. BC actually held Air Force to just 5 total shot attempts and 4 shots on goal in their 7 power play opportunities. If you do that regularly, you’re not going to give up many goals.
4>>> Calnan still isn’t 100%: The injury bug was a huge problem for BC last season and it proved to be an issue already in game two. After rolling out a full lineup in game one, Chris Calnan - still recovering from a lower-body injury from last season - was held out in game two. Casey Fitzgerald was also held out after suffering a heavy hit against Air Force, though @BCHockey described both players’ absence as “precautionary.” BC performed admirably without two of their only veteran players but they’ll certainly hope to have both back this weekend against Wisconsin.
5>>> Third period issues are something to keep an eye on: You can’t declare a trend after two games, but BC struggled in the third period in both games this weekend, so keep an eye on that and see if it becomes a regular occurrence. On Friday, BC was in pretty solid control of the game against Air Force despite only leading 1-0, when things fell apart in the third period. On Saturday, though Joe Woll hung on, BC got outshot 23-5 in the third. It’s reasonable to think a young team was starting to run out of gas down the stretch, and reasonable to think that maybe the altitude (and missing Calnan/Fitzgerald in game 2) played a role as well. But we’ll have to see if the third period becomes an issue again this weekend.