Unlike the football team, Jerry York really does have an exceptionally young team to work with this year; Boston College lost over half of their lettermen from last year and are working in 13 freshmen this fall.
Even with all the turnover, however, the Eagles did return their top two scorers - Ryan Fitzgerald and Colin White. It was that combination that struck with under three minutes to go to give BC a 4-3 victory in their sole exhibition game against Carleton University of Ontario at the Warrior Ice Arena.
We happened to be periscoping when the goal was scored, which you can see right at the end of this video:
It was classic White/Fitzgerald - playmaking ability setting up sniping ability. It spared BC from what would have been a frustrating (albeit meaningless) result against a team they largely outclassed, outshooting the Ravens 40-21.
As was the case all around Hockey East, the Canadian exhibition was a nasty affair, with the two teams combining for 103 penalty minutes.
-JD Dudek had about as close as you’ll get to a Gordie Howe hat trick in college hockey, notching a goal, an assist, and a game misconduct for his role in a scrum at the end of the second period that devolved in to a full scale fight. Dudek was slotted in on the wing of the first line, joining White and Fitzgerald, and impressively looked to have the speed and the skill to skate with those two.
-If someone is going to supplant Dudek on the top line, my guess right now is that it would be Graham McPhee, as the kid was easily BC’s most impressive freshman forward. McPhee showed a good combination of size and skill, winning puck battles throughout the night and making things happen on offense. He scored on probably the nicest individual effort of the game, slicing around a defender and in to the slot before rifling a shot home to give BC a 3-2 second period lead.
-Chris Calnan remained sidelined with an injury that is leftover from last season, so the second line featured Chris Brown with Austin Cangelosi and McPhee.
-The Eagles’ third unit was speedy, with Finn freshman Julius Mattila centering Matt Gaudreau and Zach Walker. That line showed a lot of quickness and hustle throughout the game.
Mattila seems like a worker bee all over the ice and proved to be quite adept on the PK as well, though his finishing needs work: he earned himself two golden scoring opportunities and whipped one high and one wide.
-The line of David Cotton, Mike Booth and Ron Greco had an unremarkable day, combining for three shots.
-The Eagles’ power play was hit-or-miss, going 2-for-12 on the day - looking good when they were good and completely ineffective when they weren’t. The top unit featured four forwards - Cangelosi, White, Fitzgerald and Brown, with Casey Fitzgerald on the point. Brown was parked in front of the net in position to try to create traffic and tip home shots. It wasn’t super effective for most of the game, though that group did combine for BC’s game winning goal.
-Luke McInnis was scratched for the game due to illness, but we got a good look at BC’s other freshmen defensemen. Jesper Mattila might be the pick of the bunch; he got a lot of PP time, started the game alongside Casey Fitzgerald on the #1 unit, and finished the day with two assists. He’s quick, poised, and distributes well out of his own end; he has a presence in the attacking zone, too.
The other freshmen weren’t as noticeable, though that is not necessarily a bad thing for defensemen. Connor Moore got a decent amount of ice time and notched three shots on goal. Mike Campoli was big and physical as advertised, and probably got in the most punches in the end-of-second-period fracas.
-Joe Woll, Ryan Edquist and Ian Milosz all got a period each between the pipes, and each gave up one goal. There wasn't too much to say about any of them: they all were fine but didn't have to do much. Woll made 8 saves, Edquist 7 and Milosz 3, though Milosz did make a pair of pretty tough stops early in the third period. Woll seems to be the defacto #1 guy right now, but the other two may well have their chances.
-I wouldn’t worry too much about the score; BC controlled the game, especially in the third period when they outshot Carleton 12-4. One of Carleton’s goals was a kind of lucky break when they caught a guy streaking out of the penalty box at the end of a PK for a breakaway; the second was a PPG; the final goal was completely against the run of play.
-If I had to make a big-picture overreaction to what I saw from game one, it would be that I’d expect this team to be industrious and fast, but maybe not quite have enough high end skill to convert those chances in to goals - other than your top line, which is going to be one of the very best in the nation regardless of who plays on the wing with Fitzgerald and White.
BC Interruption Player of the Game:
JD Dudek was the unanimous choice for player of the game among the 3 BCI’ers in attendance. Dudek picked up an assist on BC’s first goal, a power play tally, putting on a shot that was parried out to Scott Savage, who ripped it home. Dudek scored himself in the second period, before his night was cut short due to his involvement in the fisticuffs.
The season begins for realsies Friday night at 6:30 PM when BC takes on Air Force in the opening game of the IceBreaker tournament in Denver.