Preview: #2 Boston College

Hockey East Preview: #2 Boston College Eagles

2010-11 Storyline: Embarrassing showing against Colorado College ends Eagles’ repeat bid.

2011-12 Storyline: BC reloads and fights for the Hockey East championship despite losing its three top scorers.

Player To Watch: Chris Kreider

Player Missed Most: Cam Atkinson

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: John Gaudreau

Random Fact: Gaudreau was originally slated to go to Northeastern but took the Green Line to Chestnut Hill after Greg Cronin jumped for the NHL.

Usual Beer The Triangle Pre-game Spot: Cityside

Boston College lost a lot of scoring.  Cam Atkinson, Jimmy Hayes, and Brian Gibbons alone accounted for over 45% of the team’s goals last year.  However, as always, Jerry York is probably not too worried.  Why?  He’ll have senior leadership from players like Paul Carey and Barry Almeida, young stars like Chris Kreider, Bill Arnold, and Pat Mullane, and a strong recruiting class with guys like John Gaudreau and Destry Straight.  It may take a little while for these players to get in the groove in terms of scoring, but by the end of the season they shouldn’t have a problem.

While BC lost a bunch of scorers all they lost on defense is Ulf Samuelsson’s son and even some BC fans think that may be addition by subtraction.  The defense will be led by Tommy Cross and Brian Dumoulin, but also features solid blueliners like Patrick Wey, Patch Alber, and Ed Shea.  This experience on defense will be key as BC looks for someone to fill John Muse’s place in net.  They’ll return junior Parker Milner to go along with a couple of freshmen out of the EJHL in Brian Billett and Brad Barone.

They’ll Finish Lower Because: Honestly, I’ll be very surprised if BC finishes lower than 2nd.

They’ll Finish Higher Because: Guys like Kreider and Arnold can make the jump to 25+ goalscorers.

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
1. ??
2. Boston College
3. Merrimack Warriors
4. New Hampshire Wildcats
5. Maine Black Bears
6. Massachusetts Minutemen (preview 10/5)
7. Vermont Catamounts
8. Providence Friars
9. Northeastern Huskies
10. Lowell River Hawks

Northeastern will be without talented forwards Cody Ferriero and Steve Qualier for Friday’s opener.  The Huskies got pounded by St Francis Xavier in their exhibition match today.

Reports say that Notre Dame will join Hockey East on Wednesday.


Maroon & White Thoughts

It was great to see some UMass hockey last night, even if it was only an intrasquad scrimmage.  It was an entertaining game, played with two 12 minute periods with the third being 15 minutes of alternating power plays.  White won the game on a nice looking gamewinner by Conor Sheary who wristed a shot top corner for the goal.  The first goal was by Eddie Olczyk on a penalty shot (players did not serve penalties) against Kevin Moore that went five hole.  Branden Gracel scored a power play goal for Maroon.

There were a few players not dressed, the two captains Danny Hobbs and T.J. Syner as well as freshman goaltender Steve Mastalerz.  As far as I heard Hobbs and Syner should be available to play Friday at Northeastern.  It is too bad that Mastalerz is a little banged up did not have a chance to play.

The goaltending that we did get to see by Kevin Boyle and Jeff Teglia was very solid.  Both had 19 saves on the night.  I wouldn’t say they were challenged too much, though Boyle did have a nice sequence of point blank saves at one point, but both performed well and made the saves they had to.  The Sheary goal would’ve been tough to save, the Olczyk goal was against Kevin Moore on a penalty shot, and Gracel’s came from a pile up in front of the net.  Both looked good and I wouldn’t say from the short viewing experience that one has an advantage over the other.

As I said, they weren’t challenged too much.  I had hoped to see a little more action on offense.  The power play did not show much improvement and seems to have the same issues regarding moving the puck and getting in a good position to shoot as we saw last year.  Obviously, the offense was missing a lot with the two captains not dressed.  Mike Pereira was active all over the ice but didn’t seem to get many shots off.  Overall the defense was probably the star of the show, as they stifled the offense and looked much more physical than last year.  So physical in fact there was even a little altercation between Conor Allen and big Oleg Yevenko at one point and they had to be separated.  They did hug it out in the handshake line though, so I wouldn’t worry about problems between them.  In fact I think it shows that this team is taking this all very seriously.

On defense I thought Mike Marcou probably played the best which is a nice sign going into his senior year.  Yevenko looked good.  His skating was better than I expected and thanks to his reach had a couple of poke checks that disrupted the offensive transition.  For the other freshman I like what I saw from Emerson Auvenshine.  He may have been the most active player on the ice and I think he’ll contribute more than I initially expected.  Zack LaRue and Andrew Tegeler are both big bodies that can skate very well.

I didn’t expect the defense and goaltending to be the stars of the night, especially since most players were not hitting as much as would be expected against other teams.  But that was the case.  Hopefully with a full complement of players and some practices under their belt we’ll see improved offense in time for the game against Northeastern.

Here are Dick Baker’s thoughts on the scrimmage.

Mike Kostka is still doing well in his shot to make the Florida Panthers out of camp.

An average performance in Wild camp means Casey Wellman will start in the AHL.