Boston College lost a 5-4 heart breaker in last year’s national semifinal with Union, a shocking way to go down for a team with three championships since ’08. Soon after, their Hobey Baker winning forward Johnny Gaudreau opted out of his senior year in order to sign an NHL contract with Calgary. Everyone knew this would be a huge hit for BC which was losing the best player in college hockey who scored 80 points last year. Through ten games it appears the Eagles may finally be in for a down year, at least to their standards, as they stand at 5-5-0 with a notable 1-3-0 record in the Hockey East. They lost four games straight, including losses to city rivals BU and Harvard as well as a shocking 1-0 defeat at UConn, a team that began this season picked to finish last in the league. They hadn’t lost four straight in ten years and hadn’t been shutout in 106 contests. The loss of Gaudreau is appearing especially on the powerplay, which was 24% on the season last year and fueled 10 of his goals. Now through ten games they have only converted on 10% of man-advantages, which is 46th in the country compared to being 5th best at the end of last year. They are also scoring on average 1.10 less goals per game, which is a lot, especially for a team which relies on being a top offense and scoring early and often.
I think this early struggle is a great sign for Hockey East, which boasts many highly competitive programs. As a college hockey fan I’m tired of seeing BC play in April (9 Frozen Four appearances since 2000) and think it’s time to give the other kids a turn. It would be a great year to see an upset in the Hockey East tournament or a Harvard Beanpot championship, which has been won by BC the last five years and by BC or BU every year since ’92-’93. That means there are Eagles who have won the tournament four times while in school, and I hate that. Seriously, I hate watching this team when they’re successful and love that Gaudreau took his payday to help out the formerly awful Flames. Jerry York is a coaching genius so chances are they turn it around and find some offense, but watching this team struggle to score and lose a handful of games has been pretty refreshing. They only squeaked by Michigan State this weekend who hasn’t been great either, so hopefully UMass can give them the business in Amherst this Friday and send them back on their losing ways. We’ll get Cyr to cover that one.