Following a hard-fought series against UNH this past weekend, which the two teams split, the Boston College Men of Winter will look to regain their scoring touch, as well as a sliver of discipline this weekend against UMass Amherst and Northeastern.
Tomorrow, Jan. 18, the Eagles host the UMass Minutemen at Kelly Arena in Chestnut Hill for what will be the final meeting between the two teams.
UMass started the season off strong, but has fallen on hard times since then— slipping to 7-11-2 overall, 3-7 in their last ten games and out of the NCAA’s top twenty. Branden Gracel, the team’s points leader, will be a name to watch, along with power play specialist Conor Sheary, who has amassed more than half his points while on the man advantage. UMass, though not to be overlooked, should prove a suitable warm-up for BC before taking on Northeastern Jan. 19.
The Eagles will head out on the road for their game against Northeastern, another unranked opponent, who is 6-10-2 entering this weekend.
The Huskies are formidable at home, a respectable 4-4-2 at Matthews Arena in Boston. Kevin Roy, who has 9-11-20 totals through eighteen games for the Huskies, will look to spark Northeastern and lead them past an Eagles team that is dreadfully inconsistent in away games and looked sloppy at times in the New Year.
The second half of the season has not gone as Jerry York and his team planned. After the Winter Break play stoppage, the Eagles (13-4-2) have skated to a mediocre record of 2-2-1.
The argument can be made that those two losses came against opponents of equal talent, first ranked Minnesota and third overall New Hampshire, but the reality of the situation is that BC has not showed up to play quite as often in the second half of the season as they did in the first half. In the most recent NCAA polling, BC was ranked second comfortably ahead of UNH, but failed to garner a single first-place vote.
The outlook, however, is not grim by any means. Leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau has returned from his skirmish in Russia, where he casually won a gold medal in the World Junior Championships with team USA, and is not leaving anytime soon. With Gaudreau back, the rest of the forwards can once again slot into their appropriate lines.
Despite the loss of senior defenseman Patch Alber, the Eagles have freshmen Travis Jeke and Peter McMullen ready to step up and fill that void. Now, if only Michael Matheson could stay out of the box…