Noah Hanifin. Whoa.
One of the biggest stories coming into this season's home opener was the new freshmen. Noah Hanifin did not disappoint.
Alex Tuch and Zach Sanford were solid as well, don't get me wrong. Tuch skated on the first line with Chris Calnan and Adam Gilmour and looked particularly strong on the luck while showing off a boom of a shot. Sanford skated with Ryan Fitzgerald and Austin Cangelosi and did not look the least bit out of place.
But Hanifin looked to be in a league of his own at times. Barely eligible to vote, and likely a top-10 draft pick this upcoming year, he displayed all of the sexiness of his recruiting hype. And then some. Did I mention he scored in his first game at Conte? Yup.
Playing with Steve Santini on BC's first defensive unit, Hanifin was used in every situation: 5-on-5, powerplay, penalty kill, important defensive zone faceoffs, you name it. He projects to be a slightly bigger, more mobile version of Michael Matheson--which is not an inaccurate comparison at all, if you've seen Hanifin play.
Watching Hanifin carve up the ice with smooth cuts and long strides, with the occasional spin-o-ramas at the offensive blue line, you can't help but see shades of Serge Savard.
The BC defensive corps as a whole played very well, killing off all five of Colorado’s powerplays with relative ease. It also doesn't hurt to have one of the best goalies in the country between the pipes.
Demko played a solid 60 minutes, proving BC's 5-2 loss to UMass Lowell to be a goaltending aberration. Granted, Colorado College shouldn't even be mentioned in the same conversation as a team like UML, but Demko and the defense didn't allow themselves to play down to the competition.
"I got a lot of help tonight," Demko said. "But I can't be losing my cool like that, I've got to remain calm."
That was in reference to his penalty in the third period. Personally, I thought the play warranted an emotional outburst. Scott Wamsganz--what a name--barreled into Demko at 16:01 of the second period and looked as though he gave him an extra push on the way down, which proved too much for Thatcher’s personal bubble of space.
Cam Spiro opened the scoring at 9:53 of the first with an absolute snipe that left everyone that wasn't a freshman wondering why he hasn't played at all the past three years. Coach York appears to have taken notice of the senior's play.
"Have to give a shout out to Cam, what a game. To see a senior, who hasn't played much, keep plugging away like that with a 2 goal effort. Great to see."
Regardless, he's in the lineup now and is a part of a really strong fourth line featuring Michael Sit and Brendan Silk.
The game was essentially over after the second period, with BC up 5-1 after goals from Quinn Smith, Ryan Fitzgerald, Noah Hanifin, and Chris Calnan.
A Colorado College goal from Alex Roos in the third period made it 5-2, but the game was never really much of a contest from the outset. Spiro scored his second of the game to give the Eagles another four goal cushion, and BC never looked back.
There's no time to celebrate, though, with UMass Amherst on deck at 7 PM tonight. UMass, not to be confused with a powerhouse by any means, still can't be taken lightly. They seem to rise to the occasion with every visit to Conte, and tonight should be no different. Coach York expressed a similar sentiment at the end of the press conference.
"We've got to be ready for them."