Boston College coach Jerry York knew to expect a closer contest this time around. His Eagles fell, 4-2, to Denver Friday after steamrolling the Pioneers twice in Denver last year. Despite the loss, the Eagles are good shape heading into Saturday’s game in Durham against New Hampshire.
What I Saw
Ice conditions were a major challenge for both teams Friday night. There was no slush or fog to speak of, but humid conditions in greater Boston led to a less-than-ideal surface.
“The conditions on the ice definitely slowed things down a bit,” York said. “Neither team benefited from it.”
In addition, Friday night’s game was one of the best crowds at the Conte Forum for hockey in recent memory. With attendance of 7,884 (officially a sellout), the arena was mostly filled with students who boisterously cheered on their team, especially through a competitive, back-and-forth third period.
“The atmosphere in the building was as loud and [as much as] a college hockey atmosphere that we’ve had here in a long time,” York said.
Sophomore Kevin Hayes (scored a second-period goal) also acknowledged after the game that it was the best crowd he’s even played in front of.
Friday’s win allowed Denver to avenge a pair of losses at home against the Eagles. BC won 6-2 and 3-0, respectively, with DU going 0-for-17 on the power play during the weekend.
What I thought
This was another good early-season test for Boston College. The Eagles won both their games in the Ice Breaker Invitational against North Dakota and Michigan State last week, scoring 11 goals. Though BC failed to continue that level of production against Denver, the team continued to prove itself against the nation’s best. For BC, the team needs to continue scoring on the power play. Perhaps many teams would be satisfied with a 1-for-5 performance with the man advantage, but the Eagles needed to better utilize the five penalties taken by the Pioneers. The Eagles had the best power play in Hockey East last year — at 23 percent — which was one of the major reasons they won the conference regular season title. If BC expects to reach such heights again, the team needs to convert power plays into goals at a similar rate.
What they said
York on Friday’s result in the context of two victories last season against the Pioneers:
“I never thought the scores last year indicated that there was that great a difference between the two teams.”
York on Conte and the ice conditions:
“We have a brand new de-humidification system. Fog will always be at least a little bit of issue wherever you are — even a pro rink. During the timeouts, when no one was skating, I could see a little fog developing. Other than that, I thought it was clear. There will be plenty of cold, cold nights this year where the ice will be like black ice.”
What they didn’t say
York certainly seemed satisfied with his team’s effort — and rightfully so. Judging from the demeanor of the players in the post-game press conference, it was evident that they really wanted to win this game for the fans in attendance, especially with the impressive student support. With their first conference game Saturday night at New Hampshire, York will need to make sure his team continues to play well with valuable Hockey East points at stake.