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HOCKEY: BC Looks Beyond Early Loss

For The Heights

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Boston College fans may not be used to a hockey team with a losing record, but that’s where the No. 3 Eagles stand after their first game of the season: 0-1.

After a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Hockey East rival No. 14 Northeastern, head coach Jerry York and his Eagles have by no means emerged licking their wounds. This week has been business as usual for BC, as it prepares for UMass at Amherst Rink on Friday and for Northeastern yet again in the home opener at Conte Forum this Saturday.

“We don’t base how we practice on whether we win or lose,” York said. “Our emphasis is always the same, which revolves around each day trying to get better. Our emphasis is always, ‘here are the fundamentals, here is our scheme, and here’s how we are going to prepare this week.’”
While the Eagles have not changed their preparation for the weekend’s matchups, York and his club acknowledge their disappointment with their most recent result.

“We realize we had two points available last Saturday that we did not get,” York said. “We only play 24 times in our league so these are important games for us. Forty-eight points are available at the end of the year. We’ve lost two so we’re looking forward to getting two points here [Friday].”

It would be natural to think that the Eagles may overlook their UMass opponent in anticipation for the glitz and glam of Banner Night in the home opener, let alone a home opener against a team BC just fell to. But as York pointed out, Friday night will be the Minutemen’s home opener as well, in a rink that packs an electric 8,000 fans from both BC and UMass. Such an environment, along with the Eagles’ core of upperclassmen who have hoisted two out of the last three national championship trophies, should not lead to a sleeper game for BC.

“We’re getting outstanding leadership from Pat Mullane, Steve Whitney, and Pat Wey,” York said. “They’ve been outstanding leaders so far.”
Even with a team as talented and as experienced as BC, arguably the most talented team in the nation, given its USA Today No. 1 ranking just a week ago, the pitfalls of early season games remain. This early in the season, the Eagles do not know everything about their opponents and neither do the opponents know everything about BC.

“When we get through one round of our league, we’ll have an idea about how UMass is going to play, how Northeastern is going to play, but right now I think it’s even more [important] how we play, because we’re not quite sure how [they] are going to forecheck or how they’re going to play defense, and later on we’ll know that,” York said.

Early-season contests reflect a team’s talent and whether that talent has come together yet, as well as pure luck. Just as its opponents are still figuring out exactly who the Eagles are, so are the talented reigning national champions.

“It’s not just one moment, but a whole bunch of situations that occur that will formulate how we’ll be as a club—our character, our willingness to work hard, our compete level,” York said. “All those things can’t really be a snapshot. It really has to be a body of work. As the year goes on, we’ll try to develop that identity. We have an identity of how BC hockey wants to play, but each team is just a little bit different in that identity.”
In the end, BC fans may not have to get used to a losing record, only a different hockey team.

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