MEN'S HOCKEY: Eagles Trying To Carry Momentum To Lowell
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The No. 1 Boston College men’s hockey team returns to action this weekend with a home-and-home series against conference foe UMass Lowell. After dropping their season opener and looking shaky for two periods on Friday night, the Eagles managed to pick up two important early season wins last weekend and regained the No. 1 overall ranking. This weekend, they will travel to face the No. 11 River Hawks in Lowell on Friday night before returning to host a Sunday afternoon game. With every point in Hockey East play being so crucial, head coach Jerry York understands the importance of this series.
“We’re looking to go in and play our game on Friday and then come back and do it again Sunday,” York said. “Lowell is one of our big rivals this year not just in Hockey East, but on a national scale too. So far we’ve gone into Matthews Arena and the Mullins Center and played in front of two great crowds and we expect the same at Tsongas. They’re a tough team and we need to play our game.”
The Eagles’ short season so far is almost a contradiction of itself. After being thoroughly outplayed by Northeastern for an entire game and by UMass Amherst for two periods, BC has looked dominant over the last four periods of play. Lowell, meanwhile, is currently 1-1-1 on the season that includes a 5-1 blowout loss at the hands of Denver. The River Hawks, however, are coming off a 3-1 win in their last game that has restored some confidence and confirmed that their high ranking was no mistake. York spoke about how his team has seemingly turned a corner after a rough start to the season, but acknowledged that there is still a long way to go.
“We’re just getting going,” York said. “Obviously we would have liked to start a little stronger, but I thought we showed some real tough resolve with our comeback against UMass [Amherst]. But we’re still just getting started. We need to develop more as a team and do a lot of things better. We’ve got a long way to go still.”
Much of that development rests on the shoulders of the Eagle defense. After losing Tommy Cross and Brian Dumoulin to the pros and seeing Edwin Shea graduate after last season, BC was noticeably thin on the blue line. It currently dresses and gives significant minutes to three true freshmen: Mike Matheson, Teddy Doherty, and Colin Sullivan. The freshmen have all looked solid at times, but York was quick to credit his upperclassmen for their early development, and restated the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We’ve leaned a lot on our upperclassmen,” York said. “Pat [Wey], Patch [Alber], and Isaac [McCleod] have all really had to do a lot for us early on. They’ve done a good job helping out with some of the freshmen and that’s been big for us. As for the freshmen, it’s a growing process. We want them to contribute right away, but we also know they need time to develop into complete players.”
The continued development of the younger Eagles will determine just how far they can go this season. While last weekend was a glimpse as to just how good they can be, the weekend series against Lowell will go a long way to test their consistency. The River Hawks are likely more skilled than either team BC has played so far and will prove a difficult challenge for its young defense. Despite appearing to be at a disadvantage on the blue line, York looked at the upcoming series as a great opportunity for some of his players to get better.
“There are minutes to go around,” York said. “We just need guys to step up and make some plays.”