Can Both Hockey Teams Win The National Championship?
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 05:02
Nobody Can Stop Either BC Team
Johnny Carey | For The Heights
It’s no secret that Boston College loves its hockey. It’s also no secret that BC is damn good at its beloved sport this season. With the regular season winding down, it’s trophy season for the Eagles. Both the men’s and women’s teams took home the Beanpot title a week ago and followed that up by wrapping up Hockey East regular season titles over the weekend.
What’s next, however, will define how players, coaches and fans of BC remember the season. Winning the Beanpot is awesome, but it has become somewhat commonplace at the same time. Regular season titles are exciting, but they aren’t enough anymore. At this point, both teams have their eyes set on bringing national championship titles back to Chestnut Hill in the spring. Not only is that lofty goal feasible, it will happen—and here’s why.
The men’s team hasn’t lost since Nov. 29. Yes, you read that right. Nov. 29. Remember when you were sitting on the couch with your belt slightly loosened, still recovering from your Thanksgiving food coma? Well, while you were considering never getting up off the couch again, BC fell to Holy Cross at Kelley Rink by a score of 4-5. Since that shocking loss to the team now ranked 52nd out of 59 division one men’s hockey teams (according to the USCHO Pairwise Rankings), the Eagles have been unstoppable and don’t look like they’re going to slow down any time soon.
The team has a seemingly never-ending list of talent, unmatched by any other squad in the nation. When the candidates for The Hobey Baker Award were announced, the list contained three BC players: Bill Arnold, Kevin Hayes, and Johnny Gaudreau were the names listed, and they just happen also to be three of the nation’s top four scorers this season. Gaudreau, the Hobey Baker Award favorite at this point in the season, is in the midst of one of the greatest individual stretches college hockey has ever seen, registering a point in 26 consecutive games. The dynamic line of Gaudreau, Arnold, and Hayes has been unstoppable, combining for 93 points in the Eagles’ last 17 games. Quite frankly, no one in college hockey has the ability to neutralize that trio.
The only way having such a dominant top line could be a problem for BC would be if it were the team’s only source of scoring. For the Eagles, that is anything but the case, as all four lines the team rolls out on an every game basis have the ability to take over a game. In fact, the teams score an average of 4.39 goals per game. That’s .71 more goals per game than anyone else. It’s safe to say offense won’t deter BC from a national championship.
How about defense and goaltending? Check. The Eagles allow the fifth least goals in Division I this year. Couple that with fresh- man goalie Thatcher Demko, who is 12-1-2 this season with the third-best goals-against average in college hockey, and it’s definitely tough to score on the Eagles.
With a dynamo offense and stalwart defense that has propelled the team go unbeaten for almost three months, it’s hard to bet against BC.
Now that we’ve established that the men’s team will take home the title in Philadelphia this April, here’s why the currently fifth- ranked women will do the same.
Remember Nov. 29? That day you were on the couch and the men’s team lost? Yeah, it just so happens that the women’s team lost that day, too, falling to Cornell. While the men’s team has been just about perfect since, the women haven’t. They’ve slipped up.
Once. Since its loss in Ithaca, the women’s team has been about as impressive as the men’s team, tallying only one loss along the way.
Keeping the puck out of the net is no problem for BC as senior goaltender Corinne Boyles holds a .943 save percentage, good for fifth in the nation.
In terms of offense, the team does not have one dominating offensive player, but instead it employs a balanced attack. Sophomore Haley Skarupa is the team’s leading scorer with 34 points, good for 20th in the nation, despite missing time with an injury. The team does also have four of the nation’s top 42 scorers, however.
With its deep pool of talent and the fact that the team is hitting its stride now, it is hard to imagine the Eagles will not continue their torrid pace over the next couple of months.
Simply put, there is no hotter pair of teams than BC men’s and women’s hockey right now, nor will there be come national championship time. Save the dates, Eagles fans: Mar. 23 and April 12 will be two days for championships.
Two Championships Are Too Unlikely
Tom Meloro | For The Heights
Men’s Olympic hockey is officially in full swing, just as Boston College fans gear up to cheer on both their men’s and women’s teams in their respective NCAA tournaments. It’s only fitting that the Olympics are in Russia this year—the 1980 Miracle on Ice is constantly being referenced, a stark reminder of just how difficult it is to win it all, especially as a favorite. That’s reason No.1 why, though it’s possible for both teams to win the National Championship this year, it won’t happen.