Hockey Breaks Ice On New Year
Published: Thursday, October 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
With the loss of six key players from last year's squad, this year's Boston College men's hockey team has faced many questions during the preseason. Those questions will be answered early on, with a serious gut check in its first game-action this weekend, in the Ice Breaker in Grand Forks, N.D.
The Eagles take on Michigan State on Friday night, and will face the winner of Air Force-North Dakota on Saturday. The game against the Spartans will be a rematch of the 2007 national championship game, while Air Force and North Dakota have both made multiple NCAA tournament appearances in the past few years.
"Michigan State and North Dakota have all the qualities you want in an early season test – national championships, a great history of hockey on their campuses, national powers," head coach Jerry York said. "We've also got an up-and-coming team in Air Force, which has made national tournaments. They certainly don't have the pedigree of the other two schools, but they will open up some eyes with their play."
This weekend's tournament will serve as a barometer for the prospects of the upcoming season, as the Eagles will be pushed to the limit by the opposing teams.
"The barometer is there for us," York said. "We'll know better how we measure up against them Sunday night."
After losing much of last year's offense to either graduation or early departures, the Eagles will have somewhat of a new look. The roster contains a mix of veterans and nine freshmen, who will be looking to establish themselves early on. With two difficult games in the first weekend of the season, York will be watching carefully to see who steps up.
"We're wide open," York said. "You're never quite sure what you have. You know what you have on paper – who you have returning and who's coming in as a freshman. We've seen our team practice. We appear to be solid in all areas. Until you get out there against live competition, though, you never know."
York has made the following lines that he will likely use this weekend, in no particular order: Chris Kreider-Bill Arnold-Destry Straight; Barry Almeida-Kevin Hayes-Paul Carey; Johnny Gaudreau-Pat Mullane-Steven Whitney; and Tommy Atkinson-Patrick Brown-Danny Linell. The defensive lines are Brian Dumoulin-Edwin Shea; Tommy Cross-Patch Alber; Isaac MacLeod-Patrick Wey; and Quinn Smith-Mark Begert.
"Barring injuries, our lines are pretty well set," York said. "We can only dress six defensemen, but we have eight listed. We'll figure that out over the next couple days. We've also got four goaltenders. We haven't decided which three we'll take with us."
Those four goaltenders are Parker Milner, Chris Venti, Brian Billett, and Brad Barone. Milner is the projected starter for Friday night's match-up, with the other three waiting in the wings.
Milner will be looking to fill the void left by John Muse, who had been a force between the pipes for the Eagles over the past four years, except for the 2009-2010 season. In that year, with Muse injured, Milner saw action in 14 games, allowing 31 goals.