Point/Counterpoint: Will A BC Hockey Team Make The Frozen Four?
At Least One Squad Will Have Enough
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 00:10
Despite the fact that fall has just begun and that both the men’s and women’s hockey teams’ respective seasons are just now underway, it’s difficult to think about these teams without already considering their postseason expectations. Heading into this season, there are several key reasons why BC should expect nothing less than one of its hockey teams to reach the Frozen Four in the spring.
While in many cases it would be far from prudent to have such high expectations for any program, here at BC, fans are spoiled when it comes to hockey. For years now, the hockey teams have been serious contenders to win not only their conferences but also a national title. This year is no different.
Heading into the season, the women’s team has the best chance of the two to make it to the Frozen Four, which is scheduled to be played at Qunnipiac University in March. During the preseason, USA Today ranked the team No. 1 in Hockey East and No. 2 in the nation. They were only ranked behind the University of Minnesota—the same team that beat the Eagles in the semifinals of the Frozen Four last year before eventually winning the national title. One must think that this year’s squad will come highly motivated to not only return to the tournament but also to win the national title.
So far, the women’s team has been on the right track. The Eagles are undefeated through four games this year.
Perhaps one of the most resounding factors heading into the season is the team’s overall experience. BC has made the last three Frozen Fours, making this year’s unit one that is more than familiar with what it takes to succeed. Although the Eagles lost one of their best players, Alex Carpenter, to the U.S. Olympic team, their roster this year consists of six seniors and five juniors with Frozen Four experience. If planning to follow the team this season, expect nothing short of a Frozen Four appearance.
This is a hungry and experienced squad that has consistently shown what it can achieve on the national stage.
Whether or not the women’s team returns to the championship, it is not unreasonable to believe that the men’s team will make it to its own Frozen Four. The recent success of the men’s hockey team is no secret—the team made it to the Frozen Four in 2008, 2010, and 2012, and won it in each of those years.
The disappointment that last season ended with is also no secret. The Eagles were a heavy favorite to make it deep in the tournament and were upset—some may go as far as to say embarrassed—by Union 5-1 in the first round of the regionals. Much like the women’s team, expect this squad to return hungry.
This year’s team was tied for first place in the Hockey East preseason polls and was ranked No. 8 nationally, so while this season’s expectations have been relatively tempered from a year ago when BC was atop the poll headed into the season, they still remain justifiably high.
Though the team lost key contributors from a season ago, a strong freshman class will take to the ice this year, and some of its most dangerous weapons are returning, including seniors Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold, who will provide leadership to the youthful squad. Although Parker Milner, who is now in the New York Islanders’ system, will no longer be in net, Johnny Gaudreau, one of the most dangerous offensive talents in the league, will return despite speculation that he could have begun to pursue an NHL career. One of the main factors in his decision was the draw to play alongside his brother, Matthew, a freshman defenseman.
With an expectation for excellence in BC’s hockey programs, both teams return hungry this year after disappointing ends to last season. While each team has lost some key weapons, they are each, especially the men’s team, supplemented by strong freshman classes. Expect nothing less than at least one Frozen Four appearance between these two teams.