Get well soon, Charlie Davies

Get well soon, Charlie Davies

Sunday, November 30, 2008

College Hockey Fan Poll

I'm in an awesome mood this week. Thus, I feel compelled to give BC a nice big bump.

1. Notre Dame -
The Fighting Irish scored a 1-0-1 record this weekend against Western Michigan while the Gophers struggled, so let's give them a turn to defend the top spot.

2. Minnesota -
Minnesota had their first unproductive weekend of the year, losing to Michigan and tying Michigan State.

3. Boston College -
They exhibited their freakish ability to break out and punish teams in the 3rd period against Harvard, and they came up clutch in a potential trap game up north.

4. Boston University-
Are you ready for BC-BU? 'Cause if not, you should be. This series will be the most massive BC-BU regular season clash in a long time.

5. Northeastern-
Let's have a Boston trio in the top 5... Northeastern suffered a setback against Princeton, but roared back with a nice win against host RPI yesterday in the consolation game.

6. Minnesota State-
They weren't particularly impressive (1-0-1) this weekend against a poor Bowling Green team.

7. Denver University-
DU handed Air Force their first loss of the season to cap off a 2-0 weekend.

8. Air Force-
Who have they beaten? CC, that's who... AND they chased Bachman from the game.

9. Princeton-
A nice win againt NU, but a real head-scratching loss to Mercyhurst. According to a friend at the game, MC's goalie stood on his head and Princeton nearly made an epic comeback, so I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

10. Vermont -
A win against a suddenly-not-so-bad Maine team, and Vermont has now quietly trapped their way to a 9-3-2 record.

11. Colorado College-
WTF is up with Bachman? When he breaks out of his sophomore slump, the Tigers will break out as well. I'd still expect to see them in DC, but they are in a funk right now.

12. UMass-Lowell-
UMass-Lowell continues to be the most overlooked team in America. They improved to 8-5-0 with a win over RIT.

13. Cornell-
The Big Red earned a split against the Sioux at the Ralph.

14. Miami-
The 'Hawks were idle this week.

15. Michigan-
There's a whole lot of mediocrity at this point in the rankings. Michigan's victory over Minnesota gives them the nod.

Women's Top 10

1. Wisconsin
2. Minnesota
3. St. Lawrence
4. Boston University
5. Minnesota-Duluth
6. UNH
7. Dartmouth
8. Boston College
9. Clarkson
10. Harvard

EAGLES GET IT DONE UP NORTH

I did not see, listen to, or GameTracker a single second of this game, but I still sweated as it progressed and I got urgent text message updates from Grant indicating that BC hockey was about to pull a WTF loss. Whether it be travel-weariness from the long road trip, or a bit of a 'trap game' effect before the forthcoming BU series, the Eagles seemingly came out flat today in Hanover, allowing Dartmouth to jump out to a 1-0 lead and hit three posts in the first two periods.

With less than a minute to play and the BC net empty, the Eagles finally struck back - Gibbons, from Whitney and Bradford - on a disputed goal that was initially waved off, then re-allowed after a conference between Benedetto, York, and the other officials.

BC outshot Dartmouth 5-0 in OT, and the 5th and final shot, a Barry Almeida effort with under one minute left in OT, hit the back of the net to give BC a huge 2-1 win in their only road nonconference game of the season.


Photo credit: Melissa Wade, USCHO.com. Almeida scores the winner.

BC is 9-4-1 through fourteen games this year, compared to a 5-4-5 mark at this point last season.

BRING ON BU!

*

The women's hockey team also won today, a 2-0 blanking of Northeastern. Stack and Welch lit the lamp for the Eagles, who improve to 9-3-3.



Last year at this time, BC was 7-5-3; in 2006-07, they were 10-4-1.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

TAMPA

Mr. Davis, I apologize for doubting your ability to win us this game. Go get 'em in Tampa.

This one is for all the braindead morons who continually pick BC to struggle year after year after fucking year, only to be wrong again and again. For all the people who said BC could never win without Ryan, for all the chicken littles who wanted to run Jags out of town after UNC, for all the pundits who picked BC 5th or even 6th in the Atlantic, for all the people who said TOB made football at BC, for all the fucking rednecks who send us to shit bowls every year.

The best part about BC triumphs is that they're ours and ours only. This one's for BC, and everyone else can go screw.

4 years in the ACC, 2 ACC Atlantic titles. Time to bring home the conference title next week.

Oh how you make me happy, BC hockey


One of the bad things about watching just about every game all year is that you see your fair share of duds. But every now and then, there's a game that's totally fulfilling from start to finish. With the exception of maybe a 4 minute span after Harvard's game-tying second period goal, during which time they tried to employ the trap to slow BC down, today's BC-Harvard hockey game was incredibly entertaining and riveting, and it ended with a great 5-1 result for the Eagles.

Brock Bradford and Cam Atkinson nearly ripped the back of the net off with cannon shots for BC's 2nd and 3rd goals. Matt Price banged home a rebound for goal #4, while Orpik book-ended the scoring with BC's first and last goals. 

Bradford's goal was entirely made possible by Brian Gibbons's outstanding pass through traffic from behind the Harvard net; he threaded the needle between the collapsing Crimson defensemen and found Bradford, who made no mistake about absolutely burying it. In my excitement after Bradford's goal, I whacked Grant with what can only be described as a Tysonesque body blow. Sorry about that, buddy.

The bad news: lots of penalties. 12 in all. It was an endless parade to the box. The good news, though, was that the penalty kill was unbelievably effective, holding Harvard to 1-for-9 with the man advantage; and that goal came after Jimmy Hayes broke his stick, making it feel like a de facto 5-on-3 for Harvard.

It was a pasting in front of a sellout (7,884) crowd. I'll take it.

The news out of town made everything even better:

BC men's basketball beat a good UAB team 83-77 in the consolation game of the Preseason NIT, on the back of a 2nd-half resurgence by Tyrese Rice. The women's basketball team emerged victorious in the Caribbean Challenge, beating James Madison 71-63 to go 2-0 in Cancun. And while not necessarily BC related, who could be unhappy about Air Force remaining undefeated with a 4-1 victory over Colorado College?

Tomorrow (or, I guess, today) is the big one... GO BC.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Women's hockey ties Princeton

Ugly, ugly game in which BC blew a 3rd period lead to fall behind 3-2 late. Mary Restuccia scored a nice goal with one minute to go and the BC net empty to salvage the draw. 


BC-Harvard at 4 PM.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

WBB BEATS TCU IN CANCUN!

The women's basketball team bounced back from being smashed by Notre Dame in a 77-68 upset of TCU in Cancun, Mexico. TCU, #22 in the country, burst on to the scene by beating Maryland earlier this season.

Mickel Picco led BC with 23 points.

This is very pleasant (and, admittedly, surprising) news :) Congrats BCWBB!

A terrible bus ride, a tough loss, and a great time

I love Boston College. More specifically, I love how BC gives me an excuse to do what I did yesterday – make a day-long jaunt to the Madison Square Garden for the sole purpose of watching one essentially insignificant college basketball game – and make it seem normal and socially acceptable. [Compared to some of my previous BC trips, and some other trips I have planned, it’s actually about as normal as taking the T to the TD Banknorth Garden for the Beanpot.]

Despite a tumult-filled eight hour (!) bus ride from Boston to New York, a long wait at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and a tough loss that included the classic BC Tease ™ where it looked like they were going to pull it out only to rip your heart out with a minute to go, the trip was a blast. I traveled with my whalepants-wearing, old-fart compatriot, Pat Lane (BC alum from the long-ago class of ’08), got to see Madison Square Garden, and sat in the second row courtside for $10. And at the end of the day, I left feeling a lot better about BC basketball than I did at the start, when I was predicting doom-and-gloom the entire trip down.

First, the trip: we booked the Peter Pan bus for 11 AM, figuring we’d get into town at around 4 PM, giving time to enjoy a nice pre-game meal, walk around a little bit, then head to the Garden. All was going according to plan, as we crossed the CT-NY border at 3:30 PM, but thanks to New York traffic, it took us from 3:30 PM to 6:55 PM to travel from the NY border to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. We were held up even further by the fact that our bus driver apparently sideswiped a taxi cab in the traffic jam, forcing us to wait an additional fifteen minutes for the police to show up and file a report. It was, as the driver said over the PA system, the ‘longest four-hour trip of all time.’

Instead of dinner, we quickly shifted to plan B – ‘miss as little of the game as possible’ – and we got into the Garden about 5 minutes into the game with BC down by 4 points. Our NY culinary experience was reduced to MSG hot dogs of questionable origin and ridiculous price.

MSG was initially very surreal and unenjoyable to me – the color scheme is offensive to the eyes, the stage lighting takes some time to get used to, and the bowl arrangement just feels very, very odd. [The stage lighting is especially rough on me – I have a weird eye condition and my view was definitely impacted by the stage-style lighting -  I can see a lot better when all things are illuminated more equally.)

While there’s certainly not a bad seat in the Garden, our instant-upgrade to courtside made the experience much more enjoyable; we then moved into the oh-so-packed “student” section when our pal Claver2010 scored us two second-row seats next to him near the BC bench.

The game itself was actually very entertaining. BC held their own and played with authority and aggression in the first half, but turnovers, poor shot selection, and a baffling lack of shooting by Tyrese Rice let Purdue drift out to a double-digit lead as the second half went on. BC kept showing flash after flash of a potential comeback, and I remarked that the 5 minute mark was the right time for the BC Tease ™, at which point, It Happened – BC went on a really nice run, sparked by some good play by Southern and Trapani, and cut the lead down to 4; an awful offensive foul call on Trapani – one in a sequence of shady calls against BC at critical situations – stemmed the BC tide with about one minute to go and the rally tapered out.

Still, Tyrese Rice only scored 15 and never looked dominant, but BC hung in there with one of the top ten teams in the country; I can’t really complain about that. I like the development of Southern, Jackson looks like a player, and JOE TRAPANI is going to be the steal of the year. We just really need Tyrese Rice to play like an All-American; if that happens, this team will win its share of basketball games.

A nightmarish hour in the Port Authority Terminal listening to an endless loop of Christmas music plagued the return trip, but it was an otherwise smooth journey, and I got back into Boston safe and sound at 5 AM.

One of the things I love about traveling anywhere, but particularly to NY – I absolutely love returning to Boston, walking around the city I love, and noticing and further appreciating its great qualities. For all its flaws, Boston is home.

My trips to New York always follow a predictable emotional pattern.

1-    1.  I’m very excited for my trip.

2-    2.  Getting into the city is a pain in the ass, and I get mildly annoyed.

3-    3.  I get out of the bus/train and realize why I always end up hating New York the first six times I get bumped into or almost gunned down by a renegade taxi driver.

4-    4.  I have a great time doing whatever I’m doing. This is invariably part of the equation: I always have fun.

5-     5. I come down with some sort of cough or stomach bug.

6-     6.  I get to the bus/train station and anxiously await the return home

7-      7. I return to Boston, and as I step on to the street, angelic music plays in my head and I remember how much I hate New York

8-      8. I get excited for my next trip to NYC.

No offense is intended to New Yorkers here, who make up some of the best people and best sports fans at BC; also, New York has the only four things I really need to enjoy a city – 1) an educated population, 2) good sports, 3) good food, and 4) ample public transportation – but every day, I thank God (who I technically don’t even think exists) that I went to Boston College and didn’t go to school in New York, like I considered for a good amount of time; again, it’s not that I don’t enjoy my trips to New York, it’s just that when I walk out of South Station and into downtown Boston, it gives a nice, comforting sensation – it’s a vibrant, lively, historic city, yes, but I enjoy the fact that being a pedestrian is not round-the-clock hand-to-hand combat, a Darwinesque struggle for survival; and I like how drivers aren’t involved in a NASCAR-style 24 hour contact sport. I also enjoy how every third person I come across isn’t a) on crack, b) mumbling loudly to himself, c) asking me for change [especially since I’m a sucker and always give change to anyone who asks, as long as I have some]. Boston is a kooky city with some insane drivers, rude people, and oddly-laid-out streets, but warts and all, I’ll take it any day and often feel compelled to kiss the ground when I walk out of South Station.

All in all, I’d rate this as one of my top BC road trip experiences, despite the loss; it made me regret for 2.2 seconds the fact that I’ll never see a BC Big East Tournament at MSG [then I snapped out of it and realized that if we were still in the Big Least, we’d have our big tilt against Rutgers football to look forward to this weekend].

I took many photos, and expect to have them up later in the day, but for now I must get some sleep, then enjoy the holiday with family.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and GO EAGLES!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MSG tonight!

First thing's first - Last night's scheduled men's soccer NCAA tournament game at Dartmouth was postponed until this afternoon due to inclement weather. Now I'm really glad I didn't try to go.

By the way, to Dartmouth & the NCAA: lame. Soccer is supposed to be played regardless of weather.

So good luck to the soccer Eagles this afternoon.

The basketball Eagles have their MSG matchup with Purdue tonight. I'm taking the Peter Pan, not the Fung Wah, so I might actually make it; I'll be in NYC at around 3:30 and will be sitting up in the nosebleeds.

See you all tonight!

Monday, November 24, 2008

College Hockey fan poll

Inside College Hockey and The College Hockey Blog have posted their weekly power rankings and the USCHO.com poll will follow this afternoon. It looks like the cool thing to do this week is to give props to Northeastern. While I am very cool with this, as NU is one of my two favorite non-BC teams [hint: the other is #1 in America], I think it's a bit premature to put NU above BU just one week after BU pasted them.

MEN
1. Minnesota - A split at Denver is always a solid weekend. The Gophers have clearly established themselves at #1.

2. Notre Dame - I discounted the Irish early on this season, but I have learned my lesson. Their combined two-game 14-2 pasting of Bowling Green was a message to the CCHA.

3. Boston University - BU hit a rough patch this week, losing two to Vermont, but I doubt their struggles will last long. Credit to Vermont.

4. Northeastern - Boston's far superior urban university picked up two more wins this week, including one against a plummeting UNH team. Thiessen is one of the best goalies in America.

5. Minnesota State - Am I the only person on the Maverick bandwagon? I feel like I consistently have them much higher in my rankings than anyone else does. Two more wins for MSU-M this weekend, although it was just Michigan Tech.

6. Boston College - It looks like BC may be starting that Slump Thing again. It's not full-blown Slump Thing yet, but we may be getting there. Either way, I really am not concerned. I'm a little concerned with Muse right now, but we'll see how he does with the chips on the table. I bet he returns to his freshman year form.

7. Colorado College - CC is another solid team that is struggling along with the growing pains of its sophomore goalie. I suspect they will be back in the top 5 soon.

8. Princeton - The keepers of the Hobey Baker flame had another 4-point weekend in the ECAC. A matchup with Northeastern in Troy on Friday will tell us a lot about both teams.

9. Denver University - DU stopped the bleeding with a Saturday victory over #1 Minnesota.

10. Air Force - This week is the big one for still-unbeaten Air Force: games against Colorado College and Denver.

11. Vermont - Another team I initially doubted. Hey, I admit when I'm wrong. Vermont is cruising right now, and picked up an impressive sweep at Agganis Arena.

12. UMass-Lowell - Despite their loss to rampaging Northeastern, I still project Lowell to end up #4 in Hockey East this year when all is said and done. They destroyed Providence, but to be fair, everyone is doing that these days.

13. Cornell - Two wins last week including one over a very solid Harvard team. Cornell and Princeton are shaping up to have a great battle in the ECAC. Cornell has two with North Dakota this week in a monster series for both teams.

14. Miami - With two wins against Michigan, Miami is quietly working their way back up the rankings after a rough start.

15. Nebraska-Omaha - Sorry UNH. Nebraska-Omaha sneaks into the top 15 from completely off my radar after scoring 10 goals in 2 games in a sweep of Michigan State. I didn't even notice until this weekend, but they're 9-2-1.

WOMEN

1. Wisconsin
2. Minnesota
3. Boston University
4. St. Lawrence
5. Dartmouth
6. UNH
7. BC
8. Harvard
9. Clarkson
10. Minn-Duluth


Rally around the new guy


Can this man lead BC to the promised land?

It doesn't matter who you wanted to be the starter at the beginning of the year, or after the Georgia Tech game, or after the UNC game; it doesn't matter if you think he should have gotten some snaps during games this year; it doesn't really even matter what you think of Davis's abilities. What matters is this: Dominique Davis is the man charged with getting us over the hump and into the Orange Bowl. It's time to rally around him. With a week at the helm under his belt, a lot of those first week jitters should be gone... let's hope it translates into results.

It's not going to be easy, but it never really is with BC athletics. GO DOMINIQUE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank you, Chris Crane.

With that blow in the second quarter of yesterday's game against Wake Forest, it appears that Chris Crane's BC career is over.

There has not been a single BC athlete during my three years here that's received more flack from fans - some of it deserved, some of it undeserved - than Chris Crane. The only other two I can think of who got audibly booed were Ryan Ohliger and Jon Oates. 

But with Oates, there was sort of a protective fondness from the crowd; there was none of that with Crane, just lots of vitriol and chants for Davis. A satire newspaper at BC even had the headline "Students agree: Crane must go," ostensibly about the crane in front of Gasson Hall. I can't imagine having to deal with that ignominy, having to deal with being reviled and booed by your own fans.

Because he didn't play for very long, we didn't really get to learn much about Chris Crane. But here's what I do know:

He inherited the position from the 2nd-best quarterback in BC history - a guy who was good for two miracles per year and a guy who took BC into the national Top 10. Filling Matt Ryan's shoes is almost impossible no matter who you are, and Crane was thrust into that position. And with Crane at the helm, BC has 8 wins and is one win away from getting to the same place they got to with Matt Ryan, the ACC title game.

Crane won the confidence of his teammates during the offseason, beating out message board heroes Boek and Davis ane earning both the starting QB job and the title of offensive captain. 

And although he had several awful games, he clearly learned from his mistakes week to week and was starting to really get into a groove. He has become outstanding at fake handoffs and misdirection, and his ability to tuck it and run added another element to BC's offense this year that none of the other QBs on the roster could have provided. He also learned how to become a game-manager, limiting turnovers and doing what he had to do to put a W on the board. He finally put together back-to-back solid games against Notre Dame and FSU and was doing a good job against Wake before the injury.

From time to time, he also uncorked some great throws. His toss to Robinson in the corner of the end zone to give BC a fleeting lead over Clemson was brilliant, and he had some excellent passes in the Virginia Tech game even with a hostile crowd hurling down boos and insults upon him.

Additionally, from all I know about Crane, he's known as a great guy in the locker room, and a guy who has the respect of his teammates. He also reportedly has a 4.0 GPA.

Chris Crane will probably not go down in history as a player BC fans remember 20 or 30 years down the road, but his short career as BC's starting QB, for all its tumult, has the Eagles two wins away from the Orange Bowl.

Thank you, and good luck.

A follow-up on yesterday's game

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!@##!@#! ??? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

!

!

Gross

BC men's basketball loses to St. Louis, 53-50. I don't know what's sadder, losing to St. Louis or scoring just 50 points.

Raji had 22... using my math skillz, that tells me the rest of the team scored 28. Awful.

Women's soccer out

FSU beats BC 1-0.

Day of reckoning

It's an ACC championship quarterfinal today for the Eagles and the Demon Deacons. There's really not much I can say to add to what we already know about this game. It's the most important game of Chris Crane's life. Let's hope they all rise to the occasion.

Today, the women's soccer team also has a huge test, facing Florida State in the Sweet 16 at 2 PM. The Eagles lost to FSU 1-0 in September in Chestnut Hill.

The men's hockey, women's hockey, and men's basketball teams all have games today as well, facing UMass, BU, and St. Louis, respectively.

*

In this week's episode of "Logic people use to denigrate the ACC," OMG! #2 BU lost to fellow Hockey East team Vermont and will thus move down the national rankings. I guess that means Hockey East sucks!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two 2-0 wins

The men's hockey and soccer teams both won their games tonight - soccer over Colgate 2-0 in the NCAA men's soccer tournament, and hockey over UMass 2-0 in a lazy affair at Conte Forum.

Shawn Chin and Edvin Worley tallied the goals for the soccer team, which advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament on Tuesday night, when they will travel to Hanover, NH to take on Dartmouth for the right to make it to the Sweet 16.

The BC-UMass game was, quite frankly, a very boring affair. Cam Atkinson and Paul Carey scored while Muse posted a 27-save shutout. Atkinson's goal came on a sweet cross-ice pass from Barry Almedia, while Carey scrapped for his during a late BC 5-on-3.

The story of the game was Joe Whitney starting at defense in place of the scratched Anthony Aiello. York did not disturb the offensive combinations, which were really clicking last week - but he shook up the defensive pairings which obviously struggled last week. So far, so good. Whitney has a history playing the point on the power play - we'll see if those skills carry over into 5-on-5 play.

Elsewhere in Hockey East, Northeastern downed UNH 3-2 and Vermont came back to beat BU  4-3 at Agganis Arena. Maine beat Merrimack in the Toilet Bowl, while UMass-Lowell crushed Providence 6-1.

BC finishes off the home-and-home against UMass in Amherst tomorrow night.

Temporary Hockey East power rankings-
MEN: BU BC NU UML UVM UNH UMA UME MC PC
WOMEN: UNH BC BU NU PC UC UME UVM

Got my tickets to MSG!

Section 349, Row E for Wednesday night. Just $10 per ticket... not bad at all.

Go Eagles!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

UCOwNNed!

Yeah, that title is lame.

Anyway, Boston College women's hockey topped UConn 4-0 tonight, their second victory over the Husky Women this season. Allie Thunstrom, Meghan Fardelmann, Becky Zavisza and Maggie Taverna scored, while Molly Schaus picked up a 33-save shutout.

Recap from USCHO:

"4-0 is a bit of a misleading score. It certainly had the feel of a 1-0 win ground out on the road. Schaus was forced to come up big early and often in the third period and the game seemed close to swinging on a number of occasions.

BC really imposed its will for the first period and a half, right up until they took a 2-0 lead; from that point forward, it was almost all UConn, outshooting BC ~25-15 over the last two periods. A number of these shots were point blank and Molly had to make some big saves.

The first goal for BC was vintage Stack/Thunstrom wizardry. Goal #2 was odd - the puck landed on Garcia's shoulder, there was a scrum around the net, and it fell off her shoulder and across the line.

Goal 3 came against the run of play courtesy of a BC power play. Kristin Regan fired a nice shot from the point and Becky Zavisza made a redirection that Milan Lucic would be proud of, putting the game on ice; Maggie Taverna added a 130-foot empty net rocket to put icing on the cake.

Zavisza reminds me a lot of Andrew Orpik from the BC men's team - maybe not the one player who stands out the most, offensively, but a strong, smart two-way player who can sneak up on you by uncorking an awesome wrist shot. Her resurgence has been one of the big reasons for BC's success this year.

The defense didn't have its best game overall, giving up a lot of good chances, but two blueliners deserve a lot of praise:

I thought that Brie Baskin had her best game as a defender thus far. She was solid for the entire game, but one play stands out - around halfway through the third period a UConn player (I think Thibault) was streaking in alone toward the net and had another one coming on her left; Brie came out of nowhere to fly into the zone and breakup the play cleanly. 

And then there's Kurth, who seems to almost always be impressive. She plays like a grizzled veteran. Mike said that she's the best BC defender he's seen in his seven years of watching them play. I don't doubt it for an instant.

Good win on the road... time to cap off the weekend with another big one on Saturday."


**

BC women's basketball won tonight as well, beating Hofstra 71-60. Mickel Picco and Ayla Brown each scored 16 to lead BC. Next up for the Eagles is their first real test of the season: a huge matchup with Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon.

INCH on Hayes

-Inside College Hockey has a story today on Jimmy Hayes, BC's big-time freshman who registered his first career hat trick on Saturday night against UNH. I love the title: "Run Like Mays, Score Like BC's Hayes." Great reference...

-BC guy Chuck Kobasew has only played in 7 games with the Bruins this season due to an injury, but he has multiple point games in 5 of those 7. He scored two goals last night in Boston's 7-4 win over Buffalo, including one which he banked in off of Ryan Miller from behind the net.

-Expect plenty of ZooMass students in Conte on Friday night. I'm happy to have them in the building - I'm just wondering how UMass-Amherst can offer a fan bus to away games, but BC can't because kids might drink and get in trouble. Also, for $25, UMass students get a ticket, a ride to and from campus on the bus, AND pizza. At BC the best you can get for $25 is a hot dog and a coke.

-Here's a funny story courtesy of the LetsGoDU hockey blog: the University of Minnesota is in a heavy recruiting battle with.... the University of Minnesota. Both the football team and the hockey team want the services of two-sport high school standout Anders Lee.

-Tonight's BC games: women's hockey travels to UConn for a Hockey East tilt, while women's basketball hosts Hofstra.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two hoops wins; on to MSG

Boston College defeated old Big East foe St. John's 82-70 in front of another scant crowd at Conte Forum. Joe Trapani was impressive again with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and an earth-shattering dunk late in the game; Rice led the team with 28 points. I really enjoyed watching Evan Ravenel play tonight; his game needs polish, but from where I sit he provides the best low post presence on the team.

BC now plays Purdue at Madison Square Garden on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I believe the BC game will be at 7 PM but I'll post if I hear otherwise.

The women's basketball team also had success tonight, beating Holy Cross 82-69. Carolyn Swords scored a career high 33 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Eagles to their 11th straight victory over the Crusaders. She shot 15-for-17 from the floor.......HAHAHAHA. Picco had 19 points, a season high.

The score was 30-21 at the half but coach Crawley's new up-tempo offense put up 52 points in the 2nd half.

Big stretch starts tonight for WBB

The women's basketball team plays three games in the next six days, starting with a trip to Worcester tonight to take on Holy Cross. (I thought about taking the trip out, but tonight is likely to be one of maybe two or three good non-conference home MBB games all year.)

The Eagles then return home to host Hofstra on Thursday before the big one: a matchup with #16 Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon in Conte. 

Last year, BC beat Holy Cross 77-58 to extend their winning streak over the Crusaders to 10 games, giving BC a 21-9 lead in the all-time series. The Cross is looking pretty sad at the moment - they lost their season opener to Yale, 65-63, and lost an exhibition game to Assumption (!!!?! are they even D1???!!) 67-54. 

Hofstra should also theoretically be a win for BC. The Flying Dutchwomen went 5-25 last year and brought up the rear in the always-powerful Colonial Athletic Association. Hofstra dropped their season opener to Iona, 61-57.

Notre Dame will be a major test for this young team. They are off to a great start, having downed #25 LSU 62-53 in Baton Rouge last week. Last year, ND crushed BC 88-58 in South Bend. If BC can be competitive in this game, it will be a great sign for Coach Crawley and the team. If the Eagles pull the upset, expect a good number of votes in the next Top 25 poll.

Men's Soccer hosting first round of NCAAs; MBB crushes Loyola

BC men's soccer will host the first round of the NCAA men's soccer tournament on Friday night, playing Colgate at 7 PM in Newton. (Same time as the hockey game... grr.) A victory there would earn them a date at Dartmouth next Tuesday night, a road trip that I'd probably make. Go Eagles!

*

The men's basketball team crushed hapless Loyola tonight, 90-57. Joe Trapani impressed again with 20 points while Tyrese Rice scored 16 in his first game back from suspension. BC plays St. John's tomorrow night with a trip to Madison Square Garden on the line.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Women's soccer gametime announced, conference honors for BC athletes, and new hockey polls

-BC women's soccer will take on Florida State on Saturday at 2 PM in Tallahassee in the NCAA Sweet 16. I re-iterate: please wear black jerseys, FSU.

-The men's soccer team finds out its fate tonight when the NCAA D-1 tournament field is announced at 6 PM on ESPNews. BC is on the bubble to be one of the four teams seeded in its bracket; if they do get a 4 seed, they have a good chance of hosting the first two rounds in Newton this weekend.

-Marcellus Bowman was named ACC defensive back of the week after his pick-6 on Saturday night at FSU. Get on the Brock Bradford for Hobey bandwagon - his 5 goals and assists this weekend earned him men's Hockey East player of the week honors. Kelli Stack joined in the fun, earning women's Hockey East player of the week with 3 goals this weekend.

-The new NCAA hockey rankings are out. In men's hockey, BC moves up a place to #4 thanks to Denver's big drop (4th to 10th). Minnesota unsurprisingly moves into the #1 spot. Air Force remains overlooked at #12 although one voter gave them a first place vote; UMass-Lowell remains inexplicably outside of the top 20 .

-In the women's hockey poll, BC drops to #8 after a rough loss to Maine. Wisconsin and Minnesota remain #1 and #2. BU earns its highest ranking ever at #5.

-Boston College has earned an at-large bid to the NCAA women's cross-country tournament.

College hockey fan poll: BU stays on top

I'm pretty sure that in the real poll tomorrow, Minnesota will take over as #1 after their 3-point weekend against Michigan Tech. But I still have to grudgingly give the nod to BU, because (GASP!, that's right, I'm gonna say it!) they play in a stronger conference than Minnesota does.

Men
1. Boston University
2. University of Minnesota
3. Colorado College
4. Boston College
5. Minnesota State-Mankato
6. Notre Dame
7. Northeastern
8. Denver University
9. Princeton
10. Air Force (10-0!)
11. UMass-Lowell
12. New Hampshire
13. Vermont
14. Cornell
15. Miami

HOCKEY EAST: 
1. BU, 2. BC, 3. NU, 4. UML, 5. UNH, 6. UVM, 7. UMass, 8. Maine, 9. MC, 10. PC

Women
1. Wisconsin
2. Minnesota
3. New Hampshire
4. St. Lawrence
5. Dartmouth
6. BC
7. BU
8. Harvard
9. Minnesota-Duluth
10. Clarkson

HOCKEY EAST:
1. UNH, 2. BC, 3. BU, 4. NU, 5. PC, 6. Conn., 7. Maine, 8. UVM

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The magic number is four

On to the Sweet 16!

The Boston College women's soccer team dismantled Northeastern this afternoon 4-0 to book a date with Florida State in next weekend's NCAA Sweet 16. It's BC's 4th trip to the Sweet 16 in the past 5 seasons. The time and date of the game is TBA, but it will be in Tallahassee. Hopefully FSU wears black uniforms...

The legend of Amy Caldwell continues to grow, as she had two brilliant assists today. I think she might be my favorite BC athlete. She has that rare and special ability to make something out of nothing. I foresee a future for her beyond the NCAA.

**

Dampening the mood a bit, women's hockey took one on the chin against Maine, 5-3. But it's a long season and Maine is a tough, long trip to make on a Sunday afternoon.

Hopefully they'll bounce back Thursday night @ UConn.

When BC hockey's offense gets going, it's SCARY to behold...

Last night's second period, in which BC put up 5 unanswered goals to storm back from an 0-3 deficit, reminded me so much of the way the offense was firing on all cylinders in March and April. At that point, whenever guys broke in two-on-one or made a pass across the front of the net I just assumed the puck was going in.

Carey, Hayes and Smith were locked in together. And Bradford continues to make outstanding plays.

There's a group of freshmen who sit near us in the student section, and they were asking "why are we doing so poorly lately? I thought we were really good?," and we tried to explain that it happens all the time, BC works on things during the season, but when they get into a rhythm... look out.

They were in that rhythm yesterday. Wowza. Now, it's time to clean up on the defensive end.

As someone mentioned on USCHO, Kucharski, Lombardi and Orpik work extremely well together and I'd like to see that line stay together as often as possible. Lombardi had a bit of a rough start to the game, taking a penalty in the first period, but he recovered with a goal and a number of solid hits on UNH players. 

BC was good overall at taking the body last night - Petrecki had a nice, textbook shoulder-to-chest hit about four feet in front of me behind the net right along the glass, and Almeida provided the highlight of the night by tipping JVR over into the bench.

It wasn't the best weekend in BC hockey history but any time you give up 11 goals and get 3 points on the weekend you can't complain. Bring on UMass.

Also, I know I said this earlier,  but HOLY CRAP BC beat Florida State! What else is there to say?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BLACKOUT!!!!!

Please FSU, wear the black jerseys again in two years.

Montel Harris, I love you. Chris Crane, you almost gave me a heart attack with that fumble, but wow, what a solid performance.

And thanks to FSU for a continued string of stupid penalties. 

ONWARD!

Wild.

BC 8, UNH 6.

I have no idea.

UNH had a 3-0 lead at one point before BC went on a 7-1 run.

Jimmy Hayes had a hat trick and Brock Bradford bolstered his Hobey campaign with 2 G and 2 A.

Gutty, gutty win, but giving up 11 goals in 2 games is certainly a bit disturbing. Still, that was one of the most exciting games I've seen at Conte - BC went on an absolutely riveting 10-minute in run in the 2nd in which they scored 5 unanswered goals.

More later, maybe, but now it's football time.

Wild night in college hockey

#1 BU lost to UMass. 
#3 Denver lost to St. Cloud. 
#4 Colorado College lost to Minnesota State. 
#5 BC tied #543342423 Merrimack.
#6 UNH got throttled by UMass-Lowell. 
#8 Michigan lost to Western Michigan.

College hockey is looking very topsy-turvy right now. I love it.

If they take care of business against Michigan Tech, Minnesota will move into the #1 slot - no small feat considering how much they struggled last year. And if Northeastern beats BU on Sunday, they may move into the top 5. Air Force, Princeton, and Minnesota State are also poised to shake up the top of the rankings with some new blood.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The magic number is 5 for BC women's soccer...

Big night in BC sports - 5 teams, 3 wins. I was lucky enough to see all 3 of the wins.

Women's Soccer: BC 3, CCSU 0

The women's soccer team is now 5 wins from the national championship after dispatching Central Connecticut State, 3-o, in front of a pretty solid crowd for a 4 PM start in Newton. Caitlin Hiler, Brooke Knowlton, and Stephanie Wirth scored for BC, who outshot CCSU 17-5. BC now faces Northeastern on Sunday after NU downed Harvard on penalty kicks.

Amy Caldwell, as usual, stood out from the pack. She set up BC's first goal by getting fouled in the box; Hiler scored on the ensuing penalty kick. Then, she made a wonderful play on BC's second goal, dashing through the CCSU defense and cutting toward the end line before sliding a great pass to Knowlton who blasted home an easy goal.

Men's Basketball: BC 80, CCSU 65

When I got to the men's basketball game it was 12-8 Central Connecticut, and I was pretty worried right off the bat; it stayed competitive 'til the half, but BC took control in the 2nd and cruised to an 80-65 win. Rakim Sanders and Joe Trapani became the Best BC Players Who Haven't Been Suspended; both played fine games. 

Women's Basketball: BC 99, St. Francis 68

The women's basketball game was a fun start-to-finish romp as BC crushed St. Francis 99-68. Carolyn Swords is completely unstoppable down low. Her 18 points stood out, although her fouling out with around six minuteeft was one of the few disappointing moments in the game.

The best thing about the game was that everyone got involved - aside from Swords, nobody really stood above the rest [har har, it's a pun, get it...?]. 

Murphy had 14 points, but to me the story of the game was Corey Rusin, who scored a career high 13 points and played an outstanding all-around game. She knocked down a three, made a nice move on a layup, and scored a few buckets after cleaning up on the glass. 

She also provided what is sure to be THE highlight of the season late in the second half (if anyone from BC athletics with access to the video is reading, I will pay you for a copy). She recorded an absolute mammoth block of an SFU shot, a block that Sean Williams would be proud of - out of nowhere. Lauren Whitehurst was about as excited as I've ever seen anyone after the play, practically picking up Rusin in excitement. We in the student section + the pep band were suitably awed. Coach Crawley obviously trusts Rusin to be a starter on this team and she has rewarded the trust with two excellent performances thus far. Nice.

Sylvia Crawley's whole deal is about bringing a new, up-tempo offense to BC and having the team work together as a unit. Check, check. I'm pretty sure the BC offense, led by point guard Brittany Johnson, recorded more fast break points in the first ten minutes of the game than we saw all of last season combined. BC also chalked up 22 assists and shot 56.2% from the floor. 

I was initially skeptical when I heard Crawley wanted to go to an 'up-tempo' style; I was not/am not sure BC has the personnel. But I do know that BC's going to have to create more possessions and score more points if they are going to have a chance to beat the Dukes and Marylands of the world. St. Francis is neither, but it was as nice a start to the season as we could have possibly hoped for.

Men's Soccer: Maryland 1, BC 0
Men's Hockey: BC 5, Merrimack 5 (OT)

The news from out of town was not so good: BC men's soccer lost 1-0 to Maryland in the ACC soccer semi-finals on a pretty sad own-goal late in the game, and the men's hockey team continued to struggle, tying Merrimack 5-5 after holding a 5-3 lead through two periods. Brock Bradford scored a hat trick for BC.

Tomorrow's UNH game becomes very important now, methinks; a loss tomorrow and we can call this a bona-fide slump.

The aforementioned Wildcats were embarrassed by UMass-Lowell tonight, 8-3, while BU's reign at #1 could be a short one after a 4-1 loss to UMass. Denver and Colorado College both lost, but Minnesota could be poised for a move into the top slot if they earn at least 3 points at home this weekend against Michigan Tech.

With BC struggling, and BU, UNH, CC and DU all losing, the door is open for #7 Northeastern to make a power-move into the top 5 with a victory over BU at Agganis Sunday night, as NU beat Vermont 5-3 tonight. Well done.

Reason #12412313 why I love hockey

Going back to last night's Bruins game again, so slightly off-topic- but very much on the topic of what makes hockey so great.

Last night, late in the second period, the Habs were on a power play trying to pull back within two goals. Andrew Ference had his back turned to the play and was hit in the unpadded back of the knee by a bullet slap shot from the point. Ference hit the ice hard and couldn't get up for several seconds, giving Montreal a de-facto 5-on-3 in the offensive zone. Ference eventually mustered enough strength to pull himself up, then he stayed in position for the next :30 of the PK, essentially hopping along on one leg. 

With the puck in his corner and 10 seconds left in the power play, Ference took control of it and hummed it 200 feet down the ice, killing the penalty; he then limped slowly to the boards and left the game for good, but not before making a huge play that helped his team keep control of the game. What a warrior. He'll probably miss the next few games, but he still managed to make a great defensive play despite being in excruciating pain. When people say there aren't good role models in pro sports, it's obvious that they're not watching these guys.

And while toughness is a big part of hockey, the game can also be beautiful for its players' brilliance. Marc Savard, for example, is 
brilliant. Not only is he physically gifted with the ability to make astonishingly good passes, he's also so intelligent and makes such great decisions on the fly. The game is flying by at lightning speeds but Savard always manages to read it brilliantly and make the exact pass the Bruins need. And whether he is wide open, double covered, on his ass, on his stomach, or up against the boards,. Savvy's passes are almost invariably right into the tape of his target player's stick.

Last night was exhibit A. The first few seconds of 
this video show the B's 3rd goal against Montreal - Sturm from Savard with six seconds left in the first period. With 11 seconds left it looks like Montreal is about to clear the zone, but the B's keep it in; Ryder feeds a wide open Savard to the right of the net, who has a pretty clear shooting lane. 99 people out of 100 - myself included - are thinking SHOOT THE PUCK, the period's almost over! But Savard knows Price is in good position. He drags it back a little bit, drawing in two Canadiens defenders, then makes a perfect pass to Sturm crashing in from the point; Sturm bangs it past a hapless, out of position Carey Price. And this all happens within a matter of maybe 5 seconds, with the pressure of knowing there's less than 10 seconds left on the clock. Absolutely frigging brilliant play.

Tyrese Rice suspended for first three games

Yawn, another suspension for BC men's basketball. And people wonder why my interest in BC hoops has declined since I enrolled at BC.

Hopefully they will be okay without him against Central Connecticut and Loyola. But this seriously damages hopes of making it to MSG in the Preseason NIT.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Evil vanquished

I try to stay on the topic of BC 99 times out of 100, but sometimes, events overwhelm. Tonight was a delightful hockey combo: the Bruins absolutely ravaging the Canadiens, 6-1, and BC women's hockey beating hated UConn 3-2.

Danielle Welch, Kelli Stack (welcome back!) and Megan Shea scored for BC. I didn't get to see any of the game, but I'm told it was an "ugly win"... and nothing else. I'll post if I hear anything more.

The Bruins game was just sweet. It was a complete role reversal. The B's pounded Montreal early and often, took advantage of every mistake, and gave the home crowd a chacne to celebrate and taunt for a good ten minutes at the end of the game.

One of the highlights was Milan Lucic destroying Mike Komisarek in a fight late in the 3rd, then pumping up the crowd PJ Stock style.



The Canadiens and UConn are both pretty high up on my Hate List, and let's face it... sports are way more fun when there's unnecessary hatred involved. Well done, hockey teams I like.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BC 1, Clemson 0

At the 104:02 mark in double overtime, Boston College's Mor Avi Hanan hit a beautiful dipping free kick from just outside the box, near the end line, that dropped into the goal and gave BC a 1-0 win over Clemson in the quarterfinals of the ACC men's soccer tournament.

It was a fantastic game, with both teams coming close to scoring on numerous occasions.  BC generally carried play, outshooting the Tigers 19-7 and controlling the ball for most of regulation, but Clemson dominated the first overtime period, including having one shot ring off the crossbar.

#3 seed BC moves on to face #2 seed Maryland in Friday's ACC semifinal.

Friday is shaping up to be an epic day in BC sports:
-4 PM: women's soccer vs. CCSU, NCAA tournament round of 64
-5:30 PM: men's soccer vs. Maryland, ACC tournament semifinal
-6:00 PM: men's basketball vs. CCSU
-7:00 PM: men's hockey @ Merrimack
-8:30 PM: women's basketball vs. St. Francis (PA)

BC hockey vs. Notre Dame pictures

Muse
Looking across to the other student section.
The ice was melting.
A better shot of the melting ice.

Jordan Pearce
2nd intermission
Deeth of ND takes a draw
PETRECKI.
Replay of Notre Dame's third goal...
Action in the BC end
Hayes

BC hoops photos, scrimmage/exhibition














Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WBB throttles Premier Players 78-48

I'm not naive enough to get overly excited by the results of an exhibition, but last night's 78-48 trouncing of Premier Players was an encouraging start to the Sylvia Crawley era in BC women's basketball.

Sure, it's just an exhibition, but Premier Players is no St. Francis Xavier-style pushover - they gave NC State a game, falling 59-53 in Raleigh last week.

I didn't get to attend this game, but from the box score, a few very encouraging notes:

-It was a balanced attack from the Eagles - six players registered 9 or more points. The BC bench outscored the Premier Players bench, 28-17.
-Stef Murphy picked up where she left off, earning a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards
-Ayla Brown poured in 10 points off the bench
-Mickel Picco had 9 points, scoring a multiple of three for the first time this season; I am certain it won't be the last time
-My classmate, senior captain Corey Rusin, got the start and scored 11 points. Way to go Corey!
-BC shot 49.2% from the field and 86.7% from the line.

Monday, November 10, 2008

BC to host first two rounds of NCAA women's soccer tournament

Much like last year, the BC women's soccer team will host the first two rounds of this year's NCAA women's soccer tournament.

Unlike last year, when the Eagles were forced to face perennial power UConn in the first round, BC should have a pretty good path to the sweet 16 this time around.

BC (13-5-4) will face Central Connecticut State (12-6-2) on Friday. The other game will feature Northeastern (13-8-1) and Harvard (10-3-4). The games will be played at 4 P.M. and 7 P.M., although the order has yet to be determined.

The winners will square off Sunday at 1 P.M. for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.

GO EAGLES!!!

Championships aren't won in November

...and thank God for that, as BU has taken over the first position in the race to DC.

New USCHO poll:
1. BU
2. Minnesota
3. Denver
4. CC
5. BC
6. UNH
7. Northeastern (!!!)
8. Michigan
9. Notre Dame
10. Miami (ew.)

Women:
1. Wisconsin
2. Minnesota
3. Dartmouth
4. Harvard
5. UNH
6. BC
7. BU
8. St. Lawrence
9. Minn-Duluth
10. Northeastern

Two Eagles hit paydirt in Lake Placid

For the second time this calendar year, two members of BC's women's hockey team have taken home gold medals with the United States national team. Kelli Stack and Molly Schaus, who helped the US top Canada in the World Championships this past summer, won another gold on Sunday afternoon as the US beat Canada again, 3-2, in the championship game of the prestigious Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Photo credit: Melissa Wade, uscho.com
Molly Schaus (#1, the goalie on the left side of the front row)
Kelli Stack (#16, second from the right in the second row)
and the US national team celebrate their win over Canada in the Four Nations Cup.

***
Coming up this week:
-coverage of the start of the women's NCAA soccer tournament [selection show is tomorrow night]
-the ACC men's soccer tournament begins on Tuesday with BC as a 3 seed
-a look ahead to Friday's men's and women's basketball season openers
-an epic photo post from the BC-ND hockey game, the football game, and the basketball exhibitions

Sunday, November 9, 2008

NCAA Hockey fan poll: I have no idea.

I don't want to do this. It pains me to write what I'm about to write. But...

1. Boston University. [ugh] They've earned it so far.
This Weekend: W @ UML 6-4
Next Weekend: Fri @ UMA, Sun @ NU

2. Minnesota. [This one makes me happier. They'll probably get their share of first place votes]
This Weekend: T vs. UNH, 2-2, W vs. UNH 6-2
Next Weekend: Sat & Sun vs. Michigan Tech

3. Denver
This Weekend: W vs. UMD, 2-1; W vs. UMD 5-1
Next Weekend: Fri & Sat @ SCSU

4. Colorado College
This Weekend: L vs. NDak, 3-1; W vs. NDak 7-4
Next Weekend: Fri & Sat @ Minn St.

5. Boston College
This Weekend: L vs. UND, 4-1; L @ UME 2-1
Next Weekend: Fri @ Merr., Sat vs. UNH

6. Minnesota State
This Weekend: T @ UAA 2-2; W @ UAA 5-3
Next Weekend: Fri & Sat vs. CC

7. New Hampshire
This Weekend: T @ Minn., 2-2; L @ Minn, 6-2
Next Weekend: Fri @ UML, Sat @ BC

8. Notre Dame
This Weekend: W @ BC 4-1; W @ PC 4-1
Next Weekend: Fri & Sat vs. Lake St.

9. Northeastern
This Weekend: W vs. Bentley, 4-1
Next Weekend: Fri @ UVM, Sun @ BU

10. Princeton
This Weekend: L vs. Cornell, 1-0; W @ Colg. 2-1
Next Weekend: Fri @ RPI, Sat @ Union

11. Air Force
This Weekend: Off
Next Weekend: Fri & Sat @ HC

12. Michigan
This Weekend: L @ UAF 4-1, W @ UAF 3-2
Next Weekend: Fri & Sat home and home w/ Western Michigan

13. Vermont
This Weekend: T vs. PC, 2-2; W @ UML,  3-1

14. UMass-Lowell
This Weekend: L vs. BU 6-4, L vs. UVM 3-1
Next Weekend: Fri vs. UNH, Sat @ UMA

15. St. Lawrence
This Weekend: W vs. Yale 3-2, T vs. Brown 2-2
Next Weekend: Fri @ Dart, Sat @ Harv

Outside looking in: Cornell, Miami, Michigan State, Clarkson.

These rankings were a complete clusterf**k and took me forever to figure out. Lots of parity right now. The only thing I'm sure of is the top 5... but you can put those top 5 in whatever order you want.

Women:

1. Wisconsin
2. Minnesota
3. Harvard
4. Dartmouth
5. BC
6. UNH
7. Minn-Duluth
8. BU
9. St. Lawrence
10. Northeastern

Ugh

A tough loss on the road for BC hockey, 2-1 at Maine, capping off a rough weekend for the hockey team that will likely see them drop out of the top five. Maine scored with under two minutes remaining to get the win.

Benn Ferriero finally broke his scoreless spell with his first of the season to tie the game a few minutes into the third period, notching BC's only goal.

It was a very, very, very physical game, with both teams really throwing the body around. Most of the hits were clean, but some on both sides were not.

Nick Petrecki needs to chill out. He very nearly broke a Maine player's neck with a smash in the second period that could have been called a boarding penalty. He's way too valuable a player to spend so much time in the box.

The power play continues to be sad - 0-for-16 on the weekend.

BC's next game is at Merrimack on Friday night.

BCMBB beats St. Francis Xavier 82-56

With ten minutes remaining in today's exhibition basketball game, I text messaged a few friends with an ominous message: "BC basketball sucks again, it appears. We lead St. Francis Xavier 50-49 with ten minutes left."

Then BC went on a teensy-weensy 32-7 run, and all seemed right.

Joe Trapani provided the highlight of the game with an alley-oop slam from Tyrese Rice, capping off a great day for the Vermont transfer. He had 17 points, 3 steals, and 7 rebounds; he demonstrated a nice shooting touch from beyond the arc and also made his presence felt on the inside.

The other two highlights were the play of Corey Raji and Biko Paris. Raji had a double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds; he was there to clean up the trash and knock home baskets after missed shots. Paris had just five points, but he handled the ball well and did a better job running the offense than Rice, who had a bit of a clunker for most of the game but roared to life in the last few minutes to end up with 13 points.

Concerning: Jackson and Ravenel weren't that impressive. They played 12 minutes each and combined for 7 points.

The season begins Friday night against Central Connecticut.

Suck of the Irish

Wow. I knew Notre Dame was bad. I had no idea they were that shockingly pathetic.

Six in a row plus the national title game in hockey. BC's ownership of ND continues.

Does anything else really need to be said about the game?

I didn't see anything out of the offense that inspired me for the ACC stretch run, although I suppose Crane et. al. did what they had to do to grind out a victory against an inferior opponent.

The defense showed their dominating run-stopping form for the first time in the post-Toal era, but to be fair, Hughes is a pathetic running back.

Anderson and the secondary did well, but once again, the big asterisk is that Jimmy Claussen made Chris Crane look like Tom Brady.

Mark Herzlich is an absolute animal. Poor old Steve-o still can't hit chip shots.

The analogy I'm using here is that this feels a bit like winning the Beanpot. The hard work and the games that really count are still to come, but this is a good point during the season to sit back, smile, and laugh at the misfortune of our ugly stepsisters from Indiana.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Intrasquad MBB scrimmage: BC WON!!!

I just got back from the first half of the men's basketball open scrimmage, which the Rakim Sanders-led white team led 31-30 over Tyrese Rice's maroon-clad squad.

The lineups:

WHITE:
#5 Biko Paris
#0 Reggie Jackson
#15 Rakim Sanders
#12 Joe Trapani
#52 Josh Southern

MAROON:
#4 Tyrese Rice
#21 Tyler Roche
#11 Corey Raji
#24 Evan Ravenel
#55 Courtney Dunn

Dallas Elmore had to sit out due to a bad knee.

The most encouraging thing I saw this morning was the play of Roche, who had by my recollection 11 points. They ran a lot of plays designed to get Roche open behind the arc and he swished a few nice shots. He also passed quite well and did a good job of getting open. We all know Roche can shoot, but if he can develop a more complete game, he'll be a useful weapon.

Tyrese Rice continues to be awesome at the 'floater in the lane' move, which he used three times, by my count; he was struggling from beyond the arc, but hey, it's a scrimmage.

Evan Ravenel had the most exciting moment of the half when he slammed home a rebound with the game's most emphatic dunk. He looked pretty good, but he's not going to step in and instantly make BC's frontcourt a threat. He'll be a piece of the puzzle, though.

Reggie Jackson hit a three early on and I think had 5 total points. Didn't see enough of him to really get a good look.

I was sitting next to a high-ranking person in Boston College athletics and he told me that while Jackson is considered to be the best freshman of the bunch, Ravenel will probably get the most playing time early on, as the frontcourt depth is not so good.

Concerns: Joe Trapani was not very impressive, to the point where I forgot he was Trapani and thought that it was last year's walkon who wore #12 (Bennett?). I don't think he scored in the entire half, and he's way too lean to play power forward. I'm not disregarding him for the season, he just didn't look too good today.

This team's point guard situation is troubling unless Biko Paris improves his shooting to the point where he can be a viable option; I really don't like Rice handling the ball. Just like in ACC games Rice made a habit of driving to the lane by himself without passing the ball, and turned it over several times.

The big disclaimer to all of this is that basketball is the sport I know the least about; hopefully, my praise is dead on and my concerns are totally unfounded.

I took some pictures, which I will post either tomorrow or Monday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just a reminder

Congrats to ND on their win tonight, and congrats to BU on their hot start to the season. But I'd like to issue a quick reminder:

To semi-quote an immortal USCHO poster, "Championchips isn't won in Nobembre!!!"

That's hockey

(Notre Dame 4, BC 1)

The puck takes a few bad bounces, the opposing team scores a goal against the run of play, you fall into playing their game... game over. That's hockey. It'll happen more than once over the course of a long, long season. Because of all the Notre Hoopla, there will be a tendency to worry about this loss a little too much, but it should be kept in perspective.

BC was carrying play for most of the second period, finally resulting in a nice game-tying goal by Brock Bradford about fiveminutes into the frame, coming after a sustained period of offensive pressure. BC had four or five scrums around the net that nearly resulted in goals to no avail before Bradford cracked Pearce.

But literally within a minute of scoring, Carl Sneep - who had a very rough game tonight - took a slashing penalty, which Notre Dame promptly capitalized on. It was a lucky goal - I don't remember all the details, but the puck seemed to take a bounce off of a leg onto the stick of Christian Hanson. 2-1. 

The goal was most memorable for Hanson's bizzare decision to celebrate by running up to the glass in front of the BC section and taunting three or four of the students in the front row to the left of me. I guess he was bothered by the "Where's your banner" chant. As I always say when opposing players respond to the crowd at BC - if you let us get under your skin, what are you going to do when you face some of the rowdy fanbases out there? Asshole move, Hanson.

A few minutes later, BC scored an own goal. Notre Dame's Billy Maday threw it toward the front of the net and it deflected off of Kucharski's skate and into the goal. Unlike Denver, this kicking motion still resulted in a legal goal; 3-1. ND added a late empty netter to cap it off.

BC had several decent chances but never got any clear breaks late in the game. BC controlled the puck far more than ND did over the last two periods, but ND's trap successfully stifled BC and the Eagles could never really get it going.

The passing was very concerning today. The way to beat a stifling team like Notre Dame is to make quick passes across the ice to catch the defenders out of position. That wasn't happening tonight - BC's entry passes were sloppy and often way off target.

BC also spent way too much time grinding against the boards; we're too small to play a game like that and need to move through open ice to be successful.

Although the loss doesn't bother me much, there were a few things that I found to be troubling.

-The ice was melting. Really. It wasn't even just bad, choppy ice - it was literally melting into puddles at center ice. It was dangerous and adversely impacted the game - lots of pucks took strange bounces, especially in the end where BC shot twice. Weird skips and hops. We need to address this overheating problem. We supposedly had it all figured out, but now it's back again. Get on it, GDF.

-The power play was sad - o-for-7 in a penalty-filled game. Neither unit could really generate much pressure - they let the Irish D plant their feet and didn't make those quick cutting passes necessary to move them around and create space. We also spent far too much time in our own end during PPs, failing to successfully break it into the ND zone.

-BC looked undisciplined from time to time. Usually 90% of the calls against Nick Petrecki are bullshit, but he was a madman out there tonight. With less than four minutes left he absolutely flattened a Notre Dame player with a clear hit from behind that should have gotten him tossed. BC was lucky to escape that sequence without a big time penalty kill. Petrecki is too important to spend so much time in the box.

Brock Bradford took a really dumb penalty with about six minutes left in the game that helped quash comeback efforts. Gibbons came perilously close to being called for hooking deep in the ND zone, throwing his stick into an Irish player's chest twice and being warned by Benedetto, who was watching like a hawk. Gibbons peeled away, but Bradford came in and summarily did the same thing - stuck his stick into the chest. Benedetto had seen enough and blew the whistle to send off Bradford. It was a very unaware play from a guy known for his leadership and hockey sense.

-Too much dilly dallying and hesitation with the puck, not enough putting it on net - even with clear shooting lanes. This was particularly evident on the power play, but it happened a lot during even strength, too. 

-Muse was shaky. Really shaky. Even some of his saves were shaky. I'm not worried about him at all in the long-term, he just had an iffy game.

-Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Whitney and Ferriero were completely absent tonight. To the extent that I noticed Ferriero at all, it was for making bad passes and turning the puck over. Whitney was nearly invisible. Rough start to the season for Whit, who is one of my favorite players. I'd like to see him get back on track.

-I am so...so...so sick of the two ref system. One ref makes enough ticky-tack calls; two makes it almost unbearable.

A hearty thank you to the president of the Pikes Peak club (Richard, I didn't catch his last name) for letting me visit the Father Shea room today and hooking me up with a gorgeous maroon and gold scarf and Pikes Peak BC t-shirt. Good times.

Time to crush the Black Bears on Sunday.

In other crappy news, the women's soccer team was knocked out of the ACC tournament by UNC, 2-0. The men's soccer team salvaged the night a bit, beating VTech 2-1 in their regular season finale. Next week: men's ACC soccer tourney.

On to tomorrow. Let us hope for the best.

Weekend hockey preview

It is time. The biggest game of the weekend - and the only game between two teams in contention for any sort of major hardware - happens tonight, as the BC hockey team takes on Notre Dame in a national championship rematch at Conte Forum. The atmosphere is going to be electric. I can't wait.

Men's Hockey

BOSTON COLLEGE vs. Notre Dame, Friday, 7 PM

The last time Notre Dame was in town, they drank our milkshake, beating us down 7-1. I would not expect that to happen this year. They went on a magical run to make the national title game last year, but let's not forget they were aided by a matchup with the #1 choke team in America, UNH, in the first round. 

This season's Notre Dame team came into the year a bit overrated at preseason #6, but their 4-3 start has them down to no. 12. They are 0-3 against NCAA tournament teams - a loss to Denver, and two losses to Miami. They did successfully sweep Northern Michigan last week, a team with high preseason expectations - but NMU has disappointed as well, starting the season 2-5-1.

Their offensive problems are indicated by the fact that their leading scorer is a defenseman with three goals on the year (Ian Cole). They have one very impressive freshman, Billy Maday, who has a 3-3--6 line on the season, and they also have one other player who was absent during last year's title run, senior forward Erik Condra (2-4--6). Jordan Pearce has been okay in net with a .902 SV% and a 2.35 GAA.

I honestly expect BC to shred Notre Dame tonight. The Irish just can not deal with BC's speed, even without Gerbe; our speed gave them fits in the title game last year, and we seem to be even faster this year. If BC jumps out to an early lead, it could be a long night for the Irish.

PREDICTION: BC 6, Notre Dame 2

BOSTON COLLEGE @ Maine, Sunday, 2 PM

I wish I could attend this one. Games at Alfond Arena are a treat - they have one of the best home crowds in Hockey East. Unfortunately for the Black Bears faithful, their team is not so good. They are off to a 3-3 start, but their wins are against Niagara (x2) and Alaska.

PREDICTION: BC 4, Maine 0

Cornell @ Princeton, Friday, 7 PM

The first big ECAC matchup of the year, between #9 Princeton and #17 Cornell. It's the first game of the year for the Big Red, so I'd expect them to be a bit sloppy.

Last year, the Tigers went 2-0 against Cornell and I'd expect that trend to continue.

PREDICTION: Princeton 2, Cornell 1

Vermont @ Providence, Friday, 7 PM

The Friars are off to a disastrous start (2-4, 0-4 HE) while Vermont remains #16 in the rankings despite taking a major licking from BU last weekend, 7-2. Vermont is the superior team, but I think/hope that PC gets it together tonight at the Coffin.

PREDICTION: Providence 2, Vermont 1, lots of boredom

BU @ Umass-Lowell, Friday, 7 PM

BU is the hottest team in America right now - even the most ardent BC fan can't deny this. They have scored a touchdown in back to back games, once against Michigan and once against defensively stout Vermont. I don't see UMass-Lowell standing in their way.

PREDICTION: BU 5, Lowell 1

North Dakota @ Colorado College, Friday & Saturday at 9 PM

The Tigers seek to defend their #1 national ranking against the roughed up Sioux, 2-4-0 on the year. ND has won 2 of 3 since their 0-3 start, but their most recent game was a 5-2 loss to equally sad Wisconsin.

PREDICTION: CC Sweep!

New Hampshire @ Minnesota, Friday & Saturday at 8 PM

This series gives me a moral dillemma. I love Minnesota, but Hockey East needs to continue its PWR dominance over the WCHA. I'd like to see the two teams split, and that's probably what will happen. Both are off to a very good start to the season. If this game were in March, I'd call Minnesota the favorite - but the Undisputed Kings of October and November will likely perform very well at Mariucci.

PREDICTION: Split.

Vermont @ UMass-Lowell, Saturday, 7 PM

This will be Lowell's chance to bounce back after facing the red-hot Terriers. 

PREDICTION: Lowell 3, Vermont 1

Bentley @ Northeastern, Saturday, 7 PM

Yeah, Bentley has a D1 team. They are having 'pots and pans night' at Northeastern; I fully expect a NU player to get a hat trick and cause pots and pans to rain down on the Matthews ice from the Doghouse. Duck and cover.

PREDICTION: NU 6, Bentley 0

Notre Dame @ Providence, Saturday, 7 PM.

Aww... this isn't fair.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 4, Providence 0

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

A light slate this weekend due to the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid.

Rensselaer @ Harvard, Friday, 7 PM > Expect Harvard to roll in this one, even without several key players.

Princeton @ Cornell, Friday, 7 PM > I predicted Cornell (2-1) to be quite good this season, but their loss to Robert Morris last week leaves me scratching my head. They should bounce back tonight against Princeton (1-3).

Maine @ UConn, Saturday, 1 PM > An important Hockey East tilt for UConn; they need to capitalize on a crummy Maine team to keep pace with the top teams in HE. UConn should win easily.

Ohio State @ St. Cloud State, Saturday, 3 PM > Probably the best game of the weekend; showcases two teams that have may have their eye on that volatile #10 spot in the rankings.

Wayne State @ Vermont, Saturday, 4 PM > As much as I'd love to see Jackie Thode et. al. hold down the fort for Hockey East, Wayne State is a pretty solid team and should run them out of the rink.

Maine @ Northeastern, Sunday, 2 PM > Florence Schelling should get the call in net as NU looks to bounce back from being throttled by BC.

The Trophy Case: BC's honors during my years at school

  • Men's Basketball
  • 2006 - Commonwealth Classic Winner
  • 2008 - Commonwealth Classic Winner
  • Women's Basketball
  • 2008 - Caribbean Challenge Winners
  • 2008 - Blue Sky Classic Winners
  • Sailing:
  • 2008 - ICSA Women's National Champions
  • 2008 - ICSA Co-Ed National Champions
  • Football:
  • 2006 - Meineke Car Care Bowl Winner
  • 2007 - Ireland Trophy
  • 2007 - ACC Atlantic Division Champions
  • 2007 - Champs Sports Bowl Winner
  • 2008 - Ireland Trophy
  • 2008 - ACC Atlantic Division Champions
  • Men's Soccer:
  • 2007 - ACC Regular Season Champions
  • 2007 - ACC Tournament Champions
  • Women's Soccer:
  • 2006 - Sweet Sixteen
  • 2008 - Sweet Sixteen
  • Women's Hockey:
  • 2007 - Beanpot Champions
  • 2007 - Frozen Four
  • 2009 - Beanpot Champions
  • Men's Hockey:
  • 2007 - Hockey East Tournament Champions
  • 2007 - Frozen Four
  • 2007 - Mariucci Classic Champions
  • 2008 - Beanpot Champions
  • 2008 - Hockey East Tournament Champions
  • 2008 - Frozen Four
  • 2008 - National Champions

Games I Attended in '07-'08

  • Overall: 51-30-11 + 12 non BC + spring football = 105 games
  • Home: 40-25-6 + spring game
  • Away: 4-5-5
  • Neutral: 7-0
  • Non-BC NCAA Games: 12
  • Men's Hockey: 13-6-5
  • Women's BBall: 8-2
  • Football: 6-1 + spring game
  • Baseball: 5-1
  • Softball: 4-0
  • Men's BBall: 6-4
  • Women's Hockey: 8-11-5
  • Men's Soccer: 1-2-1
  • Field Hockey: 0-1
  • Women's Soccer: 0-1

Stadiums/Fields Seen 07-08

  • Total: 20
  • Conte Forum [BC] - (49)
  • Alumni Stadium [BC] - (8)
  • TD Banknorth Garden - (7)
  • Shea Field, Baseball [BC] - (6)
  • Newton Soccer Field [BC] - (6)
  • Walter Brown Arena [BU] - (4)
  • Shea Field, Softball [BC] - (4)
  • Matthews Arena [NU] - (3)
  • DCU Center [Worcester] - (3)
  • Schneider Arena [PC] - (2)
  • Ridder Arena [Minnesota] - (2)
  • UConn Hockey Arena [Conn] - (2)
  • Agganis Arena [BU] - (2)
  • Tsongas Arena [UML] - (1)
  • Whittemore Center [UNH] - (1)
  • Mariucci Arena [Minnesota] - (1)
  • Bright Arena [Harvard] - (1)
  • Harvard Stadium [Harvard] - (1)
  • Newton Field Hockey [BC] - (1)
  • Houston Field House [RPI] - (1)

Games I attended in 06-07

  • OVERALL 67-27-3 = 97 games
  • Football 6-0
  • M Hockey 17-6-1
  • M Basketball 14-4
  • W Hockey 13-6-2
  • W Basketball 6-3
  • Softball 3-1
  • W Soccer 3-1
  • M Soccer 3-1
  • Baseball 2-4
  • W Lax 0-1

Best Moments

  • Men's Hockey, 4/12/08 - National Champs.
  • Football, 10/26/07 - BC rallies with two touchdowns in the last 2:11 to win at Virginia Tech and maintain their #2 ranking. Students spill out of the dorms and have an impromptu celebration all over campus. What a night. WOW.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/30/08 - BC scores 3 goals in 1:58 to come from an 0-2 deficit to a 3-2 lead late in the 2nd against Miami in the NCAA regional final.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/30/08 - Joe Whitney's ridiculous diving goal sends BC to the Frozen Four, beating Miami 4-3 in OT.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/21/08 - Benn Ferriero's 3OT goal caps a comeback against UNH in the Hockey East semifinals at the Garden.
  • Men's Hockey, 2/11/08 - Nick Petrecki's OT goal wins the Beanpot for BC!
  • Football, 9/1/07 - BC scores a touchdown to tie the game at 21 right before half time against Wake. BC wins 38-28
  • Men's Hockey, 11/30/07 - BU goalie Karson Gillespie gets sent to the box by Benedetto for a swan dive... piss-your-pants laughter follows
  • Men's Hockey, 3/15/08 - Nate Gerbe's amazing penalty shot goal makes it 4-0 BC over PC in Game 2 of the HE QFs
  • Men's Hockey, 2/4/08 - Gerbe slays BU in overtime
  • Men's Hockey, 3/22/08 - BC cruises to another Hockey East title, beating UVM 4-0
  • Men's Hockey, 3/29/08 - BC gets past the Gophers 5-2 in the NCAA tournament.
  • Men's Hockey, 3/15/08 - BC sweeps the Friars with a pair of 5-1 wins in the HE QFs to advance to the TD Banknorth Garden.
  • Women's Hockey, 2/29/08 - Eagles top PC 4-2 in the season's penultimate game to keep their playoff hopes alive. Stack with the ENG to ice it with 4 seconds left.
  • Women's Hockey, 1/4/07 - BC kills off a 5-on-3, Lindsay Wright aka CANADA scores a sick goal, and BC upsets #4 SLU 5-2
  • Women's Basketball, 1/6/07 - BC stuns NC State with a thrilling 1 point come-from-behind victory
  • Men's Soccer, 11/9/07 - BC clinches ACC reg. season title with a win at home against VT.
  • Women's Hockey, 01/12/08 - MN native Allie Thunstrom's goal with 1:30 to go gives BC a tie @ #4 Minnesota
  • Men's Hockey, 3/14/08 - BC blitzes Providence early and often en route to 5-1 win in Game 1 of HE QFs at BC
  • Men's Basketball, 12/23/07 - Tyrese Rice knocks down a floater with less than 5 seconds to play to give BC the 57-55 win over Northeastern.
  • Men's Hockey, 1/19/08 - Carl Sneep's goal in the 3rd ties BU 2-2; pandemonium in the student section
  • Football, 11/24/07 - BC finally snaps the long losing streak against the U.
  • Women's Hockey, 2/10/08 - BC's Stack scores in the 2nd to tie UNH 1-1. We lost, but that was a great moment.
  • Women's Basketball, 12/31/07 - Picco nails back to back three pointers as BC wins a thriller against NU
  • Baseball, 5/13/08 - BC rallies from big early deficit to beat UConn.
  • Softball, 3/26/08 - Fence Girl crashes into the fence, Thunstrom scores winning run, BC downs HC 4-3
  • Women's Hockey, 11/29/07 - A clutch goal with under a minute remaining by Stack gives BC a much needed point @ UConn
  • Women's Hockey, 3/15/08 - UNH tops St. Lawrence 3-2 in OT to give Hockey East a representative in the Frozen Four.
  • Men's Hockey, 11/30/07 - BC explodes for a 3-0 1st period lead en route to a 6-2 win over BU
  • Football, 10/7/07 - BC scores 31 points in the 2nd quarter against Bowling Green and rolls to 55-24 win - up to #4 in the country!

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