Much like yesterday where expectations for the basketball team were discussed, there are also things Eagles fans would like to see out of this hockey team this calendar year.
Clearly, the bar is set much higher for Jerry York and company, who have established themselves over the years as one of the elite programs in college hockey. It definitely shows here.
• Brian Billett emerging. Parker Milner is a junior, and by next Christmas, he’ll be a senior; he doesn’t have too many more years at BC. If not already, this will become freshman Brian Billett’s team to lead in-goal.
Over the course of 2012, Billett should continue learning and emerging as the goalie of the present and future. So far has been so good for him, though not without bumps in the road. He can end up being quite good, but he has to keep developing.
He has a tough act to follow, though: BC’s last true freshman goalie won a national championship.
• Win the Beanpot. Harvard and Northeastern stink, and losing to BU just isn’t acceptable around here.
The most meaningful meaningless tournament in college hockey is important for the fans, and most know that wins in the Beanpot can bode well for the future (except last year, which nobody saw coming).
Besides, BC is two for their last two, and three for their last four. They’re going in as the favorites.
• Win Hockey East. Speaking of being the favorites, they will be again in the Hockey East Tournament when they get there. It’s the same as the Beanpot: back-to-back and three of the last four have been won by BC (actually, four of the last five), and even though there has been a good amount of turnover, they were picked first in this conference and are expected to be highly competitive.
BC has dominated this conference for the last few years. There exists the belief that they will win it again, and they can’t let their fans down, now can they.
Sure, if you don’t win the tournament, you can still get into the NCAA Tournament, but you’re making your job more difficult.
• Qualify for the NCAA Tournament and win games. The Eagles have accomplished a great deal in the last few years, to the point where we’re badly spoiled (and, admittedly, so am I — we need one sport in which we can be brimming with confidence around here). Last year, unfortunately, we took the proverbial back-end of a shovel straight to the jaw when Colorado College nuked BC hockey back to the Revolutionary War era in the first round. Such insolence must not be tolerated this year.
I know, they’re human, they’re kids, yada yada. Understood, but BC is a top five team, and back-to-back first round exits would be a big disappointment.
• Clean up in non-conference play again. When next season begins, the youngins on this team will be a year more experienced and there will still be plenty of upperclassman leadership (except, most likely, Kreider and Dumoulin — the latter will probably bail, but the former almost certainly will). Still, even if next year isn’t BC’s year, they still ought to win their fair share of non-conference games.