Boston College Eagles hockey fans are not used to seeing their team struggle, but over the last eight games, that is precisely what they have done. Since their first-half finale against UMass-Lowell, the Eagles have gone 2-5-1 and that has cost them standing in the most recent polls. Boston College is now ranked eighth in the nation according to the USA Today poll, in a season where they had been in the top five for the duration and even spent a few weeks at #1.
Yesterday, we evaluated the problems at the goaltending position and saw some of the inconsistent results BC has been getting. We also know that defense ties into that, and if your blue line isn’t holding up their end of the bargain that it will obviously make the goalie’s job more difficult (though with the exception of the Saturday Maine game, BC’s penalty kill, for example, has been outstanding). Today, we assess how much of a problem the offense has been and what blame, if any, we can attribute to them for BC winning just two of their last eight games.
Stats will be broken down in two ways: the first seventeen games (BC: 12-5) and the last eight (BC: 2-5-1).
Looking at the numbers, there is no question that BC’s offensive output has dropped off during this cold streak. The Eagles have shed over a goal and a half per game, despite getting almost the same number of shots on goal and roughly the same power play conversion rate as before (though it has not been good all year, now tied for 33rd in the nation). One of the most telling statistics is the number of games where they scored two goals or fewer: over the first 17 games, BC accomplished that five times; in the most recent 8 games, BC has done it six.
BC’s scoring has been so poor over the last eight games that their average dropped from 3.71, which would have been fourth in the nation if they maintained it, to 12th overall (3.20). Their season goal-scoring average has fallen about half a goal in the past eight games as a result.
This has been a rough stretch for Boston College, and though it is not early in the season anymore (and therefore not too early to have concerns), there is still time for BC to turn things around. We have seen this team start blistering runs to the NCAA Tournament in February, and we must hold out hope that the Eagles have another in them. If BC cannot find their offensive or defensive stride again, however, this season could end in disappointment.