Before the Eagles begun play this past weekend against the New Hampshire Wildcats, Boston College had gone 2-5-1 in their most recent eight games, falling out of the top five of national polls and ceding first place in Hockey East. On Friday and Saturday, however, BC found its way to two huge wins over UNH, giving them four much-needed points and pushed them back towards the top of their conference. Concern had begun to build, and justifiably so, that BC’s extended period of sub-par play could become a problem. After the Eagles swept UNH, however, is there reason to believe the corner has been turned?
First and foremost, it was a great weekend for BC hockey, and a loss or two might have really raised serious questions about them going forward. To keep things in the proper perspective, New Hampshire is a ninth-place team in Hockey East. If the season ended today, Dick Umile and company would not make the Hockey East Tournament.
Still, what are good teams supposed to do to bad teams? Beat them, which is precisely what the Eagles did.
Now then, as Boston College hockey fans know, when this team in recent years has propelled towards great things, this is about the time of year where they turn it around. Two of the next three games on the schedule are Beanpot contests, and BC has won three of those last four tournaments (all of which were followed by Hockey East titles). In the last few seasons in particular, the Eagles have played their best hockey starting in February (or even later in January), so if they’re going to make a run, it starts now with that sweep of the Wildcats.
It is perhaps too soon to say if the tide has been turned, since we’re dealing with just two games as evidence, but how you will know if the Eagles have gotten it back together is twofold: (1) a good performance in the Beanpot and (2) beating good teams in the near future. Winning with regularity is obviously key, but if we’re to truly test whether or not BC has fully recovered from its stretch of taking just two of eight games, they need to start whacking teams of decent caliber again, as well as not losing to the bottom-feeders like Vermont (on Feb. 10). If they don’t get to face BU in the second week of the Beanpot, then it may be a little while, but even so, BC’s priority is to keep winning.
Some say that the Beanpot is a meaningless tournament. While it’s true that it has no bearing on Hockey East, it does mean something: it’s a time for BC to start its roll towards a successful spring. Taking two games from UNH was both nice and very crucial, but there is still a long way to go, and the Eagles still have more to do to prove that they’re back on track.