Though Boston College hosts a national champion hockey team, there are bound to be ebbs and flows in any season.
But when your Top 5 team gets swept at home by the last-place team in your conference, well, you’re not going to be a Top 5 team for much longer.
The Maine Black Bears, who came into Conte Forum at 1-9-4 in Hockey East play, left 3-9-4. The Eagles, reeling from their January slump, made sure that it continued in a big way. On Friday night, the margin of defeat was 4-1, and on Saturday, 3-1.
Boston College should have been thinking “sweep” going into this series, especially given that in their previous game at Northeastern, they exploded for nine goals. Someone was thinking “sweep,” but unfortunately for the home team, it wasn’t them. Just as they did last year, Maine swept a weekend series with the Eagles, but perhaps like the previous season, these defeats will light a fire under the team. Then again, there’s no way we can know that now, and to ask the team to win out thereafter (which, of course, is what they did last season) is a little much.
What makes these defeats so particularly different from the Maine series in 2012 is that the Black Bears were good. They were the Hockey East runners-up and NCAA Tournament qualifiers. This season has seen virtually nothing but bad things for Maine, particularly on the offensive end — that is, until they got to Chestnut Hill. The Eagles had their January slump last year, but they weren’t losing games to teams like this. BC’s December-to-January slump, which really started with a loss to UMass-Lowell in late 2011, initiated a stretch where the Eagles went 2-5-1.
Since this Boston College team’s tie in Providence, BC is 3-5-2. That doesn’t sound so alarming, but of those five losses in last year’s slump, four of them were to teams who made the NCAA Tournament; only UMass was a questionable loss. Now, of these five losses, two are to a team (Maine) that has no prayer and a third was again to UMass, this time at home. Of the two remaining losses, Minnesota and New Hampshire, both are legitimate teams, but the Minnesota loss was an 8-1 embarrassment. The point is that even though the Eagles slumped last year as well, these losses this year are more troubling.
It would seem that one or two injured players coming back won’t solve everything. If we’re talking about Mike Matheson, freshman defenseman, his return would help but it certainly would not fix all of BC’s issues. Take away that nine-goal outburst at Northeastern and the Eagles went 1, 2, 1, and 1 in goals in the other previous four games, all of which were losses. Boston College’s problems in this past month or so appear deeper than injuries: it’s a matter of consistency, and for whatever reason, the team has trouble responding at this time of year.
Even though BC’s losses now have been of a more disturbing nature, it is important to still give them until the Beanpot to right the ship. If history is a guide, they will be back on their feet by then — but what if they’re not, you ask? Well, then the Eagles have got a problem, because if the start of the trophy season can’t wake them up, then something is definitely amiss. It’s too soon to know if that will be, but if they do intend to work out these issues before then, now would be a good time to start.