Boston College Eagles men’s hockey is different from other varsity sports at this school, in many more ways than one. Perception is different as well. When a team like Boston College men’s basketball has a winning season, it’s considered a great improvement. When BC hockey has a winning season, it’s empty without a championship. The bar is just plain set higher for this group than any other major sport on campus, especially when you’re the defending national champions.
This year, Boston College was good, not great, but that’s merely relative to their norm.
Boston College hockey’s 2011-12 season ended in sunny Florida with a trophy, but the last time everyone was together was a few days after the national championship at O’Neill Plaza. A parade snaked its way through campus before all the players and coaches were celebrated by a large crowd of BC fans in front of O’Neill Library. It was paradise for Boston College hockey, and, having been the third title in five years, it was also somewhat expected.
The Eagles are not the sort of team that rebuilds — it reloads. Every year, BC picks up fresh new top-tier talent in much the same way that Kansas or North Carolina might in basketball or Florida State and Notre Dame do in football. Seven Eagles on the 2012-13 roster were NHL properties, with others sure to get phone calls from pro hockey organizations once their Boston College careers were over. Simply put, this team is expected to contend every year, no matter who is coming in or going out. Such was the case for the Eagles in the 2012-13 season, coming off of a championship.
Furthermore, anyone closely following this team knew that history was on the horizon: Jerry York needed only about a dozen more wins to set the all-time mark in college hockey wins. It was not a matter of if, but when for the most beloved coach at the school today.
BC was fortunate enough to ride a 19-game win streak into this year, but how could they possibly top the prior season where they rode one of college hockey’s best-ever hot streaks to a title?
It’s simple: they didn’t, but not for lack of trying.