#7 Boston College Eagles hockey has played two games so far in their 2013-14 regular season, both of which were against ranked, non-conference teams. Tonight, they will make it three in all of the above categories as they face their toughest test yet. With the #2 Wisconsin Badgers coming to Chestnut Hill, Boston College will honor their venerable head coach while seeking to put the college hockey world on notice early.
The Badgers opened their season with a back-to-back against of the WCHA, winning 5-2 in the first game last Friday and 2-1 in the second on Saturday. Between the two contests, Wisconsin outshot the Wildcats 67 to 41 but was only 1-for-10 on the power play, while going 9-for-11 on the penalty kill.
Two Wisconsin players lead the team now with three points: senior forward Michael Mersch and sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles. Coincidentally, Mersch and Kerdiles led the Badgers in points last season. As for goalie duties, they have been split between juniors Joel Rumpel and Landon Peterson. Rumpel was Wisconsin’s primary goaltender last season, playing to an excellent goals-against average of 1.96. In fourteen games, Peterson managed a GAA of an even 2.00.
Wisconsin is one of the most elite hockey programs in the country, and their depth of talent is not in question. Neither is that of Boston College, who after a tough loss in Michigan on opening night slammed Rensselaer, 7-2, to earn their first win of the season.
Johnny Gaudreau leads the Eagles with four points, scoring a goal and three assists. His next point as an Eagle will be the 100th of his career. No Eagle has more than one goal, though eight players have already filled out that column. Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes are just behind Gaudreau with three points each.
17-year old freshman Thatcher Demko, college hockey’s youngest player, was very good in his debut in-gal for Boston College, holding RPI to two goals and making 25 saves in his first career win last weekend. Junior goalie Brian Billett lost to Michigan on opening night, allowing three goals and making 29 saves. As of Thursday, there was no official announcement of who would start.
When you’re Boston College hockey, all games are winnable, including this one. That doesn’t mean the Eagles won’t have a tough task, but they’ve stared down Wisconsin on much bigger stages in recent years and won.
The puck drops 7pm Eastern, though attendees should arrive early for the pregame honors to Jerry York in celebration of his record-breaking 925th win. This ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in February, but was cancelled twice due to a snowstorm and York’s eye health issue.