Analyzing the BC men’s hockey schedule


Our national champion Boston College Eagles just spent yesterday in Washington, DC hobnobbing in the capital city with alumni such as home-state Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry, but there is much work to be done in the days and weeks ahead – specifically, beginning their title defense.  Several days ago, while we were all locked into football mode, the Eagles 2010-2011 schedule was released.  It features a few interesting matchups outside of what you’d expect in Hockey East.

Discounting the exhibition game against Toronto, the puck drops for the Eagles’ season on October 9 at 7pm at Northeastern, giving us a conference game right out of the gate.  Boston College’s only loss in what was essentially the last two months of last season happened right there.  NU was, however, quite ordinary and with any luck, they’ll continue to be just that.  Note the date, though: it may be hard to believe, but that’s 24 days from now, or in just three and a half weeks.  That’s right: in less than a month, we’ll have both football and hockey on our plates (with basketball to follow the next month).  Good time to be a college sports fan.

Back to the schedule, following the Huskies game, BC goes right back out of conference with two games at Denver and one at Notre Dame.  Denver, if you recall, was a team highly-ranked all year long but fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to RIT.  Last year, BC had little luck with them in the regular season, losing 4-3 in their only matchup.  Some believed it could have been a Frozen Four preview – the Eagles held up their end of the bargain, but the Pioneers didn’t.  As for Notre Dame, the Eagles beat them last year and, of course, recently in the 2008 National Championship Game.

Conte Forum will house a sheet of ice on October 29 for their home opener – likely to be full of pomp, circumstance, ceremony, and banner-raising – against Merrimack.  From then until the day before New Year’s Eve (New Year’s Eve Eve?), it’ll be all conference games as the Eagles face UMass-Lowell, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and BU in addition to Merrimack twice more.

Boston College will conclude 2010 in the Ledyard National Bank Classic in Hanover, New Hampshire, which obviously means it’s being hosted by Dartmouth.  That won’t be BC’s first-game draw, however: it’s Colgate.  Depending on how things fall, then BC could play either Dartmouth or Mercyhurst.

For the entirety of the 2011 portion of this schedule – at least, before the NCAA Tournament – it’s all conference games from here with the possible exception of Harvard in the Beanpot.  BC’s first-round draw, by the way, is none other than Boston University.  That semifinal will be on my 25th birthday, February 7, 2011, and the final will be played on Valentine’s Day, February 14. (Aw crap, my birthday’s on a Monday next year).  Here in February, along with the conference tournament in March and possible Frozen Four in April, is where BC will really start to be tested.  After all, BC ran the proverbial table last year having won the Beanpot, Hockey East, and National Championship.  It’ll be hard to repeat the hat trick, but at the end of the day, the last of those three is the one that matters most, and that will be the goal once again.

At first glance – then at second and third glance – this does not appear to be a very difficult schedule from a BC standpoint.  For one thing, this team just won the national championship – these other teams should be scared of playing us, not the other way around.  Second, the non-conference schedule is definitely not unmanageable.  Denver will be a tough game as they always are, but otherwise I would say there’s not one game that jumps out at me as being one to look out for or dread.  I have confidence, as I’m sure all of you do, that Boston College is capable of being anyone at any time.  They’ll win some and lose some, but they’ll come out just fine in the end.