Boston College has a big one tonight as they face Merrimack hockey at Conte Forum.
The Eagles are the number 19 team in the country, their lowest national ranking of the season and in a long time in general, while Merrimack, having rebounded from a horrible season a year ago, is up to number 14.
If the season ended today, the Warriors would be in the NCAA Tournament, probably as a number four at-large seed, while Boston College would be out. Not out by a lot, but out. They can thank themselves for losing to Maine the other night.
Though the two teams could tie, that is not an outcome to evaluate. Who takes this big game and who goes home with a hard-luck loss?
BC vs. Merrimack Hockey: Why Boston College Wins
Boston College is still fairly hot over their last nine games with a 6-1-2 mark in that timeframe, and they are back to playing on their home ice. The Maine game just as well might have been a fluke.
The Eagles are just about at full strength again; if Austin Cangelosi returns to the lineup, they will be as they should be. The offense has gotten better, Thatcher Demko has recently had some very good games, and importantly to some, Boston College has not lost at home to Merrimack in a very long time.
This is not a small sample size, either: Boston College is 25-0-3 against the Warriors at Conte Forum in their last 28 games, last falling to Merrimack at home over 17 years ago. I was in fifth grade the last time Merrimack won a game in Chestnut Hill, on Halloween 1997. Boston College wins this one because they would not dare to end that streak tonight.
BC vs. Merrimack Hockey: Why Boston College Loses
Merrimack is having a fine year; they would have settled for improving upon last season, but instead they have a shot at the tournament.
Their offense is not great, but their defense and goaltending are top-notch and their penalty kill is strong. The Warriors are one of only four teams to allow fewer than two goals per game.
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Merrimack takes it because Boston College is capable of being easily frustrated on offense, and all good things must eventually come to an end.
BC vs. Merrimack Hockey: Game #24 Info
Conte Forum (Kelley Rink), Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
BCEagles.com live stream (Jon Rish, Andy Powers) (Link to live stream)