Boston College vs. Vermont: Previewing This Weekend's Matchup
Photo by BCEagles.com
After a successful weekend against UConn, where Boston College outscored the Huskies 11-1, the Eagles travel up to Gutterson Fieldhouse for two games against Vermont. The Catamounts enter the game 1-5-0; at 0-3-0 in conference play, they are the only team without a point in the conference standings.
The 11 goals that BC scored over two games against UConn are two more than Vermont has scored all season. Freshman Andrew Lucas leads the team with four points, and no player has more than two goals. At 9 goals, Vermont has the second fewest goals in the nation, leading only Yale, who didn’t start its season until November 1st.
Vermont is also one of only two teams in the nation, Yale being the other, that has not yet recorded a power play goal. The Catamounts are 0-for-20 on the season
If there’s one positive to take away from a disastrous start to the season, it’s that Vermont has been in most of the games it has played. They haven’t been consistently blown out and have played respectable defense against some tough opponents.
On opening night against Clarkson, Vermont led 2-1, but gave up two goals in the final ten minutes. Against Maine, a similar story was written; with the game tied at one, the Black Bears scored a game-winning, power play goal with just over six minutes to play. More recently, in their two games agains UMass Lowell, currently the top team in Hockey East, the Catamounts never trailed by more than two and were within one goal in the third period of both games.
BC has won six straight in the series and is undefeated in its last nine versus Vermont. The two teams have met in the Hockey East quarterfinals in four of the last seven seasons. BC won three of the series, most recently a sweep by a combined score of 14-4 in 2017.
With the new conference format since Notre Dame left, the teams haven’t faced off as often, only playing four games over the past two seasons after averaging that many matchups per season over the last half decade. This will be BC’s first trip up to the Gut in just over two years.
BC’s new lines, which played so well against Providence and UConn, will get a another look this weekend. BC hadn’t reached the 30-shot mark through the first six games, but after shuffling the lines, they’ve hit 39, 35, and 46 over their last three. They are 3-0-0, outscoring opponents by a combined 14-3, since Coach York decided to spread out the offense by splitting up Boldy and Newhook. As the new third line center, Newhook has five points in his last three games.
BC will be shooting for its fourth-straight win when the two meet up on Friday night. After the two in Vermont, the Eagles have four non-conference games before winter break. Hockey East play really picks up after the New Year. January kicks off with one more against Vermont, but BC follows that up with games against UMass, UMass Lowell and Boston University. The next three conference games against the Catamounts should allow the Eagles to pick up some much-needed points in conference before entering the meat of their schedule.
This weekend will be particularly exciting for me, as I’m traveling up to the Gut to visit some friends in Burlington and will be at both games. The only other Hockey East arena I’ve been to is Agganis, so this is the first true Hockey East road trip on the schedule. Vermont’s hockey rink will certainly have a different vibe than Conte Forum. It’s much smaller, and its wooden roof and bleachers give the feel of an old-school hockey barn. As far as a uniqueness factor, the Gut is up there in Hockey East. The only two that may have claim to top it are Northeastern’s Matthews Arena (the oldest multi-purpose athletic facility still in use) and Maine’s Alfond Arena (the diamond-pattern roof will remind BC fans of the old Plex).
What to watch for: David Cotton is one point away from 100 in his collegiate career. He’d be the first Eagles player to reach that total since Ryan Fitzgerald and the 81st overall.