Mook Williams, one of my former WZBC broadcast partners, is back as a guest blogger to catch up us on BC hockey. Tonight is the Beanpot and the chance for this young BC team to make its mark. Below are my questions and Mook's answers to the matchup with BU and what lies ahead.
1. Much was made of the early season dismissals from the team. Based on the BC’s recent upturn, it doesn’t really seem to be an issue. What is your take?
Mook Williams: Although lately it doesn't seem like the early season dismissals haven't had an effect lately, I think that they are going to start to become a factor as the season progresses through February and March, combined of course with Brock Bradford's hard luck injuries. O'Hanley? Nah, not a star by any means, and really isn't a consistent starter on a championship hockey team. However, he adds some depth to the bench and allows you to spell guys at both forward and defense, as he could play both. Alright, minor loss. However, I believe that Motherwell was a pretty big loss because it left the Eagles without a developing defenseman who was getting better year after year, and who was a guy who played a decent point on the power play. The loss of Motherwell TRULY exposes the lack of depth on the BC blue line - unfortunately, the Eagles may wear thin back there as the season progresses, especially against good teams (heck, they only have 1 win versus top 10 teams as it is right now).
2. BC dominated BU earlier in the year and then struggled in a tie this month. What was the difference in the three meetings?
Mook Williams: The difference was pure emotion. BC came into the first meeting on a downslide after playing through a few consecutive rough games, and decided to stop the slide at Agganis and take it to a stunned Terrier squad. The REVERSE happened in the second meeting - BC was playing well and BU was (and still is, really) in a rough spell. Perhaps fired up by the rivalry, what happened in the last game, and the packed crowd at Conte, BU came out and dominated the sluggish Eagles. BC was lucky to draw a tie in that game, and John Muse deserves all the credit for that. The Terriers were all over the ice, playing with their hearts on their sleeves, and truly showed you that on any given night in NCAA hockey any team can win (I think we've seen this maxim proven true time and time again during the last couple of college hockey seasons). I expect BOTH teams to be fired up for the Beanpot, and a great game on Monday night.
3. What is your prediction for Monday’s game?
Mook Williams: Come on, it's the Beanpot!!! Gotta pick BU in OT, 4-3. BC with the huge shot advantage, of course.
4. The Beanpot has been a bump in the road the past few seasons. Do you expect this year to be any different? Can this team make another run at the Frozen Four?
Mook Williams: I think there's a chance that this year could be very different in the 'Pot because of BC's relative youth, BU's awful team, HU's subpar team, and NU's regenerized (but recently slumping) team. I could see NU easily winning this tournament, and I could also see BC overcoming BU this time around and squeeking out a win in the title game.
As far as the national title race is concerned . . . if Brock Bradford was healthy, I wouldn't have any doubt that they would be in Denver. However, without him, it's going to be very tight and close. I'd lean towards them not making the Frozen Four, due to their inconistent defensive hockey. John Muse has been a pleasant surprise, but who knows how he will play in the postseason?? Will he step it up his freshman year, a la Scott Clemmensen (prior to, ahemm, Josh Langfeld's shot), or will he bomb in his freshman year (See Cory Schneider). I love the offensive hockey, the overall flow, and the skating, it's just that the blue line has been really suspect (even the top guys, like Brennan, haven't been great), and the postseason goaltending is a question that won't be answered until March. Hey, it's there for the taking for BC . . . other than Michigan, I'm not overly impressed with any other national team. If BC can win the Hockey East tournament, and right now that is a big IF because the tourney is going to be a deep one, that will be an indication as to whether they can get to another Frozen Four. Tune in!