Monday, March 31, 2008

Headlines: Eagles Frozen Four Bound

Brian: Boston College joins North Dakota, Michigan and Notre Dame in this year's Frozen Four, after dispatching the #1 seed Miami (Ohio) 12:12 into OT. Jeff, you were watching the game yesterday, the first game of the year you could watch down in SC. Break down what you saw.

Jeff: Early on I thought about turning the game off. BC got completely out-played early and looked like they were smaller, less physical and less skilled. They settled down in the second period though and had that amazing 3 goal stretch where Miami did not know what hit them. Once they headed to OT I was nervous but somewhat optimistic at the same time.

Brian: BC did come out of the gate slow, much like they did in the Hockey East final. Perhaps playing the night before on short rest can be attributed to BC's lethargic first period play. In the second period, BC really got their transition game going, which is their bread and butter (really capitalizing on their speed). The third period seemed more like they were trying to hunker down on the 3-2 lead, but they gave up the equilizer to Jones. Then in OT, getting completely outplayed, with only Muse keeping us in the game, Coach York calls a timeout to settle the team. 3 minutes later freshman Joe Whitney is the hero, a sick swat at a Zatkoff rebound out front (Whitney's tally ended up being the #2 Top Play on SportsCenter this morning).

BC hockey 'expert' Christian is over to watch the game with our girlfriends. Cablevision doesn't carry ESPNU, TimeWarner does. Whitney knocks one in the back of the net, he and I jump up, scream, begin to celebrate. Amid all the excitement, in a momentary lapse of judgment (?), we find ourselves hugging each other and not our girlfriends. Something is wrong with this picture. Perhaps I let my [hetero?] man-crush on York and the Eagles get the best of me.

Jeff: No comment. I celebrated the win with a BC '90 couple down here on vacation and there were no hugs, just high fives. There is a potential BC-ND game for the national championship now, how great would that be?

Brian: Boston College v. Notre Dame would be a great addition to our long-standing rivalry with the Irish, seeing as the Irish stunk up the joint last year in football. For this game to happen, though, we have to get past the other ND in the semifinal Thursday in Denver. And Notre Dame needs to continue their Cinderella tournament by knocking off the #1 team in the country, Michigan. We are no stranger to North Dakota in the NCAAs (and the Frozen Four), having sent the Fighting Sioux home packing the last two national semifinals. BC-North Dakota also skated to a 0-0 tie in Chestnut Hill this fall, a game that was suspended after 2 periods due to poor ice conditions. North Dakota holds a 11-9 edge in the all-time series.

Jeff: Watching the game yesterday once again reminded me that hockey is so much beter in person than on TV. I was a little surprised the arena was not packed with more BC fans but there was a decent showing of students and other fans. Unfortunately the Frozen Four is in Denver so I doubt there will be too much BC support in the stands.

Brian: I'm still trying to work out whether I can make the trip to Denver. We'll have much more Frozen Four coverage over the next two weeks. Go Eagles!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Make Your Travel Plans

Joe Whitney in the OT session!! Pack your bags for Denver, Eagles!

Enjoy this win! Thanks to the fans for making the trip to Worcester and providing our Eagles with a home ice advantage.

More headlines and analysis on Monday.

Go BC!

Sizing Up The RedHawks

Congrats to Jerry York on win #800 as the Eagles advance past the Gophers 5-2. Goals from Smith, Ferriero, Gannon, Whitney and Gerbe (empty net). John Muse was again solid in net, stopping 31 of 33 shots.

Up next: Miami. Here is a look at our Regional final opponent, the Miami University RedHawks. The game can be seen on ESPNU today at 4:30pm.

Miami University
Location: Oxford, Ohio
Colors: Red and White
Nickname: RedHawks, née Redskins
Famous Alumni: Wally Szczerbiak, Ben Roethlisberger
Mascot: Swoop, a red hawk with an oddly misshapen head

Record: 32-7-1
Conference: Central Collegiate Hockey Conference
PairWise Ranking / National Ranking: #2
Road to NCAAs: At-large birth, finished with the most wins in Division I (32), lost to Michigan in the CCHA title game. Awarded #1 seed in Northeast Regional, survived Air Force yesterday 3-2 in OT
Fact: The RedHawks are the top offensive team in the nation, averaging 4.08 goals per game

National Championship / Hobey Baker winners: 0
Previous National Tournament games: 6 (2-4 overall)

This Year vs. the Eagles

BC has not played Miami in 2007-2008. Against other CCHA teams this year, BC is 0-1-0, having lost to Michigan 4-3 in OT to open the season in the IceBreaker invitational in St. Paul. The CCHA has been really strong in the National tournament so far with a record of 6-1. Conference representatives Michigan and Notre Dame (yes, that Notre Dame!) both punched tickets today to the Frozen Four in Denver. The only CCHA loss in the tournament so far was Michigan State, who lost to fellow CCHA conference member Notre Dame in the West regional final, ending the Spartans title defense.

History vs. the Eagles

The RedHawks have been no strangers to Boston College the last two years in the NCAAs. Miami notched its first tournament win in its program's history last year, upsetting the #1 Northeast Regional seed New Hampshire 2-1. Miami then went on to play the Eagles in the regional final, a game the Eagles decidedly won 4-0 to advance to the Frozen Four. The year before, BC found themselves paired against Miami in the #2 vs. #3 first round matchup in the Northeast Regional. The Eagles also shut out the RedHawks in that game, winning 5-0.

The last time the teams met in the regular season was the Silverado Shootout in Duluth back in 2001, a 5-1 BC victory. The Eagles would go on to win that holiday tournament, but would finish the year with a mediocre 18-18-2 mark and miss the NCAA tournament and the Hockey East semifinals. 2002 was the last year that BC missed the NCAAs, having made 6 consecutive appearnces in the national tournament since. BC holds a 3-2 edge in the series, having won the last 3 games.

... Not The Only RedHawks on Skates?

The men's hockey team isn't the only RedHawks team on skates. The university also has a synchronized skating team. Yes, that's right. A synchronized skating varsity sport. You can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

NCAA Hockey Tournament Action

Brian: I flirted with heading up to Worcester today for the game but I have family in town (was thinking about dragging them with me, but that's not happening). So I'm going to turn off my cell phone tonight at 7:30pm and watch the game in its entirety starting at 10:30pm (on MSG).

Here is a good article in the Globe today about how similar the Boston College and Minnesota programs have been this year. At the end of the article, York is quoted as suggesting this game could go to OT. I hope for my health's sake it doesn't.

Yesterday's NCAA hockey tournament games provided no shortage of entertainment, especially in the West regional. Defending champ Michigan State upset Colorado College on the Tigers home ice, 3-1, while the West's top-seed (and other Hockey East representative) UNH Wildcats were upset 7-3 to #4 Notre Dame. For once in my life, I actually cheered for the Irish watching part of the game on ESPNU. I feel dirty inside.

In the East regional, top-seeded Michigan and #3 Clarkson advanced. A bit of bad news for the Gerbe for Hobey camp in the Michigan game, as Hobey front-runner Kevin Porter notched 4 goals in a rout of Niagara. I thought if Porter had a quiet weekend and Gerbe was just filthy in the Northeast regional that Nate could make the race more competitive. Looks like Porter put the race for the hardware out of reach for the Eagles junior forward.

Leave any thought on the game in the comment section. Go BC!

Friday, March 28, 2008

NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament and the Big Finish

On to Friday's big finish, NCAA ice hockey tournament style ...

Brian: Tomorrow's game is a showdown of freshman goalies catching fire at the perfect time of year. Jon Muse, who played every game for the Eagles this year, (21-11-8, 2.26, .919) will be up against Minnesota's Alex Kangas (12-9-9, 1.92, .932). BC has won 5 straight, while Minnesota comes into the tournament on a 7-3-2 clip. Who has the edge?

Jeff: Where is the game being played? Wooster, Massachusetts? Advantage EAGLES.

Brian: Playing in Worcester is a nice reward for winning Hockey East. BC has been placed in Worcester 3 times and has advanced to the next round twice, including in 2001 when we won it all.

Jeff: York goes for career win #800 against the Gophers. Quick questions: best York win at BC, and the toughest loss?

Brian: Best win was definitely the 3-2 OT victory against North Dakota for the title. There are a bunch of tough losses, especially in the Frozen Four. But the one that hurts the most has to be the 2-1 loss to Maine in the 2004 semifinal. We lost to a Hockey East rival, were clearly the more talented team, and had a chance to win another title in our backyard (Boston Garden).

Jeff: You lost a Final Four team in Tennessee last night. Give me your new Final Four based on what you've watched so far and who's still alive.

Brian: I was really pulling for BC alum Bruce Pearl, but they looked terrible last night. As much as it pains me to do so, I'll take UNC in a close one over Louisville. That gives me UNC, Kansas, Texas and UCLA, which would be 1 off from my original picks.

Brian: Last one, BC will live and die in this tournament on the play of Hobey-hopeful Nathan Gerbe. Make a prediction - how many points does Gerbe tally tomorrow?

Jeff: You're telling me that Minnesota's goalie is playing well so I'm going to say only 1 point for Gerbe but I wouldn't mind being wrong.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

TV Picks

Yes, there is certainly Sweet 16 and Elite 8 men's basketball to watch this weekend. But there is also exciting playoff college hockey with your BC Eagles in action Saturday night. If you absolutely can't make it to Worcester this weekend for the Northeast regionals, here is a listing of where you can catch the games on the tube.

Watching from the NYC area, I'm probably going to turn off my cell phone and watch it on tape delay starting at 10:30pm EST Saturday night on MSG.

Opening Round game - Boston College v. Minnesota, Saturday 7:30pm EST

  • Boston (WSBK) - live
  • Minneapolis (Fox Sports North) - live
  • Kansas City (Metrosports) - live
  • Providence (Cox RI) - tape delayed starting at 9:30pm EST
  • New York (MSG) - tape delayed starting at 10:30pm EST
  • Rochester (Time Warner Rochester) - tape delayed, 3/30 at 10:30am EST
  • New Orleans (Cox Sports Television) - tape delayed, 4/1 at 12:30pm CST

EDIT - The Minnesota game will also be shown nationally on ESPNU, tape delayed, 3/30 starting at 1:00am EST.

Should the Eagles advance, the Northeast Regional final between Boston College and the winner of Miami (Ohio)-Air Force will be shown live on ESPNU, Sunday 4:30pm.

Go BC!

Happy Time: Sean Ryan, Men's Hockey and Natick Redmen

Happy Time, Eagles, our Sweet 16 edition! (See how Jeff is kicking my ass in our brackets here, here, here and here ... let’s go Kansas and Xavier!)

Happy Birthday Boston College football alum Sean Ryan. Sean currently plays Tight End for the Miami Dolphins, having signed a one-year deal with the ‘Fins on February 29. Ryan broke into the pros when he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 5th round of the 2004 NFL draft (144th overall). Having battled injuries throughout his 4 years in the league, Sean has seen limited action over the last two seasons. He is used primarily as a blocking TE and has racked up a mere 9 receptions for 90 yards in his two seasons with the Jets (2006-2007). Ryan is reunited in Miami with Bill Parcells, the coach that drafted him in 2004. Here’s to hoping Ryan can stay healthy and make a splash with Miami. Could Dolphins fans be hearing the call “Ryan over the middle to Ryan” this fall?

Happy Anniversary to the BC men’s hockey team. On this date 9 years ago, BC as the #4 seed in the West Regional defeated #5 Northern Michigan in the first round of the 1999 NCAA Division I ice hockey championship, 2-1. The next day, that Eagle team went on to upset the West Regional’s #1 seed North Dakota Fighting Sioux, 3-1, and advance to the Frozen Four. Sadly, that is where today’s happys end for Eagles hockey. They lost the National semifinal in Anaheim to Maine 2-1 in overtime.

Hockey East was well represented in that year’s Frozen Four. BC, Maine and New Hampshire all made the Frozen Four that year. New Hampshire won their National semifinal game against Michigan State, only to fall in the final to Maine 3-2 in overtime, denying the Wildcats their 1st National Championship.

Happy Trails to the mascot of Doug Flutie's high school team, the Natick Redmen? (We picked up this story via the Doug Flutie connection). The residents of Natick, MA voted 2-1 to reconsider a schoolboard decision made back in March 2007 to retire the Redmen nickname. What started as one alumnus' complaint turned into a decision to retire the nickname, as the nickname was deemed offensive to American Indians. The decision, made a year ago, will become effective at the start of the 2008-2009 school year. No new nickname has been selected. The schoolboard has said that they are in no rush to revisit the decision.

Role Play

Brian: Jeff, you are head coach Jerry York. Welcome back to the blog. On Saturday, you go for your 800th collegiate victory in the NCAAs. 800?! That's a lot of wins. Seriously, when are we going to start naming stuff after you? York Hall? How about we replace that stone Eagle outside Conte with a bronze statue of yourself?

Jeff is Coach York: Well, BC already has Kelley Rink and Conte Forum so the two obvious choices are gone, but you know what I like? Getting those breakfast sandwiches from Hillsides! So maybe that can be called York Cafe or Jerry's Place. What do you think Brian?

Brian: You mean those Hillsides paninis? They are pretty good, Coach York, but I think you can shoot a little higher. You did bring us our first National Championship in 52 years. How about that controversial new athletic complex that they want to build on top of Edmonds? York Recreation Complex? The Y-Plex?

Jeff is Coach York: ... or rename Mary Ann's to Jerry's.

Jeff: You are Gene DeFilipo. Football season ticket renewals were due this week and the home schedule for next year is awesome featuring Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Notre Dame. Are you worried that season tickets are not sold out yet?

Brian is GDF: A little worried? I'm petrified. Where is the buzz and momentum from last year's dream 11-3 season? Why aren't these tickets being sold? I bring in the University of Notre Dame, giving the Eagles a chance to go for the jugular as the Irish are coming off a 3-9 season. Plus add to the ACC home slate Georgia Tech and Maryland, doesn't get much better than that. Sure, we don't have Miami or Florida State this year, but it's not like we are playing UNC or Duke at home, either. I'm just going to chalk this one up to the slumping economy, and hope that someone bails me out and buys these tickets.

Brian: You are Boston College senior QB Chris Crane. Spring practice started yesterday. Jags says he's open to competition at the position of QB. You gonna win the starting job?

Jeff is Chris Crane: Yes. 3 TDs in my one start here at BC. Codi doesn't even know what division I football feels like and if those young guys we got were any good, they'd already be the frontrunner. Of those 3 TDs I had, 2 were rushing. Tell me when the last time Matt Ryan had 2 rushing TDs in a game was. I would liken my game to Tim Tebow, I can run and pass, and I'm ready to lead this team back to an ACC title game.

Brian: Chris, your 3 TDs were against I-AA Maine! Likening your game to a Heisman winner? A bold statement considering we have had ... 1 ... Heisman trophy winner, and the guy you're replacing didn't even end up on the short list. But I like your optimism, Chris. Here's to hoping you prove all your critics wrong.

Jeff: Last one, Brian. You are ACC coach Roy Williams of UNC. You are the number 1 overall seed in the tourney, and the deck is stacked in your favor because your first two sites are within 2 hours of campus. If your team doesn't go to San Antonio, should you be fired?

Brian is Roy Williams: Jeff, my team plays where the committee sends us. If the selection committee wants to reward us for being the #1 overall seed by allowing us to play the first two rounds in North Carolina, then that's what we'll do. Fired if we don't win? Not a chance. I'm a lifetime 558-133 (.807) coach. Not quite Jerry York-status, but still. I think if I destroy everyone's office pool bracket this coming weekend, I get a pass. Don't you think?

Jeff: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Roy, but you won one national championship with Matt Daugherty's players. If you lose this weekend, lookout.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sizing Up The Gophers

We use our Tuesday video links post to take a closer look at the Eagles first round NCAA opponent, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers:

Opponent: University of Minnesota
Colors: Maroon and gold (sounds familiar)
Nickname: The Golden Gophers
Animal Class: Looks cute and cuddly, actually a type of rodent
Newsworthy Gophers: Gophers 1, Man 0
Mascot: Goldy, which controversially might actually be a chipmunk

Record: 19-16-9
Conference: Western Collegiate Hockey Association
PairWise (Hockey’s version of RPI) Ranking: #11
National Ranking: #10
Road to NCAAs: Finished #7 in WCHA regular season, defeated St. Cloud State and Colorado College in the WCHA Final Five, lost to Denver in the WCHA Final
Odd fact: Every player on this year's roster hails from the state of Minnesota

National Championships: 5 - 1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, 2003
Hobey Baker winners: 4

This Year vs. the Eagles

Minnesota was actually in both holiday tournaments the Eagles were in this year, however we didn’t get to face the Gophers. In the IceBreaker Invitational, the Eagles fell to Michigan 4-3 OT, denying an opportunity to play Minnesota in the final. In the Dodge Holiday Classic, BC held up their end of the bargain in an 8-2 opening game win over Air Force, while Minnesota fell to RIT 4-3.

BC tied the only WCHA team they faced this year (North Dakota), and Hockey East as a conference went a mere 4-6-2 (.417) against WCHA teams this year.

History vs. the Eagles

The Gophers lead the all-time series 14-10-2. The first meeting was a 14-1 Eagle beat-down on March 11, 1954. The last game between the two was in 2002 where Minnesota beat BC 2-1 in the Mariucci Classic final in Minneapolis. The teams have faced each other 8 times in the National tournament. Series is tied at 4-4. The Gophers also won back-to-back National Championships (2002, 2003) in the years immediately after the Eagles ended their 52-year title drought.

Advantage Gophers?

Our band may be able to perform on the ice, but Minnesota cheerleaders actually cheer while ice skating. Now that's coordination.

Headlines: Postseason Hoops Victory

Jeff: My girl, Carolyn Swords, and the Eagles defeated the Catamounts last night at Conte. The ladies next head to Queens to play St. John's in an old Big East matchup. Brian, are you gonna be in attendance since the game is being played in your backyard? Breaking out the superfan shirt?

Brian: Unfortunately, I won't be in attendance on Thursday. Queens is a little further than my backyard frontyard. However, I thought that I could catch them at the Garden but just read up on the Women's NIT and found out that they don't play the final four in the World's Most Famous Arena. Bummer. If the Eagles can get past St. John's, they will face the winner of NC State/Florida game for a chance to make it to the final four of the tournament. Go BC!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Headlines: Hockey East Title

Jeff: As we all know by now, BC won the Hockey East tournament with you in attendance on Saturday night. Anything more to tell us about the game?

Brian: Despite an anti-climatic game, it was good to finally see the Eagles in action this year and watch them raise the hardware in the Garden. There was a decent section of BC faithful in attendance and I was moderately impressed with attendance given that:
  1. It wasn't BC v. BU in the Garden, but instead Hockey East newbie UVM, and
  2. It was the night before Easter Sunday
My one complaint was that we sat behind 4-5 older UNH fans who decided to stay for the championship. Complete sour grapes the entire night. Comments like "I can't believe this is the #3 seed in Hockey East (Vermont) ... shows how terrible the conference is this year." And "I can't believe the #4 seed in the conference is going to win the tourny championship." That, and a smattering of yelling for penalties that weren't there - "Interference!" No need for that. I felt like suggesting that if UNH had taken care of business in the semifinal up 4-1 late in the second period, that they wouldn't have had such a bitter Saturday night experience.

Jeff: Continuing with hockey, the Eagles will face Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Expect an easy victory for BC after making it through the Hockey East tournament, right?

Brian: Nothing comes easy in the NCAAs, especially since the field expanded to 16 teams (the field was only 12 teams in 2001 when we won it all). The first round game is an interesting matchup since the Eagles and Gophers have faced each other quite a bit in the NCAA tournament. We have faced each other in the NCAAs 8 times, with each team winning 4 times. Minnesota leads the all-time series 14-10-2. I expect the game to be very competitive. Luckily for BC, we are playing great hockey and got hot at the perfect time of year. Freshman netminder Muse looked solid in his championship shutout performance.

Brian: Boston College women begin their NIT tournament run tonight at Conte against Vermont, who beat Dartmouth easily in their opening round game. What do you expect out of the Eagles tonight?

Jeff: Our ladies have not had a game for over two weeks now so the beginning might be a little shaky, but in the end, I do not expect Vermont to go on the road and beat an ACC team regardless of how well they played a few nights ago.

Brian: The women Eagles have a point to prove after getting passed over for the National Tournament. I hope they can get the job done and keep their NIT title hopes alive tonight.

Brian: Jeff, you had 6 more wins than me in the first round and 2 more wins than me in the second? Impressive, but you have already lost a team you had in the National Championship (Clemson). I'm not panicked quite yet considering I still have all 4 of my Final Four teams in play. Ever the BC and ACC optimist, what do you think of the conference's performance now through two rounds?

Jeff: Clemson hurt my bracket big time, but I still would pick it the same way next time. Clemson just doesn't have any tournament experience and when they were at halftime up 12 against 'Nova they thought they had already won, but guess what? They didn't. Meanwhile, UNC has dominated and most people didn't even expect Miami to win their first round game but they instead nearly upset #2 Texas. Duke was not going to go to the Final Four but I was surprised about the way they lost to West Virginia, missing free throws as well as 3s.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

NCAA Men's Hockey Bracket Announced

Next up: The Golden Gophers

Earlier today, the D-1 NCAA men's ice hockey tournament bracket was announced. Boston College has been awarded the #2 seed and will face #3 Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-16-9) in the first round of the tournament. Minnesota was a cinderella #7 seed in the WCHA tournament, but came up short in the title game, falling to Denver 2-1. The Eagles landed in the Northeast regional and are rewarded for winning the Hockey East tournament by getting to play down the Pike at Worcester's DCU Center. The opening round game is Saturday, March 29 at 7:30.

Should the Eagles advance, the road to the Frozen Four will go through the winner of the Air Force - Miami (Ohio) matchup. Miami (Ohio) is the #1 ranked team in the country (32-7-1) but fell to Michigan in the CCHA championship game, 2-1. Air Force captured the automatic berth from the Atlantic Hockey conference with a 5-4 2OT win over Mercyhurst. BC defeated Air Force 8-2 in the Dodge Holiday Classic Championship back in December.

Hockey East's only other representative is Hockey East regular season champ New Hampshire, who was awarded the #1 seed (4th overall) in the West regional. UNH's first round game is against a tough Notre Dame squad from the CCHA. And the road doesn't get any easier for UNH. Should the Wildcats get past the Irish, they will get the winner of Colorado College - Michigan State. The West's #2 seed Colorado College (28-9-1) is the #2 ranked team in the country and is hosting the West regional, which will be a virtual home game for the Tigers. BC fans are all too familiar with the West's #3 Michigan State (24-11-5), the defending national champions from the CCHA.

After getting a conference-record 5 teams into the NCAA tournament last year, Hockey East only managed 2 tournament births this year. The WCHA, who has virtually owned Hockey East in the tournament the last several years, earned a conference-record 6 births this year.

More headlines and analysis on Monday. Go BC!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Put Another One Up in the Rafters ...

Brian: I was at the Garden to watch the Boston College Eagles to shut down the Vermont Catamounts, 4-0, en route to another Hockey East tournament championship. The Eagles came out of the gate slow in the first period, but John Muse kept them in it, ending the game with 29 saves and a shutout. The Eagles heated up in the second period and that's all they needed to notch their 8th Hockey East tournament trophy (and 3rd title in four years). BC has now won 8 of 24 Hockey East tournament titles, a remarkable achievement.

The tournament MVP was Hobey-hopeful Nathan Gerbe who narrowly beat out BC netminder John Muse for the award. All-tournament honors went to Gerbe, Muse, Brennan, Ferriero and Sneep.

Congratulations to York and the team on a solid win.

On to the NCAAs ... Go BC!

Road Trip!

I woke up in southern New Jersey at my parents place (at a family event), but I've had these championship tickets for a while, so my girlfriend and I are crazily driving up to Boston today to catch the Hockey East championship game between Boston College and the Vermont Catamounts (7pm, NESN). UVM dispatched of our green line rivals BU 3-1 in the second semifinal.

Road trip! Who cares about brackets. Mine is shot already, although I can't say I didn't warn you.

Since I won't be online for the game, for those of you lucky enough to get NESN coverage of the event, leave your thoughts on the game in the comments section below.

Go BC!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Ferriero GW on the Power Play!

And the Eagles advance to the Hockey East championship! Less than a minute into the third OT session, Ben Ferriero scores the game winner on the man advantage!

Congratulations to Jerry York and the boys with an amazing win. Next up: the winner of the game 2 semifinal between BU and Vermont, in the Hockey East tournament championship, which is less than 24 hours away!

Go BC!

Boston Marathon

BC and UNH are currently knotted at 4 goals a piece in the first of two Hockey East semifinal games. BC was down 4-1 but battled back to tie the game at 4. The game is currently set to start the 3rd overtime period. 1 2/3 games haven't been enough to decide this contest.

BC goals from Bertram, Gibbons, Smith and Whitney. In typical BC fashion, Boston College is outshooting New Hampshire 66-49.

The second Hockey East semifinal, Boston University vs. Vermont, was supposed to start at 8:00pm. It will hopefully start sometime before midnight ... stay tuned for an update.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Time: Pro Day

The Eagle in Atlanta has done a great job of covering all the facets of Boston College’s Pro Day from this past Tuesday. Here are the links to his posts:

We also caught this article on Kissing Suzy Kolber, a “colorful” explanation of what Matt Ryan is trying to accomplish at Pro Day.

Even though the men’s and women’s basketball teams aren’t Dancing, we still find reason to be happy.

No BC birthdays of note today. If you know of one, leave in the comments section. It is Gordon Watt’s birthday of BC men’s college hoops fame. Gordon transferred after his only season at the Heights (2004-2005) and now plays for the Purdue Boilermakers. We could have definitely used the 7.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game he averaged this year.

Happy Anniversary to the BC Eagles men’s hockey team. On this date 9 years ago, you defeated New Hampshire 5-4 in overtime for their fourth Hockey East tournament championship. Coincidence that I use this anniversary today? The win also denied UNH their first Hockey East tournament championship (the Wildcats later went on to win the championship in 2002 and 2003). The MVP of the championship was BC’s then junior forward Blake Bellefeuille.

Earlier stated by Jeff, a Happy Trails to John Oates and Tyrelle Blair. You both ended your collegiate careers last weekend when the Eagles fell to the Clemson Tigers in the ACC quarterfinals, 82-48. Thanks for your contribution to the Eagles basketball teams over the last 5 years, and best of luck for whatever comes next.

Eagles in the NHL, Part 4

Christian: Well, after a week off of posting, I’m back for more hockey alumni goodness. (In case you missed it, here are installments 1, 2, and 3). Enjoy!

Jeff Giuliano LW (1998-2002), Los Angeles Kings

Itallian ICE! Have a taste!!! (Ok.. maybe, like, 5 people would get that joke) Jeff has been playing with the Kings and their affiliates since they signed him as an unrestricted free agent in 2005. He made his NHL debut during the 05-06 campaign, but was sent back down to Manchester until this season. Since being called up on December 10, 2007, he has played in 44 games this season, but has yet to find the back of the net. He does have 5 assists this season, though, giving him a career total of 3 G and 9 A. Despite having a permanent spot on the Kings roster right now, there's currently a nice article about Jeff on the front page of the Monarch's website.

Scott Clemmensen G (1997-2001), Toronto Marlies

If there's one thing I will probably remember about Scott Clemmensen, it won't be that he was the goalie for the 2001 National Championship or that he once the school's regular-season record for most consecutive shutout minutes with 254:23, not to mention other NCAA Championship records such as career tournament wins (10) and career tournament saves (356). Well, OK, I'll remember him for that. But one other thing I'll always remember is how he was the backup to one of the all-time greatest (and durable) NHL goalies: Martin Brodeur. While getting drafted by a team like the Devils is usually a great thing, for Clemmensen, it would mean he would spend a lot of time on the bench since Brodeur seemingly never sits. But that isn't always a bad thing: he spent his first few years playing for the Albany River Rats of the AHL, and when he became the full-time backup for Marty, one can only assume he learned a trick or two from the future Hall-of-Famer. In 2007, Scott signed a 1-year contract with the Maple Leafs, and has since been called up from their AHL team, the Toronto Marlies, a couple of times, posting a 1-1 record for the Leafs this season. Unfortunately he's once again in the backup role, but this time he's behind both Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala.

Matti Kaltiainen G (2001-2005), Kiekko-Vantaa (FIN)

This beloved Eagle goalie started his career with Eagles strong, winning numerous Hockey East Rookie of the Week honors in 2001-2002. Drafted by the Bruins in 2001, Matti unfortunately was not signed when he graduated in 2005. The Bruins had many young goalies coming up in their system at the time, and Matti was just not in their plans. Following this, he went back to his hometown of Espoo, Finland to play for the Blues (the non-NHL Blues, that is). He played the 2005-2006 season with them as their backup, posting a record of 3-2-5. He has since bounced around Finland's hockey league, playing the next season on Assat Pori and now finding himself on Kiekko-Vantaa in the Mestis league.

Krystofer Kolanos C (1999-2001), Quad City Flames

Despite only staying with the Eagles for 2 years before leaving for the NHL, Krys Kolanos' overtime goal in the 2001 National Championship game against North Dakota forever etched him into the memories of Boston College fans everywhere. His early exit led him right to the Phoenix Coyotes, the team that drafted him 19th overall in 2000. He played just over three injury-plagued seasons with the Coyotes until 2005 when he was claimed off waivers by Edmonton. Not able to get back to his true form after some serious injuries, he bounced around the AHL, going from the Oilers to the Red Wings and eventually signing a deal with his hometown Calagary Flames' affiliate, the Quad City Flames, in 2007. While he didn't initially report to training camp, he soon started playing with the AHL Flames in November of 2007. He's currently tied for the team lead in goals with 27 and second in points with 57. If he keeps this up, he'll be back in the NHL in no time.

Alright, so I'm going to stop at 4 players for this week, but in place of the fifth player I usually do, I'm going to briefly go through a bunch of recent Eagles and give you a quick update. Some of the players you may remember (if you've been following the team for the past 8 years like I have), others you may not.

  • Ben Lovejoy D (2002-2003) - Only played a year for BC before transferring to Dartmouth for his final 3 years, currently playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
  • Cory Schneider G (2004-2007) - Left BC after 3 years. Drafted 26th overall in 2004 by the Canucks, currently in his first year with their AHL Manitoba Moose squad.
  • AJ Walker F (1999-2003) - Played in 3 ECHL games for the Charlotte Checkers from 2003-2005.
  • Bill Cass D (1999-2003) - Split the 2003-2004 ECHL season playing for both the Trenton Titans and then the Greenville Grrrowl, scoring 5 G and 12 A.
  • Anthony D'Arpino (D, 1999-2003) - Played the 2003-2004 season with the CHL's Tulsa Oilers, scoring 4 G and 13 A.
  • Ales Dolinar F (1998-2002) - Played 23 games with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the ECHL, attaining 4 A.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fortune Teller: Final Four Bracket

These teams best not forget the Alamo.

On to the Final Four! These are the teams Jeff and I think will prove to be the best four in all the land and make the trip to San Antonio. No disclaimer this time. If you've actually used this information to fill out your bracket, you officially have no hope of winning that office pool this year.

Let us know we are certifiably crazy in the comments section.

Jeff's Picks

Final Four: North Carolina, Clemson, Memphis, UCLA
National Championship: Clemson, UCLA
National Champion: UCLA

Brian's Picks

Final Four: Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, UCLA
National Championship: Kansas, UCLA
National Champion: Kansas

Brian's "wisdom"

There is no doubt in Jeff's mind that the ACC is the best conference around this year. He has both the Tigers and the Tar Heels making the Final Four in a rematch of the ACC Championship (which he saw in person). I was impressed by what I saw in the Big XII final, and see both Texas and Kansas making the 4. We both agree on UCLA making the championship game. I see the West as the easiest road to the Final Four. Finally, I'm pulling for BC's own Bruce Pearl and his Volunteers to pull the upset in the Round of 8 and send Carolina packing.

Enjoy the games tomorrow, and go BC!

Fortune Teller: West Regional Brackets

Required stop on any West coast trip

Last up on our tour of the NCAA brackets is the West regional. The #1 here is formidable Pac-10 conference champion UCLA, winners of their last 10 games. The ACC representative? #2 Duke faces #15 Belmont.

One final DISCLAIMER! Read on at your own bracket's peril, and as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Jeff's Picks

First Round: UCLA, BYU, Western Kentucky, San Diego, Purdue, Xavier, Arizona, Duke
Second Round: UCLA, Western Kentucky, Xavier, Duke
Sweet 16: UCLA, Duke
Final Four Pick: UCLA

Brian's Picks

First Round: UCLA, BYU, Drake, Connecticut, Baylor, Xavier, West Virginia, Duke
Second Round: UCLA, Drake, Xavier, West Virginia
Sweet 16: UCLA, Xavier
Final Four Pick: UCLA

Brian's "wisdom"

I do not see many upsets here. Although being on the east coast clouds my psychic abilities, hearing that UCLA has quietly won their last 10 games in a tough Pac-10 conference tells me they are built for the long haul. ACC representative Duke is very overrated in my opinion as a #2. They could easily make an early exit the first weekend, falling to #7 West Virginia. Our buddy Christian is high on Drake, and this bracket is particularly heavy on the mid-major - Xavier, BYU, Western Kentucky, and WCC champion San Diego.

Fortune Teller: Midwest Regional Brackets

The Midwest's "amber fields of grain ..."

Our journey from coast to coast next takes us to the Midwest regional. A lot of people, me included, like #1 Kansas, the Big XII champion. Could this be the year that Kansas finally doesn't bust my bracket? Jeff lets his tiger stripes show and is picking the sole ACC representative, #5 Clemson, to go to San Antonio.

DISCLAIMER! Read on at your own bracket's peril, and as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Jeff's Picks

First Round: Kansas, UNLV, Clemson, Vanderbilt, USC, Wisconsin, Davidson, Georgetown
Second Round: Kansas, Clemson, Wisconsin, Georgetown
Sweet 16: Clemson, Georgetown
Final Four Pick: Clemson

Brian's Picks

First Round: Kansas, Kent State, Clemson, Vanderbilt, USC, Wisconsin, Davidson, Georgetown
Second Round: Kansas, Clemson, USC, Georgetown
Sweet 16: Kansas, USC
Final Four Pick: Kansas

Jeff's "wisdom"

If we were playing "Buy or Sell" and the choices were certain conferences in the tournament I'd be buying the ACC because the top 3 teams, UNC, Duke and Clemson, can flat out play. And I'd be selling the Big 12 and Big Ten. Remember the ACC/Big Ten challenge this year? ACC won 8 of 11 and both games that included two teams now in the tournament. One of those was a 24 point win by Duke over Wisconsin.

Fortune Teller: South Regional Brackets

My favorite destination in the South, a close second being visiting Jeff in SC

Next up, the dirty dirty. The South Regional features C-USA champion #1 Memphis and Big XII runner-up #2 Texas. From the ACC, Miami (FL) is the #7 seed, who has a tall order against #10 St. Mary's.

Again, a disclaimer. Read on at your own bracket's peril, and as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Jeff's Picks

First Round: Memphis, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Stanford, Miami, Texas
Second Round: Memphis, Michigan State, Stanford, Texas
Sweet 16: Memphis, Texas
Final Four Pick: Memphis

Brian's Picks

First Round: Memphis, Oregon, Temple, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Stanford, St. Mary's, Texas
Second Round: Memphis, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas
Sweet 16: Pittsburgh, Texas
Final Four Pick: Texas

Brian's "wisdom"

Jeff would have you believe that Texas won't get past Memphis in the Elite 8s, since they didn't win either the regular season or conference title in the Big XII. If you follow my advice though, Memphis isn't going to get past Big East champion Pittsburgh. Missed free-throws will finally catch up to Calipari's cats. The road for the C-USA champs was all too easy (#27 SOS) and Pittsburgh is playing great basketball, having knocked off G'Town in the Big East final. I see #2 Texas emerging from this bracket. They played great basketball in the Big XII title but still fell short to Kansas.

Fortune Teller: East Regional Brackets

Brian: So the Big Dance moves on without BC. Because this fact saddens me greatly, I need to pique my interest in March Madness by beating down on Jeff with meaningless blog competitions. If you’ll remember, I cleaned up on our bowl predictions back in December. Expect more of the same. Disclaimer: Even though Jeff would argue otherwise, we are not college basketball experts. We accept no responsibility for completely taking your office pool's bracket and roundhouse-kicking it in the face. Read on at your own bracket's peril. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

First up, here’s a look at the East bracket, with the #1 overall seed from our very own Atlantic Coast Conference, North Carolina.

Ahh, the East: Don't be fooled though, the weather isn't that nice.

Jeff’s Picks

First Round: North Carolina, Indiana, George Mason, Washington State, Saint Joseph's, Louisville, Butler, Tennessee
Second Round: North Carolina, Washington State, Louisville, Tennessee
Sweet 16: North Carolina, Tennessee
Final Four Pick: North Carolina

Brian’s Picks

First Round: North Carolina, Indiana, Notre Dame, Washington State, Saint Joseph's, Louisville, South Alabama, Tennessee
Second Round: North Carolina, Washington State, Louisville, Tennessee
Sweet 16: North Carolina, Tennessee
Final Four Pick: Tennessee

Jeff's "wisdom"

UNC is rightfully so the #1 seed in the tournament and therefore an easy pick to make it to the final four out of this bracket. Tennessee is a solid team but remember the SEC had a down year and they were unable to do well in their conference tournament. George Mason over Notre Dame in the first round is partially attributable to my hatred for ND and also because I believe the Big East is a little weaker than most do. Still a great conference, but I expect ND to lose or at least struggle to get past the first round.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday Video Links

Reader christopher mentioned that Gerbe actually took a page out of Ryan Shannon's (BC '05) book with his spin-o-rama penalty shot goal. This sent us scouring You Tube to find video evidence of said trickeration. Check it out.

Sometimes it works (but Shannon gets punished for it) ...

... and sometimes it doesn't.

BC Spins Way Into The Semis

Don't forget that amid all the March Madness, there is playoff hockey to watch this weekend ...

The Hockey East semifinal matchup between #4 Boston College (19-11-8) and the #1 seeded UNH Wildcats (25-8-3) is set for this Friday, 5pm at the Garden. The game will be televised on NESN, but will not be offered on ACC Select. The second game features #2 Boston University v. #3 Vermont at 8pm.

BC lost all 3 games to UNH in the regular season (0-3-0), however they also failed to beat Providence in the regular season (0-2-1) before taking care of business in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Look for it to be a hard-fought, competitive game, especially with the game in the Garden.

BC holds a 5-3 advantage over New Hampshire in the Hockey East tournament, with the last meeting coming in last year's Hockey East championship, a game the Eagles won 5-2. This year, the Eagles will be without the services of last year's MVP, (then) sophomore Brock Bradford.

This blog caught the attention of a fellow blogger that follows the UNH hockey team. I think our comments were taken a bit out of context, but its all in good, clean blogger fun. The UNH Hockey Blog is a great resource to get to know our opponent for Friday night.

A great pic of the penalty shot goal from Hobey hopeful Nathan Gerbe was featured on (article - Staying Alive). Gerbe is also featured on USCHO this week in an article entitled Under the Microscope, and his stock is still high on their Hobey Watch. Luckily for the Eagles, Gerbe is again heating up at the perfect time of year.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Headlines: ACC Tournament Report and the Field of 65

Jeff: On Saturday, before the semifinal games at the ACC tournament, I attended the ACC Legends brunch where Bill Curley was inducted as Boston College's representatives. Clearly, Bill never played in the ACC but was on the team that upset North Carolina in the NCAA tournament. In response to the obvious question he was asked he said that it was a great move for Boston College to move to the ACC and that a 16 team conference is too big and the fact that not every team makes the conference tourney is "stupid." Do you think Mr. Curley was sincere or was he just playing to the crowd? I thought he was but I am a biased observer.

Brian: I think he was being sincere. The move to the ACC has been great for us. Sure, we are coming off a season with a losing record, but to put that in perspective, we haven't had a losing season in basketball since the year BEFORE we were freshmen. We have been just a tad spoiled during our first few years in the ACC. Also, watching the ACC semis, after Clemson knocked off Duke, ESPN flashed a graphic that said it was the first ACC championship game for the Tigers since 1962. We accomplished that feat in year 1 in the ACC. So those saying that BC athletics have dropped off dramatically over the past year need to keep things in perspective.

Jeff: By the way, others in attendance included Dean Smith, Charlie Ward, Kenny Anderson, and Elden Campbell.

Brian: A BC blogger and some ACC greats. Distinguished company!

Jeff: I was shocked yesterday when Virginia Tech was not included in the field of 65. Losing on a Tyler Hansbrough jumpshot with 0.8 seconds remaining is a tough way for your season to end. Had Virginia Tech won that game I would imagine they would've been seeded as high as Miami who recieved a 7 seed or higher. What a difference a game makes.

Brian: You have to feel for the Hokies who lost on a GW FG from Hansbrough and then had to witness possibly the lamest white-guy celebration after a game winning bucket, ever. There, I said it. Still, Va Tech is playing as good of basketball as anyone in the ACC right now (possibly even better than UNC), so I fully expect them to make it to NYC in the NIT.

Jeff: Finally, according to our final RPI ranking was 133. Our worst loss being to Robert Morris who finished ranked 135 but followed closely by the two losses to Virginia who finished ranked 127. Our best win came against Miami, ranked 34, followed by Rhode Island, ranked 76. Virginia Tech who I think got snubbed on Selection Sunday finished 52, one spot behind Villanova, but several spots ahead of Kentucky and Oregon who made the dance.

Also, Georgia was only 4-12 in conference play entering the SEC tourney and went on to win it. The SEC is hardly the ACC but it could've happened.

Brian: Our strength of schedule was pretty strong at 22. To think that we saw the #1 overall seed twice this year and two #2s (Duke and Kansas), we had a pretty awesome schedule. Congrats to the Georgia Bulldogs on winning the SEC in a crazy basketball weekend in Atlanta. Jeff, I know you were upset that the four ACC quarterfinal games you were in attendance for weren't competitive, but it could have been worse. The ACC tournament wasn't displaced by a tornado!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gerbe's Penalty Shot Goal

Here's another look at the amazing Nathan Gerbe penalty shot goal in yesterday's 5-1 win against Providence. Hobey highlight reel, anyone? Check out Eagle in Atlanta for the other view.

Season Ending Loss to Clemson

Jeff: Not a whole lot of positives to take away from a 34 point season ending loss. I think the game can best be summed up by a few stats and plays.
  • The Eagles shot 19 fewer field goals than Clemson and only hit 36% of those.
  • Rice, an 85% free throw shooter twice missed the front ends of 1 and 1s in Charlotte.
  • Sanders shot an airball on a free throw

Next year brings far more promise for the Eagles, happy trails Tyrelle Blair and John Oates who only combined for 25 minutes in their final collegiate contest despite both being in the starting lineup.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Sweep, and the Eagles Advance

Congrats to Jerry York and the BC Eagles as they advance to the Hockey East semifinals with a 5-1 win over the Providence Friars. The Eagles were led by Ben Smith, Brian Gibbons and Nathan Gerbe, all three tallying a goal and an assist. BC scored early and often, jumping out to a 4-0 lead after 1 period. (Blogger note: I am slowly feeling better and better about my decision to buy Hockey East championship game tickets this coming Saturday night in Boston.)

Uncharacteristically, the Eagles were outshot 37-20 tonight. Providence's special teams struggled mightily (as they have for much of the second half of the season), going 0 for 8 on the man advantage tonight. John Muse stopped 36 of 37 shots to improve to 19-11-8 on the year. The game was again lightly attended, as only 2,493 were in attendance at Conte Forum.

The Eagles semifinal opponent is still in doubt, as both Boston University and Vermont failed to close out their quarterfinal series this weekend. BU lost to UMass-Lowell 4-1, while Northeastern pulled even with Vermont with a 2-1 overtime victory. New Hampshire closed out their quarterfinals with a decisive 7-2 victory over UMass. Since the Hockey East tournament reseeds for the semifinals, root for the UMass-Lowell River Hawks or the Northeastern Huskies to pull off the weekend upsets tomorrow so that the Eagles don't have to face UNH in the HE semifinals.

Unfortunately, basketball didn't fare as well in its season-ending blowout loss to Clemson. More analysis on the ACC quarterfinals loss when Jeff gets back from Charlotte on Monday.

Go BC!

Friday, March 14, 2008

In York We Trust

“I like the way our team feels about the tournament. We have a lot of veterans that have gone through a good run the last few springs, so I think that will help us…. I feel pretty good about our attitude and our work habits that we’ve accumulated during the course of the year." - Jerry York
Was there any doubt that York would have the boys ready? Admittedly, I had some reservations. I wondered which team would show up. Would it be the team that went 3-5-1 down the stretch? Or the team that rattled off 12 wins in 16 contents (12-2-2) in a span that lasted from November 30 to a Beanpot championship.

Luckily for BC, the squad that ripped through the holiday tournaments and Hockey East play in December and January showed up. A convincing 5-1 win in game 1 of the Hockey East quarterfinals against the Friars. I was not able to watch the game on ACC Select (as I don't think they wanted to offer up ice hockey coverage to compete with the league's premiere postseason tournament), so any analysis I gathered from box scores and online articles.

  • The Hobey hopeful continues to heat up. Gerbe had 2 goals on the day. I am thinking now it is very likely that the junior forward will make the final 3 for the award, but ultimately fall short to Michigan's Kevin Porter.
  • Providence pulled senior goalie Tyler Sims only 22 mins into the game after letting in 3 goals on 13 shots. This is great news for the Eagles as it should rattle Sims confidence tomorrow night. Sims owned BC over the 3 regular season matchups, stopping 86 of 92 shots (2-0-1).
  • Providence's special teams continue to struggle. PC was 0-for-4 on the PP and BC converted 1 of 4 (Gerbe).
  • John Muse's performance. After watching him struggle against PC at home on February 29, Muse was solid stopping 32 of 33 shots.
  • Home attendance. This was one of the first time's the Hockey East tournament did not fall over spring break, yet the box score says that only 2,788 were in attendance tonight. That's a whole lot of empty seats for a rink that seats 7,884.
  • The other top seeds (UNH, BU and UVM) won their game 1 quarterfinal matchups tonight. Unless a lower seed pulls off an upset this weekend, if the Eagles advance, they'll face #1 New Hampshire before the championship game in the Hockey East semifinal.

If you attended or watched the game on television, leave any observations in the comments section below. Here's to hoping that the Eagles can wrap up the quarterfinals on a high note tomorrow night. Go BC!

A Rivalry Born with the Terps? and the Big Finish

Brian: Jeff is on the road in Charlotte to watch your #11 seed Eagles try to make two in a row tonight against #3 seed Clemson. So we bring in BC Interruption's Northeastern "bureau chief" and our good friend Andy, for the big finish.

Andy: With BC's win over Maryland yesterday, the Eagles have beat Maryland twice this season and possibly sent UMD to the NIT. During the football season, Maryland handed the Eagles an unexpected 42-35 loss that may have ruined BC's BCS hopes. Brian, do you see a rivalry growing between these two schools?

Brian: An interesting question. I do see a growing rivalry forming here. And the ACC seems to recognize (or further) the rivalry with their curious scheduling - we always open the ACC basketball schedule with Maryland in December, and always play Maryland in football late in November, when the ACC Atlantic race heats up. Add to this the fact that Maryland is our closest geographic neighbor, lots of BC alumni are from or currently live in the Baltimore/DC area, and our bball teams have the Gary Williams tie-in, and this could become one of the better rivalries in our new conference.

Brian: Andy, during last night's game, you text messaged me "I have a man-crush on Josh Southern." Here's your chance to publicly state your reasons why.

Andy: Josh Southern is my favorite of the four freshmen who have played this year. That text was sent after Southern scored a huge bucket with just under four minutes remaining in the game. He had 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block in last night's game. Southern plays well in big games and has taken advantage of the recent increase in playing time. Unlike BC's other big men, he has the ability to score in the low post with his back to the basket. I am optimistic about next year's Eagles team since Southern has emerged as a quality low post scorer.

Andy: Last night's win against Maryland probably spoiled any chance they had to get into the NCAA tournament. Florida State needs to beat UNC to have a chance. Miami won yesterday, but may still have work to do. Brian, any chance the ACC gets the same number of bids as the WCC (likely to get 3)?

Brian: I'd give that only a 1% chance! I am going to stick with my prediction on Wednesday that the ACC gets 4 teams in. The only scenario I see only 3 teams getting in is if VTech blows out Miami, FSU doesn't pull off the upset today, and Virginia Tech doesn't make it to the ACC championship game. Compound this scenario with 2-3 other conferences' auto bids falling in the wrong hands and its slightly possible, but certainly not probable. But thank you for also mentioning my side interest in this year's WCC. Saint Mary's deserves to get in. Do the right thing, committee. This is the year of the mid-major.

Brian: Last one, a huge BC sports night tonight - Boston College v. Providence in game 1 of the Hockey East quarterfinals at 7pm, and BC v. Clemson in the ACC quarterfinals. Make a prediction (or two)!

Andy: I think that Jerry York and the Eagles will get it done tonight. My only reservation is that the Friars have played well this season against BC and their fans seem to love making the trip to Conte Forum. The Eagles can beat Clemson tonight if they get a better effort from Tyrese Rice. Last night he had just 2 points in the first half. Clemson is a solid team with good big men and some talented outside scorers. Every game is a must-win for the Eagles, so I give them the edge.

Brian: Andy, many thanks for filling in for Jeff. We will have to have you on more often. Have a great weekend and enjoy all the BC games!

Greetings from Charlotte

Rice & Co. showed heart last night, ending the Terps NCAA hopes

Brian: Jeff mails in his thoughts on the 71-68 upset win last night against #6 seeded Maryland. Next up for the Eagles: the #3 seed Clemson Tigers tonight at 9:30pm.

Jeff: Great win for the Eagles tonight and it was great to be there despite it being a true nailbiter. I'm going to pretend the first 12 minutes of the game didn't happen so I can say good things about our team.

Our big men played GREAT. Oates didn't score but rebounded and played good defense. Basically same goes for Blair. Meanwile Spears scored when it seemed no one else could and Southern's scoring from the low post was desperately needed and is rarely seen in a BC game.
Paris, Rice, Sanders, and Raji all had at least one great play on both ends of the floor.

If you somehow didn't watch the game BC went from down 15 in the first half to up 10 late in the second and then promptly threw the ball away 3 times to let the final score be very close. A bunch of shots did not drop tonight and the team could've gotten more calls in the paint, but if the big men play like they did in the second half against Clemson, this lowly #11 seed could make the semis!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

TV Picks

Jeff is on hand to watch a full day of basketball in Charlotte. He sends us this pic of the arena prior to the noon tip between (8) Wake Forest and (9) Florida State (in progress). Since we all can't be as lucky as Jeff, here is information from ATL Eagle regarding tonight's game watches and TV schedules.

For readers in the greater New York City metro area, read on.

How can a conference tournament game for the #1 basketball conference in the country not be on television in the largest TV market in the country - NYC?!
  • TV - blackout
  • 360 - not provided on Time Warner Cable
  • Pat O'Briens - on the other side of the city

You would think the "Worldwide Leader" would bump ESPNU Give N Go (whatever that is) for some extra ACC tournament action on ESPNU (which I actually get as part of Time Warner cable).

/cries as he takes out his credit card to shell out the $4.99 for ACC Select coverage

In NO WAY do I question BC's move from the Big East to the ACC, but its right around this time of year that I start to reminisce on having the Big East basketball tournament take place down the street at MSG (right in my backyard).

End of rant.

Happy Time: Dunbar, Hoops and Women's Lax

All is not lost. We may be the #11 seed going into this weekend’s ACC Tournament, but, hey, stranger things have happened. So get happy.

Happy Birthday JoLonn Dunbar. The emotional leader of last year's defense, Dunbar had an outstanding 4-year career at linebacker with the Eagles. Dunbar was named the 2006 Meineke Car Care Bowl MVP, falling on the fumbled option pitch on the Navy 40 yard line with 1:43 to play to set up the game-winning field goal. JoLonn projects to be a second day pick in the upcoming 2008 NFL Draft. Best of luck to him and the other BC seniors on draft day.
Happy Birthday, and thanks for giving us fans this: our 7th straight bowl win.

Happy Anniversary to the men’s basketball team. On this day 11 years ago, you knocked off Valparaiso 73-66 in a #5 v #12 first round matchup of the 1997 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Eagles were led by Danya Abrams (16 points, 12 boards) and Bevan Thomas off the bench in the come-from-behind win. The victory celebration was short-lived, however, as the Jim O’Brien led Eagles failed to advance beyond the first weekend. BC was bounced in the Round of 32 to the #4 seed St. Joseph’s Hawks in overtime, 81-77. The Hawks sunk the Eagles behind 14 three-pointers.

Happy Trails to the women’s lacrosse teams win streak over the Fairfield Stags. Fairfield defeated the Eagles 14-12 yesterday in non-conference play, the first victory over our Eagles in the 8 game history of the series. The loss drops the Eagles to 1-4. The team kicks off ACC play this Saturday against Virginia Tech at Babson College in Wellesley.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Toss Up: ACC Tournament Style

Brian: Jeff will be on hand to watch the Eagles beat the Terps tomorrow in the night game, so I will proceed in beating him in an ACC tournament edition of Toss up.

Toss Up - Johnny Oates against the Terps - will he make it rain again (21 points), or will we not even notice he played?

Jeff: Johnny Oates will not go for 21 but he will outshine both his average of 4.6 per game and Maryland's leading scorer Greivis Vasquez, who averages 17.5 per game, but only scored 11 and 14 in his two games against BC this season.

Brian: I expect Oates to play with heart. While I don't expect the 21 point outburst he showed in our last game against Maryland, he will have a couple buckets. But ultimately I don't think he won't be a factor in the box score.

Toss Up - ACC conference tournament bids - 4 or 5?

Brian: At this point I'm going to have to go with 4. Duke, UNC and Clemson are locks. Miami is the next best choice at 21-9, although 2 losses to FSU are curious. They will most likely have to take care of NC State though. A loss in the first round of the ACC tournament will put their at-large bid in jeopardy. VTech needs to string together a couple of wins in the ACC tournament to have any shot at the #4 ACC bid after a tough loss this past weekend to Clemson. Maryland, who I previously predicted would make the dance, is now on life-support. Look for BC to land the knock-out punch tomorrow.

Jeff: I'm going to go with 5 because the ACC already has 4 locks. Miami is #26 in the ESPN insideRPI and safe according to Joe Lunardi. Meanwhile Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest are two wins away from an at large bid each. A tall task, I know but, with Tyrese Rice, I mean BC could also make a run and steal the automatic bid. I don't know exactly how it will shake out but the ACC is ranked the #1 conference by RPI and something will happen in Charlotte that will get a 5th team in.

Toss Up - More surprising final ACC weekend meltdown - Maryland or Virginia Tech?

Jeff: Maryland was more surprising because they fell from potentially getting a 3 or 4 seed in the conference tourmanet which comes along with a coveted bye. Meanwhile, no shame in Virginia Tech losing to Clemson by 1 and they still get a bye in the conference tournament anyways.

Brian: Unfortunately, I'm going to have to agree with you, Jeff. Maryland is the bigger surprise. Not only was the Terp's loss to Virginia Saturday not even close, but losing 4 of 5 down the stretch really damaged any realistic shot Maryland had at making the tournament.

Toss Up - More likely to transfer - Spears or Roche?

Brian: The answer is Roche. Roche has seen his minutes steadily decline as the season went on, and in our last 4 games he has logged 5 minutes, including 2 DNPs. Plus with the 6'8" Vermont transfer Joe Trapani, who averaged 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Catamounts, there is hardly a role left for Roche.

Jeff: You answered that question correctly but the fact is neither will transfer. Spears will have a better year next year when he is healthier and has some inside help. Spears has a tough time getting going when he is being guarded by and forced to guard good centers and power forwards. Then why would Roche transfer? Stay at BC and get a good education. His future is not in basketball and he will continue to get some minutes.

That Other Bracketology

Good news for Eagles hockey fans. Admittedly I'm a bit surprised, but yesterday's latest USCHO's bracketology has the Eagles as a (2) seed in the upcoming NCAA hockey tournament. Encouraging, but BC isn't out of the water yet. They really have to take care of business this coming weekend against Providence. An early exit in the Hockey East tournament (or even worse, a sweep) to a bubble team like the Friars would really put a damper on our NCAA tournament and title hopes.

It is almost certain Hockey East will get 2 teams in and it is looking more likely that we will get 3. New Hampshire is in and BU's resume looks much stronger after running off 9 wins in their final 10 games (after dropping the opening round OT game to us in the Beanpot). BC's resume is bolstered by going 2-0-1 against UVM (#3 seed in the HE tournament) this season, and by their strength of schedule and their overall record, 17-11-8. BC is currently ranked #9/#10 nationally in the two NCAA ice hockey polls. Let's hope York has the boys ready for this coming weekend's matchup with PC.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Headlines: Baseball Swept By Miami

Brian: Back from vacation, getting back in the swing of things. Reading up on the Eagles baseball team, we got swept by #6 Miami in a 3 game series Friday-Sunday. The weekend sweep drops the Eagles to 6-7, 0-3 ACC. The Eagles end their 11-game, Florida road trip with a 4-6 mark (4-7 with the exhibition loss to the Sox).

The Eagles head home this week but it doesn't get any easier for them. They immediately hit the road again next weekend (March 14-16) to face the #17 ranked Clemson Tigers in Clemson, SC.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Headlines: More Hoops and Hockey Woes

Jeff: Instead of winning 3 of 4 games this weekend for men's hockey and both basketball teams, the Eagles lost 3 of 4, the most disappointing of which being Friday night's overtime loss in hockey where the Eagles were winning with less than 2 minutes left in regulation. But fortunately, a win on Saturday got the team home ice for the opening round of the conference tournament. Break it down for us Christian.

Christian: Well, like you said, we now have home ice and we're heading into the tournament on a win. After seemingly stalling in time for the Hobey Baker race to heat up, Gerbe has 2 G and 2 A in his last 4 games. Not spectacular (his last goal was also an empty-netter), but it would be great if he starts getting hot right now. The bad news in all of this? The Eagles have played terrible at home. They have a 4-7-4 (4-7-3 in conf.) home record, as opposed to their 8-3-4 (7-2-4 in conf.) and 5-1-0 records away and at neutral locations, respectively. Plus, they're playing Providence, who they haven't beaten all season (0-2-1). If they do beat Providence, at least they'll then be playing in the Garden, where they won the Beanpot earlier this year. So, the odds certainly aren't stacked in their favor for the first round, but things are definitely looking better in the second, that's for sure. But all that being said, I'm going to be optimistic for this weekend. Let's remember something, there's no ties in a playoff game, so I'm hoping that works to BC's advantage. I see them beating Providence in 3 games.

Jeff: After losing to Georgia Tech on Saturday the men's hoops team finished the ACC year with a terrible 4-12 record which includes 1-11 in their last 12. Optimistically though the Eagles have been competitive the last few games but had fewer point than the opposition when the final buzzer sounded. This leaves BC earning the #11 seed in the ACC tournament and will play Maryland in the last game Thursday night. I like the fact that we drew Maryland because we beat them once already this year and still played them fairly tough the second which was in the middle of playing our worst basketball of the season. So I like their chances to advance one round but then that would give them the #3 seed Clemson who quite possibly creates the worst matchups problems in the league for our team with their athletic bigmen. But lets just take it one game at a time and I hope to see a victory Thursday night.

Christian: You and me both... Also, I can't forget to mention that Tyrese Rice, the only real bright spot of an otherwise abysmal season, was named to the All-ACC first team today. Tyrelle Blair was named to the All-Defensive team as well. Congrats guys, but in all honesty, I'm ready for the 2008 football season right now. I hate to admit it, but this year I've probably watched less college basketball than I have in the last 7 or 8 years. My bracket is certainly going to suffer this year. Well, more than usual, anyway.

Friday, March 7, 2008

ACC ROY and the Big Finish

It's Friday so we go to the Big Finish

Jeff: Brian is off frolicking in the sun with Megan so we bring back "BC hockey expert" Christian in his place. Welcome, Christian, what do you have for us?

Christian: Thanks, Jeff. Well, I'm going to stray from my hockey knowledge for a bit to congratulate Stefanie Murphy of our women's hoops team for being named ACC Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. Quite the accomplishment. She and Carolyn Swords were also both named to the All-ACC Freshman team. Congrats ladies.

Jeff: In the first round of the ACC tournament last night the Lady Eagles beat Virginia Tech in overtime. Is this enough to get the Lady Eagles in the NCAA tournament?

Christian: I'm not so sure yet, but it's a possibility. They were a 7 seed that beat a 10 seed, so that shouldn't have been a surprise victory, even though it advances them in the tourney. But the fact of the matter is that they're only 7-7 in conference and behind 5 other ACC teams with better records. Plus, they're going to have a tough time against Maryland tonight, who already blew them out in their first two meetings. Assuming they lose, that puts them at 20-11. 20 wins is good, so I'm going to be optimistic. Let's hope for a big upset tonight to really seal the deal. We need at least one of our teams to make it to the big dance....

Christian: Men's hockey has a weekend series against Northeastern starting tonight. Do you think we'll be able to finish the season strong?

Jeff: I always think and expect BC hockey to finish the season strong and they usually do not disappoint. I am going for 3 wins between men's hockey games against NU, basketball against GT and women's bball against Maryland. Optimistic I know, but BC is going to start turning things around this weekend.

Christian: I like your optimism as always, but I'm sensing more of a 2 win, 1 tie weekend. We all know the hockey team gets what seems like one a weekend. Another big ACC matchup this weekend is the always heavily hyped UNC vs Duke game. Are you going to be watching, secretly rooting for Duke like the closet Blue Devils fan I know you are? Or did I just open your closet door?

Jeff: I stopped being a Duke fan when I got rejected for admission Christian, but since our friend LK is currently a student there I will certainly be cheering for them over UNC.

Dan Lebetard is an unworthy replacement for TK and Mike Wilbon but Christian you have been a more than worthy replacement for Brian. See you again on Monday when we can preview the Men's ACC tournament.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Eagles in the NHL, Part 3

Christian: I’m back again for your third dose of BC hockey alumni whereabouts (here are installments 1 and 2). Seeing as how last week I had a theme (well, I really chose those guys at random, and they all turned out to be defensemen, so I went with it), I figured I’d follow up this week with another theme: the class of 2004. Why feature the class of 2004? Well, that just so happens to be the same year I graduated. Oh yeah.. and Brian and Jeff may have graduated that year, too.

Brett Peterson D (2000-2004), Florida Everblades

After leaving BC with a National Championship under his belt, Brett went right to the ECHL (the "AA" minors of the NHL) playing for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in the 2004-2005 season. After playing in 56 games with the Bullies, he was traded to the Johnstown Chiefs to finish up the season. The next season he played in all 72 games and scored 24 points for the Chiefs, ranking 2nd in scoring among the team's blueliners. In the following season, Brett switched clubs yet again, this time signing with the Florida Everblades, a Carolina Hurricanes/Albany River Rats affiliate. With one season in the books (and once again showing his durability, playing in 68 games in 06-07), Brett started the 07-08 campaign by attending the River Rats camp (and playing 3 games with them so far this season), but came back to the Everblades as an assistant captain (I'm not 100% positive on this: there's no mention of it on the Everblades' site, but pictures have him wearing the A). While not playing hockey, Brett is also teaching it as an instructor at Iceworks Elite Hockey Training in Fitchburg, MA.

Justin Dziama F (2000-2004), Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

Before even playing a game for the Eagles, Justin was selected in the 8th round (242nd overall) by the New Jersey Devils in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Following that up with a National Championship win in his freshman season, Dziama had to have been riding high. Unfortunately, his point output was never truly there, scoring only 10 G and 9 A throughout his 4 year career at BC, despite playing in almost every game from his sophomore season on. After BC, the Devils had released him, so Justin played for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the CHL, a team only in its second season in the league in 2004-2005. There, he played for only one year, scoring 3 G and 7 A in 44 games for the Bees.

Ben Eaves C (2000-2004), Espoo Blues (FIN)

With brother Patrick on the Carolina Hurricanes and father Mike as the head coach of the U of Wisconsin men's hockey team, this former two-year BC captain certainly has hockey in his blood. One of the top scorers in every year he played for the Eagles, Ben was drafted by the Penguins in the 4th round (131st overall) in the 2001 draft. Unfortunately his success in college has yet to translate into the professional level, but that's not for lack of skill. Eaves has always been plagued by injury and that's probably why he's not currently on an NHL (or NHL-affiliated) roster. Ben played 48 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but his 05-06 season was cut short with what I'm pretty sure was a knee injury (again I can’t find any documented evidence, but I just tried to piece things together from what I read). Then, in 2006, new Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero decided it was time to clean house. Unfortunately, it was because of his inability to stay healthy that Shero did not offer Ben a new contract. Sitting out the next season (I'm guessing to get back in shape and heal from his injuries), Ben finally decided to make a comeback; but not in North America. Eaves is currently on the Espoo Blues in Finland. Through his first 9 games with the club, he has scored 3 G and 3 A. Shero left the door open for him in Pittsburgh if he is healthy and good enough to return to the team, so let's hope that one day we'll all see him play against his brother in the NHL.

Ty Hennes F (2000-2004), Texas Brahmas

A former assistant captain at BC, Hennes was much more valuable than his stat line would show you (16 G, 26 A for BC). He brought leadership to the team, making his presence felt in the lineup game after game, playing in a total of 155 games out of a possible 162 in his four year career. After BC, Hennes bounced around the ECHL, playing for 3 different teams in the 2004-2005 season. He then moved to the CHL where he played a season for the Fort Worth Brahmas and scored 11 G in 56 games. Next season, Ty only saw action in 5 games with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs before evidently retiring from playing hockey. He began to take classes at Parker College of Chiropractic Medicine in Dallas and also became a head coach for an Alliance hockey 14U Bantam AA team in the 2007-2008 season. With his playing days seemingly over, Ty was asked to come out of retirement to serve as a veteran forward for the CHL's Texas Brahams. Ty seemed to be the spark the team needed as they went on a 4-game win streak as soon as he joined them.

Tony Voce LW (2000-2004), Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams (DEL)

Tony led the Eagles in G each of the last 3 years he played for them, ending with 90 G in his four-year collegiate career. The native of Philly took that success with him to the Philadelphia Phantoms and continued scoring goals. Tony's first year, the 2004-2005 season, saw the Phantoms win their 2nd Calder Cup (the AHL version of the Stanley Cup) as he set the franchise record for goals with 22. In only his second year with the Flyer's affiliate, Tony lead the team in goals (28) and points (55), and was third on the team with 27 assists. Tony also became the first Phantoms player to ever score 4 goals in one game when he accomplished the feat against the Chicago Wolves on February 11, 2006. That season Voce also won the 2005-2006 Phantoms Toyota Cup, which is awarded to the player who accrues the most points via the Three Stars of the Game. Midway through the next season, however, Voce was reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins (Red Wings) after scoring only 8 goals through 41 games with Philly. After that disappointing season, Tony then went join Germany's Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams for the current 2007-2008 season. Through only his first 39 games, Tony has reclaimed his goal-scoring form, once again among team leaders in scoring with 13 G and 13 A, despite playing in 14 less games than the team's leading goal-scorer.

Well, I for one never would have guessed that knowing how to read German or Finnish would have helped me find more info about the Eagles alumni this week. I guess I’ll have to brush up on my Russian for next week.

And no, I didn’t make up the Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams… that’s a real team.