Boston College will be seeking to scratch their way back up to the number one slot Jan. 4, when they take on number seventeen Yale in New Haven, Connecticut. The Men of Winter will be looking to salvage a Christmas Break that has left them gasping for breath amidst a sudden invasion from out west.
Minnesota, Denver and Notre Dame have all begun the second half of their seasons in spectacular style, with Minnesota and Denver routing BC and BU, respectively. This past week, Minnesota leapfrogged the Eagles, New Hampshire and Notre Dame in the NCAA hockey rankings to take a firm hold of first place in the country.
The Eagles will once again be without leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau when they take on the Yale Bulldogs. BC’s explosive forward will hope to continue to lead the United States to a gold medal against Sweden in the final game of the 2013 World Junior Championship. A sophomore at BC, Gaudreau leads the WJC team in points with seven goals and two assists, including a hat trick against the Czech Republic.
In addition to Gaudreau, the Eagles will be without defensemen Patch Alber and Isaac MacLeod. Alber recently underwent season-ending surgery to repair a displaced lateral meniscus, while MacLeod is sitting out with what has been termed a shoulder injury. As a result, freshmen Travis Jeke and Peter McMullen will be filling in for the upperclassmen on the blue line.
The Eagles will look to regain their balanced, disciplined attack that escaped them against Minnesota. Of the eight penalties committed by BC, the Golden Gophers capitalized on four of these man advantages.
The Eagles need to bottle their emotions and limit the power play chances they give the Bulldogs on Saturday. The fewer penalties charged to BC, the fewer chances Yale has to expose the Eagles’ thin D-corps.
The Bulldogs boast an impressive first line of Kenny Agostino (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), Antoine Laganiere (9-7-16), and Andrew Miller (5-8-13). After that, however, Yale does not match up all that well against BC’s deeper group of forwards – even without Gaudreau.
Captains Pat Mullane and Steven Whitney, along with Destry Straight, Bill Arnold, Danny Linell, and Brendan Silk, need to develop short-term chemistry for just one more game until Gaudreau returns and the lines revert to normal.