Eagles hope to stop the bleeding against Catamounts

BC hosts the Vermont Catamounts this Friday to begin their February schedule of games. Here’s hoping it is better than January.

The Eagles were a dismal 2-4-1 in the first month of 2013, dropping them from first to fifth overall in the country. The loss of senior defenseman Patch Alber, as well as the recent ailments of freshmen Michael Matheson and Colin Sullivan, has left the Eagles’ back line in a sorry state of affairs. Coach York has been forced to tinker with his forwards’ chemistry by playing some wingers back on defense and the results have been fatal.

Last weekend, unranked Maine swept the Eagles by a cumulative score of 7-2. What is even more shocking is that the Black Bears were able to complete the sweep in the Eagles’ Kelly Rink, where BC had owned an 8-1-1 record going into that weekend. With BC’s home-ice advantage apparently no longer a factor, the Catamounts will be ready to pounce on the Eagles while they are at their weakest.

UVM (7-13-4) comes to Conte Forum after just having snapped a five-game losing streak against the Minutemen of UMass. Much like the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers or New York Rangers of the NHL, Boston College – due to its strong program and rich winning history – has become one of those teams against whom all other teams tend to elevate their games.

Players come into Conte wanting to beat the Eagles, with a chance to show the country how good they are. Beating BC (14-7-2) is one of the loudest statements a collegiate hockey team can make, especially if it is in Chestnut Hill. UVM still has time to crawl up a few spots in the Hockey East standings, and stealing one win away from the injury-plagued Eagles at Conte now could turn out to be a crucial two points come tournament time.

With at least one winger back on D, the forward lines will be hard-pressed to quickly form chemistry with new linemates in time for the Vermont game. Matheson, a 2012 pick of the Florida Panthers, may be kept out of the lineup again, with the medical staff cautioning advising against rushing the defenseman with concussion symptoms back into action. Sullivan – a 2011 pick of the Montreal Canadiens – meanwhile, will likely be a game-time decision.

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