Previewing 2018 Men’s Hockey: Quinnipiac

boston college men's hockey

It’s another game and another chance to end a lengthy skid against non-conference opponents for Boston College men’s hockey on Friday night, as it hits the road to face Quinnipiac. The No. 18 Eagles (0-2), who fell six spots in the national polls after a two-game sweep at the hands of Wisconsin, haven’t come away with a victory outside of the Hockey East in their last 26 tries. That stretch includes a pair of matchups with the Bobcats (2-0), a squad that is coming off wins over Hockey East teams Vermont and Connecticut.

Who is BC playing?
Quinnipiac

When is BC playing?
Friday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Frank Perrotti, Jr. Arena, Hamden, Conn.

How to Watch:
The game will be available to stream on WatchESPN, through ESPN+.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) David Cotton was the surprising highlight of an otherwise disappointing trip to Wisconsin—the junior netted his first career hat trick and tallied four points in the weekend finale. All four points came in the final 25 minutes of the game as he attempted to lead a comeback, one that ultimately came up short.

2) The losses to Wisconsin loom large for the Eagles, as non-conference play was the biggest determinant in keeping them out of the NCAA Tournament last year. BC is 0-2 and has been outscored 10-5 so far which is already a similar pace to the 2017-18 season, where it went 0-7-3 and had a minus-18 goal differential.

3) Oliver Wahlstrom, an 11th-round draft pick before arriving on campus, is expected to play a big role—and he’s gotten off to a good start. Wahlstrom scored his first career goal and had 13 shots in the two-game set against the Badgers, the latter of which was good for the most on the team.

Quinnipiac:

1) The Bobcats hadn’t won their season opener, much less back-to-back games to open the year, in each of the past few seasons. That was also the year Quinnipiac went on a run to the National Championship game, one in which it fell to North Dakota.

2) Wahlstrom isn’t the only freshman having an impact, as William Fällström scored twice and added an assist over the weekend. Fällström is a Swedish forward who spent last season with the USHL’s Fargo Force, totaling 45 points in 58 games.

3) Quinnipiac struggled on the power play last year, going just 25-of-140 (.179) and slotting in at 37th in the nation. At 0-for-6 through its first two games, things don’t seem that much different. That could be a boon for the Eagles, as BC killed off all six penalties committed against Wisconsin.

Last Meeting:

The 2017-18 season opener was staged between these two teams in Kelley Rink, an ECAC/Hockey East showdown between top-25 teams. In what was a physical, tense affair, both teams came away with a point in a 1-1 draw. The Bobcats scored first, as Alex Whelan took advantage of a defenseman screen to score from the right circle in the second period. It took awhile for the Eagles to answer, though, as freshman Jacob Tortora had to come up with late-game heroics to salvage the draw. Tortora scored on a power play, cleaning up a rebound after a shot from Casey Fitzgerald. The draw kept BC winless against Quinnipiac at a record of 0-2-1.

Outlook:

This is, quite simply, a must-win game for the Eagles. Sure, it might be dramatic to say that about the third game in the season, but it’s not the farthest stretch. BC hasn’t found success in non-conference play since November 2016, and even that season it failed to post a winning record out of the Hockey East. A loss here would likely mean a tumble out of the top-25 rankings, removing much of the luster of next week’s matchup against No. 4 St. Cloud State.

A win would end a lengthy negative streak, one that has come up time and time again when the Eagles fail to look the part of a NCAA Tournament contender.  It would also create much needed momentum entering the home opener against a top-5 team. To beat the Bobcats, BC will need to win with physicality—special teams could play a big role. The Eagles power play and penalty kill units are both better than their host’s, and if they play to their abilities, it could mean the difference between a win and a much less exciting draw.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 201 Articles
Bradley is the associate sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, March is the best month, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.