Fans flooded out of Conte Forum in disappointed droves, abandoning any hope of a comeback as the numbers on the clock trickled toward zero. Pulled out of his often-besieged crease and onto the bench to make way for an extra attacker, the battered goaltender sat hunched forward, head down, stick obscuring his face, his solemn frame rendered immobile by the weight of the goals scored on his net. The 18-year-old’s upbeat “Timber,” head-bobbing demeanor was nowhere to be found, and after 13 goals against him and two losses, it was official: Thatcher Demko had a tough weekend.
The Boston College men’s hockey team bombed out of the Hockey East quarterfinals, losing two of three games to Notre Dame over the weekend. Demko was shelled along the way, giving up multiple soft goals and finishing the series with a .833 save percentage. The youngest player in college hockey clearly wasn’t at his best, but it would be completely unfair to tag all the blame on the man between the pipes-the Irish simply proved to be the better club, and BC will have about two weeks to think about it before heading into the NCAA Tournament.
While the men’s hockey team and Demko had a devastating weekend, they can take solace in the fact that they won’t wallow in their misery alone. All in all, the past few days may go down as the worst weekend for BC athletics since the one that started on Friday Nov. 18, 2011.
On that weekend, the BC women’s soccer team was defeated 2-0 by Stanford in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and on the men’s side, No. 4 overall BC was upset by Rutgers in its first match. The No. 3 men’s hockey team lost 3-2 to No. 4 Notre Dame with 1.1 seconds left in overtime, and on the same South Bend road trip, BC football came tantalizingly close to upsetting the Irish, but it fell 16-14 on the road. Holy Cross trounced the men’s basketball team 86-64, and the women lost by 25 points to Arizona State. It was, for fans of the Eagles, an unmitigated disaster of a weekend.
It took over two years, but it’s finally happened: BC’s teams and the athletic department have finally kamikazed their way through a weekend with a collaborative degree of disaster exponentially high enough to rival that infamous stretch in 2011.
As unbelievable as it seems, women’s hockey is done-captain Corinne Boyles will leave Chestnut Hill without winning a national championship. Frozen Four favorites heading into the season, the women began collapsing at the worst possible time by losing 3-2 to Boston University in the Hockey East Tournament final. Unable to right the ship, the Eagles spiraled on Saturday and were wiped out of the NCAA Tournament 3-1 by Clarkson, their hopes of avenging last season’s defeat to Minnesota crushed in the process.
Birdball played a harrowing series against No. 3 UVA. Demolished 8-1 in the first game, BC hung around for 12 innings only to lose 3-2 in the first half of a doubleheader and then dropped the second bout 2-1. Head coach Mike Gambino’s team is leagues better than its 6-12 record suggests, but the breaks aren’t coming yet.
On an administrative side, the lack of transparency surrounding the fate of embattled men’s basketball head coach Steve Donahue has-without much hyperbole, here-angered the entire fan base. Whether the proverbial guillotine will fall or not, stretching out the decision has been about as positive as setting a beehive on fire and punting it at a cluster of irritated alligators.
Despite the team’s disappointment, BC men’s hockey is in the best shape coming out of the weekend’s wreckage. Demko will get back to stonewall form-he has too much talent and experience to dwell on the shortcomings, and in no time he’ll be back to singing Ke$ha and waving at fans.
In the end, this past weekend might end up helping the men’s hockey team. Johnny Gaudreau’s point streak is dead, BC’s dropped three of its last four, and the Eagles are at rock bottom and fully aware of their mortality-vulnerability can be overlooked during 19-game winning streaks. The Eagles have one trophy left to play for, and two weeks to let the slow burn of defeat turn to incendiary motivation.
Unless they have to play Notre Dame again. Then they’re doomed.