Last Wednesday, Boston College men’s hockey announced its full 2018-19 schedule, then finalized its roster the next day. Despite claiming the Hockey East regular season title last year, the Eagles’ season wasn’t automatically described as a success by most. BC’s youthful roster outperformed preseason expectations—it was picked to finish fourth in the conference—but still failed to advance to the Hockey East championship and missed the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
This year, there’s plenty of reason for optimism on the Heights. The Eagles boast the fourth-best recruiting class in the nation, per independent scouting organization Neutral Zone, and return plenty of talent that showed flashes of tremendous potential last season. Returning Joe Woll in net, the reigning defenseman of the year in Casey Fitzgerald, and Logan Hutsko—a unanimous All-Rookie team selection—up top, there was always the expectation BC would take another step forward. Adding the NHL’s 11th overall draft pick in Oliver Wahlstrom and two more players in the U.S. Development Program, hopes are high.
Oct. 6 vs. New Brunswick (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *Exhibition
→ The Eagles get things going with an exhibition against a Canadian foe in the Varsity Reds, a team that has won the University Cup up north the past two seasons. The two met in a similar game last season, with BC coming away with a 4-2 win.
Oct. 12 at Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.) *Season Opener
Oct. 13 at Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.)
→ The season begins with the difficult task of heading to Wisconsin for a pair of road games. The Badgers limped to just one victory in their last eight games of the 2017-18 campaign, but still rolled to a 5-2 win when they visited the Eagles back in October 2017.
Oct. 19 at Quinnipiac (Hamden, Conn.)
Oct. 25 vs. St. Cloud State (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *Home Opener
→ The official home opener is against the Huskies, who piled up 25 wins a season ago and were an NCAA Tournament team. Last year, St. Cloud State swept a two-game homestand against BC, outscoring them 8-3. The Huskies finished fourth in scoring last year and outscored their opponents by an average of more than a goal, making this a pivotal non-conference matchup for postseason aspirations.
Nov. 2 at Merrimack (North Andover, Mass.) *Hockey East Opener
Nov. 3 vs. Merrimack (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *Hockey East Home Opener
→ The home-and-away weekend series with Merrimack opens up Hockey East play for the Eagles, who are looking to claim at least a share of the regular season title for the fourth year in a row. The Warriors are experiencing an overhaul of sorts, boasting a new coach in Steve Borek as well as bringing in 10 newcomers and revamping their current uniforms.
Nov. 8 vs. Vermont (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Nov. 9 vs. Vermont (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Nov. 16 vs. New Hampshire (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Nov. 23 vs. Bentley (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ A non-conference matchup with the Falcons wraps up a five-game homestand that spans 20 days. It’ll be a relaxing three weeks for BC, as road trips to Wisconsin and Minnesota will be behind them. Bentley, a member of the Atlantic Hockey Conference, finished five games under .500 last season.
Nov. 30 at Boston University (Boston, Mass.) *Battle of Comm. Ave.
Dec. 1 vs. Boston University (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ The Battle of Comm. Ave. renews as the calendar flips to December. The two teams, longtime rivals, will play at each other’s homes in games that will undoubtedly mean a lot in the crowded Hockey East standings. The Terriers came within a win of the Frozen Four last season and took two of the three meetings with BC—including a 4-3 win in overtime of the conference semifinals that knocked the Eagles out of the running for a postseason nod.
Dec. 6 at Connecticut (Hartford, Conn.)
Dec. 7 vs. Connecticut (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Dec. 31 at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.)
→ The Irish came within a goal of winning the national championship last season, falling, 2-1, to Minnesota-Duluth. Last year was Notre Dame’s first season in the Big Ten, and it was impressively successful. This year’s matchup between these two teams, after not playing each other in 2017-18, should be a good one—the all-time series is in BC’s favor by the slimmest of margins, 21-19-3.
Jan. 4 at Arizona State (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Jan. 5 at Arizona State (Phoenix, Ariz.)
→ It’s always enjoyable to watch programs build from the ground up, and that’s what the Sun Devils, one of two schools in the Sun Belt to field a men’s hockey team, have been doing. ASU is likely far away from postseason contention, considering that it’s coming off a rough 8-21-5 campaign. Still, hockey in the desert is always intriguing, and it’s a lengthy road trip for the Eagles.
Jan. 11 vs. Providence (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Jan. 12 at New Hampshire (Durham, N.H.)
Jan. 16 vs. Maine (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Jan. 19 vs. Providence (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Jan. 25 vs. Massachusetts Lowell (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Jan. 26 at Massachusetts Lowell (Lowell, Mass.)
Feb. 1 at Connecticut (Hartford, Conn.)
Feb. 4 vs. Harvard(TD Garden, Boston, Mass.) *The Beanpot
→ The last two Beanpots have not exactly gone BC’s way. The Eagles will enter the 67th edition of the four-team tournament desperately hoping to erase the last two years of results, which consisted of four losses in four tries. BC was embarrassed in 2018, as it was shut out by Northeastern in the first round and then lost to Harvard—for the first time in the Beanpot since 1998—in the consolation game.
Feb. 8 at Massachusetts Lowell (Lowell, Mass.)
Feb. 11 vs. Boston University/Northeastern (TD Garden, Boston, Mass.) *The Beanpot
Feb. 15 at Massachusetts (Amherst, Mass.)
Feb. 16 vs. Massachusetts (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
Feb. 22 at Maine (Orono, Maine)
Feb. 23 at Maine (Orono, Maine)
March 1 vs. Northeastern (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *Last Regular Season Home Game
March 2 at Northeastern (Boston, Mass.)
→ Last year, even though BC claimed the regular season title, there wasn’t anyone who would’ve looked at the conference and not declared Northeastern as the better of the two. Boasting a terrifying offense, the Huskies rolled to a 23-win season and the Beanpot Championship. Granted, Northeastern lost in the conference semifinals, but still merited an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. These two games could have big implications on the conference standings.
March 7 at Providence (Providence, R.I.) *Regular Season Finale
→ The last regular season game of the season is a tough one, as the Eagles head to Providence for the third meeting between the two New England rivals. The Friars fell, 2-0, in last year’s Hockey East final to narrowly miss out on a chance at an NCAA Tournament appearance. Providence is always a tough out, and the games between these two teams last year were pretty back-and-forth, with the exception of the Friars’ 4-1 win in January 2018 that handed them the three-game season series.
Featured Image by John Evans / Heights Staff