October 25, 2006
Taking on the Challenges

By Jeff Howe

Boston College is putting this weekend’s national championship rematch with Wisconsin in perspective. The Eagles know they can’t get revenge on the Badgers for what happened in Milwaukee on April 8; they know they can't beat last year's team.

Hockey East Notebook

Boston College and goaltender Cory Schneider face Wisconsin this weekend, and they're not thinking about last year's National Championship game.

National TV Schedule

"Talking to the other guys, they’re just excited to go out there and try to come out with a win,” BC goalie Cory Schneider said. “Last year can’t mean anything right now. It would be nice to beat them because they’re a good team, and that’s all the motivation we can work off right now.”

Schneider wouldn’t downplay the importance of the weekend set in Badger Country, but he also wouldn’t buy into the hype that the game means more just because of the rematch factor, noting that a non-conference road win against one of the nation’s best teams was enough incentive to play well.

That, and Boston College knows it can regain some of the early-season steam it lost when Notre Dame invaded The Heights last Friday and embarrassed BC by a 7-1 clip. Schneider admitted he and the rest of the Eagles weren’t focused enough to play, and they paid the appropriate price as a result.

“We just didn’t come out with our A-game,” Schneider said. “We weren’t challenging. We weren’t making smart plays. You’ve got to credit Notre Dame. They came out prepared. We took it as a wakeup call, and the next night [in a 5-1 win over Bowling Green], we were a totally different team.”

A wakeup call – whether it be at a hotel room before sunrise on a business trip, or the consequence of a whitewashing at your own barn – is never fun. The silver lining for Boston College, though, is that it happened early enough in the season. A loss like this in the spring can result in a tailspin entering the postseason, which can nullify six months of great hockey.

“You never want something like that to happen to a team, but I think we took more good out of it than bad,” said Schneider, who allowed six of the Irish goals in the loss.

“It was early in the season in a non-conference game, and we can afford hiccups like that. I think we learned a lot about what we need to work on and what we need to get good at. It’s unfortunate to lose like that, but we’ll be back.”

And who better to rebound with than the reigning national champs? The Eagles have a chance to gauge their team early on before conference action really heats up and can also see how well deserving they were for the preseason’s top billing in the polls. It’s a test that really appeals to Schneider.

“It’s great to see where your team is at and what you need to work on,” Schneider said. “That’s the advantage of being tested early on in the season against such a great non-conference opponent. It’s also great to get us ready for league play when you play against the top teams [in the country]; especially if you can beat them, it will give you a lot of confidence. It’s a good test for everybody.”


Maine moves on without Lundin: Black Bear Ben Bishop has risen to high expectations between the pipes early this season. For starters, Bishop was amazing down the stretch last season when Maine advanced to the Frozen Four, jumping onto the national scene in the process.

But after Maine’s season ended, Bishop’s backup Matt Lundin told coach Tim Whitehead he was going to leave the team to pursue other options in junior hockey. Lundin was a very capable alternative for Whitehead with a 7-4 record in 15 games along with three shutouts, a 1.72 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.

Though not predictable, the move wasn’t completely shocking. Lundin was set to play for the Tri-City Storm in Nebraska last season before Jimmy Howard decided to pass up his senior season to cash some checks in the Red Wings’ organizations. When Howard left, Lundin returned and originally split the starting duties with Bishop.

Though Whitehead expects freshman backup Dave Wilson to push Bishop this season, he noted his sophomore is the clear No. 1 goalie and should benefit because of that.

“[Bishop] did a really good job and was able to take us to the Frozen Four,” Whitehead said. “That’s quite the compliment for a freshman. This year, the challenge for Ben is to take his game to the next level and really become an elite goaltender at the college level. He has already started showing signs of that. I am really pleased for him, and I think it is a real natural step for Ben to become a dominant goalie. He is off to a phenomenal start.”

Indeed, Bishop has been large for Maine early on with wins over Minnesota, Bemidji State (twice) and North Dakota (twice). On top of his unblemished record through five games, he has a .944 save percentage and 1.49 goals against average.


Great Weekend Getaway
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UMass at Maine
Saturday, 7 p.m.

The Black Bears have started 5-0 with five quality wins against non-conference opponents this season, but they finally get their first shot at picking up some Hockey East points in their league opener. UMass will be on the second leg of a tough weekend trip, which starts Thursday night in Durham.

While You’re There: Orono is (another) one of INCH’s favorite spots for post-game activities, though we don’t discriminate against many. Be sure to check out the Bear Brew, which is in a fun area. Ushuaia is also a decent spot, especially when they have a live band outside.

Stick Salute

Pete MacArthur has scored some important goals in his two-plus years on Comm. Ave., and he can add another one to his résumé. He knocked home the 10,000th goal in BU history on Friday night, when the Terriers woke up late to knock off Northeastern.

Bench Minor

We give BC credit for their achievements at INCH, so we don’t feel bad for knocking them down here this week. The Eagles flat out did not show up against Notre Dame last Friday and took it on the chin as a result, even getting booed off the ice by the SuperFans. Hey, at least they didn’t use pine tar.

• River Hawk Jeremy Hall reunited with former team Niagara in the consolation game of the Mutual of Omaha Stampede on Saturday. Hall, who transferred from Niagara, didn’t figure in the scoring, but UMass Lowell did earn its first win of the season.

• Word around the street is that a few fans had to be removed from the Mullins Center during UMass’ home opener against Sacred Heart on Oct. 13 for yelling obscenities near the radio crew on press row. After sports information director Kimberly Gardner had the fans escorted out of the building on Friday night, she found herself on the wrong end of a heckling chant on Saturday night when the Minutemen played Clarkson. Gardner said she was honored to feel so loved.

“You know you’ve arrived,” she said, “when you get a personalized ‘sucks’ cheer.”

• UNH became the first non-WCHA team to sweep Colorado College at the new World Arena over the weekend with wins of 4-3 and 7-4. The Wildcats were led by Hockey East Player of the Week Trevor Smith, who picked up three goals and two assists.

• Ben Bishop went nearly 94 minutes without allowing a goal in the two-game series at North Dakota last weekend. He stopped 48 of 50 shots in Maine’s sweep.

• BC coach Jerry York reunited with an old friend on Saturday night – Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch, who played for York at Bowling Green before becoming an assistant coach for York at BG and then BC from 1994-2002. The Eagles beat the Falcons 5-1.

• UMass had last weekend off but used the time to play its annual Maroon & White scrimmage on Saturday.

• Providence’s Colin McDonald has scored a goal in each of his last five games dating back to last season.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report