Plot, Same Ol' Story at Boston College
If there’s one thing Boston College
has been good at this season — other than, of course,
playing hockey — it’s been creating storylines.
First, goalie Cory Schneider left school early
to turn pro and the reins were given to freshman John Muse
in the process. Then the Eagles kicked off their season
with a loss to certified Commonwealth Ave. killer Michigan
at the Ice Breaker Invitational. Junior star Brock Bradford
broke his left arm in the game; he could be sidelined until
at least January.
Smith has seven points in six games, tied for second
among Boston College skaters in that category.
The following night, Boston College announced
the indefinite suspensions of defensemen Brett Motherwell
and Brian O’Hanley for violating unspecified team
rules. If all that wasn’t enough, BC’s Oct.
19 Frozen Four rematch with North Dakota at Conte Forum
was fogged out.
In spite of all the drama, the Eagles are
unbeaten in their last five games (3-0-2) and head into
a meeting with red-hot Maine at The Heights tonight. Nathan
Gerbe, who leads BC with four goals this season, likes his
team’s chances, especially with the way Muse has been
“He’s come in, shown he’s
very composed and shown he’s ready to handle the big
stage,” Gerbe said. “It’s good for the
players to get that confidence around him. He gives us the
chance to win every night, and that’s exactly what
the team needs. That’s a great confidence boost.”
Muse has started each of the Eagles' six games
this season, posting a .930 save percentage (second in Hockey
East) and a 1.90 goals against average (tied for third among
goalies with more than one start) to go along with one shutout.
On one hand, Muse is the kid responsible for making sure
the Eagles don’t miss a beat while trying to make
their third straight national championship appearance. On
the other, the veteran presence within the BC locker room
knows it needs to pick up the slack for the wet-behind-the-ears
“He’s a quiet kid right now,”
Gerbe said of Muse. “It might be because he’s
a freshman and he’s kid of nervous, but he’s
just a very quiet kid who works hard on and off the ice.
As an upperclassman, it’s good to see someone come
in like that.
“Cory was very, very good with his leadership
skills. When he spoke out, everyone listened, and I think
Muse has the same respect. He’s in a tough position
[playing goalie]. He’s doing very well, and we all
respect him in the locker room.”
Of course, one less distraction will only
help. During the first game of the season, Michigan’s
Travis Turnbull, a physical forward, separated the puck
from Bradford along the boards. Bradford was trying to brace
himself while going into the wall, but his stick and left
arm got caught at an awkward angle and he broke his left
Gerbe, who was on the ice at the time, saw
his roommate go down writhing in pain, and immediately knew
it wasn’t good.
“His arm got caught in a tough position
from his stick, and he kind of got hit a little bit,”
Gerbe said. “Brock is the type of kid who doesn’t
really show pain that much. He was showing it, so right
then and there I knew it was going to be something serious.
“It looked like a freak accident.”
Bradford has become an extension of the coaching
staff since the injury. He breaks down film, watches practice,
gives advice, and goes to the locker room between periods
to give in-game scouting reports.
“It helps when he comes down between
periods and lets me or someone else know what we can work
on, maybe a weakness in their defensemen or goalie,”
Gerbe said. “It’s good to have that bird’s
eye view, and I think he’s a very smart player to
“He’s a very smart kid, and I
think the coaching staff knows he’s a smart kid. He
can read the game well.”
Another hammer dropped prior to the Eagles'
Oct. 13 Ice Breaker third-place game against Rensselaer.
Buried in the game notes was the announcement that Motherwell
and O’Hanley were suspended indefinitely. They haven’t
played since. In their absences, Anthony Aiello, Carl Sneep,
and Tim Kunes have elevated their games, combining with
Mike Brennan, Nick Petrecki, and Tim Filangieri to provide
a formidable blue line.
“Obviously, they broke team rules and
right now they’re not with us,” Gerbe said.
“But our team is handling it pretty well, and we know
the guys in the locker room are the guys we’ve got.
We’re going to stick with that and keep moving on.”
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Points well taken: Raise
your hand if you had Boston College freshman Joe Whitney
(3-8—11) and Providence junior Kyle Laughlin (5-3—8)
leading Hockey East in scoring at the end of October.
Laughlin, who leads the conference in goals
scored, netted one in four straight to close out the month
and posted three consecutive multiple-point games. He had
just two goals and nine assists in 36 games last year.
Whitney began the season playing left wing
on a line with center Benn Ferriero and right wing Dan Bertram.
But, since Bradford went down, Whitney has moved to the
right side on a line with Ben Smith and Brian Gibbons.
“[Whitney] is a very good player,”
Gerbe said. “He’s a very smart player. He understands
the game very well. He’s fun to be on the same team
with, and obviously, he’s a shorter guy, too. It’s
good to see that.”
The freshman, listed at 5-foot-6, has clearly
earned praise from the junior (listed at 5-foot-5), who
insists they haven’t yet stood back to back to see
“We don’t even know.” Gerbe
said with a laugh. “I think there’s a little
Great Weekend Getaway
at Boston College (Fri.)
BC is unbeaten in its last five games. Maine has won
four in a row, including a pair at Northeastern last
weekend. The Black Bears might have been better off
staying in Boston all week rather than making two
round trips from Orono.
While You're There: Bask in the
glory of Titletown. Take a stroll down by Fenway Park,
home of the world champion Red Sox. Or head down to
a pub near the Garden, where the new-look Celtics
open their season Friday. If you’re sticking
around until Sunday, head to Champion's on Huntington
Ave. to check out the Patriots-Colts matchup. Can’t
find a TV? Ask Mayor Menino where to find the closest
offseason changes in the Hockey East media
relations arena worth mentioning. Kimberly
Gardner left her post as sports information director
at UMass to pursue other opportunities, and Brent
Williamson did the same at Maine. Both were always
helpful and extremely dedicated to their positions.
Also, former UNH SID Pete Souris was hired as director
of public relations of Hockey East, a move that will
definitely take the conference to a new level.
We’re sending the fashion police
to adidas headquarters for their design work of UMass’
new uniforms. First, the grey breezers are
just a mess. Second, shouldn’t the most important
thing about designing a team’s uniform involve
getting the colors right?
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Prior to the team's
5-2 win at Providence Thursday night, Boston University
had gotten off to a less-than-desirable start to the season.
The Terriers were 0-4-1, winless in their first five games
for the first time since the 1976-77 season, when they ended
up reaching the national semifinals. They also allowed at
least four goals in four consecutive games for the first
time in nine years.
• Despite New Hampshire’s sweep
of Colorado College, the most eye-opening series involved
Maine’s two wins at Northeastern. Of the Black Bears’
seven goals this weekend, three were scored by players who
found the back of the net for the first time in their careers.
• Northeastern lost consecutive one-goal
games for the first time in five seasons.
• Of UMass’ six games this season,
three have hit overtime, with the Minutemen going 0-1-2
in those contests.
• UMass Lowell swept Alabama-Huntsville
last weekend, the River Hawks’ first weekend sweep
since turning the trick against Boston College three years
• Merrimack has two short-handed goals
in five games, doubling its mark from a year ago.
• UNH is 3-0-0 for the first time in
four years, and the Wildcats have scored three goals in
the third period in each of their three games so far.
• Vermont has sold out 60 consecutive
games at Gutterson Fieldhouse, which is good. But, the Catamounts
are 0-for-20 on the power play this season (and have allowed
a short-handed goal), which is bad.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Jeff Howe can be reached