Struggles in Beanpot Highlight BC's Problems
by Sara Civian/CHN Reporter
BOSTON For the final 13 minutes of Monday's Beanpot consolation game, Boston College freshman Logan Hutsko was playing like someone who didn’t want his team to go without a non-conference win on the season.
But that was just 13 minutes, and there is just one Logan Hutsko.
Not even his three-goal period could finish it off for the Eagles as they fell to Harvard, 5-4, in overtime.
As unpredictable as their 2017-18 season has been — an eight-game points streak in November here, a 5-3 loss to UConn there, nary a non-league win anywhere — inconsistency has been a common denominator.
That’s showed up in the team’s perpetual struggle to play a full 60 minutes. That struggle was on display as the Eagles finished fourth in the Beanpot for the second consecutive year.
"Every coach talks about playing 60 minutes, sometimes you have to play 65 minutes," BC coach Jerry York said. "I think we just have to keep getting better, so we can play longer at a higher tempo."
Still, inconsistency beats consistently underperforming.
The team has proved capable of greatness in flashes and bounce-back efforts. Take sophomore goaltender Joe Woll’s performance against rival Boston University in December: Seven goals against one night, 4-1 bounce back despite his team’s 30-12 shot deficit the next.
"I think you go into each game with the same mindset. As the game got a little out of hand last night, I didn't play as well as I could have," Woll said in December. "I made it a point to show up tonight and play a full 60 minutes and give my team a chance to win."
As York said, it’s a team that "just has to keep getting better," and it can actually do that because of its youth factor.
The Eagles’ top four scorers — Hutsko, David Cotton, Julius Mattila and Graham McPhee — are all underclassmen. In fact, the only senior on the team is Michigan transfer and captain Kevin Lohan, who just returned to the lineup after an "unprovoked attack" at a downtown Domino's left him needing jaw surgery Jan. 21.
He might be down 12 lbs., but his return is crucial down the stretch with BC clinging to a one-game lead in Hockey East.
"Right after the injury I thought no way he’s gonna go back and play," York said, "...but now he got full clearance. He’s a person on defense who we don’t have — big, strong, stay-at-home type of defenseman — and it’s going to be really good for us."
Boston College still leads Hockey East with 28 points, but, with the dominant NCHC, the emergence of the Big Ten, and a strong ECAC showing, that doesn’t hold as much weight as it once did. Give the youth movement some time and the consistency will come, but what’s next for the Eagles this season?
They currently sit at No. 23 in the Pairwise, with games at Massachusetts and Maine and a home series against Maine to finish the regular season.
While an NCAA tournament berth isn’t completely out of the question, it is contingent on far too many unlikely scenarios for comfort.
Realistically, even if they win their last four, they’ll have to win the Hockey East Tournament to secure a trip to the NCAA Tournament. That’s certainly possible for the Hockey East leaders, but BC's overall struggles against quality opponents has made a conference postseason title the only viable path to the national field of 16.
They’ll need to string together all the three-goal periods, the Woll bounce-back efforts and their last games with Lohan into a full 60 minutes — or even 65 — if they want to call this season a success.