Boston College ready to start late-season roll
Wednesday, 02.08.2012 / 11:25 AM / On Campus
By Michael Blinn - NHL.com Staff Writer
Boston College (17-10-1) at Vermont (5-21-1)
Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Boston College: Just like death and taxes, it's a guarantee that Boston College will ice a top-flight hockey team. They opened the season with an impressive romp at the Ice Breaker tournament, taking home the title there, and despite a loss against Denver, the Eagles didn't miss a beat, winning their next six. They've racked up non-conference wins over Michigan State, North Dakota, Yale and Michigan Tech along the way, but their biggest challenge has come in Hockey East play. Rival Boston University and resurgent Maine have proved to be the biggest challenge for BC, as they've both taken two of three in their regular season series, though the Eagles have swept New Hampshire and Northeastern, and won series with Lowell and Massachusetts. A win over Vermont would ensure that BC won't be swept in league play this season, though the Eagles' first-round win in the Beanpot (which counts as non-conference play) -- a 7-1 beatdown of Northeastern -- could set them up for failure if they get caught looking ahead to the tournament's championship game against BU on Monday.
NCAA Hockey on NBC Sports Network
- Boston College @ Vermont, Feb. 10, 7:00 PM
- Minnesota @ Denver, Feb. 10, 7:30 PM
- Dartmouth @ Yale, Feb. 17, 7:00 PM
- Boston U @ Vermont, Feb. 24, 7:00 PM
- North Dakota @ Denver, Feb. 24, 7:30 PM
- Denver @ Neb-Omaha, Mar. 2, 7:30 PM
Vermont: To say it's been a rough year in Burlington, Vermont is an understatement. The Catamounts are mired in a six-game winless streak, the third time this season they've dropped at least four in a row. It's a given that playing in Hockey East is a tough proposition, and this season is no different. Weekend sweeps by Merrimack, Providence, Maine, Northeastern, and Lowell have shown just how deep the league is, much to Vermont's detriment. To its credit, however, is three of its five wins have come against ranked opponents in Minnesota, Ferris State, and Lowell -- which could mean big things as five of Vermont's remaining seven games are against top-five teams, including three against Boston College. Their postseason hopes are slim, but the Catamounts could cause problems as the regular season begins to wrap.
INTRODUCTION TO STATISTICS:
When talking about the Eagles' scorers, it's easy to get started, but difficult to know where to end. The team features five players with double-digit goal totals, and 10 with 15-plus points. Leading the way is junior Chris Kreider (16 goals, 30 points), who has already surpassed his career highs across the board. Joining the Rangers' draft pick is senior Barry Almeida (17 goals, 26 points), whose goal total is more than double his previous career best, and he comes into Friday riding a five-game points streak that has seen him put up 7 goals and 2 assists. Sophomore Bill Arnold (12 goals, 23 point) has seen his production tail off after a torrid start, though he remains as dangerous as ever. Steven Whitney (12 goals, 23 points) has put up 10 goals in his third year after registering totals of 7 and 6 in his first two seasons. Freshman Johnny Gadreau (11 goals, 21 points) has been a huge addition to the Eagles, only twice going more than two games without registering a point. Defensively, senior Tommy Cross (3 goals, 14 points) and junior Brian Dumoulin (4 goals, 22 points) lead what might be the best defensive core in the nation -- something goalies Parker Milner (13-5-0, 2.32 goals-against average) and Brian Billet have enjoyed seeing in front of them. As a junior, Milner has given way to the freshman Billet (3-4-1, 2.66 GAA) in recent weeks, a competition that can only pay off for BC.
The Catamounts are hoping that the return of Connor Brickley (8 goals, 10 points) can provide a spark down the home stretch. The sophomore forward was a focal point of the Vermont offense before getting injured early on at the World Juniors; his first two games at Lowell last weekend went a long way in shaking off some rust. Sebastien Stalberg (11 goals, 28 points) has taken a leap during his junior year, establishing a career high in goals and points, while his 6 power-play goals certify his as an offensive threat. Kyle Reynolds (10 goals, 21 points) ranks among Hockey East's top rookie scorers, and he's one of three first-year players with a double-digit goal total. Senior defenseman Drew MacKenzie (6 goals, 20 points) has developed into a minute-eating, all-situation leader, and is one of the top-scoring defensemen in the league. Sophomore d-man Nick Bruneteau (2 goals, 16 points) comes in with a four-game point scoring streak, while first-year forward Colin Markison (5 goals, 12 points) has been a revelation in the second half for the Catamounts. Rob Madore (4-15-1, 3.75 GAA) has struggled in net this season, though he's capable of putting together runs in which he's unbeatable -- does the senior have a last one left in the tank?
Leaders: Boston College Eagles Leaders: Vermont Catamounts Chris Kreider - 28GP-16G-14A-30Pts Sebastian Stalberg - 27GP-11G-17A-28Pts Barry Almeida - 28GP-17G-9A-26Pts Kyle Reynolds - 27GP-10G-11A-21Pts Bill Arnold - 26GP-12G-11A-23Pts Drew MacKenzie - 25GP-6G-14A-20Pts Steven Whitney - 28GP-10G-13A-23Pt Nick Bruneteau - 27GP-2G-14A-16Pts Pat Mullane - 28GP-3G-20A-23Pts Colin Markison - 27GP05G-7A-12Pts Parker Milner - 13-5-0, 2.32 GAA, .906 SV% Rob Madore - 4-15-1, 3.75 GAA, .873 SV%
Boston College Eagles Vermont Catamounts Coach: Jerry York (897-557-94) Coach: Kevin Sneddon (185-248-65) Record: 117-10-1 (12-7-1 HEA) Record: 5-21-1 (2-17-1 HEA) PP: 19.4% (26th) / PK: 86.5% (7th) PP: 17.6% (36th) / PK: 68.3% (58th) Drafted: Tommy Cross (BOS), Brian Dumoulin (CAR), Isaac MacLeod (SJS), Patrick Wey (WSH), Bill Arnold (CGY), Paul Carey (COL), Johnny Gadreau (CGY), Kevin Hayes (CHI), Chris Kreider (NYR) Drafted: Nick Luukko (PHI), Drew MacKenzie (BUF), Michael Paliotta (CHI), Connor Brickley (FLA), Matt Marshall (TBL), Brett Bruneteau (WSH)
"He's got size, strength, speed, and he can really shoot a puck. His speed is so exceptional and there aren't too many guys like him that can do all of that, but he's got that quick release. ... Any time he's been given an opportunity to be 'the guy' he has excelled." -- Jeff Gorton, Rangers assistant GM on team prospect Chris Kreider of BC
"I definitely wanted him to come here. I know [Matt] wanted him to go there, so it was a pretty funny deal. I was just happy to get [Brett] and add one. He comes from a team that's won before. He's brings an older presence that can help the guys mature a little bit, while adding some offense on the ice, too." -- Catatmounts defenseman Nick Bruneteau on getting brother Brett, a Capitals' draft pick, to transfer to Vermont from North Dakota instead of Lake Superior State with the third Bruenteau brother, Matt.
NHL connections: Blackhawks fans will get to see the next generation in this game; Vermont's Sebastian Stalberg is the younger brother of Viktor, while Kevin Hayes followed in his brother Kevin's footsteps at BC. Catamounts forward Connor Brickley's cousin is former Bruin and current analyst Andy Brickley. And the Bruneteau brothers -- sophomore defenseman Nick and junior forward Brett -- have grandfather Ed and great uncle Modere, who are former Detroit Red Wings. Eagles senior forward Tommy Atkinson's older brother Cam is a Blue Jackets' prospect. ... Trophy Case: BC's Bill Arnold and Chris Kreider, and UVM's Sebastien Stalberg and Nick Bruneteau have taken home Atheltica Republic Player of the Week, while Arnold also has monthly honors this season. Freshmen Johnny Gadreau (BC) and Kyle Reynolds (UVM) have each earned weekly and monthly Pro Ambitions Rookie awards while Catamount Colin Markison has also been Rookie of the Week. Eagles goalie Brian Billet was the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for November 28th. ... Tale of the Tape: Boston College's Gadreau and Mark Begert are among the NCAA's youngest players, along with Vermont's Michael Paliotta, whose teammate Brett Leonard is the fourth-oldest player in college hockey.