• All season long, throughout Boston College's struggles, one repeated storyline has been the downturn in production from forwards Joe Whitney, Ben Smith, and Benn Ferriero. Last weekend, as if on cue, those three players fueled the Eagles' two-game sweep of the Maine Black Bears.
In Saturday's game, a 6-3 BC win, Ferriero opened the scoring with a breakaway goal at 4:09 of the first period. Whitney added a goal and an assist, while Smith contributed an assist on Barry Almeida's 2nd period power play goal. On Sunday, Whitney had a goal and Smith and Ferriero each picked up an assist en route to BC's 4-1 victory.
"Those three young guys who have been snake bit all year," said head coach Jerry York. "They're working hard out there, but we needed more from them on the scoreboard. They got the monkey off their back this weekend and we expect continued scoring from those guys the rest of the season."
• Another factor in BC's ten goal explosion over the weekend was shifting of the scoring lines – notably, the pairing of speedy freshmen Cam Atkinson and Almeida around the veteran Smith. Almeida had two goals on the weekend, including a memorable tic-tac-toe play from Smith and defenseman Tim Filangieri on a 3-on-1.
"I like the way our lines have coordinated," York said. "They've got some good chemistry, and they're cycling pucks better. "
"We need to be a tough team to play against, offensively. I always tell the guys that we don't want a ‘microwave offense,' where you get one chance and it's over. We want rebounds, we want to keep the puck alive, we want to win loose pucks."
• Freshman defenseman Malcolm Lyles made his first two starts of the season over the weekend, replacing the scratched Carl Sneep and Anthony Aiello, and received high marks from York.
"Lyles is playing well, and he had been playing well in practice," York said. "He's done enough where he'll keep on going from here."
"I found out about it during practice on Friday," Lyles said. "I was more surprised than excited, because I wasn't really expecting it."
As for his role, Lyles said that York emphasized moving the puck and being sound positionally. Lyles was praised by York for his quickness and ability with the puck at his stick.
"It wasn't as rough a transition [as I thought it might be]," said Lyles, whose previous experience at the college level only included exhibition games against the University of New Brunswick. "The opponents were bigger and stronger, which was an eye opener, but it wasn't necessarily too fast. It was a learning experience, but I think I was able to adapt pretty well."
• The Eagles, now 11-8-3 (7-7-3 Hockey East), continue with Hockey East play on Friday night at Providence College before taking on Northeastern in the Beanpot on Monday night. The Friars are 6-14-2 this season, but four of their wins have come in the past 7 games as PC went on a 4-0-1 stretch after suffering through an 11-game winless streak.
"They had a goaltender come in during the second semester, and he's played really well for them, and that's helped them battle back this season," said York, speaking of freshman goaltender Alex Beaudry, who is 3-2-1 with a .916 save percentage.
"They're a good skating team, and they'll definitely attack us," said York. "They are always an aggressive team. That's also a good rivalry that we have with them. Usually they have a lot of fans come out when they play against us, so they should be ready to go. This is a really important game for us, with a lot of implications for the Hockey East standings and the Pairwise rankings."
• Speaking of those rankings, the Eagles are perched in 12th place in the USCHO PWR – perilously close to the bubble, but two spots better than where they were at this time last week. York was not looking to engage in coachspeak when talking about the importance of the rankings.
"Of course we're very conscious of the pairwise rankings. We're obviously on the bubble right now," he said. "But we don't worry about things we can't control. We do know that the way to get ourselves off the bubble is to win some hockey games."
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