Hockey East Scouting Report: BC v. UMass (11/27/2020)

By: Caroline Fernandez and Joe Pohoryles

Want more hockey? We’ve got more hockey! The Boston College Eagles (1-0-0) began their season with a 4-3 win against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (1-1-1).

Here are some of the takeaways from the game:

Worth noting is that Boston College sophomore forward and team leader Alex Newhook won’t be joining the Eagles until January, as he prepares for the World Junior Championships with Team Canada.

BC lost a ton of talent on the blue line

The Eagles graduated 12 seniors last season, losing half of their defensive unit. Jesper Mattila, Connor Moore, Luke McInnis, and Ben Finkelstein combined for 49 points altogether, with only one other upperclassman, Michael Karow, and three first year players returning to the Conte Forum blue line.

Now sophomore Marshall Warren will lead the Eagle’s defense with 11 points, joined by four freshmen, most notably Eamon Powell.

All eyes are on BC freshmen Colby Ambrosio and Eamon Powell

The Colorado Avalanche fourth round draft pick remains a top prospect for the Eagles and his shifts tonight proved it. Although he had no goals to show for game one, Ambrosio rode the second line alongside Mike Hardman and Matt Boldy, who would both go on to score in the second period. With one scoring chance in the third, Ambrosio is looking like a dynamic forward with a playing style comparable to that of senior forward Logan Hutsko.

Eamon Powell demonstrated his puck control tonight, passing with composure and earning his first two collegiate assists as well. 

UMass continues to commit penalties

UMass entered tonight’s game with 12 penalties on the season, and they added four more in the first 22 minutes against BC. Despite the constant trips to the sin bin, it hasn’t cost the Minutemen too much yet. They were 12/12 entering tonight and nearly went 16/16 but BC scored their second goal of the game with just seconds left on UMass’s fourth PK of the game.

Mike Hardman managed to score a shorthanded goal earlier in the kill, so the UMass penalty kill plus/minus is still zero. The UMass PK has done well so far on special teams, but if they continue committing penalties at this rate, it will come back to bite them in the future.

McBain inflicts pain 

Jack McBain scored six goals last season, but he put on a clinic against the Minutemen tonight, scoring two crucial goals. The first can be credited to great stick-handling from Logan Hutsko, followed by a strong finish from McBain, but the junior forward did it all himself on the second goal of the night to put BC up 3-1, displaying great and a quick release.

BC lost some of its biggest producers from last year, and will be without Newhook for a stretch, so players like McBain taking a step up from last season will be huge for the Eagles. 

Minutemen firing on all cylinders

While most programs rely on their top two lines for the brunt of their offensive output, UMass has proven their depth by getting all four lines involved. 

The top two lines were responsible for all three goals, highlighted by freshman center Josh Lopina, who netted two goals in the final five minutes of the second period.

These two sides are as great as advertised

Both BC and UMass are ranked top 10 nationally, and this back-and-forth excitement is evidence that these two teams are the best in Hockey East. We obviously have not seen every Hockey East team play this season, but UMass and BC remain the teams to beat.