BC winter sports weekend

Last week, I joined five classmates (Class of 1968) for a BC winter sports weekend. One or two times a year, there is a weekend when the men’s and women’s basketball teams and men’s and women’s hockey teams all play at home. I had been a regular attendee on these weekends when I lived in New England, but this was the first such weekend for me since moving to California in 2012.

I flew in the night of Wednesday, February 7. I came in late enough to miss the snow, but not the cold rain. The next day was bitterly cold, and it helped me realize that it had been six years since I had last experienced below-freezing temperatures.

Before the women’s hockey game Friday afternoon, we had another appointment in Conte Forum. One of my classmates had read that relatively new Athletic Director Martin Jarmond liked meeting BC alumni from different eras. He sent Jarmond an email, asking if he was interested in getting together with a bunch of Golden Eagles-to-be, and the response was “Yeah!” We met briefly with Jarmond prior to the game, sharing some of our hopes for and concerns about BC athletics.

I was wearing a vintage BC jacket. After we had had a group photo taken at the end of our meeting, Jarmond noticed the back of the jacket and had a picture taken of it. Within less than an hour, he tweeted about our meeting, including the group photo and the photo of the jacket. (I wish I could say the jacket was mine from the sixties, but I had found it in the early 2000s on a rack at a vintage clothing store in Cambridge. $30.)

 

Here’s a bigger version of the group photo.

L-R: Bill McDonald, Tom Sugrue, Ken Hamberg, Martin Jarmond, Larry Kenah, Ed Hattauer, and Dan Downey.

Going into the weekend, we figured the most likely win was women’s hockey. The Eagles were ranked 3rd in the country at the time and had beaten their opponent that day, UNH, by an aggregate score of 11-1 in two previous meetings this year. It seemed almost a sure win, while the other teams faced significant challenges. UNH beat BC, 2-1. Of course.

The other teams, though, ran counter to form as well . . . but they won. Men’s hockey scored late in regulation to send the game to overtime, and then scored the game-winner with less than 7 seconds remaining in the overtime period to beat UMass Lowell, 3-2. Men’s basketball held #25 Miami scoreless over the last 6-plus minutes of the game and won, 72-70. Women’s basketball secured only their second ACC win of the season, winning handily over Pitt, 72-61. Pitt and BC are both 2-10 in the conference.

Here’s a brief (5:30) video of scenes from the basketball games and men’s hockey game. (Women’s hockey, despite its vaunted status nationally, does not attract fans. It seemed almost disrespectful to show the nearly empty stands and absence of cheering. Building fan support for one of the best examples of athletic excellence at BC is one of the issues we brought before Martin Jarmond, who recognized its importance.)

Replacement for the ‘Plex”

New Athletics Field House

If you have not been to campus lately, there is significant construction going on. (I wonder if there is any class since the fifties that has not seen “significant construction” going on at BC.) The new Connell Family Recreation Center is taking shape, where Edmond’s Hall once stood. On what was Shea Field, the new Athletics Field House, which will provide an indoor practice facility for football and other teams, is also showing its external form.

Women win Beanpot

BC’s #4-ranked women’s hockey team won its 3rd straight Beanpot Tuesday, beating BU 5-4 in overtime. Freshman Daryl Watts, leading scorer nationally, scored 2 goals, including the game-tying goal with 4:08 remaining in regulation, and was named the Beanpot Most Valuable Player. Toni Ann Miano scored the game-winning goal.

Goalie Katie Burt made 35 saves in the final, 71 in the tournament, and won the Bertagna Award as top goalie.

The men’s team repeated a rare 0-2 record in this year’s Beanpot, getting shut out, 0-3, by eventual champion Northeastern in the opening round and losing to Harvard 4-5 in Monday’s final. It was only the 8th time BC has failed to win a Beanpot game and 43 years since the Eagles have done so in consecutive years.

Freshman Logan Hutsko scored a hat trick in the 3rd period against Harvard, his last 2 goals bringing the game to overtime. Lutsko had scored 2 goals in the previous game against UMass Lowell last week.

Iced

Yankee Stadium, in football mode. Photo by Ben Solomon.

The Eagles dominated the first half of play in terms of statistics, but were unable to parlay that advantage to a win in the Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa on December 27, falling 27-20.

BC ran 40 plays in the first half, compared to Iowa’s 23, and gained 281 yards in offense, while the Hawkeyes managed only 56 yards. (Iowa did average just under 39 yards on 3 kickoff returns, providing a shorter field.) Star running back AJ Dillon himself more than doubled the Iowa offense, gaining 126 yards rushing, including a 66-yard run. But the Eagles led by only 7, 17-10, at halftime.

Both teams, obviously, played under the same field conditions, which were terrible. With temperatures in the 20s and feeling like the mid-teens, the field was frozen. Players fell when trying to cut and their feet often slipped when simply trying to start movement. Maybe it’s because one is a BC fan, but it seemed the Eagles had more trouble with the conditions.

(Major football fields exposed to the elements have heating systems that prevent freezing or use artificial material that is less effected by temperature. Yankee Stadium, built as a baseball facility, has natural grass and no heating system.)

Freshman AJ Dillon ran for 157 yards. Photo by Ben Solomon.

In the second half, BC fortunes slipped and slid. The Eagles managed only 102 yards in offense, punting on their first 3 possessions in the half and giving up a fumble and interception on two of their last three possessions. A 24-yard field goal by Colton Lichtenberg was BC’s only score in the half.

Junior tight end Tommy Sweeney had a career high 7 receptions for 137 yards and scored a touchdown. Dillon added just 31 yards to his rushing total in the second half, finishing with 157 for the game. His season total climbed to 1,589, highest ever for a BC freshman and fourth best season total in BC history.

The Eagles finished 7-6. BC’s bowl game record under Coach Steve Addazio fell to 1-3.

BC’s 2018 season opens September 1 at home against UMass, followed a week later at home against Holy Cross. The BC-Holy Cross game will be the first football game between the historic rivals since 1986.

Bundled BC fans. Photo by Ben Solomon.

More than two dozen San Diego Eagles watched the game in much more comfortable conditions than the fans above.