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On the rise

After a historic season, BC Baseball is focused on the road ahead


Athletics & Recreation /

Sports


– Published on June 24, 2016

Photo above: Eric Espada | All photos courtesy of BC Athletics

The reward for success, the saying goes, is often more work. So it is for Boston College head baseball coach Mike Gambino ’99, who led the Eagles to a historic season in 2016 that ended one game shy of the College World Series.

Just a few days removed from BC’s 9-4 loss to Miami on June 12 in the deciding game of the NCAA Tournament “Super Regional,” Gambino was at his Conte Forum office formulating plans for scouting and recruiting future Eagles. June is tournament time for high school baseball, too, and Gambino and his assistants wanted to be sure they had an opportunity to view promising players at the height of competition.

“After the Miami game, we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, we haven’t recruited in the last three weeks,’” said Gambino, who has headed BC baseball for six years. “Obviously, our focus was on preparing for the ACC and NCAA tournaments, and there’s only so much time you can spend on other things. It’s a great problem to have.”

As far as Gambino is concerned, it’s a problem he wants to have every year. He is determined to have BC be regarded as a team that can compete, and win, against the best—not just in the Northeast, or the ACC, but in the country. So while Gambino is able and willing to find satisfaction in the accomplishments of 2016, he knows his time is best spent building toward 2017, and beyond.

“To me, it was an unbelievable year,” said Gambino. “I am so proud of this team, and the way they represented not just the baseball program, but Boston College itself as an institution. I’ve always believed this is where this program could be, where we have a chance to go to the College World Series every season. I want that to be part of our conversation each year.

BC baseball tean

“On the flip side, I don’t want us to take it for granted: I want these guys to feel the excitement about playing in the tournament, and also to understand how hard it is to get there.”

Gambino said the Eagles benefited from having an assortment of players who showed different kinds of leadership, beginning with co-captains Joe Cronin ’16 and Nick Sciortino ’17. “Nick is in the mold of the fiery leader, while Joe is more even-keeled. Then you had somebody like Johnny Adams ’17, who does things quietly, or Mitch Bigras ’18, who keeps everyone loose. Justin Dunn ’17 is somebody who inspires by showing you how much he cares. Bobby Skogsbergh ’17 and Donovan Casey ’18 are another example of two guys with different personalities who, when you put them together, make a difference.

“What it came down to, though, was everyone—whatever their personality or style—put the team first. When you have that kind of leadership, it’s easier to follow.”

“I was proud to be part of the team that brought BC baseball back in the limelight,” said Cronin, who was signed by the Minnesota Twins and was one of five BC players selected in the recent Major League Baseball Draft. “It was a whole lot of fun to extend my time—I got my diploma on May 23 but we were still playing almost three weeks later—and to be with these guys a little longer.”

Baseball is famously depicted as a game awash in factoids and statistics, so there are ample indicators of how meaningful 2016 was for the Eagles. Start with how close they came to going to the World Series: It would’ve been their fifth time overall, but first since 1967—since then, the NCAA has changed the play-off format, expanding the field of teams and number of rounds.

BC’s 35 wins (against 22 losses) were its most since the 37 in 2005, and the Eagles’ 8-0 start was the best in program history. BC also fared respectably against the country’s best baseball teams, going 11-11 against those ranked in the top 25 and 5-5 against top-10 squads. Playing in the ACC, acknowledged as one of the toughest conferences in college baseball, BC achieved its first ranking in a major poll (at 20th) prior to the Super Regional.

Numbers only tell part of the story, though. Particularly in the ACC, BC consistently faces teams that have superior facilities and resources, not to mention better weather—the Eagles (along with many other schools from wintry climes) have to play on the road the first several weeks of the season, which begins in February; their first 2016 home game at Shea Field didn’t come until March 29.

“All the reasons people say we can’t win in the tournament are, to me, the reasons we can,” said Gambino. “Playing away from home, with the crowd usually cheering against you? This is what those first weeks of the season are like for us.”

That’s why Gambino has a very specific set of criteria for the players he wants to recruit. "It’s not just finding the best player,” he said, “but the right player.”

BC Baseball players

That person will not be just an elite baseball player, but an elite student (under Gambino, BC baseball’s overall GPA has risen, five Eagles have made it to the All-ACC Academic Baseball Team, and 46 to the ACC Academic Honor Roll). He also looks at a player’s character (“Character wins”) and toughness—“enough to handle everything that’s thrown at them, on or off the baseball field.”

Gambino added, “Making our alumni and former players proud of BC baseball is extremely important to me. We take pride in the program for how it represents Boston College and serves the University’s Jesuit mission.”

Sizing up the team during its first few weeks of practice last fall, Gambino felt it had qualities enough to improve on the 2015 squad that had fallen a little short of postseason play: not only good pitching, a line-up with depth, and batters who made opposing pitchers work hard to get them out, but an esprit de corps that gave the team a strong, emotional connective tissue.

“The culture and chemistry in our clubhouse is very special,” said Gambino. “We talk about being a family, a brotherhood—especially with our team chaplain, [School of Theology and Ministry student] Chris Calderon, S.J.—and what it takes to make that happen. We don’t have to create any fake scenarios to show that part of ourselves, we work at it and take care of it.”

And then there is the presence of Pete Frates ’07, the director of baseball operations, whose determination to lead a life enriched by family and baseball while enduring the ravages of ALS has become a national story. The progression of the disease has made it all but impossible for Frates to attend more than a few games, yet he is constantly in touch with the team by social media or other electronic communications.

BC Baseball team with 'Team Frate Train' banner

“Pete is an inspiration to all of us, plain and simple,” said Gambino. “He puts everything in perspective for us, especially the players: How can you not be impressed and moved by his example?

“Of course, Pete’s story received a lot of attention in the media because of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is great. But for us, Pete is simply an everyday part of who we are and what we do.”

“Everything we talk about—being a family, pulling together for one another—is modeled on Pete,” said Cronin. “He’s like a brother to us.”

Working with Frates, and coaching players like Cronin, are two of the many reasons Gambino feels he made the right choice to return to the Heights.

“I feel so lucky to be a part of this University; my respect and love for BC continues to grow. It’s tough, I suppose, when your job and your passion are the same thing: I take the losses much harder, because I want to represent this school in the best way possible.

“If I get too passionate sometimes, it’s because I truly believe progress can be made.”

—Sean Smith, News & Public Affairs

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Name State School Class Pos. Commitment
Ryan Abel CTTaconic/Cheshire Academy20173B Stonehill College
Aidan Abernathy MACentral Catholic 20183B Worcester State College
Jeremiah Adams MATabor Academy2016C Broward College
Ryan Ahern CTNotre Dame West Haven2016LHP Salve Regina
Bryan Albee CTKillingly2017RHP Eastern Connecticut State
Dylan Albert CTXavier 2018OF Rensselaer Polytechnic
Benjamin Aleixo RIThe Wheeler School2017RHP Babson College
Drew Alexopoulos MAWhitman-Hanson20152B Eastern Connecticut State
Christian Allaire NHTimberlane Regional2018 Endicott College
Jordan Allard VTHartford2017RHP Southern New Hampshire
Benjamin Alonzo CTHaddam Killingworth20182B Massachusetts-Boston
Owen Amigo NHNashua South2017OF Endicott College
Zachary Ardito CTNotre Dame WH2016SS Hartford
Zack Aresty MAWayland2015OF Suffolk University
Reece Armitage MEFalmouth2017OF Marist
Tyler Armstrong MAGovernor Dummer Academy2017RHP Stevens Institute of Tech
David Arruda MAOld Rochester Regional2018RHP Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Nick Assad MAMedway2018RHP Southern New Hampshire
Connor Aube MEFalmouth2016OF Parkland JC
Aneesh Avancha CTChase Collegiate 20181B Brandeis University
Alex Awad MABelmont Hill2016RHP Wake Forest
Brandon Backman CTDanbury2016RHP Monroe College
Connor Bacon MAHudson20151B Boston College
JD Bailey MAGrafton 2017OF Endicott College
Daniel Baker MAReading Memorial 2018SS Saint Anselm
Rohan Balakrishna MAThe Roxbury Latin2018LHP Northwestern
Dante Baldelli RIBishop Hendricken2016OF Boston College
Kyle Ball NHExeter2017SS Stetson
Drew Barbeau CTChase Collegiate2017C Salve Regina
Philip Barnett MANoble and Greenough2017OF Williams College
Jack Barnhart-Sullivan CTBunnell2018SS West Virginia
Joey Barrett MEBridgton Academy2019SS Franklin Pierce
CJ Barrett NHNashau North2018RHP Suffolk University
Peter Barry MASt Peter Marian2017OF Le Moyne College
PJ Barry MASt Peter Marian2017OF Saint Leo
Cole Bartels MABelmont2016RHP Penn State
Raymond Bartoli CTWolcott20172B Army
Daniel Baruch RIWheeler20191B Boston College
Owen Batchelder NHSouthegan2017LHP Northeastern
Austin Batchelor MAMalden Catholic2015RHP Boston College
Michael Bean MASt. Johns Shrewsbury 2019RHP Merrimack College
Kyle Beaulieu RIWoonsocket2016C Rhode Island
Taylor Beckett MAPhillips Andover20173B Princeton
Luke Beckstein MAGroton2020SS Kansas State
Jacob Beder MANipmuc Regional 2019C Nichols College
Zach Bedryczuk CTWoodland 2019SS Southern Connecticut Stat
Nigel Belgrave MAAuburn2020RHP Maryland
Kyle Beliveau MAWorcester Tech2016LHP Jefferson CC
Ethan Belt MABishop Fenwick2019C Clark University
Colton Bender CTLyman Memorial High School2017C Quinnipiac
Luke Benoit MALawrence Academy/IMG2017OF Kentucky
Dylan Benton CTManchester2018RHP Central Connecticut State
Chris Benton CTFairfield Ludlowe2019OF Hamilton College
Ryan Benum RILaSalle Academy2019RHP Southern New Hampshire
Spencer Bergeron NHNashua North2016RHP Massachusetts-Amherst
Ethan Bernardo RITolman2018OF Dean JC
Connor Bertsch MASt Sebastians2019SS Dartmouth
Leif Bigelow VTBrattleboro Union2018RHP Connecticut
Phoenix Billings CTDaniel Hand 2020SS Connecticut
Billy Black CTWilton 2017RHP Columbia
Timmy Blaisdell CTWethersfield2018RHP Hartford
Aidan Blake MAApponequet20192B Massachusetts-Boston
Thomas Blandini NHBishop Brady2016SS Southern
Dylan Bogacz MAGreater Lowell Technical 2017LHP Keene State College
Shane Bogli CTRockville2017RHP Post University
Tyler Boisvert CTWoodland Regional 2016RHP Post University
Matthew Bonvicini CTHoly Cross20171B Connecticut
David Bordieri Jr. RIBishop Hendricken2019SS Fairleigh Dickinson
Danny Borlock MASt.Johns Prep2015RHP Holy Cross
Jake Boucher CTCheshire Academy2019SS Salem State
Sam Boudreau NHPinkerton Academy 2019C Eckerd College
Ben Bowden MALynn English2013LHP Vanderbilt
Terry Bowens Jr. CTMontville20161B Central Connecticut State
Willy Boyd MANauset2015SS Wheaton College (IL)
Joe Bramanti MACheshire Academy20161B Maine
Jeremiah Bravo CTJonathan Law 2017RHP Salve Regina
Logan Bravo MAAustin Prep2018SS Harvard
Nicholas Brenchak CTMiddletown High School2016OF Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Kyle Brennan CTSheehan2017LHP Endicott College
Alex Brickman MAWorcester Academy20163B St. Petersburg
Tyler Briggs CTNFA2018RHP Connecticut
Luke Broadhurst CTStafford2017SS Connecticut
Andrew Brooks MAMillis2018SS Worcester Polytechnic Ins
Jared Brooks MECheverus20171B Stonehill College
Colby Brouillette VTBellows Free Academy St. Albans2019C Clarkson University
Casey Brown CTDarien High School20171B Fordham
Danny Brown NHAlvirne2016SS Massachusetts-Amherst
Spencer Brown MACardigan Mountain School20183B Northern Essex CC
Braxton Brown NHWMRHS2019RHP Plymouth State
Elijah Brown RIBishop Hendricken2016SS Sacred Heart
Chris Brown CTTrumbull2019SS Connecticut
Ryan Brown MABridgton academy 2019LHP Limestone College
Javier Brown RICumberland2016C CC of Rhode Island
Kevin Bruggeman CTTrumbull2019C Hofstra
Ben Brungardt MAReading Memorial2018C Massachusetts-Amherst
Bo Brutti RISouth Kingstown2018RHP Rhode Island
John Bruzzese MAXaverian2019RHP Clark University
Noah Budzik CTCromwell2018SS New Haven
Zachary Bunker MAWestford Academy20173B Skidmore College
Sean Burke MASaint John’s 2018RHP Maryland
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Essentially, this teams that Yougnstown is extremely confident Tortora will play in the USHL in 2015-16 because if they’re wrong and Tortora decides to go play in major juniors in Canada, Youngstown wastes a first round pick in the Futures Draft. The NCAA does not consider the USHL a “pro” league and ad such, playing in it does not end NCAA eligibility.

That’s not the case for players who jump to the Canadian Hockey League, a huge fear after Tortora was drafted in the first round by the OHL’s Barrie Colts. While Tortora could still theoretically end up in Barrie, either this year in spite of the Youngstown contract, or next season in spite of the BC commitment, this news is a good sign that Tortora’s plans at least for now keep him in the United States and NCAA-eligible.


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A Local Recruiting Problem? – BC Hockey Blog

By

Joseph Gravellese

blogspot.com

The BC Hockey Blog dives into the questionable quality of the Massachusetts and New England high school leagues compared to past years, and how this may impact BC’s ability to recruit for depth. Great read.


The Kevin Hayes and Sonny Milano Affairs

A look at the decisions of two young men

By

Grant Salzano

29
comments

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  • EAGLES GOAL! McBain gives BC the lead, tucking a low wrist shot inside the left post!

    BC 2, UConn 1 | 18:34 2nd pic.twitter.com/BPo2LAY7oP

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 8, 2018



    McBain’s goal gives Eagles 2-1 lead

    By

    Steven Principi

  • EAGLES GOAL! Number 11 of the year for Cotts, redirecting a pass from Julius into the upper left corner!

    UConn 1, BC 1 | 0:16 1st pic.twitter.com/DQ0UNnVXNH

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 8, 2018



    Eagles, Huskies Tied at one after first period

    By

    Steven Principi

  • EAGLES GOAL! Cotts finds Mattila for the third BC goal of the night.

    BC 3, UConn 0 | 3:08 2nd pic.twitter.com/kLNjEK5cNY

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 7, 2018



    END 2: BC 3, UConn 0 — Better period from the Eagles with special teams leading the way

    By

    Grant Salzano

  • #EAGLES GOAL! Mattila breaks the scoreless tie late in the first period!

    BC 1, UConn 0 | 5:07 1st pic.twitter.com/O20LtPyvPM

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 7, 2018



    END 1: BC 1, UConn 0 — Eagles and Huskies play a sloppy first, but BC leads

    By

    Grant Salzano

  • espn.com



    Urban Meyer to step down after the Rose Bowl

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    21kennedyc

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Boston College Men’s Hockey Recruiting Update

By

Steven Principi

8
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8
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  • Boston College Hockey Recruiting

Incoming BC forward Eeli Tolvanen #8 among North American skaters in NHL Draft rankings

By

Laura Berestecki

Boston College Hockey Recruiting



Featured Fanshot

One Future Eagle Named to 2017 U.S. Men’s National U18 Team Roster

By

Laura Berestecki

usahockey.com

Jacob Tortora, a BC hockey commit, has been named to the 2017 U.S. Men’s National U18 Team Roster. Tortora is the only future Eagle to make the final cut.

The U18 team will compete at the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men’s World Championship from April 13-23 in Slovakia.


6 Future Eagles Named to 2017 NTDP Evaluation Camp Roster

BC and BU both have 6 recruits on the roster.

By

Laura Berestecki

1
comment

/
new


Elite recruit Jack McBain commits to Boston College Hockey

Expect another will-he-or-won’t-he CHL drama, but a huge commit for Jerry York

By

Joseph Gravellese

5
comments

/
new


Boston College Men’s Hockey Recruiting Update

Looking ahead to the 2017-18 season…

By

Laura Berestecki

10
comments

/
new


Aapeli Räsänen Commits to Boston College

Räsänen will join BC in the fall.

By

Laura Berestecki

3
comments

/
new


Alex Newhook Commits to BC

A new Canadian recruit for BC hockey!

By

Laura Berestecki


Michael Karow Commits to Boston College

The defenseman will join BC following his junior hockey career.

By

Laura Berestecki


Marc McLaughlin Commits to Play at BC

McLaughlin will join the Eagles for the 2018-19 season.

By

Laura Berestecki

1
comment

/
new


Despite OHL Draft, Eeli Tolvanen Remains Committed To BC

Eeli Tolvanen will play for USHL Sioux City this coming season, retaining his NCAA eligibility

By

SB Nation College News

1
comment

/
new


Draft Highlights a Less-Heralded Recruiting Class For BC Hockey

Eagles’ first pick this weekend didn’t come until the third round – a contrast from recent (and upcoming) seasons

By

Joseph Gravellese

5
comments

/
new


Ron Greco Commits to Play Hockey at Boston College

This is the hockey team’s second commitment of the day.

By

Laura Berestecki

4
comments

/
new


Eeli Tolvanen Commits to Boston College Hockey

Tolvanen is projected to be a 1st round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

By

Laura Berestecki

5
comments

/
new


Julius Mattila Commits to Play for BC Hockey

Julius will join his twin brother Jesper on next year’s squad.

By

Laura Berestecki


CT Forward Jacques Bouquot Commits To BC Hockey

BC adds to a big recruiting class with a local forward

By

Laura Berestecki

1
comment

/
new


Top Goalie Recruit Flips Commitment To BC For Fall

Edquist flipped his commitment from Minnesota to BC

By

Joseph Gravellese

7
comments

/
new


Casey Carreau Commits To Boston College Hockey

Jerry York and the Eagles land a new local commit

By

Laura B – BC Interruption


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  • For a change the BC roster will not be decimated by the World Junior Tournament

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  • Report: Urban Meyer likely out after 2019, Ryan Day lined up as successor

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Find Tickets

Boston College area events happening soon:

  • Wed
    Dec 12
    Columbia Lions @ Boston College Eagles
    7:00 PM – Silvio O. Conte Forum – Chestnut Hill, MA

    681 tickets available

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1998 Forward Mitch Martan Commits to BC

Jerry York & co. add undersized forward for 17/18 season

By

Laura B – BC Interruption


G Ian Milosz Commits to BC; May Enroll in Jan.

BC adds some depth at goaltender

By

Joseph Gravellese


’99 Recruit Logan Hutsko Commits To BC Hockey

Jerry York & co. land another elite scorer

By

Arthur Bailin

11
comments

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14-Year-Old Commits To BC Hockey, And It’s Absurd

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

By

Joseph Gravellese

22
comments

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new


3 BC Commits Named To USA Hockey Prospects Game

Annual showcase of draft-eligible talent happens next month in Buffalo

By

Joseph Gravellese

2
comments

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new



Featured Fanshot

2000-born Patrick Giles Commits to BC Hockey for 2018-2019

By

Joseph Gravellese

1
comment

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new

blogspot.com

Yes, you read that right, a kid born in 2000 committed to Boston College hockey yesterday. Patrick Giles, a 6’3” 15 year old (!!!) from Maryland, became the second youngster to commit for the 2018-2019 season, joining wunderkind T.J. Walsh.

Giles is considered one of the top players in his age group in the country, but he’s also, you know, 15, so let’s not think about this too much for now. Congrats to Patrick on the commitment and welcome to the Heights (eventually).


Jeremy Bracco Re-Affirms Commitment To BC

Highly touted freshman has confirmed he’s coming to the Heights… but we’ve heard that before.

By

Grant Salzano

8
comments

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new



Featured Fanshot

BCEagles.com Introduces New Hockey Recruit Josh Couturier

By

Laura B – BC Interruption

1
comment

/
new

bceagles.com

Defenseman Josh Couturier has signed his NLI to play hockey at BC for the 2015-16 season. BCEagles.com profiles the blueliner, who is a native of Newburyport, Mass.



Featured Fanshot

Good News On Coveted Boston College Hockey Recruit Jacob Tortora

By

Joseph Gravellese

sbncollegehockey.com

Good news: according to SB Nation College Hockey’s Jeff Cox, the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms have signed 2016-17, highly-touted BC commit Jacob Tortora to a tender. What does that mean and why is it good?

Essentially, this teams that Yougnstown is extremely confident Tortora will play in the USHL in 2015-16 because if they’re wrong and Tortora decides to go play in major juniors in Canada, Youngstown wastes a first round pick in the Futures Draft. The NCAA does not consider the USHL a “pro” league and ad such, playing in it does not end NCAA eligibility.

That’s not the case for players who jump to the Canadian Hockey League, a huge fear after Tortora was drafted in the first round by the OHL’s Barrie Colts. While Tortora could still theoretically end up in Barrie, either this year in spite of the Youngstown contract, or next season in spite of the BC commitment, this news is a good sign that Tortora’s plans at least for now keep him in the United States and NCAA-eligible.


USA U18s, With Three BC Commits, Advance to QFs

Bracco pots four points in 13-1 rout over Germany

By

Grant Salzano


BC Hockey Recruiting: Christopher Grando Commits

’98-born winger commits to the Eagles

By

Joseph Gravellese


’95 D-man Josh Couturier Commits To The Eagles

The rich get richer.

By

Brian Favat



Featured Fanshot

’95 Defenseman Josh Couturier Commits To The Eagles

By

Brian Favat

Very proud and honored to announce my commitment to play college hockey for Boston College! Thank you everyone who has supported me! #GoEags

— Josh Couturier (@JoshCouturier24) December 11, 2014


Hockey Recruiting: T.J. Walsh Commits To BC

The rich get richer.

By

Brian Favat



Featured Fanshot

A Local Recruiting Problem? – BC Hockey Blog

By

Joseph Gravellese

blogspot.com

The BC Hockey Blog dives into the questionable quality of the Massachusetts and New England high school leagues compared to past years, and how this may impact BC’s ability to recruit for depth. Great read.


The Kevin Hayes and Sonny Milano Affairs

A look at the decisions of two young men

By

Grant Salzano

29
comments

/
new


Fanshots

Most Recent

  • EAGLES GOAL! McBain gives BC the lead, tucking a low wrist shot inside the left post!

    BC 2, UConn 1 | 18:34 2nd pic.twitter.com/BPo2LAY7oP

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 8, 2018



    McBain’s goal gives Eagles 2-1 lead

    By

    Steven Principi

  • EAGLES GOAL! Number 11 of the year for Cotts, redirecting a pass from Julius into the upper left corner!

    UConn 1, BC 1 | 0:16 1st pic.twitter.com/DQ0UNnVXNH

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 8, 2018



    Eagles, Huskies Tied at one after first period

    By

    Steven Principi

  • EAGLES GOAL! Cotts finds Mattila for the third BC goal of the night.

    BC 3, UConn 0 | 3:08 2nd pic.twitter.com/kLNjEK5cNY

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 7, 2018



    END 2: BC 3, UConn 0 — Better period from the Eagles with special teams leading the way

    By

    Grant Salzano

  • #EAGLES GOAL! Mattila breaks the scoreless tie late in the first period!

    BC 1, UConn 0 | 5:07 1st pic.twitter.com/O20LtPyvPM

    — BC Hockey (@BCHockey) December 7, 2018



    END 1: BC 1, UConn 0 — Eagles and Huskies play a sloppy first, but BC leads

    By

    Grant Salzano

  • espn.com



    Urban Meyer to step down after the Rose Bowl

    By

    21kennedyc

All Fanshots

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