Pardon the Interruption
tUMD hockey OFFICIALLY officially begins on Friday, when the women take on Boston College at AMSoil. I look forward to seeing you all there. I will be attending with some friends.
My friends at BC Interruption are always keen to talk college hockey, and with our teams meeting again this weekend, my comrade Grant and I exchanged some questions and answers. You can find my answers to his questions over on their site. Hello to all 3 people who clicked through to mine.
RWD: Did you ever reveal the total money raised during Meowstern Bias? Did you actually keep that money for yourselves?
Grant: [BCI writer] Joe was handling this with his Eastern Bias podcast co-host so he has the details, but I think the final number was $507.66. And if by “for yourselves” you mean “for our own personal joy of sending money to help KITTIESSSSSSS” we certainly did!
For those of you who are unaware, Meowstern Bias was a fundraiser around the Beanpot last year where BC Interruption and the Eastern Bias podcast raised money for the Gifford Cat Shelter, the oldest no-kill cageless shelter in the United States.
For those of you also unaware, the Beanpot is a hockey tournament formed by and enjoyed by God himself, as noted in Philippians 3:14.
RWD: Why do you keep choking in the national tournament? You have an extremely long history of choking.
Grant: Listen Minnesota is REALLY GOOD okay?? Have you ever seen them play?? They’re SICK.
But we won a Frozen Four game this time so that erases all history of us ever choking in anything. Ignore that Harvard game two years ago. And all the other times we lost in the Frozen Four. And all those Hockey East championship games. That’s how it works. Hey, I don’t make the rules.
Also Hockey East has been pretty godawful most years and getting into the NCAA tournament and facing top ECAC and WCHA teams after a full season of WHEA dregs is like going up to the plate after warming up with a wiffleball bat.
And BY THE WAY, Jessica Koizumi’s goal was definitely bullcrap because Molly Schaus was definitely interfered with. Jerks.
RWD: When do you think you’ll choke this year? In the quarterfinals, semis, or national championship game?
Grant: I’m a bit bearish on BC’s chances this year, at least relative to everyone else’s expectations, although I’m not as down as I was before I started digging into the roster for season previews. I would be really surprised if BC made it all the way to the NCAA championship game this year. Getting to the Frozen Four would be a very strong measure of success for this season. So I guess I say if we have a good year we’ll “choke” against the Badgers or Gophers in the semifinals.
The thing is, even if you knew how good each team is, it’s so hard to predict how the Pairwise is going to shake out. The ECAC has about 6 teams with a legitimate chance to earn an NCAA tournament berth. Will they beat each other up to the point that only one or two are in the top 8? Will the Badgers and Gophers split wins and knock each other down from #1? Will one go undefeated and knock the other down to, say, 4th, and be forced to face each other in the semifinals? Is Hockey East so bad that BC will run the table again and back its way into #1? I mean, serious questions. It’s all a complete wild card.
All that is a long winded way of me saying that how the NCAA tournament field shakes out will determine exactly how far BC can go this year. I can’t in even the rosiest of scenarios see BC getting through both Wisconsin and Minnesota, and frankly I think BC will be fortunate if they can earn home ice in the quarterfinals.
RWD: Is it possible that [UMTC alumna] Coach Kennedy is sabotaging you?
Grant: HA – let’s be real, if BC didn’t have Coach Kennedy the last several years BC doesn’t have nearly the success they’ve been able to put together. She’s a huge part of our recruiting.
I have to be honest, when the UMD job opened up, I was certain that Coach Kennedy was going to leave BC and take that job. I think she’s easily the top assistant coach in all of women’s hockey. She’s actually our associate head coach now – her and Coach Crowley are almost co-heads at this point. I’m so glad she didn’t leave.
Grant: Nah, we’re going to be fine. We didn’t get enough credit for how deep we were last year. Last year we had THIRTEEN of the top 100 in scoring. Hell, BC has 8 players in the top 70 of returning scorers – and that was with the superline double shifting for half the game last year. It was a testament to just how good Skarupa and Carpenter were that people didn’t realize how many people were scoring points. To top it all off, we have a solid freshman class, including one player who is going to win a Kaz before she leaves.
Also, we have one hell of a defensive corps. We held the NWHL champion Boston Pride to 25 shots last week.
RWD: Do you ever wish you were in a real league with actual competition?
Grant: Yes, although with North Dakota and Bemidji almost certainly taking a massive step back, there’s going to be a whole lot of crap at the bottom of the WCHA this season. Welcome to our world.
Seriously though, I really wish the bottom of Hockey East would get its ish together. Half our games are glorified exhibitions. Things will be more competitive this year with us being brought back to the pack a bit, though.
RWD: Do you think Boston is supersaturated with options for women’s hockey fans? Has BC noticed any drop or increase in attendance/fan engagement since women’s professional hockey came to town?
Grant: Boston is supersaturated with options for sports fans, let alone women’s hockey fans. All we ever hear about regarding football and hockey attendance is “oh, it’s a pro sports town, BC will never be a real player in the world of Boston sports.”
For women’s hockey attendance, I think it’s just a cultural east/midwest thing more than it’s a “there’s so much to do, no one’s going to go to women’s hockey games” thing. People aren’t exactly packing the rinks anywhere out east, although I will grant you that the schools in the middle of nowhere (hello, Dartmouth and RIT) definitely punch above their weight.
BC’s attendance has picked up considerably the last two years in particular (yes, 434 people per game is “considerably” – we were pretty thrilled with attendance last year), but being honest here, I doubt that had anything to do whatsoever with the CWHL/NWHL and everything to do with the fact that the team was trying to go undefeated, in the news, and that people actually knew they existed.
RWD: Why can’t you people pronounce consonants correctly?
Grant: Look at this map. Look at it. Don’t come around here talking linguistic trash when you have this nonsense looming over you like a black cloud.
RWD: Will you be sending any envoys to Duluth this weekend?
Grant: Is there even a road that goes up there or can you rent sled dogs from Minneapolis?
Actually according to my google searches, you guys have an actual airport. That’s amazing. And it’s such a cute wittle airport! First I was like “Duluth International Airport?” But then I realized that the short hop to Minneapolis is technically international because you’re, you know, Canadian.
Anyway nah, I don’t know of anyone other than, like, parents, who are going to make the trip. I’d love to go, but that’s a $500 battle with the Mrs. that I would most definitely not win.
RWD: What is your prediction for this weekend?
Grant: Duluth played us as tough as anyone last year, and they were a young team with a new coach. I don’t have a good feeling about BC coming out of The Great White North with a sweep. Duluth is playing at home, they’re a year more experienced, they have a full year under the new coach… and this all spells trouble for BC. The gap has closed.
I realize Duluth was well under .500 last year, but I’m pretty certain they’re going to take a big step forward and be the #3 team in the WCHA this year. I do think Duluth wins one of these games and BC stumbles out of the blocks with a split. I’ll call it 2-1 UMD and 2-0 BC.
I do think we’re going to learn a ton about both of our teams right off the bat, though. So that’ll be good for setting expectations the rest of the year.
Thanks for the fun interview, Grant! Your team sucks!