Gaudreau, Arnold & Boston College heading into playoffs with plenty of support
CALGARY, AB -- There really isn't any question about which team houses the NCAA's most dominant line this season and Flames fans should be thrilled with their success.
Since being placed on a line together, Calgary prospects Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold and Chicago Blackhawks first rounder Kevin Hayes have combined for an incredible 94 points in the last 19 games and at least one of them have scored in 17 of those games.
Gaudreau, who is riding a 28-game point streak, has scored 29 goals and 63 points in 33 games while Arnold has accrued 12 goals and 44 points in the same span.
The Eagles have not lost in 19 games (17-0-2), matching the longest unbeaten streak in head coach Jerry York's era. The stretch has earned them the Hockey East title, it's third title in the last four seasons.
Their performance - both as individuals and as a line - has led to plenty of buzz both in terms of the Hockey East playoffs and the Hobey Baker race. Gaudreau and Arnold were two of the four Flames prospects named to the first Hobey Baker nominee list and while the former has been the center of attention in that regard, Arnold should not be ignored.
Boston College alumnus Grant Salzano has been with BC Interruption, an Eagles community that covers all sports, since 2010. He has covered Arnold's progression throughout his collegiate career and raves about the pivot.
"Arnold has incredible support on campus and around the fan base as possibly the most well-rounded player on the team," Salzano told CalgaryFlames.com in an email. "He has about a billion assists, has a scorer's touch, is more than responsible in his own end, and the second anyone gives Gaudreau an unnecessary chop, he's right there letting the guy know that that's not going to be tolerated. I'm struggling to come up with a weakness in his game."
In addition to media buzz surrounding the pair and the Eagles, the team has the unwavering support of BC faithful behind them as they prepare for the Hockey East playoffs.
"Success obviously breeds support, and we've had plenty of that," Salzano said. "Students would come out and support the team here and there in my early college years and it steadily grew year over year. The student section used to just be the 4 sections behind each net. Now is the sections behind the nets plus half of the entire upper deck.
"There's tremendous, tremendous pride in the program as a whole, and it starts from the top. Head Coach Jerry York is revered here at BC like you wouldn't believe, and not just because of the trophies. He has built the Boston College hockey program into one that stresses excellence in everything, not just hockey."
While the team is pleased with what has transpired thus far, the ultimate goal is still winning the NCAA Championship at the Frozen Four, which is being held in Philadelphia on Apr. 10-12.
"We have definitely had a solid year," Gaudreau told NCAA.com. "We just need to keep it going. Hopefully, we can keep winning and get to Philadelphia and turn it into an incredible season."
The Hockey East playoffs start on Mar. 7 with the 6th through 11th seeded teams facing off in single elimination games. Boston College jumps into the mix in the quarter-finals, which begin on Mar. 14. Flames prospects Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski, and John Gilmour should also be in the mix with Providence College, who are currently 5th in Hockey East.