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Boston College hockey failed to live up to expectations in 2013

Boston College's hockey program is on a pedestal all by itself. The Eagles are winners of three of the last five NCAA Championships and have won countless trophies since Jerry York took over. Expectations are different in Chestnut Hill than they are elsewhere.

Boston College coaches didn't have a chance to celebrate a trophy in March or April this season.
Boston College coaches didn't have a chance to celebrate a trophy in March or April this season.
Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

For the first time since 2009 Boston College failed to win a Hockey East Regular Season or Tournament Championship or an NCAA Championship. The group of seniors led by Pat Mullane, Patrick Wey and Steven Whitney played their final game in an Eagles uniform Saturday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI. It was a game they'd surely like to forget. They saw their college careers come to an end in an ugly 5-1 loss to Union.

The senior class that would have included Brian Dumoulin and Chris Kreider had they had not left school early, finishes their BC career with a record of 114-40-9. That is a whopping 74 games over .500. This senior class made the NCAA Tournament all four years, winning two NCAA Championships in 2010 and 2012, won the Hockey East Regular Season Championship in 2011 and 2012, won the Hockey East Tournament Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and won the Beanpot each year.

Not too shabby. Why then did the Eagles fall short of their lofty goals this season?

Boston College had a very young team in terms of age. The Eagles might have lacked some of the maturity some of the past Jerry York teams had. BC took some untimely penalties, especially down the stretch, and seemed to lack the killer instinct or urgency that made so many of the previous teams unstoppable in March and April.

From the beginning of the season BC had two scoring lines and not much help after those lines. Johnny Gaudreau, Steven Whitney, Pat Mullane, Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes were five of the best forwards in college hockey, but for long stretches the third and fourth lines didn't contribute offensively. Then Kevin Hayes went down with an injury and the depth up front became more of an issue.

The defense was extremely young with the exception of Patrick Wey and Patch Alber. Wey was named the Best Defensive Defenseman in Hockey East. At BC's expense Alber was lost for much of the season with an injury. Freshman Michael Matheson was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. However, once injuries piled up, there were blue liners who were pressed into action that should have been in the stands as well as players logging way too many minutes.

Senior goaltender Parker Milner was a good college goaltender, but he wasn't great. He had stretches where he looked great, and that was largely the result of a superior team playing in front of him. This is not to take away from the Pittsburgh native's ability. He just wasn't the type of goaltender who was going to steal victories. Unfortunately for the Eagles coaching staff, that was the type of goaltender they needed this season.

Most programs in college hockey would gladly take 22 wins. While most BC fans will remember the year as a disappointment, Jerry York and company will be back to win again and have some potentially great new players set to enter the BC hockey ranks. The Eagles have the most highly sought after goaltending recruit in the country, Thatcher Demko, coming in the fall. The San Diego, Calif. native plays for the US National Development Team. Defensive recruit Ian McCoshen has 40 points as a '95 playing in the USHL for the Waterloo Blackhawks. Defensemen Scott Savage and Steve Santini are both products of the US National Development Program as well. Evan Richardson out of the British Columbia Hockey League, USHL scoring machine Austin Cangelosi and local product Ryan Fitzgerald are three forwards that should contribute to the offense when BC takes the ice in October.

However, Jerry York's biggest recruiting pitch over the summer might be to keep Johnny Gaudreau and Michael Matheson in school at The Heights.

Jeff Cox covers college hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.