CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – There’s a buzz going around The Heights as Clemson makes the trip north to faceoff against Boston College.
The last time a big-time contest between the Tigers and Eagles took place, it was 2018 when the Clemson football team took down BC, 27-7, on its way to a national title.
Is this Tigers outfit on the same trajectory?
Like most teams, they’ll rely on a bunch of gritty seniors to carry the load.
The most unsung member of that group is defenseman Brendan Cronin. A Baltimore product, Cronin often found himself in the second tier of the long pole depth chart, but his presence was invaluable.
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He was the vice president of the program in 2019 and the president this spring, and the Tigers never missed a conference or MCLA due date and the travel arrangements were seamless. He also earned the Patch/Matusek Team Service Award.
While he didn’t get the time of other unsung heroes like T.J. Gleason, Cronin made the most of his opportunities when he saw the field and was always supportive of his teammates.
“Brendan was never a starter, but he was always at practice and always pushed the guys in front of him,” said Clemson coach Buff Grubb. “His career stats are modest, but Brendan never pouted when new talent came in and displaced him. His attitude and the respect his teammates had for him were evident in his election as a team captain in 2020.”
Leading the way on the Boston College sidelines is senior who holds the highest honor that can be bestowed on an Eagles player.
“Every year we select an individual to wear his number who the team feels carries on Welles' legacy of selflessness, dedication, service and courage,” said Boston College coach Patrick Stanton. “Mike was chosen unanimously.”
Connell doesn’t have a ton of numbers – one assist and a couple handfuls of ground balls – during his career, but the proof is on the film and the lack of numbers on the other team’s stat sheet.
“Mike is pure grit,” said Stanton. “Everything he does he does to the utmost of his ability. Mike is the kind of player who shows up to practice every day determined to get better and it showed come game time.”
The outcome of this game will be fascinating.
No. 11 Boston College knocked off No. 22 Dominican in the first round before following it up with a narrow win over No. 27 Southern Methodist.
The Eagles haven’t run into a student body the size of the Tigers.
No. 19 Clemson took down No. 14 Oregon in the first round and followed that up with a close win over No. 3 Liberty in the second.
Who is ready for a three-day Twitter grind for a ticket to the semifinals?