ST. LOUIS — Thanks to a Brock Bradford power-play goal, Boston College is clinging to a 1-0 lead over Michigan State heading into the third period of the national championship game.
The goal came at 6:50 of the second period when Nathan Gerbe battled two defenders in the corner and forced a turnover to Bradford’s stick. The sophomore winger fired a quick shot that surprised Michigan State goaltender Jeff Lerg, hitting off his shoulder on the way to the top corner.
The goal is the only blemish in what has been an entertaining goaltending battle between Lerg and BC netminder Cory Schneider. Each has been forced to make some stellar saves, most coming on the power play. Michigan State is 0-for-4 with the man advantage while the Eagles are 1-for-3.
In the opening period, BC held a 13-6 advantage in shots, and the 5-foot-6 Lerg made a number of diving stops including a highlight-reel save with five minutes remaining. After Matt Greene put a low shot on net, it appeared Pat Gannon had a wide-open net on which to score. Lerg, though, reached behind with his goal stick and picked Gannon’s shot off the goal line.
His counterpart, Schneider, was forced to make just six stops in the first but was the busier of the two goaltenders in the second. During a Spartan power play at the midway point of the frame, Schneider made an incredible kick save and then stopped back-to-back-to-back shots during a mad scramble in front with five minutes remaining.
A hush came over the record crowd of 19,432 with 4:28 remaining when Michigan State’s Daniel Vukovic lay motionless after a collision with BC’s Matt Greene. Though the ice was covered in blood underneath Vukovic’s face, he was able to leave under his own power.
Should BC hold onto the lead, it will capture its third national championship and second in seven seasons. Michigan State is looking for its third national title and first since 1986.