Jerry York is hungry, and so is Boston College

140409 12434583 Jerry York is hungry, and so is Boston College

Boston College coach Jerry York talks with former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette at Wednesday’s practice (photo: Melissa Wade).

PHILADELPHIA — At 1:50 p.m., Boston College coach Jerry York walked into Wednesday’s Frozen Four news conference along with three of his players, all fresh from practice. When asked for his thoughts, he replied with a sentiment often heard at that time of day.

“I’m starved right now,” he said. With a smile, he added, “I haven’t had lunch yet, so we’ll be very brief today.”

As the news conference developed, however, it became clear that York’s appetite, and that of his team, is focused less on a Philly cheesesteak and far more on a fourth national championship in seven years.

“Every year is different, every year is unique, and nobody’s guaranteed this,” he said. “[In] September, we sat down with our captains and tried to outline our team and some long-term goals. Of course, at Boston College we’re looking at the Beanpot, the regular season trophy and our playoff championship, but in the back of our minds, it’s always, ‘Hey, can we get back to the Frozen Four and compete for a national championship?’”

This season marks Boston College’s 11th Frozen Four appearance in the last 17 years, a stunning achievement in this era of college hockey parity. Four times those appearances have translated into national championships: 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Yet the hunger pangs for another remain just as sharp.

“We’re not just here to look at the Liberty Bell and enjoy Philadelphia,” York said. “We want to compete for that really shiny trophy that they have down the hallway.”

Frozen Fours and national championships have become BC’s measuring stick for success.

“This is our goal every year at BC,” senior Bill Arnold said. “It’s a national championship or you can’t really consider your season a success.”

Arnold earned his first championship ring two years ago and is hoping to add a second this week as his collegiate career comes to a close.

“The one thing coach always says he wants his players to do is leave BC with a ring in one hand and degree in the other,” Arnold said. “At BC, that’s what we’re all about, getting the opportunity to do that and [for me] hopefully leave with two rings.”

Union freshman Pontarelli makes a big impact as a late addition

PHILADELPHIA — Entering this season, Union forward Michael Pontarelli was anticipating the chance to get back to another championship game.

He’s in a good position to do so this weekend — only it might not be the one he was expecting.

Pontarelli joined the Dutchmen a year early after junior Josh Jooris signed a professional contract with Calgary on July 30, 2013.

“It was an absolute surprise,” Pontarelli said. “I was committed to going back to playing another year of juniors. I was trying to decide between the USHL or going back to the [Cornwall Colts]. I had just won a championship and I wanted to go back.”

But there wasn’t much hesitation when Union asked him to come to school ahead of schedule.

“It was a pretty quick process,” said Pontarelli, who had 52 goals with Cornwall and was named the Central Canada Hockey League’s most valuable player, in addition to being recognized as the top player in all of Canadian Junior A hockey.

“[There was] no hesitation. I said yes right away. … Within a week or two, I was on campus.”

The offense has always been there, but Pontarelli said he’s worked on improving his defense as well as adapting to the speed of college hockey.

“Everybody is really good,” Pontarelli said. “It’s not like juniors were you’ll be able to pick out a defenseman that you can beat.”

While Union coach Rick Bennett said Jooris and Pontarelli are two different players, there wasn’t much of a dropoff in production. Pontarelli has 23 points this season, compared to 28 for Jooris last season.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that was an easy choice,” Bennett said. “We talked about [it with] the staff. But when you’re a [top] player of all of Canada, I think it makes it a little easier. [Assistant coaches] Jason Tapp and Joe Dumais did a phenomenal job in that recruiting process. Michael was willing to come. He wanted to come, and just made it easy.”

Video: Union’s Ikkala, Coatta on preparing to play Boston College

PHILADELPHIA — Union juniors Cole Ikkala and Sam Coatta talked in the Dutchmen locker room Wednesday about the time off between the regionals and the Frozen Four and preparing to face Boston College.

A welcome from Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — Good morning from the media room at the Wells Fargo Center, where we’re getting set for a day of team practices and news conferences at the Frozen Four.

Here on the Frozen Four Blog, on our main site and on our Twitter account, we’ll be giving you a look at the teams and the events through the rest of the weekend.


With that, we’re off and running.

Join USCHO at events in Philadelphia during the Frozen Four

If you’re headed to Philadelphia this week for the Frozen Four, drop by some of the USCHO events around town.

We’ll be broadcasting USCHO Live! from the Field House sports bar and restaurant inside the Philadelphia Convention Center on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

And because there is no public access to this year’s Hobey Baker Award ceremony on Friday, we’ll be having a viewing party at Field House starting at 5:30 p.m. EDT. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

We’ll also be at the Hockey Humanitarian Booth at Frozen Fest on Thursday and Saturday with free USCHO pins while supplies last. Frozen Fest is in the Northeast parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday and Saturday; here’s a link to the schedule.

Here’s our schedule for the week (all times Eastern):

Day, time
Wednesday, 4-6 p.m.USCHO Live! broadcastField House
Thursday, 1-3 p.m.USCHO Live! broadcastField House
Thursday, 1-4 p.m.USCHO/HHA boothFrozen Fest
Thursday, 3:15 p.m.Humanitarian presentationFrozen Fest
Friday, 4-6 p.m.USCHO Live! broadcastField House
Friday, 5:30-7 p.m.Hobey watch partyField House
Saturday, 3-5 p.m.USCHO Live! broadcastField House
Saturday, 3-6 p.m.USCHO/HHA boothFrozen Fest

How to find Field House

All of our coverage

For all of our Frozen Four coverage before, during and after the event, check out Frozen Four Central.

Also make sure to follow us on Twitter.

An early look at the 2014 Frozen Four after Boston College, Minnesota, North Dakota, Union claim spots

A year ago, four teams new to the Frozen Four experience made it to Pittsburgh.

With the tournament on the other side of Pennsylvania this year, it’s quite a different story.

The 2014 NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia will include three of the five most-frequently-appearing teams in Frozen Four history in Boston College (24, tied for first), Minnesota (21, tied for third) and North Dakota (20, fifth).

Union will join them, making its second appearance after a 2012 debut and looking for a first national title. The other three schools have combined for 17 of the 66 championships.

Boston College will play Union and Minnesota will play North Dakota in the semifinals on Thursday, April 10. The Eagles and Dutchmen will play at 5 p.m. EDT, with the Gophers and North Dakota following at 8:30.

One of the semifinals features teams that have played each other only once; the other is a meeting of longtime rivals.

The Eagles and Dutchmen played for the first time in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament, with Union winning 5-1.

North Dakota and Minnesota have played 290 times since 1930, with the Gophers holding a 145-130-15 advantage in the series.

After they left the WCHA — Minnesota for the Big Ten, North Dakota for the NCHC — the teams weren’t scheduled to play this season for the first time since the 1946-47 season.

Instead, they’ll play in the NCAA tournament for the fifth time; each team has won twice.

Union is in the Frozen Four for the second time in the last three years after beating Vermont and Providence at the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn.

The Dutchmen are 14-0-1 in their last 15 games, going unbeaten through February and March with a 62-25 scoring margin.

In Tampa, Fla., two years ago, the Dutchmen made their first Frozen Four appearance in just the school’s second time in the NCAA tournament. They lost to Ferris State in the semifinals.

The team that denied Ferris State a Frozen Four spot in double overtime in the Midwest Regional, North Dakota, is making its 20th trip to the national semifinals, fifth all-time behind Michigan, Boston College, Boston University and Minnesota.

After needing a Wisconsin win over Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament championship game just to get into the NCAA tournament, UND beat the Badgers and then Ferris State in Cincinnati.

In 10 seasons under coach Dave Hakstol, North Dakota is making its sixth trip to the semifinals. It has lost on the first day of the Frozen Four four of those times and lost the 2005 championship game to Denver.

With seven NCAA championships (its last in 2000), North Dakota is second only to Michigan all-time.

Boston College became the third team to clinch a spot in Philadelphia by beating Massachusetts-Lowell on Sunday after dispatching Denver a day earlier.

The Eagles have made it to the Frozen Four in every even-numbered year since 2004, winning the championship in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

This season, they had a 19-game unbeaten streak (17-0-2) but lost three of their last four games entering the NCAA tournament.

Boston College’s Hobey Baker Award favorite Johnny Gaudreau scored three times and added five assists in the Northeast Regional to improve his national-leading totals to 35 goals and 77 points.

Minnesota tied Boston University for third by clinching a 21st Frozen Four appearance after beating Robert Morris and St. Cloud State in the West Regional.

The Gophers were ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com Division I men’s poll 17 times this season; they fell to second behind Union after losing in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

Justin Kloos scored three times in the West Regional for Minnesota, giving him the team lead with 15 goals.

The Big Ten, ECAC Hockey, Hockey East and the NCHC each claimed one spot in the Frozen Four.

Travelogue: Back to real life

HAMDEN, Conn — Neil Ravin and I have landed back home and have finally unpacked. It is time to return to “real life,” as some have deemed it. There is no doubt that what we experienced the last four days was dream-like. Every day, all we did was eat, sleep and breathe college hockey. From the minute we got up to the second we went to bed, the Frozen Four was always in the back of our minds.

As much as we loved the games and the atmosphere inside the building, we could not think of a better town to host the Frozen Four. The Consol Energy Center is among the NHL’s finest, the citizens of Pittsburgh could not have been nicer and there is no doubt that Jason Grilli is one of the funniest athletes in professional sports.

Sure, the weather could have been a bit nicer, but a little cool weather never hurt anyone. We highly recommend visiting Pittsburgh; it is not the unwelcoming steel city we thought it was. Philadelphia has a lot of work to do to match what Pittsburgh did this year and, judging by the boos inside the arena this weekend when the 2014 Frozen Four logo was shown on the scoreboard, the Pittsburgh fans don’t think Philadelphia can!

Travelogue: All good things must end

PITTSBURGH — A new champion has been crowned and what a first couple of periods it was. Congratulations to Yale on an incredible run since Atlantic City, N.J. To be the last at-large team to make the NCAA tournament and beat three No. 1 seeds and a No. 2 seed to win the national championship is an incredible feat.

Once again, everyone we met Saturday was so pleasant and excited about the championship game. One of the highlights of Frozen Fest was the opportunity to take a picture with the national championship trophy. For a couple of kids that would never win such an impressive trophy, it was nice to at least stand next to it.

Also, the amount of jerseys in town was staggering; name a team and that jersey was there. Neil’s favorite jersey was a split jersey of the Los Angeles Kings, with white on one side and yellow on the other. To add a bit more flavor the jersey had Frozen Four patches lining the bottom of the sweater. For me, it was a Maine Greg Moore authentic jersey. Authentic jerseys will always hold a special place in my heart and a special smell in my nose.

What a ride it was to get here and we could not have been more excited when we got in the car on Wednesday. You could say we are less than ecstatic to get back in the car Sunday. We told our parents we will call when we get home, so we’ll be sure to let you folks know as well.

Video: Yale’s Stu Wilson, Kenny Agostino, Tommy Fallen after title game win

PITTSBURGH — Yale forwards Stu Wilson and Kenny Agostino and defenseman Tommy Fallen talk in the winning locker room after a 4-0 victory over Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four championship game:

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