BOSTON — After fans at the TD BankNorth Garden were forced to wait until double overtime to learn the outcome in the early semifinal, Boston College decided to take any suspense out of the tournament’s nightcap.
Led by multiple-point performances by five different players, BC opened a four-goal lead through two periods and knocked Hockey East Goaltender and Player of the Year John Curry from the game as the Eagles cruised to a 6-2 victory to advance to the Hockey East title game for the third straight year.
BC’s top two lines continued their torrid postseason scoring, accounting for five Boston College goals. Brock Bradford led the way with two goals while Ben Smith, Joe Rooney and Benn Ferriero each recorded a goal and two assists.
The Eagles’ fast start to the game might ironically be credited to the BC women’s team. The women played Friday night in the Frozen Four in Lake Placid, N.Y. The BC men were able to relax and watch the women’s game while waiting for Friday’s first semifinal game which ran more than an hour past the scheduled game-two start time of 8 p.m.
BC head coach Jerry York credited the women’s game, which eventually BC lost, 4-3 in double overtime, for keeping his team loose.
“We were watching the women’s team play while waiting. We were kind of pumped,” said York. “I think [BC women's head coach Tom Mutch's] team helped us stay focused.”
If the Eagles were staying relaxed, the opening 20 minutes of play might make one believe that the Terriers didn’t have that luxury. BU came out somewhat flat to start the game and, after falling behind early, never recovered.
“[BC] came prepared to play. They competed all night,” said BU head coach Jack Parker. “We didn’t have an effort. We didn’t come to play.”
Parker said that his team’s seeming lack of jump came from being “too easily satisfied”.
“We came off two solid games and we just came out here tonight and watched Boston College beat us to every puck.”
The Eagles opened the scoring on the power play at 7:46 of the first. After Ferriero’s pass from the right-wing side deflected off Jason Lawrence’s stick, Bradford fired a shot that beat Curry short-side to give the Eagles the early lead.
BC extended that advantage at the 15:00 mark. Brian Boyle, playing his third straight game on defense, used his offensive instincts to pinch down the right half-board. Catching the entire Terrier defense off-guard, Boyle quickly fired a pass to Ferriero at the left point; Ferriero had plenty of time to roof over Curry (17 saves) to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead through one.
Things didn’t get better for the Terriers in the second. Despite an incredible blocker save by Curry on Bradford at 3:25, BC still managed to beat the BU netminder twice to grab a 4-0 lead through two.
Smith buried his eighth goal of the season at 7:46 by pushing home a cross-crease feed from Ferriero. In the final minute of the frame, Bradford grabbed a loose puck at the left post and fired it through the legs of Curry for his second goal of the game.
The goal ended up spelling the end of Curry’s night, as he was replaced by Karson Gillespie (nine saves) to begin the third.
The Terriers got on the board early in the third. Brandon Yip’s one-timer on the power play beat BC netminder Cory Schneider (30 saves) cleanly at 1:25 to give BU life.
Yip nearly scored another when he was alone at the right post staring at an open net at 4:43 . Unable to get good wood on the shot, the puck floated over the crossbar to maintain the Eagles comfort zone.
BC took all doubt from the outcome at 9:33 when Rooney buried the rebound of a Smith shot to give BC a 5-1 lead.
Bryan Ewing and Nathan Gerbe each traded late goals to account for the 6-2 final.
The win advances Boston College to the title game for the 12th time, matching Maine for the most appearances in league history. BC is 6-5 in its previous 11 appearances.
The Eagles will meet New Hampshire, a 3-2 double-overtime winner over Massachusetts in Friday’s first semifinal, in Saturday’s championship game. BC held a 2-1-0 record against the Wildcats in the regular season, including a two-game sweep to end the season two weekends ago.
It’s the third time that the two clubs have met in the title game with BC victorious in the other two (2005, 1998).