CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Thirty-seven years behind the bench and Boston College head coach still has a few psychological tricks up his sleeve–literally.
After an ugly 6-1 loss in Mondays Beanpot semifinal to Northeastern, Jerry York handed out rubber bands to all of his players to wear on their wrist all week.
We had elastics for all the kids to wear this week, said York. Its [to symbolize] a bounceback effect. That was a tough loss for us on Monday and we thought lets bounce back the next game.
No player bounced back, though, better than goaltender John Muse. After allowing six goals on Monday night, Muse shut the door against Massachusetts on Friday, stopping all 21 shots he saw including 15 in the second period, to lead the Eagles to a 2-0 shutout.
The victory combined with a loss by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell to Boston University, placed BC alone in fifth place in Hockey East, a point behind New Hampshire for fourth place and the final home ice spot.
Muses rebound was the story of the game. Though the Eagles limited the Minutemens chances in the opening period and again in the third, period two featured a flurry of chances sparked by numerous BC penalties.
Though the Eagles defense kept most of the play to the outside, Muse played solid in net and, if nothing else regained some of the confidence he might have lost on Monday.
Muse was clearly the difference in the game tonight, said York. He looked so composed and so quick. Its a great bounceback game for him.
It was a disappointing game for me on Monday, said Muse. I talked to a lot of people, most importantly my family, and everyone said youre going to have bad days.
Many wondered after the Beanpot how Muse would feel handle the game and more importantly how comfortable he would be back in the nets. Said the sophomore goaltender, comfort was never a question, never an issue.
I felt good from warmups, said Muse. I knew I had a good week in practice and when I have a good week in practice I usually feel good going into the game.
On the other side, UMass struggled to generate offense, particular at even strength. In the opening and final period, when the Minutemen had a single power play in each frame, they could only muster a combined total of six shots.
And when they were able to get on the power play and have a chance at generating offense, the executive was there but the ability to finish was not.
In the second, there were a lot of chances with the power play but we came out with a goose egg, said UMass head coach Don Toot Cahoon. We didnt get to the rebounds; we didnt get the tips.
We had a lot of great looks, but you have to deliver it.
Boston College controlled the flow in the opening period, allowing just four shots to the Minutemen and none from the grade A area. At the same time, the Eagles power play connected on its first chance, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead through one.
Benn Ferriero potted his third goal in six games after beginning the year with two goals in his first 19 contest. Ferriero one-timed a pass from Barry Almeida from the high slot on the power play over the glove of UMass goaltender Paul Dainton (22 saves) at 2:15 to give BC the early lead.
The Eagles pressured the Minuteman net from there but couldnt solve Dainton, who finished the frame with seven saves.
In the second, UMass held a massive shot advantage, 15-5, over the Eagles thanks mostly to power plays. BC took three straight penalties that resulted in 5 minutes, 26 seconds of consecutive power play situations, including two abbreviated 5-on-3 opportunities.
UMass had its chances, most notably a Matthew Irwin shot that rang off the right post at 8:40. But unable to solve Muse, the teams headed to the third with BC clinging to its one-goal lead.
The third period went much the Eagles way thanks to some stingy defense and three straight UMass penalties. But it was Daintons turn to stay poised and stymie the Eagles.
Late in the game, UMass had its chance to knot things. Kyle Kucharski was whistled for holding with 1:26 remaining, putting the Minutemen on the power play. When they pulled Dainton with 50 seconds remaining, that became a two-man advantage.
That went for naught, though, when Brock Bradford blocked a shot from the point and immediately wheeled and fired a 150-foot shot to the dead center of the empty net to account for the 2-0 final.
The loss for the Minutemen leave them in seventh place, preventing them from gaining distance on the bottom of the pack in Hockey East.
For the Eagles, the win not only moved them up in the standing, it put BC back on its way to the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble.
We watch that a lot, said York of the PairWise rankings. I dont want to get to a point where we have to win our league to get into the [NCAA tournament]. Id like to secure a spot before we start out playoffs, but we have to win some games.