ST. LOUIS — When Jimmy Hayes scored 19 seconds into Friday’s West Regional semifinal to give Boston College a quick 1-0 lead, it looked as though the defending national champions might be headed toward another high-scoring, lopsided victory.
Instead, the Eagles found themselves in unfamiliar territory, down 4-1 at the end of one, as Colorado College dominated on its way to an 8-4 win and a shot at the Frozen Four against Michigan Saturday night.
“It was a gutsy effort by our guys, I felt,” said CC coach Scott Owens, “but in the last few weeks, we’ve been on kind of a quiet little roll here and it’s been kind of the same formula — power play to give us a spark, Joe Howe to make some key saves, and then our penalty killing, which has gotten pretty good these last four or five weeks.”
The line of Jaden Schwartz, Rylan Schwartz and Stephen Schultz combined for four goals — three in the first period — and 10 total points. The Tigers went 3-for-4 on the power play while killing all five BC advantages and scoring two short-handed goals, all while being outshot 43-36 in the game, 16-7 in the last period alone.
“Boston College is obviously a great team, a great offensive team, and you never felt safe even when it was 7-2 to start the [third] period,” said Owens. “Obviously the Schwartz, Schwartz and Schultz line gave us tremendous momentum and [I'm] just very, very pleased that we were able to come out with the win tonight.”
It was Schultz who answered BC’s opening goal on the power play at 4:34 in the first, from the Schwartz brothers. At 7:47, Jaden Schwarz gave the Tigers the 2-1 lead from Rylan Schwartz and Schultz. At 8:02, it was Rylan’s turn — from Jaden. David Civitarese scored short-handed at 18:42 in the first to give CC a wide lead.
“Colorado College certainly deserved the game tonight,” said BC coach Jerry York. “They were just much better than we were in a lot of facets of the game, particularly special teams. They didn’t surprise us. We knew they were a very good hockey team. We knew they had good special teams. We were just unable to contain [them] and win those special team battles.”
In addition to Civitarese’s short-handed goal, Alexander Krushelnyski potted one at 15:34 in the second — less than two minutes after Jaden Schwartz scored on the power play.
“We normally don’t score short-handed,” said Owens. “We’ve got three on the year coming into tonight. We were more afraid of Boston College’s 13 short-handed goals. But you know what? We got into a good rhythm, where we were able to get quick shifts and quick changes — [Nick] Dineen and [Tim] Hall, and then Krushelnyski and Civitarese — and we were able to make good clears.
“We tired a little bit in the end, but it’s one of the things we’ve done well these last four or five weeks. It’s very uncharacteristic. We see Civitarese make that play in practice, where he cuts into the net … and it was actually nice to see it in a game, and I thought Krush’s goal was a beautiful goal, too.”
“Certainly the two short-handed goals were really difficult for us to accept,” said York.
The Tigers capped the game with Dakota Eveland’s power-play goal with nine seconds left in the third.
“Colorado played a great game,” said BC senior goaltender John Muse, who had never lost an NCAA tournament game until Friday. “Things didn’t go our way. It’s a learning experience.”
Muse finished the night with 22 saves on 29 shots through the first two periods. Sophomore Parker Milner played the third period and gave up one goal.
For CC, Howe stopped 39 of 43 shots.
When the Tigers meet the Wolverines on Saturday, it will be a rematch of a 6-5 Michigan victory in the 2010 Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 30 in Detroit. “We came out on the short end of that,” said Schultz, “but I wouldn’t want to be playing anyone else but Michigan tomorrow night.”