Dodge Classic Notebook: Day One

Home Ice, Of Sorts

Playing in Minnesota is a homecoming for a good chunk of Boston College’s lineup. Four Eagles on the ice Friday hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes — captain Ben Eaves (Faribault, Minn.), John Adams (Wayzata, Minn.), A.J. Walker (Faribault, Minn.) and Andrew Alberts (Eden Prairie, Minn.). Ben Eaves’ brother Patrick, out with a broken vertebra, completes the quintet.

The home-state presence made for a bit of a home-ice advantage with the small first-game crowd. And the fact that three of the four Minnesotans in the lineup notched goals made the BC fans in attendance even more raucous.

“It was pretty awesome because as the game went on the crowd just seemed to get bigger,” said BC’s Ryan Murphy, who notched the game-winner to a roar from half-full Mariucci Arena.

No Deja Vu For Falcons

Friday’s first semifinal was a rematch of the first-ever game of the then-Mariucci Classic back in 1991. On that night, Bowling Green beat Boston College, 5-3. The Falcons would lose that year to Minnesota in the final, 6-5.

The coach of the 1991-92 team? Current BC headman Jerry York.

Eagles Star Benched, Will Return Saturday

York made a semi-surprising decision Friday when he benched high-scoring forward Tony Voce. The junior has 16 points in 15 games for the Eagles but was kept out of the lineup on a coach’s decision, with York stating simply that Voce “wasn’t playing up to my standards.” York noted that he will return to the lineup for Saturday’s championship game.

Minnesota Plan Works Out

Dodge Classic organizers choose quite a strange format to its tournament in a move to guarantee itself the best gate possible. The format called for Minnesota to play in Saturday’s late game, regardless of the outcome of Friday’s Minnesota-Yale semifinal.

Granted, pitting the high-powered Minnesota offense against Yale should have, and did, work out to a victory. But in single-elimination tournaments, stranger things have happened.

Had the Gophers lost on Friday, it would have made an anti-climactic finish on Saturday night with the nightcap being played with only third place at stake.

In the end, though, the rout of Yale worked into the plan, pitting the marquee matchup of No. 6 Boston College against No. 7 Minnesota for the championship.

Not-So-Pleasant Welcome

Yale rookie netminder John Gartner launched his college hockey career Friday night in quite the unfriendly atmosphere. The freshman from Richmond Hill, Ont., saw his first action after sophomore Peter Cohen was lifted in the second period. The rookie, though, held his own in the early going against the Gophers, stopping 12 of 13 shots in the second period — far better than his counterpart, who allowed six goals on 12 shots in 29:33. Gartner finished the game with 19 saves, allowing just the one goal

World Juniors Tourney Takes Its Toll

As usual with holiday tournaments, the World Junior Championship took its toll on the lineups at the Dodge Classic. Boston College was without the services of Ryan Shannon (Patrick Eaves was also selected for the tournament, but is injured); Yale was without Chris Higgins; and Minnesota was missing the most, playing without Barry Tallackson and Gino Guyer.

A third Gopher, Thomas Vanek, also played at the World Juniors for his home country of Austria, which appeared in Pool B and has already completed its tournament, held separately in Slovenia. Vanek scored nine goals and added four assists in the five-game tournament, leading his club to a perfect 5-0-0 record. That top-rated finish will move Austria into Pool A play for the 2004 championships.

Previewing The Championship

With Boston College and Minnesota advancing to Saturday’s championship game, the Mariucci faithful will be treated to a clash between the last two national champions. And while the hype machine will be working overtime as a result, the matchup with the Gophers hasn’t been easy for Boston College.

Of the three other clubs in the tournament, only Minnesota holds a winning record against BC. All-time, Minnesota leads the series, 13-10-2. BC now holds an 8-3-0 edge versus Bowling Green and a lopsided 40-11-0 record against Yale.

The last meeting between Boston College and Minnesota came in 1999 with Boston College winning, 5-2, in Minneapolis in an early-season bout.

Bowling Green and Yale have played five games all-time, with the Falcons victors in four. The last meeting between the two clubs was in 1998 at the Badger Showdown in Milwaukee. Bowling Green won that game, 4-1.