What A Difference A Day Makes
One of the reasons that Miami advanced to the Northeast Regional finals was the play of the penalty-killing unit. The RedHawks held New Hampshire 0-for-7 on the power play Saturday, and that made all the difference in the one-goal win.
So that made BC’s second goal on Sunday in the regional finals, coming with just two seconds left on a BC power play and just 2:44 after the first, that much more damaging. Following that play, the RedHawks were forced to play from behind, and looked visibly shaken as the game continued. They never quite recovered, and fell 4-0.
“We thought if we could get that first goal, like last night, then we could step on their throats a bit,” said Miami forward Matt Christie. “Our penalty killing has been fantastic all year. We just turned it over, and they got the bounce.”
“We had that penalty killed,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “Then we turned it over, and they capitalized. At that point we had to start taking risks, and that led into the kind of game that BC wanted to play.”
The Eagles, on the other hand, followed much the same script as Saturday: weather an early storm, score first and grow more comfortable as the game progresses.
In fact, Boston College has not trailed in a game since March 9 against Northeastern, a span of four games. BC has also won 12 straight games, which is the longest winning stretch for the Eagles under coach Jerry York’s tenure.
It’s quite a finish to the season, considering that a young Eagle squad was so inconsistent that by the end of January, it wasn’t clear if the team would even be going to the NCAA tournament, let alone to the Frozen Four.
“We had a bunch of team meetings, to try and figure out what was wrong,” said tournament Most Outstanding Player Cory Schneider. “The seniors really stepped up — Joe Rooney and Brian Boyle. Everyone on the team really bought into the fact that we have to play a full 60 minutes of every game.”
“We were very frustrated with the way we were playing early in the year: win one, lose one, win two, lose two,” said York. “Now we’re playing the way I thought we would play earlier in the year.”
“This stretch we’ve been playing on for the last 12 games, they’ve all been playoff games,” said All-Tournament forward Joe Rooney. “We needed to win them to get in.”
The Other Frozen Four Eagles
In attendance at the game were several players from the BC women’s hockey team, including team captain Deborah Spillaine, leading scorer Kelli Stack, defender Maggie Taverna, and goalie Molly Schaus, among others. They were at the game wearing their game jerseys, complete with a new Frozen Four patch.
Like the men’s team in this regional final, the women’s team has also enjoyed success recently. The women made their first-ever NCAA appearance this year, and got a double-overtime win over Dartmouth, advancing to Lake Placid, the site of this year’s Frozen Four. In the semifinal game, they played an epic double-overtime game before falling to Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2.
“We decided to come up and support the men’s team,” said junior defender Cristin Stuart. “It was just an hour away, so we thought we would get a group together and drive on up.” Stuart said that she and some others will try to go to St. Louis to see BC in the men’s Frozen Four as well.
“I don’t think we can all make it,” she said, about the nearly dozen players in attendance. “But the guys came to a lot of our games, so we want to return the favor.”
In particular, several players from the men’s team showed up late in a triple-overtime thriller the women played against Harvard in the opening round of the Beanpot, which was held on BC’s campus this year.
Schaus, who has fiery red hair like men’s goalie Cory Schneider, said she thought she would lose in a comparison with Schneider between the pipes.
Between the two of them, who’s better? “At this point, Schneider,” she laughed, despite her 92 saves in two games in the NCAAs.
None of the men’s players were in Lake Placid for the Frozen Four debut of the BC women, but they had a good excuse — the same night, the men were playing in the Hockey East semifinals against BU.
Scoreboard, Scoreboard …
During breaks in the action, the video scoreboard had, among other things, NCAA trivia from previous tournament play.
One such trivia question went as follows: “Which goaltender holds the record for most saves in NCAA Tournament play?”
The answer, BC goalie Scott Clemmensen with 208, drew a large round of applause from the BC fans in attendance.
Missed It By That Much
Boston College had one disallowed goal at 12:41 of the second period, as review of the play showed that the net had been dislodged before the puck crossed the goal line.
“I thought it was a good call,” said York. “I thought it wasn’t a goal.”
Had the disallowed goal stood, and all other scoring remained the same, the final would have been 5-0 BC, which, coincidentally, was the exact final score when Boston College and Miami met in last year’s NCAA tournament.
“This is the second time we’ve seen them,” said Jerry York. “And with 5-0 and 4-0 scores, you might think they were easy games. But the scores aren’t indicative of the game. Miami is a very difficult opponent, and Cory Schneider has had very good games against them.”
With the wins Saturday and Sunday, York improves to 7-0 behind the Eagle bench in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and 7-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals.
“It’s nice that we have two teams advancing,” said York, as his Eagles will join Maine in St. Louis. “But we’ve got to win one. The WCHA has been winning it for too long.”
Asked if BC had a championship-caliber team, Blasi sidestepped the question.
“Can they win it? Sure,” said Blasi. “But will they win it? I think Michigan State will have something to say about that, and Maine will have something to say about that, and Minnesota or North Dakota will have something to say about that.”
F: Joe Rooney, BC
F: Brock Bradford, BC
F: Ryan Jones, Miami
D: Brian Boyle, BC
D: Mitch Ganzak, Miami
G: Cory Schneider, BC