It began wildly, but finished by the book.
On Friday night at Boston’s TD Garden, the #1 Boston College Eagles defeated the Providence Friars in the Hockey East semifinal, 4-2. The Eagles have advanced to the Hockey East Championship Game against the Maine Black Bears, who defeated Boston University in the second semifinal. With the win, Boston College has won fourteen games in a row, which is the longest winning streak since Jerry York became coach in 1994. York is now only 16 wins behind Ron Mason for the most all-time, making it all but certain that he will break the record next season.
The first few minutes of the opening period saw the most action. It appeared that Boston College had a tremendous chance to take a 1-0 lead very early in the game, but Steven Whitney’s wraparound attempt sailed along the goal line but never crossed it. Paul Carey made sure his forthcoming attempt did clear the line, however, as at 1:15, he gave BC a 1-0 lead (unassisted).
Providence hit back very quickly. Eagles goalie Parker Milner, who looked very good in previous games, got off to a shaky start. About a minute after BC took the lead, at 2:28, Barrett Kaib scored his first goal of the season to tie the game, 1-1 (Balysky and Army assisted).
Unfortunately, even the tie was short-lived, as Derek Army filled in the goals column on a soft one for Providence at 4:33 to give the Friars a 2-1 lead (Cross assisted).
By now, with the fast Providence start, Eagles fans were thinking bad things, but BC did not panic. In fact, not only did they not panic, they didn’t trail for long, either — Destry Straight made sure of that. At 8:35, still in the first period, he notched his third goal of the game in a big spot to retie the game, 2-2 (Hayes and Kreider assisted).
From there, Parker Milner buckled down and his team responded as well. The frantic scoring stopped, but Boston College was not done finding the net. At 3:45 of the second period, the Eagles went on the power play thanks to a Daniel New hooking penalty, and thirteen seconds later, John Gaudreau ended the man-advantage. The freshman phenom’s 17th goal of the season gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead which they would not relinquish (Carey and Kreider assisted).
Later in the same period, the Eagles appeared to have a fourth goal, but it was reviewed and taken off the board on a contention of goalie interference.
It mattered not, as Boston College got the fourth goal, anyway. It came at the eight-minute mark of the third period off of the stick of Steven Whitney, giving BC a 4-2 lead (Almeida and Arnold assisted). The Eagles held it there for the final score.
At times early on in the game, this one looked very dicey as Parker Milner did not seem himself. After that soft goal he allowed to Army, however, Milner settled himself down and was able to contain every other shot the Friars sent his way. Given the difficulties Alex Beaudry has had this season, one knew that the same might not be able to be said about him. Boston College kept the pressure on him and broke him four times for the victory. Beaudry managed 30 saves to Milner’s 27, but it’s Milner who picks up the victory (his fourteenth in a row to rise to 24-5 this season).
The Eagles will face Maine on Saturday night at 8pm for all the marbles. Like the semifinal, the game will be televised locally on NESN and nationally on NBC Sports Network.