Never a doubt.
On Saturday night at the TD Garden, the #1 Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team beat the Maine Black Bears, 4-1. The Eagles have won the 2012 Lamoriello Trophy and taken the Hockey East Tournament; it is BC’s third-straight championship in their conference and their fifth in the last six seasons. Boston College will head into the NCAA Tournament on a 15-game win streak, a new record for the longest in Jerry York’s BC tenure.
From the start of the game, the Eagles appeared to be in firm control. More succinctly, Johnny Gaudreau was in firm control. At 5:24 of the first period, Gaudreau found the puck in front of Maine’s net and shot it past Dan Sullivan to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead (Alber assisted).
Gaudreau was still not satisfied, however. At 7:22 of the same period, Maine’s Joey Diamond went to the box for interference, and just nine seconds into the man-advantage, the freshman sensation stuck another one in the goal. This score gave BC an early 2-0 lead (Mullane and Kreider assisted). Gaudreau’s two goals were two of 20 Eagles shots during the frantic first period.
In the second, Maine was finally able to break through after some very solid goaltending by BC’s Parker Milner. At 7:37, Brian Flynn scored his 18th goal of the season to make it a much tenser 2-1 game (Diamond assisted).
For a while, it did not look like the Eagles would get that goal back in the second period, but as this team typically does, they found a way. At 18:39, Pat Mullane came up with a big goal to extend Boston College’s lead back to two at 3-1 (Gaudreau and Carey assisted). The Eagles would ride this advantage deep into the third period, but they added to it on an empty-netter by Barry Almeida with a little over one minute to go (Whitney assisted).
Parker Milner stood up to some heavy scrutiny, facing 42 Black Bears shots-on-goal and stopping 41 of them. To his credit, Dan Sullivan of Maine had 39 saves against a quick, aggressive BC offensive attack, but it was the three-spot he allowed that made the difference.
The tournament MVP, deservedly, was freshman Johnny Gaudreau, who keeps coming up big in big games. However long he ends up staying at BC, it will be a pleasure for Eagles fans to watch him work his magic. He may look young, but don’t be fooled: his talent is undeniable.
Boston College managed to convert on one of their three power play opportunities, but their penalty kill was even better, stopping all five of Maine’s chances. This is in stark contrast to when these teams last met almost two months ago, when the Black Bears scored four power play goals en route to a weekend sweep of the Eagles (coincidentally, those were the most recent losses by BC). The Eagles’ kill was crisp and produced some quality short-handed opportunities, despite no conversions.
Boston College is locked and loaded for the NCAA Tournament; the selection is on Sunday morning and they figure to get a regional in Worcester, though Bridgeport is another viable (and welcome, for New York-area alumni) option. The rest of the field of sixteen should be worried about facing such a good team on an extensive hot streak.
Now let’s win the whole damn thing.