Another Jerry York team advances to the Frozen Four. We’ve seen this movie before, but it’s always fun to watch.
On Sunday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, the #1 Boston College Eagles defeated the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, 4-0, and have reached the 2012 Frozen Four to be played in Tampa. The Eagles ride into the national semifinal against the Minnesota Golden Gophers having won seventeen games in a row and notching consecutive shutouts in regional play.
Throughout the first period, there was a great deal of activity, but neither team managed to score any goals. Boston College at times looked like they were moving the puck well and generating opportunities, but much like in Saturday’s game against Air Force, the Eagles had little to show for their productivity.
In the second period, however, BC came alive. Pat Mullane got the scoring started for Boston College by slipping the puck beyond Kenny Reiter on a second effort; this made it a 1-0 Eagles lead at 4:01 (Carey and Gaudreau assisted). We did not have to wait too much longer for the Eagles to do it again, as at 5:27, Bill Arnold found the net and put BC ahead 2-0 very quickly (Whitney assisted).
The Eagles played with a lot more confidence throughout the second and into the third period, being aggressive in their offensive chances and fighting hard to get after the puck. During that latter period, Boston College put the game away.
Just 1:13 into the final frame, Patrick Wey chipped the puck towards the net, lobbing it over Reiter for the Eagles’ third –and very lucky — goal (unassisted). The score was reviewed because the net moved, but it was upheld as the puck had already cleared the goal line prior to Reiter shaking the moorings. From here, Minnesota-Duluth let a little bit of frustration set in.
BC still was not done, because Johnny Gaudreau added one more for good measure. On the power play at 11:47, the freshman converted to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead which they would not alter (Wey assisted).
Eagles goalie Parker Milner was as rock-solid as it gets in his second tournament start. Keeping in mind that Minnesota-Duluth is a dangerous offensive team, Milner stood tall and halted all 33 of their shots, making a number of impressive saves in the process. In particular, BC’s strong penalty kills in the third made a big statement to the rest of the field. The defense in front of him also played well, but BC’s netminder should get the game’s first and second stars for how he performed on Sunday night. He has been integral to the Eagles’ success during this very long win streak, and he proved why he’s the starting goalie yet again.
The Eagles seemed frustrated offensively in the first period, just as they did for a sizable portion of the Air Force game. That first intermission pep talk must have been pretty good, however, because the offense (and the general intensity on the ice for BC) looked much better for the second and third periods. With effort like that, it will be hard for any team to take them out.
Boston College is unquestionably the best team in the country right now and have to be the odds-on favorites to win the whole thing in two weeks. Pitching back-to-back shutouts in the NCAA Tournament, with the latter against the top offensive team in the nation, is an impressive feat and ought to strike fear in their opponents. The next team in BC’s way is Minnesota on April 5.