Winning never gets old.
On Saturday night, the #1 Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team will have an opportunity to win one more game this season and get the trophy that comes along with it. They were afforded this opportunity via their blowout win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2012 Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday night, 6-1. The Eagles will face the Ferris State Bulldogs for the national championship in two days, in just the third-ever meeting between the two programs.
During the first period, Boston College did not play to their potential, but they did put a score on the board when Barry Almeida fed Steven Whitney at point-blank range, whereupon Whitney found the empty part of the net to get the Eagles’ first goal at 6:03 (other assist: Arnold). Throughout the remainder, there was no more scoring, but Eagles goalie Parker Milner kept making big save after big save.
The second period is when the flood gates began to open. Boston College apparently got the first intermission message from its coaches and played with more confidence and authority in the second, and it showed on the scoreboard in a big way.
Once the Eagles got on their first power play, it only took them a matter of seconds to cash in. Kevin Hayes sniped the puck past Kent Patterson at 6:35 of period two, doubling the Eagles’ lead at 2-0 (Whitney and Cross assisted). For a while, Boston College looked content to sit on that lead going into the second intermission, but at 17:45, Chris Kreider discovered that he was not content. He scored the Eagles’ third goal to make it 3-zip (Straight assisted). Finally, about two minutes later, Paul Carey put Minnesota on notice with the Eagles’ fourth goal at 19:43, making it a steep 4-0 advantage (Mullane and Gaudreau assisted).
Minnesota would not go as quietly as Boston College’s two previous opponents did. Jake Hansen finally ended Parker Milner’s streak of nine-straight goalless periods by scoring, making it a 4-1 game (Haula and Warning assisted). Boston College was quick to show the Gophers that they meant business, however, as the Eagles answered back just 22 seconds later thanks once again to Paul Carey; this back-breaking goal made it a 5-1 BC lead (Gaudreau assisted).
For the cherry on top, the Eagles converted on a second power play at 5:51 as Brian Dumoulin gave Boston College a 6-1 lead which would remain untouched thereafter (Kreider and Mullane assisted).
The Eagles converted on two of their four power play opportunities, while stuffing Minnesota on all four of their own. Gophers goalie Kent Patterson, who had had a tremendous season until Thursday night, stopped only 19 Boston College shots on goal. His BC counterpart, Parker Milner, stopped 30 of his 31 shots.
Let’s call this game what it was: an unmitigated ass-kicking. It did not at first appear as though it would be, but when the clock hit all zeros, that’s what we had. Minnesota should still be commended for their excellent season.
Respecting one’s opponent is key, and there are plenty of good things to say about the sort of season that Ferris State has had. Indeed, regardless of Saturday’s result, this will be a year that their hockey fans won’t soon forget. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine that they were thrilled to watch the Eagles dismantle one of the best teams in the nation with both good offense and spectacular goaltending. If the Bulldogs win, they are going to have to earn it, assuming Thursday night’s keister-whooping is any indication of how Saturday might go.
Each game is its own entity and Boston College’s results on Thursday night will not necessarily translate to Saturday night — but seriously, if you’re a BC fan, how could you not feel like your team is the odds-on favorite to win the whole enchilada after the NCAA Tournament they’ve put together so far?