All good things must come to an end, and on Saturday night, that’s what happened to Boston College’s run as the defending national champions.
A new team will hoist the trophy this April, which was assured by BC’s 5-1 defeat in their regional semifinal game against the Union Dutchmen. Union will face Quinnipiac on Sunday to decide which team advances to the Frozen Four.
Boston College fell behind early and trailed 1-0 at the first intermission; this ballooned to 4-0 at the second intermission and ended up as a 5-1 loss. The Eagles narrowly avoided their only shutout loss of the season with a Johnny Gaudreau goal just inside of four minutes to go.
Both teams took seven penalties over the course of the game, but Boston College’s seemed to come at the most inopportune times — though perhaps that’s a function of them trailing almost the entire way. Even when the Eagles had power plays of their own, Union goalie Troy Grosenick repeatedly stood BC on their collective heads, robbing shot after shot. Union outshot Boston College by a 35-30 margin.
Between their Hockey East semifinal loss to Boston University and their regional semifinal loss to Union, the Eagles gave up six power play goals — three in each game. After having one of the best penalty kills in the nation almost all season long, BC’s defensive meltdown in “trophy season” was highly unusual and disappointing for those who have followed the team.
As Jerry York put it in the postgame, Union beat Boston College “fair and square.” Union was by far the better team on Saturday night and, in beating the defending champions in what was an hour away from being a home game, they earned their spot in the regional final. For BC, they will send off a senior class that won two national championships but saw bitter disappointment at the end.
Since the Eagles gave away what would have been Jerry York’s 925th win in December at Providence, a game which ended in a tie, BC finished 11-10-4. They were a thoroughly average team over the last several months of the season, so this result is not a terrible surprise, but it is nevertheless a sad ending for a talented team and senior class that accomplished so much.