2013-14 Boston College Men’s Hockey: 2014 Hockey East Tournament
As fate would have it, Boston College drew the very same Notre Dame team in the Hockey East quarterfinals. Fans were willing to write off the loss in the last game of the regular season as an aberration, because after all it was “trophy season.”
Furthermore, it had been ten years since Boston College men’s hockey lost in the quarterfinals. Not just best-of-three series wins, but games: Boston College entered the Notre Dame series having won 18 quarterfinals games in a row dating back to 2005, which translates into nine straight sweeps.
Notre Dame put the brakes on that right away, beating Boston College in an ugly 7-2 rout at Kelley Rink, sending the men to the unfamiliar brink of elimination.
Thanks to the heroics of Gaudreau in Game 2, Boston College took the quarterfinals to the limit with a 4-2 victory. The Calgary Flames prospect scored two goals, his 31st and 32nd, to extend his points streak and help his team to victory.
That points streak by now was a big deal: with his first period assist on Patty Brown’s goal, Gaudreau had scored in 31-straight games, tying Paul Kariya‘s record for longest in Hockey East history. Like his team in the series, all he needed was one more.
In what was a sad omen, neither Gaudreau nor Boston College men’s hockey found what they were looking for in Game 3. Not only were the Eagles eliminated in the quarterfinals for the first time in a decade, but Gaudreau’s point streak ended.
The Eagles entered the NCAA Tournament at 26-7-4 and were still all but guaranteed a #1 seed and a trip to Worcester, despite not being able to take a trip down the road to the Garden.
2013-14 Boston College Men’s Hockey: 2014 NCAA Tournament
As expected, Boston College was selected as a #1 seed in the Northeast Region, earning a trip to the DCU Center in Worcester. First, they would have to face the NCHC champion Denver Pioneers, followed by the winner of the UMass-Lowell/Minnesota State game.
Boston College men’s hockey had the benefit of the best top line in the nation with Gaudreau, Hayes, and Arnold, but still had the issue of their young goalie. Would Thatcher Demko be able to hold up in the rough-and-tumble of the NCAA Tournament? Furthermore, would the Eagles’ penalty kill be able to hold up against other talented offenses? (They did take their fair share of penalties — too many, in fact — but to their credit, at least they were able to kill them.)
The first game on Saturday afternoon was a 6-2 rout over Denver in a game that was never competitive. Looking like the Eagles of old (as in, prior to the Notre Dame series), Boston College thoroughly dominated play and gave the Pioneers very few chances in which to generate any pressure. The Eagles’ game plan of “keep the puck away from Denver” was, as one might expect, a rousing success. Adding to his substantial list of achievements, Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick as Boston College men’s hockey set up a date with Hockey East foes UMass-Lowell.
In what was perhaps the most intense game the Eagles played all season, Boston College advanced to the Frozen Four for the eleventh time under Jerry York with a thrilling 4-3 win over the River Hawks on Sunday evening. Read the recap and watch the video, because a blurb in a year-in-review article can do it no proper justice.
We knew months before that Johnny Gaudreau was heading to Philadelphia, but now, so were the rest of the Eagles. Their task was to take down the Union Dutchmen, champions of the ECAC. Boston College lost to them in the first round of the Tournament in 2013, and as fate would have it, they would fall to them in the Frozen Four in 2014. So ended a title run, and so ended the Boston College careers of outstanding Eagles such as Gaudreau, Hayes, Arnold, and Brown.
Next page: After the season