|BC hockey ready for Frozen Four championship||04.07.12 at 7:51 am ET|
With four national championships in the last 12 seasons, the Boston College men’s hockey program has been perhaps the most dominant in college hockey in the new millennium, and the Eagles will look to add another trophy to their ever-expanding case as they take on Ferris State in the Frozen Four championship Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
This year marks BC’s 23rd Frozen Four appearance in program history and its 10th in the last 15 seasons. Not only has the Eagles’ run under the guidance of coach Jerry York been dominant, but BC’s run to the national title game has been a continuation of what has been yet another banner season.
The Eagles (32-10-1) captured both the Hockey East regular season championship and the conference tournament, all while securing the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament in the process. In the tournament’s first two rounds, BC waltzed its way to the Frozen Four with a combination of a Chris Kreider-led offense and a stifling defense that shut its opponents out entirely. In their wins over Air Force and defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth, the Eagles didn’t surrender a single goal, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 6-0.
Though they did let up their first goal of the tournament, perhaps the Eagles’ most impressive win came Thursday with a 6-1 rout of a talented Minnesota squad that had previously outscored its NCAA tournament opponents by a 12-5 margin. The win was BC’s 18th in a row and like it has been for much of that streak, goaltender Parker Milner was a prominent reason why the Eagles found themselves on the winning end against the Golden Gophers.
“It’s just like he’s climbing up the steps,” York told Scott McLaughlin of College Hockey News. “Every game, he gets better and better. It’s remarkable to watch. [Scott] Clemmensen and [John] Muse and [Cory] Schneider, they were always good.
“They never really had a stretch where, ‘Do we have a goalie here?’ or ‘How good’s the goalie?’ We always knew we had a goaltender with them. Parker was really struggling to play at our level. Then all of a sudden, he made all these strides. He’s just improved each week.”
In order to capture the national championship, BC will have to get through a tough Ferris State team on a streak of its own. The Bulldogs (16-7-5), the CCHA champions, have lost just three games since New Year’s Eve. While its run to the Frozen Four championship hasn’t been nearly as dominant as BC’s (Ferris State won its first two NCAA tournament games 2-1 before beating Union 3-1 in the semifinals), Ferris State has not been any less impressive, particularly in the win over a higher-seeded Union team.
Even with a stiff challenge and the grand stakes that await them, the Eagles are just focused on continuing their run, one that they hope ends with the program’s fifth national championship.
“It’s [doing] the little things,” BC captain Tommy Cross said to ESPN about the Eagles’ formula for success. “It’s doing the simple play over and over again. Earlier in the year we were trying to win the game in one shift, and that’s not how it works. Ten good shifts in a row is better than one great shift and one bad shift. So that’s our focus.”
|BC hockey OK with heading west, ready to defend national title||03.25.11 at 8:03 am ET|
Making the NCAA tournament is nothing new for the Boston College Eagles — they’ve reached the big dance in 12 of the last 14 seasons. This year will be a little bit different for the Eagles, though, because they’ll be playing in a West Regional in the first round for the first time in 11 years.
Due to NCAA rules regarding host schools and intra-conference matchups in the first round, there was no other option but to send BC west. The Eagles, a No. 1 seed, couldn’t go to Bridgeport, Conn., because Yale was already there as the top seed. And they couldn’t go to Manchester, N.H., because that would’ve resulted in a first-round game against host school and fellow Hockey East member New Hampshire.
So instead, BC will be playing fourth-seeded Colorado College at Scottrade Center in St. Louis at 9 p.m. Friday night.
It would be easy for a 1 seed to complain about being forced to fly for the first round, but Eagles coach Jerry York isn’t doing that.
“It’s just part of the tournament,” York said during a media conference call Tuesday. “We all understand how it works. A number of years ago, none of the regionals were drawing very well. It took host schools to step up and say, ‘Listen, we’ll take the burden of this, we’ll host the tournament.’ … It’s been a very positive thing for us, and we understand that. I don’t mind getting on a plane and flying to St. Louis and playing a lot of different teams. That’s not a problem with me.”
It shouldn’t be a problem with his players, either. York began preparing his team for a trip like this way back in October when the Eagles played a pair of NCAA tournament teams on the road. They swept a two-game series at Denver in mid-October and then played at Notre Dame the following weekend, although they lost that contest.
“I think during the season, if I could use a golf analogy I was thinking about this morning, we played difficult courses,” York said. “We try to do that. We got out to play two of the NCAA participants now with two games at Denver and we played a game at Notre Dame. We try to make the course as difficult as we can during the year. And now you get to nationals and they tell you, ‘All right, Jerry, move back to the back, back tees.’ And you play a little more difficult schedule here. We anticipate that.”
As they do seemingly every year, the Eagles are hitting their stride when it matters most. They enter the NCAAs on an eight-game winning streak, most recently beating Merrimack 5-3 in the Hockey East championship game to win their second straight conference title and fifth in the last seven years. Read the rest of this entry »
|Beanpot preview: BU looks to break through vs. BC||02.07.11 at 9:21 am ET|
It might not be the Super Bowl, but the Beanpot has become something of a social event itself. On the first two Mondays in February, TD Garden is the place to be if you’re a Boston sports fan.
“I think it’s evolved into something a little bit more social than it is a sporting event,” Boston University coach Jack Parker said on Sunday. “It’s become like the Boston Marathon or Opening Day of the Red Sox. ‘I want to be at Opening Day.’
“And now we’ve got people showing up to the Beanpot who want to go into work Tuesday and say, ‘I was at the Beanpot last night.’ … The crowd is always sold out, but it’s a different crowd now.”
Parker and the Terriers have dominated the Beanpot. BU has won 29 of 58 titles and has failed to reach the championship game just 10 times. This year, however, the 14th-ranked Terriers will need to pull of a first-round upset just to get to the final.
That’s because their opponent in Monday’s prime-time game is No. 1 Boston College, the reigning national champion and a team that has already beaten BU three times this season.
The Eagles, who won their 15th Beanpot title last year, embarrassed their archrivals in early December, outscoring the Terriers 14-7 in a weekend sweep. That was the most lopsided sweep by BC over BU in 23 years.
The teams’ last meeting on Jan. 21 looked as if it was going to be another blowout, as the Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. But the Terriers battled back to make things interesting, only to come up a goal short in the end.
|The inspiration of John Muse||02.09.10 at 11:15 am ET|
It’s hard to watch John Muse and not think of Mike Lowell.
Boston College coach Jerry York feels that way. His star goalie, who played every minute of the team’s 2008 NCAA title run as a freshman, had surgery last April 30 to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, the same injury to the same hip that hampered the Red Sox third baseman in 2009. It was only natural for many to wonder if Muse could return to the ice and be effective, let alone return to championship form.
Ask Boston University and anyone who has come up against Boston College of late and they would say the East Falmouth, Mass. native is indeed capable of leading his team back to the promised land of college hockey like he did two seasons ago.
The goalie was voted MVP of the 2010 Beanpot following his performance on Monday night when he stopped 31 of 34 BU shots in a 4-3 win over the Terriers to capture the 58th Beanpot title.
“Anytime you have a hip operation, it’s a major surgery, even if it’s not hip replacement. He was on crutches for eight full weeks,” York said. “He keeps telling me, ‘I feel great coach and I feel more flexible,’ so hopefully, we’re past the area of concern.”
After starting the season, 3-3-1, Muse, who was platooning with freshman Parker Milner at one point, has caught fire in the last two months and is now 11-6-2, and appears ready to take his team back to the NCAA tournament. Read the rest of this entry »