BC 7, Miami (OH) 1
The Boston College Hockey team is headed back to the National Championship game.
After a one year absence, Boston College has played their way into the national title game for the fourth time in the last 10 years.
Last night, in one of the Frozen Four national semi-final games, Fourth ranked BC took on the overall number-one seed Miami of Ohio.
Both teams came out with a great amount of enthusiasm and focus that led to a scoreless matchup for most of the first period.
But, with just under two minute remaining in the first, Ben Smith wiggled his way deep into the Redhawk zone and snuck a goal past Miami’s starting goaltender Connor Knapp, putting the Eagles up 1-0 heading into the locker room.
With a goal under their belt and the lead in hand, the Eagles emerged from the tunnel after intermission ready to put add to their total.
Just two-minutes into the 2nd period, BC forward Jimmy Hayes received a sweet pass fellow liner Pat Mullane and put the puck in the back of the net to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Joe Whitney followed on Queue and put a nice wrist shot past Knapp giving BC a nice 3-0 cushion.
In the third, the Redhawks made it interesting; at least for a little while, as forward Joe Hartman slipped the puck past BC goalie John Muse to narrow the gap to 3-1 with 15 minutes left in regulation.
But as the Redhawk offense rallied to make a late push for the victory, John Muse and company had a very different idea.
BC scored four straight unanswered in a six minute stretch that put the Redhawks away once and for all. With a 7-1 lead and a trip to the championship game all but wrapped up, the Eagles skated with ease and relied on the stellar play of Muse to close out the big win.
Muse was clutch down the stretch, finishing the game with 17 saves on 18 attempts and just one bad miscue away from a Frozen Four shutout. His play was definitely reminiscent of the 2008 national championship run, when Muse let up a single goal in both the national semi-final and championship game. He has struggled at times throughout the year but finally looks to be back to his old form, with shades of 2008 seen in his quick glove work and unbeatable positioning between the pipes.
As for the offense, BC looked to be in the best shape of the season attacking with crisp passing by the likes of Brian Dumoulin (3 assists), Pat Mullane and Brian Gibbons (2 assists each). The Eagles also were finally able to find the back of the net in close as six different players scored goals, including two by BC assistant-captain Ben Smith.
Yes, BC hockey has resurrected itself from last year’s disappointment and is now staring down its fourth national championship.
Coach Jerry York has his players ready to make that final push for another title, in what would be the Eagle’s third title since 2001.
There is a lot of experience on the ice for BC, and seven key contributors from their national championship run of 2008, including senior captains Matt Price and Matt Lombardi as well as Muse in net.
This Eagles squad has a great mix of experience and firepower that is necessary to capture the championship. Sophomore and leading goal scorer Cam Atkinson leads the way along with up and coming freshman Chris Kreider giving the Eagles a combination of speed and stick handling that keeps opposing defenses on their toes.
Now, the only thing standing between this scrappy Eagles bunch and another championship is the nationally ranked #3 Wisconsin Badgers.
In the 2006 championship game, Wisconsin edged BC 2-1 in a nail biter that came down to a late score by the badgers and a few key miscues by the Eagles.
But this is a new year and BC looks about as good as they did in 2008.
So, as Saturday approaches and SuperFans everywhere get ready to don their Maroon and Gold, the BC hockey team will be ready. Emotions will be running high and butterflies might be a mainstay in both locker rooms, but once that puck is dropped at center ice it is simply 60 minutes of pure adrenaline filled and passionate hockey that will determine the 2010 champion.
So, I am going to make a bold prediction, simply because I am a bold man, and say that this will be a close one. But in the end I think that the Eagles are going to prove too tough for the Badgers, scoring a few early goals and standing behind the tremendous goaltending of the wily veteran, Muse for the Victory.
I say Eagles 3-1.
Alright boys, we will be watching with a keen eye and champagne ready for the popping and an all night celebration. So, put tie your skates up tight and let’s get that Ship and bring back where it belongs.