For Boston College Fans, Regional Win Against BU was a Long Time Coming
by Tom Burke/CHN Writer
WORCESTER, Mass. A beaming Bobbi York was clutching a hard-cover book as she rode the DCU Center elevator down to the press conference. In a few minutes her husband Jerry, the Boston College hockey coach, would explain to the media how he had engineered Boston College's 5-0 rout of Boston University in the NCAA Northeast Regional final.
Asked what she was reading on this stunningly happy night for Eagle hockey fans, she displayed the title and said, "It's a book about prayer called 'I Told the Mountain to Move.'"
"And it did," she added.
That Boston College beat its ancient rival was hardly an event of seismic proportions. They're both good teams, and BC was overdue to rise up and smite BU after losing four in a row including the Beanpot and Hockey East championship games. But the way that it happened — shutting out the favored, top-ranked Terriers and scoring a pair of shorthanded goals in the bargain — that's quite a bit like moving a mountain. Mrs. York had chosen her reading materials well.
Jerry was his usual gracious self in the pressroom, remarking "You've got to give a lot of credit to BU. The pressure was all on them to advance to the Frozen Four. It's a tough pill for them to swallow."
"We were dominated," said BU coach Jack Parker. "We weren't awful, but BC really jacked it up. We were a step slower. Cory Schneider didn't even have to play as well tonight. And giving up two shorthanded goals really killed us."
The last time Boston College scored two shorthanded goals against BU was back in 1976 in the Beanpot Tournament championship. Heavy underdogs in that contest, BC prevailed 6-3 and won the event for the first time in 11 years.
BC junior wing Joe Rooney scored both shorthanded tallies and assisted on a pair of other scores as well. For Rooney, it was a long-awaited breakout after a full season of relentless hustle but just three goals to show for it.
For Boston College fans of long standing, Rooney's one-man show laid to rest one particularly painful memory. Joe's father Steve, who played for Providence a generation ago, is the guy who scored the game-winning goal against BC in the second overtime of the first Hockey East championship game in 1985.
That was Providence goalie Chris Terreri's 65-save performance, a league playoff record that still stands. A superior BC team was stopped cold that evening in Providence Civic Center, and Joe Rooney's dad delivered the final blow. Gray and bald Eagles still wince when you mention it. Maybe now they won't feel the pain so intensely.
Rooney's second man-short goal, coming with four minutes to play in the second period, sent BC into the locker room with a 4-0 lead. The goal was allowed to stand after a review.
"That was the toughest to give up. The game was over at that point," said Parker.
It wasn't over as far as Boston College fans were concerned. They'd been through this type of situation with BU many times, with the Terriers often finding a way to win. The BC people's hopeful grins were subdued as they paced the DCU Center corridors, awaiting the final 20 minutes. But had they spoken to any of the Eagle players, those fans might have lightened up just a bit.
"Did we expect to win? Absolutely we did," said Anthony Aiello, a freshman defenseman who is the only regular player who hasn't scored a goal this year. Aiello figures that he needed two months to get used to the speed and toughness of the college game. Two other frosh, Tim Filangieri and Brett Motherwell, have played the full season as well. BC's young defense corps sprung more than a few leaks over the course of the season, but this evening they were superb. While BU actually had a number of good chances on Schneider, particularly in the latter half of the first period, they seldom got a chance for a rebound or follow-up shot. This evening, the BC defensive zone play was positively carnivorous.
"I give up goals on rebounds," said Schneider, the unanimous pick for tournament MVP after posting consecutive 5-0 shutouts. "And BU was trying odd-angle shots on me and hoping that I'd kick the rebound to the shot area. So we worked on keeping them of in the corner."
Schneider feels a measure of vindication after a poor outing in the 2005 regional against North Dakota, the Eagles' first opponent in the upcoming Frozen Four. "Our P.K. has been great too. It was kind of an Achilles Heel for us earlier, but we did a good job of locking it down," he said.
"I think we did a terrific job of blocking shots. And having the ability to score shorthanded goals means that you can change the momentum of the game," said York. "In our penalty killing we were confident, not back on our heels. We've been able to get a lot of shin-pad breakaways."
"We think of our penalty kill as a weapon," grinned senior Chris Collins, who was only too happy to take a half step back and let Rooney and others share the limelight. Collins didn't have a point against BU, but he had already amassed 60 for the season, which is more than the 59 points he had collected over his three previous campaigns.
For most of the current season, BC's first line of Collins, Brian Boyle, and Stephen Gionta carried the offensive load. But Collins and Boyle only needed to score one goal each during the Northeast Regional. Freshman Benn Ferriero had three of the BC's ten goals and Rooney had the shorthanded pair. Sophomore Matt Greene was credited with a second period goal against BU when a pass from Rooney caromed into the net off Greene's facemask.
"A real skill goal by me," Greene cracked.
Boston College heads into the Frozen Four and a date with North Dakota with a hot-handed goalie, a defense that's gotten the hang of blocking shots and forcefully shooing attackers away, and an offense that's more balanced than it has been all season.
The Eagles shut out both the country's top-rated team and the CCHA pennant winner in becoming just the second third-seeded team to win a regional playoff and advance to the Frozen Four. Now it's on to Milwaukee — after moving mountains to get there.