Hats Off to BC
by Gregg Paul/CHN Correspondent
MILWAUKEE Boston College soared into the NCAA Championship game, thanks to a three-goal performance from Hobey Baker finalist Chris Collins. Couple that hat trick with another hat trick of sorts — three freshmen each tallied to propel the Eagles to the 6-5 win.
But it was Collins that wowed the crowd, showing off by scoring three goals in true hat trick variety — one at even strength, one shorthanded, and one on the power play. The power-play goal, which came in the last minute of play in the second period, appeared to change the momentum back to the Eagles favor.
"Our confidence level has skyrocketed," Collins said. "We got a good bounce in the Vermont game (in the first game of the Hockey East playoffs), and we've been putting it in left and right. All our guys feel they can score."
Indeed it's now been 16 goals in the Eagles' first three NCAA games.
The three goals in the first period off North Dakota goalie Jordan Parise all came high, including two from Collins. It seemed to be part of the game plan when freshman defenseman Brett Motherwell went upstairs to the glove side, and then Collins — after a block from defenseman Mike Brennan — darted ahead of the pack shorthanded and went to the same spot.
The third goal, second by Collins, came after he wheeled out of the corner, and actually deflected off the stick of North Dakota defenseman Joe Finley.
"Not really," said Collins about whether the plan was to shoot high.
"Our scouting report was to shoot low actually, so I don't know what I was doing. Last year, we beat him low blocker. The second one, I was just looking to get it at his pads and get a rebound, but I got a deflection. The first one, I just saw an opening. ... On the last one, Cory (Schneider) made an incredible play with the puck. They weren't ready for that. Then (Ben) Ferriero got it right on my stick."
That third goal came with 23 seconds left in the second period, as North Dakota was caught on a line change. Schneider sent a long pass to Ferriero, who then put it on the tape of Collins.
If the scouting report didn't show that Parise exposed a weak spot, the Boston College players certainly exploited it. Five of the Eagles' six goals were scored on the high side. It was evident that the normally stellar Parise was not on his game.
Although a few breakdowns led to the scoring opportunities, the fact remains that Parise gave up three goals in the first period on just five shots and five goals on 16 shots through two periods.
"Jordan has been our backstop in there throughout the year," said North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol. "I think you saw in his play tonight that he continues to battle and continues to give his team in front of him an opportunity.
"I thought Boston College executed very well on their opportunities. They scored some nice goals. They've got some players that know how to put the puck in the net and they did that. At no time did we consider pulling him".
Parise deflected comments on his own play and focused on the play of the team.
"They took advantage of the opportunities we gave them," said Parise. "There were only a few opportunities, but they took advantage of them and buried them every single time. That's kind of how they played the entire game."
Collins has been explosive, not such in this game but through the season, never scoring more than 11 goals by now compiling 34 this season.
The confidence has skyrocketed in the young freshmen. Motherwell was solid most of the season, but Tim Filangieri and Anthony Aiello went through their growing pains. Aiello picked a heckuva time for his first career goal, making a 3-2 game into 4-2. Especially when you consider that stalwart defenseman Peter Harrold, a senior, went down early in the game with a sprained ankle — though he did return.
"Aiello was a true offensive defenseman at Thayer," York said, "but with us, he wasn't quite ready for that."
Said Schneider, "Motherwell has impressed me sinc the first day he got to BC. He's progressed and become more mature and confident with the puck. It would be hard to find a better freshman defenseman in the country."
Certainly he was better in this game than North Dakota freshman defenseman phenom Brian Lee. Motherwell's goal to open the scoring, he used the defenseman as a screen and Parise never saw it as it went over his glove.
"He's capable of that type of offensive prowess all season," Schneider said.
And the team did not back down to the physical punishment North Dakota tried to lay on the young BC defense early, throwing it back at them and more.
"It's an interesting team," York said. "We've got some core leaders, but not much else help. But now with (Nathan) Gerbe and (Tim) Filangieri stepping up as we've played deeper in the season. ... No one asks how young you are when they give you the trophy."
And if they win that title, it would be the third of BC's history — another hat trick.