Hockey East Notebook: BC Wins it Twice
by Mike Machnik/CHN Senior Editor
BOSTON Boston College appeared to have won the game with 1:30 remaining in the first overtime. New Hampshire goaltender Kevin Regan came out to get the puck at the left circle and collided with the Eagles' Benn Ferriero, losing his mask in the process. A split second later, BC's Matt Greene picked up the loose puck and shot it into the open net.
After a delay, the goal had been disallowed, although no explanation was given on the Garden's PA system. In the press box, an announcement was made that the reason was, "the goaltender's helmet came off before the puck went in."
NCAA Rule 3-5-b says, "If a player's (including goalkeepers) mask and/or helmet is displaced, there shall be an immediate whistle." However, the whistle was never blown, leading to further confusion about the decision.
Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna provided clarification after the game ended — with BC winning anyway, the disallowed goal was much less controversial.
"Referee John Gravallese got the crew together immediately and they all agreed, the helmet was off, the shot was taken afterwards, that's no goal.
"I think what was confusing was tv kept showing the people upstairs in the replay booth, but that's not one of the itemized things they can review. But the confusion is, every goal gets reviewed automatically.
"So they're doing their job. Meanwhile, there's a separate process where the referees on the ice had already determined it wasn't a goal. And while it's being reviewed, because they have to review it, they told the captains on the ice, the helmet's off, no goal.
"The question was, the rule book says, 'There shall be an immediate whistle.' So I asked them — 'I don't think there was a whistle.'
"One of the officials said, 'It happened so quickly, I couldn't bring my whistle to my mouth fast enough.' So their interpretation is, if it's virtually physically impossible to blow it but we know in our minds that's the right call, then that's the call we make."
Bertagna also noted an interpretation in the rules manual which reads, "The referee must stop play immediately when a player's helmet or face mask is dislodged." He said there would probably be wording added to the manual in the next revision to clarify a situation like this.
"In all my years of coaching, I've never seen that happen," said BC coach Jerry York.
UNH coach Dick Umile pointed to what he said was "uncharacteristic" play by his team in falling for the first time this season to the Eagles. In particular, after taking leads of 2-0 after one and 4-1 in the second, UNH took back-to-back penalties, leading BC's York to call a timeout. BC scored on the ensuing 5-on-3, just :20 later, and turned the entire momentum of the game its way.
"When we went ahead 3, 4-1, we thought the game was over," said Umile. "Give credit to Boston College, they found a way to battle back and tie it up, and win in overtime.
"But penalties, we hurt ourselves — I'm not taking anything away from Boston College, because they played very hard and battled back, but penalties came back to haunt us. We're very disappointed with our loss and the way we played in the second period."
The Wildcats ended up taking seven penalties in the game to BC's four, and the winning goal in triple overtime was scored by BC on a power play.
Staring at :51 worth of 5-on-3 in the latter stages of the second period and trailing 4-1, York called a timeout. It could not have happened at a better time.
Joe Whitney scored just :20 into the two-man advantage, starting the Eagles on their way.
"I was just trying to settle things down," said York. "We needed a bounceback.
"But we've got a good group of kids. It's been an up and down year for us, and I think they've handled a lot of those ups and downs with a pretty good balance.
REGAN SETS RECORD
Lost in the exciting BC triple overtime win was the fact that Regan, the Hockey East Player of the Year and holder of almost every goaltending record at UNH, set his career record for saves with 62. It tied him for third in single-game saves in league tournament history.
You might think at first glance that for a goalie to come in with a GAA near 2.00 and give up five goals, he must have had an off night. And it was just the second time all year that Regan gave up that many. But the truth is that with even an average performance in net, the Wildcats would have been dispatched far, far sooner than the third OT.
Four of the five goals scored on Regan were the result of some sort of deflection. BC's Ben Smith and Brian Gibbons both showed terrific hand-eye coordination in whacking pucks out of the air past Regan from on the doorstep. Dan Bertram's tying goal in the third period came when Matt Price shot the puck towards the net from the right wing and it hit Bertram's rear skate and bounced into the net. And the game winner from Ferriero hit the stick of UNH defenseman Craig Switzer and changed direction on its way in.
"It was tough," said Regan. "The puck was definitely not bouncing our way. But at the same point, I'm a firm believer that you create your own luck.
"And they got pucks to the net, they got guys in the crease. When you do that, you get lucky, you get bounces. That's what they did and that's why they won."
"We kind of left Kevin out there to dry tonight," said Umile. "I'm very disappointed in the way we played in front of him."
"We've had no success all year with UNH in the regular season," said York. "I think we scored three goals in three games against them.
"But tonight, clearly we had some puck luck, they were bouncing off skates and deflecting by him. But I think we earned some really good chances that maybe were denied. Our best chances, he made his best saves on those. And we got some real fortunate bounces there."
EAGLES CONTINUE UPPER HAND
With the comeback win by BC, the Eagles haven't lost to UNH in the tournament since 1997. The semifinal this year was a rematch of last year's championship game won by BC, 5-2.
It was the third time the two teams have met in overtime in tournament play. BC has won all three.
The combined 116 shots (67-49 BC) was a new record for a league semifinal, smashing the old mark of 86 (BC-BU, 2003).
UNH fell in overtime for the first time this year (1-1-3). BC played its 13th overtime game (3-3-7).
The Eagles will appear in their fourth straight championship game (2-1) and 13th overall (7-5). It is only the third time ever that the No. 4 seed advanced to the final. The other two times, that team won the championship (Maine, 2000; Providence, 1996).
FOUR, SIX, WHO'S COUNTING
York elicited some chuckles from the press conference contingent when talking about the BC comeback.
"I thought our club, down 4-1, to come back and score the next six goals — right? — showed a lot of resilience and character, and I like that in teams."
Ferriero and goaltender John Muse (45 saves), up on the podium with York, smiled at that. No, it wasn't quite that many, but it probably seemed like it, especially when you factor in not only the disallowed goal in overtime but all the other chances BC generated.