It's Eagles' Time of Year Again
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
WORCESTER, Mass. You could say that the seniors on Boston College are spoiled. You could say that they're lucky, or maybe they're just that good. No matter how to slice it, the Eagles have made it a habit to bring their game to new heights once the calendar hits March.
BC's seniors have seen it first hand. Since arriving at Chestnut Hill, they've appeared in the NCAA tournament four times. They have won two Hockey East tournament titles and appeared in the finals in three of their four years. And they've also won a Beanpot.
They've made their way to two of the last three National Championship games, losing close heartbreakers twice (a 1-0 loss to Wisconsin in 2006, and a 3-1 loss to Michigan State last season).
In fact, the National Title is the only thing that's eluded the group.
After knocking off perennial power Minnesota, 5-1, last night in the first round of the NCAA Northeast Regional, the Eagles are three games away from finally catching the crown. They'll play again this afternoon against Miami in the regional final at the DCU Center.
"I don't want it any more this year than I did last year," said BC senior forward Matt Greene. "It's the pinnacle in our sport. I wanted it just as bad last year and I wanted it just as bad the year before that."
What makes this run even more impressive is the road the Eagles have taken. Towards the end of the regular season, BC went through a 1-5-1 stretch and almost finished out of the top-four in Hockey East.
Since then, they've gone back to basics, allowing just seven goals in their last five games.
"It's funny how we always seem to rise to the occasion," said senior captain Mike Brennan. "There wasn't one thing that we improved on, I think it was just a lot of little things. We were losing games because I think we were getting away from our roles. We were doing things that we weren't supposed to do."
For Greene, it was simply getting back to old-time hockey.
"We just got back to basics," said Greene. "We started going to the net and getting our bodies there. If you do that, you'll get some ugly goals. I don't care how ugly they are, if they go in I'm happy. So, we started getting some ugly goals, you get your confidence back, and then you start getting some pretty goals.
"We worked hard along the walls. You can't put a number on hard work. It's not always fun to go into corners or go along the wall when you know you're going to get smashed hard. But, we did it and it paid off."
With still one prize left to claim, the BC seniors success has started to rub off on the youngsters.
"It's great to have those guys in our locker room," said freshman Joe Whitney. "We were slumping at the end of the year and they told us to follow them because they'd been there. We get to the Hockey East tournament and they told us that they would lead because they've been there and won it. Now, we're in the NCAA's and they've telling us to follow them because they've been there. We'd be stupid not to listen, we have guys who have played for two national titles. It's a great group."
York is soaring
The win was the 800th in the illustrious career of BC coach Jerry York.
"Do I look that old?" he said.