Boston College Back on Familiar Ground
Eagles Return to Frozen Four Despite Up and Down Season
by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
WORCESTER, Mass. Boston College forward Joe Whitney became a hero in the Northeast regional final Sunday, sending Boston College to yet another Frozen Four. For Jerry York it will be his eighth Frozen Four in the last 11 years, the fourth in the last five.
The goal, after a game of huge momentum swings, capped a 3-on-2 rush. Whitney finished it spectacularly, fighting off a Miami defender, getting to the rebound of Dan Bertram shot, and while falling down, smacked a backhander past Miami goalie Jeff Zatkoff.
"I jumped off the bench and it happened to be a three-on-two, three-on-three," said Whitney when describing the game winner at the 12:12 mark of overtime. "I saw Danny Bertram on the right wing and tried to get to the middle of the ice. I saw the rebound and tried to get to the far post. Fortunately it went in.
"It is everyone's dream to get the game winner in overtime and do something special."
The Eagles were down 2-0 late in the second period. However, Nick Petrecki, Nathan Gerbe and Ben Smith all scored goals within 1:58 of each other to give BC the 3-2 lead at the end of the second. The freshman defenseman Petrecki hadn't scored a goal all season until getting two in the Beanpot final against Harvard. He now has five.
"I thought we did a good job shutting them down until then," said Zatkoff. "The last five minutes or so of the second period they made the most of it with the odd-man rushes.
"It all happened so fast there was not much you can do about it except to play your game."
Zatkoff's counterpart, John Muse had another solid performance. Muse stopped 10 shots in overtime and stopped 34 shots in the game.
"I thought he was spectacular," York said about Muse, the freshman who has played every minute of every BC game this year. "He made some incredible saves through the 60 minutes.
"He has really developed over the course of the year. There is a strong case made for how valuable he is. I've always thought if the goaltender keeps you in there is a good chance you will win. I thought tonight he was clearly our best player."
This team has a lot of experience that they will bring to Denver. This will be the Eagles' third consecutive year in the Frozen Four and most of them returned from last years squad. BC has lost in the final game each of the last two seasons.
Said BC defenseman Mike Brennan, "It's definitely one of our goals to make the Frozen Four. In between there, there are other championships we are trying to achieve, like winning the Beanpot, [the Hockey East] regular season and tournament."
Before this seven-game winning streak, the Eagles were in danger of not even getting home ice in the Hockey East tournament.
"In the process it's not easy going up and down," said Brennan. "I think 24 guys in that room never doubted each other. And again another overtime. Every time we go into overtime we get shoulder to shoulder and we look at each other and we know we are going to try as hard as we can and it resulted in what it was. Whitney's backhander is floating around and it went in.
"I think the team chemistry is there. Hopefully it will be there for whomever we play."
Going into Sunday's game, the Eagles had defeated the RedHawks the last two years in the NCAA tournament (2006 in the Northeast Regional semifinals and 2007 Northeast Regional finals). Everyone knew that Miami would come out fired up as the top seed in this regional.
"We're going to Denver," Whitney said with enthusiasm. "That's all that matters right now."