Defining Moments: Boston College
by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer
Here is a look at the four most defining moments for Boston College on its road to the Frozen Four:
For superstitious BC fans, the season could not have started with a worse omen. The Eagles opened their season playing Michigan at the Icebreaker in St. Paul, Minn., losing in overtime on an extremely unlucky bounce.
But there was a silver lining.
Down 3-1 in the third period, BC showed some resilience by scoring a pair of goals to send the game to overtime tied, 3-3. Then, halfway through the overtime session, a clearing attempt by BC senior forward Dan Bertram bounced off the skate of linemate Benn Ferriero and into the Eagles net, giving the Wolverines the victory. It was the first career game for BC netminder, freshman John Muse.
Despite the loss, Muse made several key saves in the third period to allow the Eagles to make a comeback. And coach Jerry York took notice.
"Though we lost the game in overtime, I thought he played very well," said York. "Walking back to the hotel that night, I was thinking, 'This is going to be a very good goaltender.' He showed that night that he could play at that level."
Since then, Muse has solidified himself as the starting goaltender for Boston College, playing in all 2605 minutes of his team's games this season.
Said York, "He's got Martin Brodeur-type numbers in terms of games played. He's responded to the extra work load."
Boston University series
The Eagles were winless in six November games. They were playing without junior Brock Bradford, who had suffered a broken arm, as well as upperclassmen Brett Motherwell and Brian O'Hanley, who were both suspended indefinitely by York.
So, with a 3-4-5 record, the 2006 and 2007 national runner-ups were reeling heading into a home-and-home series against Boston University.
Then, something finally clicked.
BC blitzed the Terriers on the first night, scoring three goals in the first eight minutes of the game en route to a 6-2 win. Junior Nathan Gerbe scored a hat trick — two of the goals were shorthanded. And John Muse made 33 saves for BC in his first game against the Eagles' archrival. The next night, sophomore Ben Smith scored a hat trick of his own as BC won 4-3 on the road.
The offensive explosion for the Eagles continued through December, as BC scored seven, eight, and six goals in its next three games, respectively — all wins.
The series against BU was the start of a 12-2-2 stretch for BC, as the Eagles re-established themselves as one of the premier teams in Hockey East.
Boston College not only won college hockey's most famous in-season tournament, but it won both games in overtime (4-3 over Boston University, 6-5 over Harvard).
The OT triumphs would be a sign of things to come for Jerry York's squad, as the Eagles won both the Hockey East semifinal game (5-4 over UNH) and the Northeast Regional final (4-3 over Miami) in overtime.
In the Beanpot, Nathan Gerbe had two goals for the Eagles against BU, and freshman defenseman Nick Petrecki scored two goals, including the Beanpot championship OT winner, the next week against Harvard.
March 8 at Northeastern
After the Beanpot, the Eagles struggled through a 1-5-1 skid and headed into the final night of the regular season at Northeastern battling for home ice in the Hockey East playoffs. The previous night, the Huskies had skated into BC's Conte Forum and won 3-2 in overtime.
Then, a span of 1:08 in the first period may have been the most defining moment of the season for BC. Junior Kyle Kucharski scored just the fifth goal of his career, and freshmen Brian Gibbons and Nick Petrecki added tallies within the next minute to blow the game wide open. The Eagles ultimately won the game 4-1 to finish fourth in the Hockey East standings and earn home ice for a series against Providence.
Ever since, BC has been on a roll. The game at Northeastern was the first of seven straight wins — the longest current winning streak out of the four teams skating into the Frozen Four this week in Denver. In each of the seven games, the Eagles have scored at least four goals, outscoring opponents 32-12. Hobey Hat Trick finalist Nathan Gerbe, second in the nation in scoring, has 14 points over the seven games, while Joe Whitney and Benn Ferriero have chipped in with nine points over that span.
The momentum from the win at Northeastern carried BC to the Hockey East championship, winning the title against Vermont, a night after a triple overtime thriller against New Hampshire. Last weekend, the Eagles faced one of the toughest roads to the Frozen Four, needing wins against Minnesota and Miami.
Now, the Eagles hope the momentum will continue all the way through the Frozen Four, as BC looks for its third national championship and first since 2001.