Star Burst: Another Offensive Explosion Lifts BC
by Nicole Auerbach/CHN Reporter
DETROIT Seven players on Boston College’s roster knew what it felt like to win a national championship even before they set foot on the ice Saturday night.
Seven players remembered jumping off the bench at the final buzzer, taking pictures with teammates and, of course, the locker room celebration after their 2008 NCAA Tournament victory.
Seven players had the memories of glory.
But one of the seven, senior forward Matt Price, didn’t want to share the stories with his younger teammates.
“They’ve been asking non-stop since we’ve been here — ‘What was it like in ’08? Tell me stories,’” Price said. “We gave them hints of it, but we kept telling them, ‘Let’s make our own memories, let’s make our own stories.’ I think they’re happy we didn’t spoil the fun for them.”
Between the on-ice celebration after Boston College beat Wisconsin 5-0 and third-string goalie Chris Venti’s dance moves in the locker room, it became pretty clear that this Eagles squad did have a lot of fun cruising to its 2010 national championship.
The title is Boston College’s second in three years, and the fourth for coach Jerry York (his third with the Eagles). And though junior goaltender John Muse was impeccable between the pipes, what made the game — and entire NCAA Tournament run — so easy for Boston College was its offensive explosion capabilities.
The Eagles can score in bunches, and as they’ve shown over the past three games, that facet of their offense can be extremely deadly for opponents.
Against Yale in the Northeast Regional final, the dagger came with a three-goal outburst in the third period’s first 7:16. Against Miami in the Frozen Four semifinal, it happened twice — two goals a minute apart at the start of the second, and four goals in 6:11 in the third.
Eagles fans were waiting patiently Saturday night for the high-flying offense to arrive. Sure, a Ben Smith power-play goal midway through the first period had put Boston College up 1-0. But a one-goal lead is never safe, especially against a talented team like Wisconsin, which York called the “best team (the Eagles) have played all year.”
The Badgers carried play for much of the second period, but they couldn’t get the puck past Muse. Once the buzzer sounded to end the second frame, it also ended Wisconsin’s hopes of a comeback.
“(During the second intermission), we made a couple of fixes to say, ‘Hey, pay attention to this’ — small details,” said senior forward Ben Smith. “It really paid off for us because we were able to stay cool under pressure and take it to Wisconsin there in the third.”
Almost as soon as Boston College left its locker room and skated back onto the ice for the third period, its scoring-in-bunches style arrived.
Sophomore forward Cam Atkinson scored less than two minutes into the period, and suddenly the Eagles had staked out a 2-0 lead. Quickly, it became 3-0, then 4-0 — in less than six minutes, the Boston College offense officially turned the championship game into a blowout. An empty netter completed the scoring, and Muse preserved the shutout.
“We weren’t thinking of breaking the game open,” York said of the mentality heading into that crucial third period. “We were thinking of trying to continue to play what we call Eagle hockey — not to be affected by the score, not, ‘Hey, let’s protect the 1-0 lead.’
“We were just trying to win a period to win a national championship. That was my message to our players: Win the next period, win the national title.”
After the game and after the celebration, the Eagles upperclassmen compared their two championships, which sandwiched a very disappointing 2008-09 season in which Boston College didn’t even make the tournament. Many said last year’s low made them appreciate this year’s title even more.
“You go from the highest high to one of the lowest lows then back right up there, so it’s been quite a journey,” Smith said. “We really had the motivation to get back here and to do this. We believed in it the whole way.”
And now, the upperclassmen have the distinction of being the only Eagle hockey players with a pair of NCAA titles under their belts.
It may feel a little different, it may be appreciated a bit more, but no matter what, the latest championship isn’t something they’d trade for anything.
“It doesn’t get old,” Price said. “I was thinking about how I wanted to end my career, and this is a pretty special way to do it. I’d win every year if I had the opportunity — I don’t think it ever gets old.”