Carey Gets His Due
BC's Carey Stars in Program's Latest Title
by Joe Meloni/CHN Staff Writer
TAMPA, Fla. Floating in the right face-off circle, Paul Carey saw the puck find its way back to the point, where defenseman Brian Dumoulin collected a pass and scanned the goalmouth.
As a Ferris State penalty killer reacted, darting from his pivot point to the blue line, Dumoulin effortlessly loaded his stick and wristed the puck toward the net. Harmless, really.
When the puck left his stick, the eyes of FSU goaltender Taylor Nelson were clear, completely. He followed the puck without much worry and positioned himself perfectly to swallow the floating shot.
The FSU penalty kill forgot about one thing, though. Carey. Standing in the right circle, he turned and saw Dumoulin angling at the left point, waiting for the play to develop. Without a thought, he darted from his post to the net front, streaking through the low slot as the puck arrived, Carey found the puck, lifted his stick and angled the puck perfectly over the shoulder of Nelson.
"We got it deep and swung it back around to the top for Dumoulin. Dumoulin took a quick wrister to the net, and I got a stick on it," Carey said.
The almost robotic way he described the play illustrates his view on the goal. Picking his spot and scoring the goal became a memory in an instant. At the time, nearly 50 minutes remained in the game. Dwelling on that goal would have contradicted everything Carey and his team values. The ideals that led to their 4-1 win Saturday night over Ferris State in the national championship — fifth in program history and third in the last five years.
Carey's goal, his third of the Frozen Four, gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead shortly after the Bulldogs responded to BC's first goal.
For four years, Paul Carey, often overshadowed by the stars Jerry York brings to the Heights, manned his spot on one of the wings. Battling in corners to fish pucks out, maintain cycles and create scoring chances. Grappling in front of the net with defensemen to turn shots destined for a goaltender's glove into goals.
Saturday night, the role he's created for himself resulted in a championship-winning goal.
On the Eagles' 19-game winning streak, the club's talismen in Chris Kreider, Johnny Gaudreau and goaltender Parker Milner garnered most of the praise. The run, the longest in school history, came about because of players like Carey, though. On a line with Gaudreau and junior center Pat Mullane, Carey defers the pretty stuff to his linemates, opting instead to do the dirty work.
Aside from the gumption he displayed in swarming the net on Saturday, his tenacity in the corners, winning puck battles and creating chances for his teammates typifies the player he became in his four years with BC.
"He's so strong, and he's such a good skater," Mullane said. "He's the one down low keeping possession. He makes my life easy, and he makes Johnny's life easy by keeping pucks alive down low and wearing the other team down. He's so good defensively. He brings everything to our line."
Upon arriving in Chestnut Hill, Carey was the usual prolific, multi-faceted scorer the Eagles are filthy with. Adding elements to his game, namely on the defensive end, helped him become a stronger two-way player. On the offensive end, more improvement was made. Aside from the stick and puck skills that matured and improved throughout his career, the grit, which made him the perfect compliment to the slight winger in Gaudreau and the dominant three-zone center in Mullane, flourished.
"Whenever we bring the puck in the zone or dump it in, he's always the first one to get it," Gaudreau said. "He's always picking up the puck and finding me or Patty. He makes it so much easier to get the puck back to him, so we can put it in the net. He's a huge part of our line."
The Eagles' game is so heavily focused on speed and passing that a few players must sacrifice beauty for the braun. Carey made that transition without a thought.
"Coming into college hockey, everyone is doing the same things," he said. "We all scored goals in juniors or prep school. You need to find out your identity and who you're going to be. I have no problem grinding it out, getting into the corners and creating chances for other players."
Doing those things resulted in three goals in the Frozen Four for Carey. Picking up a pair in BC's 6-1 win over Minnesota on Thursday night kicked off a two-game performance that led to his selection on the all-Frozen Four team. Within Hockey East, Carey did not receive any consideration for all-conference selections. Given the overall depth in the league, his absence was justifiable. In 27 leagues games, Carey scored nine goals and assisted on six others.
Again, his effort in the areas that don't register on score sheets helped both Mullane and Gaudreau finish league play with 22 points apiece.
Off the ice, his presence on the line helped both Gaudreau and Mullane mature. Losing Carey, Tommy Cross and Barry Almeida to graduation, and likely a couple more to NHL contracts, the growth of these players beyond the development of their skill is critical. Mullane will more than likely be one of the Eagles' captains next season. Spending a national championship run alongside such a strong embodiment of BC's success in Carey will help Mullane guide his own club next season.
"It's been unbelievable to play with him," Mullane said of Carey. "He had an amazing Frozen Four. He's so modest. He's so humble. He's a character in the locker room and a great guy to be around. He's a guy, and there are a few of them in here, that it's just great to see have success on the big stage because he's such a hard worker. I couldn't be happier for him."
Ending his career with a game-winning goal in a national championship game still won't earn Paul Carey a spot in the Hockey East First or Second Team. He wasn't an all-American and it was Gaudreau's dazzling clincher in the third period that fans were buzzing about when they left the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday night.
Carey isn't too disappointed, though.
"I have two national championships," he said. "That's better than anything."