Fifth Time The Charm For Eagles
BC Steamrolls BU, Punches Ticket to Milwaukee
by Mike Machnik/CHN Senior Editor
WORCESTER, Mass. They say the third time's the charm.
How about the fifth time?
After four straight losses this season to arch-rival Boston University, including nailbiting defeats in the Beanpot and Hockey East championship games, Boston College finally put it all together in a convincing 5-0 win to take the NCAA Northeast Regional and earn a trip to Milwaukee for the Frozen Four.
Cory Schneider (28 saves) continued his hot play, becoming the first goaltender ever to record back-to-back shutouts in NCAA tournament play, and Joe Rooney broke out of a slump with two second-period goals — both on the shorthand — and an assist for a three point night.
Schneider's shutout was his eighth of the season, setting a new single-season record at BC.
But the tone of this one was set early on, as the Eagles opened up with an aggressive game plan designed to force BU to make mistakes. They pulled out all the stops, rolled the dice, laid it all on the line.
BC coach Jerry York hinted the night before that there would be changes in the Eagle attack. He wasn't kidding.
BU had taken the play to BC from the get-go in the teams' last two meetings. Tonight it was the other way around.
It paid off 6:24 into the game when forward Brian Boyle shocked the Terriers on their own breakout, robbing BU defenseman Kevin Schaeffer in front of the net and slamming the puck past goaltender John Curry for a 1-0 BC lead.
"We'd hoped to jump 'em early like that," said York. "I think we surprised them. We sent the one guy behind the net. They came right out, and we jumped the second guy."
"It was a set breakout that BU was doing," said Boyle. "They set up behind the net. Coach had the game plan when they set up with one D behind the net and one in front, they come out one side and then they go up as a pair, parallel to each other, and we try to flush the D to one side.
"Then the second forward coming in has to take away that D's pass too. Chris [Collins] came behind the net, chased Schaeffer out, got a piece of his stick and the puck deflected to me — it kind of looked like he passed it to me, but Chris kind of pushed his hands, and I just got rid of it as quick as I got it. It was kind of a bang-bang thing, but I couldn't think about it, it just happened.
"But it was something Coach told us to do, and we went out and did it."
"I think the first 10 minutes, we were just quicker, faster," York said. "We weren't trying to defend anything, we were trying to go get it.
"And I think BU was kind of back a little — 'We're going to go to the Frozen Four, we're going to beat BC for the fifth time.' It's hard to do."
The Eagles also set the tone with their physical play that had BU back on its heels most of the night.
"We wanted to be a little more physical than we were in the past against BU," said York. "I thought we lost a lot of those type battles the last few games we played against them."
BC broke the game open with a three-goal second period.
The key was a momentum swing during a BU power play 13 minutes into the period. Boyle broke up a 2-on-1 and started the play back the other way, leading to Rooney's first shorthander of the night.
A BU goal would have cut BC's lead to 2-1. Instead, the Eagles had a commanding 3-0 lead.
"It was a 2-on-1 coming at me," said Boyle. "I didn't know where Michael [Brennan] went, he said he lost his glove, so it was kind of on a 2-on-1 with some pretty good guys, Pete MacArthur and I'm not sure who he was passing to.
"I just tried to watch his eyes and when he threw it cross ice, I have a long reach and I just tried to get a piece of it and I did, which broke up the pass. Then Bennie [Ferriero] made a great play to get it out to Joey, and he flew down the wing and buried it."
"We wanted to be a little more physical than we were in the past against BU."
BC coach Jerry York
"Not only was it the third goal of the game and it was a shorthanded goal," said Boyle, "but it was Joey Rooney's goal. He's been working so hard. He's tremendously gifted in all aspects of the game, great speed, strength and offensive ability, but it hasn't been showing numbers-wise this year.
"Tonight he broke out, and we really needed him to. The whole team was behind him.
"I was more happy with that goal than any other goal I've scored this year. It was a great feeling for him."
Rooney added a second shorthanded goal three minutes later to hike the BC lead to 4-0 and effectively punch the Eagles' ticket to Milwaukee.
BU had scored four power-play goals the night before against Nebraska-Omaha and had surrendered just two even strength goals (and no shorthanded goals) in five postseason games.
BC put an end to that, scoring three at even strength, blanking the Terrier power play on six tries and scoring two of their own on the shorthand.
"We've always been real aggressive on the penalty kill, all year, but Joey just hasn't been able to cash in," said York. "He's had great chances, but no red lights.
"This time he got the red lights."
"We played well for a full 60 minutes tonight," said Boyle. "We tried to take their sticks away. As Coach would say, we tried to end their season, and we knew we had to do it from the first shift on. If things didn't go our way tonight, if there was one shift, even one shift where we didn't do it, do the right thing, give it our all...we just did everything we could.
"Everyone was on the same page tonight. There were no individuals. The bench was unbelievable.
"It was a special time to be an Eagle. It's unbelievable."