Collins Turns a (Hobey) Hat Trick
BC Advances to the NCAA Finals with 6-5 Win over North Dakota
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
MILWAUKEE All the talk of defense and goaltending went right out the window in Thursday afternoon's Frozen Four semifinal.
While Boston College goalie Cory Schneider — who came into the game after having recorded the first-ever back-to-back shutouts in NCAA history — had many impressive moments, both he and North Dakota's Jordan Parise struggled amid an inordinate array of breakaways, odd-man rushes, and point-blank shots.
A North Dakota rally was snuffed out because time simply ran out, and Boston College avenged last year's Regional loss to the Sioux with a 6-5 victory at the Bradley Center.
"It's a hard game to control," York said. "The puck bounces sometimes. ... I thought it would be much tighter, but they're creative on offense.
"We had a great rush early, then we were just hanging on at the end. Even with 12 seconds left, I never thought the game was over. We got tentative with the lead."
The big story for Boston College was the emergence of the freshmen defensemen, and the case Chris Collins — albeit too late — for the Hobey Baker Award.
Two freshmen defensemen — Brett Motherwell and Anthony Aiello — scored (Aiello's was the first of his career), and a freshman forward, Nate Gerbe, added a breakaway goal in the third. This in a season where coach Jerry York expected it to be a rebuilding year with such a young defensive group. And it came when senior Peter Harrold hurt his ankle in the first period.
Then there's Collins. The voting for the Hobey is already done, and he may win it anyway, but too bad this game couldn't be factored in. Collins had a top-shelf goal, a deflection goal, and another on a power-play breakaway when North Dakota was caught in a line change and Schneider sprung a long pass.
"I knew the North Dakota guys were tired. They were out there for a minute and I knew they needed a change. Shooting it up ice is something I've worked on all season. It's gotten me in trouble at times. ... Coach hasn't advocated it."
The second goal by Collins was shorthanded, his sixth such goal of the year.
"We take a lot of chances offensively," said Collins. "Any time you can do that it's a huge boost."
It was 3-0 Boston College before the first period was over, with three shots sneaking in upstairs over Parise's shoulders.
"They have so much high-end talent," Parise said. "They took advantage of our defense making mistakes. You could see that as the game went on. They would find the openings, and they would take the risk."
North Dakota got revved up, finally, in the second period, when Rastislav Spirko scored shorthanded. Later, after BC had killed a 5-on-3, the Sioux scored anyway to make it 3-2. That, however, was immediately followed by a goal from BC's Anthony Aiello, as he snuck one in the short side — a goal Parise could have stopped.
Collins added his breakaway goal to end the second period. Jonathan Toews and Travis Zajac scored in the third as North Dakota wouldn't go away, but Brian Lee's goal with 12 seconds left was too late for the Sioux to rally all the way.
"We set out to set a pace physically and we expected them to back off," Parise said. "They didn't. We hit them once, and they would hit us twice, harder, even with smaller guys. It's a credit to them."
Harrold said he would play Saturday, despite the injury.