February 22, 2012 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Team of the Week: Boston College

by Michael King/CHN Reporter

It was quite the week for Boston College. On Monday, the team won its third-consecutive Beanpot. On the weekend, the team took four points from a conference foe in a close race for the Hockey East regular season title. And perhaps most significantly, the program's leader became the second coach to reach 900 wins in NCAA history.

Rival Boston University's domination of the Beanpot tournament is well documented. Entering last week's final, the team had won nearly half of the competitions. An evident shift took place that Monday night in the TD Garden.

Although the final was a hard-fought and intense, nearly 80-minute hockey game that either side easily could have won, the result was significant for BC. It marked the first time since the 1960s that the Eagles won the tournament three years in a row. And that also meant that it was the first time BU had not won the tournament in a three-year period since the 1980s.

In its quest for back-to-back Hockey East regular season titles, BC took a massive step forward this past weekend. The Eagles catapulted into first place after taking four points from Merrimack. On Saturday, the Warriors were arguably the better team, outshooting their opponents and playing with more sense of urgency at times.

However, the Eagle defense and goalie Parker Milner played exceptionally well and stifled the Merrimack offense.

This week also marked the resurgence of Milner and his firm claim on the starting goaltending job. His continued excellence will be key for the Eagles run through the postseason.

In addition, defenseman Brian Dumoulin continues to be among the best defensemen in Hockey East, offering a rare combination of staunch defense and good transitional play

“He seems to be getting better as I watch him play each week,” coach Jerry York said of his top two-way defender. “His defensive play is phenomenal. He’s always had good offensive skills, but his defensive game has really improved this year.”

The Eagles also proved they could win on a smaller rink. Merrimack's Lawler Arena offers a smaller ice sheet than most in Hockey East, and the smaller playing surface results in a more compact and physical game.

“The rink here is smaller, so there are a lot more whistles,” York said after Saturday's win. “It’s a much more fractured game and there’s less flow to it; it’s a much more physical game here. We think as a team that we have to be able to play [anywhere in Hockey East].”

The better news might be that the Eagles' schedule is on the easier side for their final two series. A home-and-home with Providence (sixth place Hockey East) is on tap this weekend, followed by a pair of home games against Vermont (10th place).

A full eight points from those games is certainly not out of the question. This is especially true . Two more series sweeps would seal the title for BC, given its one-point lead over second-place UMass Lowell. However, BC might not even need full points from those weekends, given the River Hawks have a challenging home-and-home series with Merrimack this weekend.

BU could still catch the Eagles from third place. The Terriers have two games at Vermont and a home-and-home series with Northeastern.

Finally, all of these accomplishments took place within in a week where York reached a special and unique milestone. Reaching 900 wins on Saturday's victory, he's now within 24 victories of tying Ron Mason's all-time mark.

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