BC Wins Hockey East Tournament For Third Straight Year, Over Maine
Published: Monday, March 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
It was more of the same on Saturday night at the TD Garden for No. 1 Boston College.
For the second time this season, the Eagles clinched their third straight trophy at the Garden, this one being the Lamoriello Cup as champions of the Hockey East Tournament. BC defeated No. 11 University of Maine by a score of 4-1 on the back of a two-goal performance by tournament MVP Johnny Gaudreau.
“The Lamoriello Cup is something we point toward to be successful here in the Garden. It’s a major goal for us,” said head coach Jerry York. “I thought our team played extremely well. It was probably the best game we’ve played over the past two or three weeks as far as defensive zone coverage, and as far as breaking pucks out of our zone.”
The Eagles seemed to be in control right from the start, thanks to two early goals from the freshman Gaudreau. He began the scoring 5:24 into the first period when he slapped home a rebound to give BC the early 1-0 lead. The rebound opportunity came off a Patch Alber shot from the point that went off of Maine’s goaltender Dan Sullivan. Gaudreau found himself in the right place at the right time, and buried the loose puck.
Less than three minutes later, Gaudreau was at it again. In a similar-looking goal, Gaudreau capitalized on a rebound in front of the net, and sent a backhander into the back of the net for the 2-0 advantage.
“Johnny’s skills are incredible,” said senior captain Tommy Cross. “Even his own teammates will marvel [at] the stuff that he does in practice. He is a team-first guy, and that is a good recipe. He has stayed humble, and for the most part he has been pretty consistent his freshman year, and that is really impressive. The way he goes about his business is very quiet. Everyone in our room likes him, and I know that I admire some of the stuff he does on the ice.”
“He’s got those qualities that you can’t teach,” York said of Gaudreau.
The Black Bears got one goal back in the second period, when Brian Flynn finally snuck one by Parker Milner. But for the rest of the game, Milner continued to be a brick wall, finishing with a total of 41 saves.
“There were a couple surges by Maine, especially in the second period where Parker [Milner] made some incredible saves to keep it where it was,” York said. “Every time they had that surge, Parker made a [stop]—from the bench, it looked like a surefire goal, and he’d make a save off it.”
“[Parker] was like a vacuum,” Cross said. “There were not a lot of second chances. It seemed like he kept everything in his stomach.”
Right before the end of the second period, Gaudreau set up BC’s third goal, giving the Eagles all the momentum heading into the final frame. Gaudreau controlled the puck behind the net and saw Pat Mullane flying down the center of the ice. The freshman gave his linemate a perfect pass, and Mullane one-timed the puck past Sullivan for the 3-1 lead.
The Black Bears did not go down easily in the third period, but the impressive performance from Milner and the BC defense kept them from lighting the lamp again.
Barry Almeida secured the win with 1:01 to play in the third when he added an empty-netter for his team-high 22nd goal of the year.
The Eagles are firing on all cylinders right now, and have won 16 straight as they head into the NCAA Tournament. York credited the hot play of Gaudreau and Milner as major factors to BC’s sustained success.
“We’re continuing to get outstanding play from Johnny Gaudreau up front and Parker Milner in the goal,” he said. “Those have been two of the really key reasons why we’ve been going on a run like this. There are a lot of reasons. But those two individuals have really stepped up their game lately.”
York also noted how big of an impact the senior leadership has had on this team throughout the season.
“The leadership of this team, and what they’ve done over the stretch from January 20-21, when we lost both games up at Maine, to come back and play as well as we’ve done down the stretch is a credit to the leadership,” York said, specifically crediting Cross’ guidance.
Maine was playing without its best player, Spencer Abbott, who was injured in Friday night’s win over BU. The Hockey East Player of the Year was forced to sit out the championship game, and the Black Bears seemed to be missing his play.
“Spencer Abbott is a Hobey Baker finalist and certainly one of the top players in the league, and for him to not play tonight was certainly a blow to their aspirations of winning the championship,” York said.
In addition to Gaudreau, Milner and Brian Dumoulin were also named to the 2012 Hockey East All-Tournament team following the game.