Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Counting Down Jerry York’s Top 10 Moments in 28 Years at BC

In 28 years as the head coach of his alma mater, Jerry York, who announced his retirement on April 13, led Boston College men’s hockey to four national championships, 11 Hockey East regular season titles, nine Hockey East Tournament titles, nine Beanpot titles, and 12 Frozen Four appearances. With nearly three decades of coaching at BC on his resume, York produced some of the most memorable moments in college hockey history. Here are York’s top 10 moments at BC.

10. 2021 Battle of Comm. Ave, Feb. 5, 2021

Drew Helleson Beats Buzzer, BC Beats BU 4–3 in Overtime

The historic Battle of Comm. Ave. has long been a staple of NCAA hockey, providing an electric, crosstown rivalry between two perennial national contenders for the last 104 years. Few Battle of Comm. Ave. matchups, however, rival the 2021 iteration in Conte Forum, which was devoid of fans at the time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the clock wound down in overtime, York orchestrated an elegant dance led by defender Drew Helleson, who wove up the ice with the puck at his stick and beat BU’s goaltender with under one second left on the clock.  

9. 2008 Regional Final, March 30, 2008

BC Beats Miami (Oh.) 4–3 in Overtime To Earn Frozen Four Bid 

Freshman Joe Whitney scored the game winner in overtime to send BC to its third straight Frozen Four. Nathan Gerbe registered the tying goal late in the second period before the teams went scoreless in the third, sending the game to overtime. BC scored three times in a span of two minutes in the second period, and the Eagles outmatched Hobey Baker finalist Ryan Jones on offense. 

“I knew that coming down to the end of the season, teams were going to try to bang me around a little bit,” Jones said. “The funny part is, I kind of feed off that stuff.”

8. 1998 Hockey East Tournament Final, March 21, 1998

York’s First Hockey East Tournament Title, BC Beats Maine 3–2

Just four years into his tenure at BC, York had flipped a program without an identity into a championship-level team, earning his first Hockey East Tournament title. Brian Gionta, a freshman at the time, scored a late third-period, game-winning goal to give the Eagles their first Hockey East crown in eight years. BC came back from a 2–0 deficit in the win. A Heights article following the game described the 1998 squad as “the hottest team in all of college hockey.”

7. 2004 Beanpot Final, Feb. 9, 2004

BC Beats BU 2–1 in Overtime to Earn a Beanpot Title

A heroic, 50-save effort from Boston University goaltender Sean Fields wasn’t enough against a high-flying, No. 1 BC team. Ryan Murphy scored at 6:07 in the overtime period after Ty Hennes scored the tying goal with 3:30 left in regulation. 

“Sean Fields almost stole the game,” York said afterward. “One of the key parts for our team was we handled the frustration of a hot goaltender, a one-nothing deficit, a goal called back, and still kept our poise.”

6.1994 Beanpot Final, Feb. 14, 1994

BC Beats Harvard 2–1 in OT for York’s First Beanpot Title in His First Year

A Heights article at the time claimed that, heading into the 1994 Beanpot Final, No. 2 Harvard was “set to ‘kill’ BC.” After beating Northeastern 5–4 in double overtime in the Beanpot Semifinal the Monday prior, BC headed to overtime once again and emerged with its first Beanpot title in 11 years—and the first of York’s tenure. Heights reporter Michael Civille wrote that watching the game was like watching Rocky.

5. York’s 1000th Win, Jan. 22, 2016

BC Wins 8–0 Over UMass 

It took York until a little further into the season than expected, but with an 8–0 win over UMass, York became the only hockey coach in NCAA history to reach the 1,000-win mark. The Eagles scored five goals in the first period and never looked back, cementing their coach’s place in the hockey history books. 

“It’s not part of my fabric. It’s not part of my makeup,” York said after the game. “You leave your ego at the door. You’re a family.”

4. 2010 National Championship Game, April 10, 2010

BC Wins 5–0 Over Wisconsin for Third National Championship Under York 

The Eagles blanked Wisconsin for their second national championship in three years. The juniors and seniors on the roster had been around for both of those titles, but BC entered the matchup with a relatively young team—averaging 20 years, six months—and only one player who had surpassed 50 points on the season. Wisconsin, on the other hand, boasted four 50-point scorers, including Hobey Baker Award–winner Blake Geoffrion.  

3. 2008 National Championship Game, April 12, 2008

BC Wins Title With 4–1 Victory Over Notre Dame

For two straight years, BC came tantalizingly close to winning a national championship. But for two straight years, BC came up short. In their third trip to the title game in as many years, York and the Eagles raised the trophy over their heads after beating longtime rival Notre Dame 4–1. Nathan Gerbe scored two goals and assisted on two more in the win.

“This year, the coaches did a great job of stressing that we’re just going to go for it and have no regrets at the end of the game,” Gerbe said.

2. 2012 National Championship Game, April 7, 2012

BC Wins 4–1 Over Ferris State For Third National Title in Five Years

BC held a 2–1 lead over Ferris State heading into the third period, and the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Parker Milner turned away shot after shot to maintain the Eagles’ lead. All the pieces came together for BC, led by Milner, senior captain Tommy Cross, and freshman phenom Johnny Gaudreau, and as the final buzzer sounded, gloves, helmets, and sticks went flying in the air. 

“We just had something in our mind that the season was only going to end one way,” Cross said. 

1. 2001 National Championship Game, April 7, 2001

BC Wins 3–2 Over North Dakota in Overtime for York’s First National Championship With BC

Krys Kolanos gathered a pass from Chuck Kobasew just under five minutes into overtime. He got one step on North Dakota defenseman Aaron Schneekloth and made a beeline for the goal. North Dakota goaltender Karl Goehring moved into the crease, upending Kolanos, but not before Kolanos tucked the puck gingerly behind Goehring. BC players erupted from their seats on the bench, tossing equipment in the air as they skated toward Kolanos to celebrate the end of a 52-year NCAA Championship drought. The win marked BC’s first national title under York just seven years after he took the reins. Kolanos’ goal came on a move that he later described as his “bread and butter.” 

“This game is 95 percent mental,” BC captain Brian Gionta said. “You have to roll with the punches. Coach [Jerry York] told us that no matter how bad we felt after giving up that [game-tying] goal, we were going to feel really good after an overtime win.”

York had won a national title before—in 1984 as the head coach at Bowling Green—but nothing compared to hoisting the trophy with the team at his alma mater. 

“We’ve had a great program here at BC, and I’d rather be part of a great program than a team that wins the championship and never comes back again,” York said. “We’ll be back for a lot more Frozen Fours.”

May 1, 2022