Hockey, Winter, Top Story, Sports

Eagles Shut Out by Denver 2–0 in 2024 National Championship

ST. PAUL, MINN. — Ahead of No. 1 Boston College men’s hockey’s 2024 National Championship game against No. 3 Denver on Saturday, BC’s leading goal scorer and Hobey Baker Memorial Award Hat Trick Finalist Cutter Gauthier spoke to the media regarding the Eagles’ rematch against Denver.

“It’s gonna be epic,” Gauthier said. “There’s gonna be a lot of emotions, you know, and a lot of tears for that team over there, so we’re happy and we’re excited to get after it.”

But things did not shake out that way for the Eagles on Saturday in the Xcel Energy Arena, largely due to the 35 save performance from Denver’s Matt Davis, who handed BC its first shutout of the 2023-24 season. 

“I commend their goalie,” Jack Malone said. “He did a tremendous job for them, and they have a great team. They know how to win, and I think that they just used their experience to their advantage.”

Unable to break through Davis’ seemingly impenetrable defense, BC (34–6–1, 20–3–1 Hockey East) came up one game short of winning the 2024 National Championship, and the Pioneers (32–9–3, 15–7–2 NCHC) hoisted the NCAA trophy with a 2–0 victory.

“Congrats to Dave and the Pioneers,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “They played a heck of a game tonight. And it was a championship battle, and they were as stingy and as tight defensively as we’ve seen this year. They did a great job. Played a lot of winning hockey.  Played like a championship team.”

Despite the Eagles outshooting Denver 35 to 26, Davis refused to let the Eagles find the back of the net. 

The Eagles had multiple high-quality chances to get on the board in the opening period including an almost completely wide open opportunity for Andre Gasseau that rang off the post and a one-on-one chance for Will Smith that was shut down by Davis. 

At the 13:29 mark of the second period the Eagles completed their kill of Mike Posma’s boarding penalty, and avoided giving the Pioneer’s an early power-play goal. 

The scoring drought was brought to an end soon after, though. Just over 3:00 later, Denver snapped the tie when Jared Wright unleashed a shot that bounced off of the post, then off of the back of Jacob Fowler and past the goal line to make it 1–0 with 10:18 left in the second period. 

“Rieger [Lorenz] made an awesome play to get it back to me,” Wright said. “Threw it blind to the net and was lucky enough it rolled in, and it was a big goal.”

Things only got worse for BC as the second period progressed. 

Denver continued to pepper Fowler with high-quality shots, but he stood tall. That is until Denver’s second goal broke through. 

With 4:47 left in the second frame Lorenz unleashed a wrister that made its way over Fowler’s right shoulder and found the top left of the net to give the Pioneers a 2–0 lead. 

“Second period we did a nice job, had a great penalty kill, and then it seemed like they took momentum,” Brown said. “We should have taken momentum after a good penalty kill. But the next few minutes, five, seven minutes or so, they seemed to just have better legs right in that stretch.”

A minute and a half into the third period the Eagles were given their first power play chance of the night and were in desperate need of a goal. But a diving save from Davis stopped a Ryan Leonard shot that was inches from cutting the Pioneers lead in half, and the Eagles remained scoreless.

“I just saw the puck go back door again. I was like, uh-ho, and I dove over and made the save,” Davis said.

The Eagles got a second power play with 7:54 left in regulation, but Davis continued to make save after save, shutting down all of BC’s chances. BC tallied 23 third period shots, tied for the fourth most in a period in the Frozen Four, but failed to turn them into goals.

Despite coming up one game short of the national championship, the Eagles ended their season as the Hockey East Regular Season Champions, Hockey East Tournament Champions, Frozen Four Finalists, and picked up a flurry of personal awards in the process. 

The commitment that they had,” Greg Brown said of what he’ll remember most about the 2023-24 BC squad. “They kept pushing. They grew as a team. We were young, very young. Tons of freshmen. They grew in the first semester. And then they started to hit stride, play really well, and then that loss to BU in the Beanpot kind of hardened us and we played a lot of good hockey after that and up until today.”

April 13, 2024