March 18, 2012

BC beats Maine, wins fifth Hockey East title in six years

By Jesse Connolly

Boston College captured its 11th Hockey East championship with a 4-1 win over Maine on Saturday night at TD Garden. (Dave Arnold Photography)

Final: Boston College 4, Maine 1

Recap: Freshman sensation Johnny Gaudreau got the Eagles off and running, scoring a pair of goals 2:07 apart to put Boston College up 2-0 with just 7:31 gone in the championship. That was all Jerry York’s squad would need.

Brian Flynn tallied for Maine at 7:37 of the second period to cut the lead in half, but that was as close as the Black Bears would come. Pat Mullane picked up his second point of the evening, beating Maine netminder Dan Sullivan with just 1:21 left in the middle frame to put BC ahead by two going into the third.

Barry Almeida registered his 22nd tally of the campaign with 1:01 left in regulation and the Maine net vacated, closing out the scoring in the Eagles win in the title game.

Tournament Records: Boston College 4-0-0; Maine 3-2-0

Key Play of the Game: With Joey Diamond off for an unnecessary interference penalty, Gaudreau’s second strike came just nine seconds into BC’s power play. From that moment on, the Eagles were absolutely in the driver’s seat.

Connolly’s Commendations: Though he’s been mentioned heavily already, it’s a no-brainer to give the first stick salute to Gaudreau. The freshman forward’s 18th and 19th goals of the season were huge for the Eagles. The undersized winger also added an assist.

Parker Milner came up big when BC needed him most. The Eagles’ netminder stopped 41-of-42 on the night. Thirty of his saves came in the final 40 minutes of play.

Sullivan certainly deserves a pat on the back for his work between the pipes for Maine. The sophomore goaltender stood on his head to keep the Black Bears within striking distance, but his teammates just couldn’t solve Milner.

Connolly’s Critiques: Maine’s power play finished the evening 0-for-5, squandering a few too many chances to cut into BC’s lead throughout the contest.

After a spectacular performance against BU in the semis, Maine d-man Will O’Neill had a rough go of it in the championship game, firing just one shot goal and sporting a team-worst, minus-2 rating (tying him with teammate Andrew Cerretani, Mark Anthoine and Stu Higgins).

Notes: For Boston College, the win gave them their 11th Hockey East championship. The Eagles have now won five of the last six years and six of the last eight. Maine (2004) remains the last team other than BC or BU to win the title.