April 5, 2012

BC mauls Minnesota, advances to national championship

By Jesse Connolly

The fact that Boston College is headed back to yet another national championship game doesn't come as a surprise to many. The manner in which they punched their ticket to the title game, however, was certainly unexpected. 

Chris Kreider's goal put the Eagles up 3-0 over Minnesota in the second period. (Dave Arnold Photography)

Facing arguably their toughest foe of the season, Minnesota, the Eagles opened the scoring six minutes into the semifinal matchup and never looked back, running away with a 6-1 victory.

Bill Arnold started a breakout in the neutral zone and found Barry Almeida, who sent a cross-crease pass to Steven Whitney. Whitney buried the feed past Kent Patterson to put the Eagles up 1-0.

In the second period, Chris Kreider went to the box for tripping with four minutes gone. Boston College killed off the Gophers' power play and embarked on a man advantage of their own when Nate Schmidt was called for hooking at 6:30. Just five seconds later, Kevin Hayes tallied to push BC's lead to two.

Kreider then made it a three-goal advantage with 2:15 to go in the middle frame before Paul Carey buried a back-breaker with 17 seconds to go until the intermission.

Minnesota finally showed signs of life at the 1:26 mark of the third when Jake Hansen ended Parker Milner's remarkable shutout streak, as the BC netminder allowed his first goal of the NCAA tournament. The Gophers were back within three for a mere 22 seconds.

On the very next shift, Johnny Gaudreau made a diving bid to Patterson's right, drawing the Minnesota netminder out. When the puck found its way to Carey's stick right out in front, no one was there to stop him from burying it to make it 5-1.

Hobey Baker Award finalist Brian Dumoulin, a rock all night on Boston College's blue line, made it 6-1 with a power-play strike with 14:09 remaining. Milner shut the door from there on out.

BC will now square off with Ferris State – who defeated Union, 3-1, earlier in the day -- on Saturday, as the Eagles will look to capture their third national championship in the last five seasons.