December 1, 2012

York notches record-tying victory in Eagles' win over BU

By Andrew Merritt

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – When the sun rose on Saturday morning, only one college hockey coach had ever won 924 games. 

Now, there are two.

Jerry York came into a weekend home-and-home set against BU one win shy of Ron Mason's record. (Dave Arnold Photography)

With a 5-2 win over rival Boston University at Conte Forum Saturday night, Boston College’s Jerry York (Watertown, Mass.) matched Ron Mason’s all-time record of 924 victories.

York entered the season 11 wins short of the record, and after a season-opening loss to Northeastern that was followed by 10 straight victories, he entered the weekend with a chance to break the record in front of the home fans, in the building where he’d earned 206 of his first 923 wins. A loss at BU Friday night meant the record will have to wait at least a week, but it’s all but inevitable that York will soon be the king of the mountain.

Needham, Mass., native Bill Arnold led the way with two goals, bookending a second period in which the Eagles took control. The first broke a 1-1 tie, coming with a second left on a BC power play 1:59 into the period. Michael Matheson cashed in on a power-play blast from the point – a goal that ended up being the game-winner – and Arnold made it 4-1 by jumping on a rebound off the end boards from a Patrick Wey drive.

Brendan Silk added the fifth goal 4:16 into the third, and the result was hardly in doubt even after BU’s Evan Rodrigues cut the Eagle lead to three late in the final frame.

Hopkinton, Mass., native Teddy Doherty picked up his first goal as an Eagle to open the scoring midway through the first, and Cason Hohmann tied it for BU a few minutes later.

It was fitting that the milestone win came against BU, given the teams’ longstanding rivalry. York has won 36 games against BU, all against fellow living legend Jack Parker (Somerville, Mass.), who is third on the all-time list with 884 victories.

“It’s hard to believe, but I still don’t think [York] gets the credit he deserves,” Parker said. “His teams are well-coached in all three phases of the game.”

The hype around York’s run for the record brought some prime-time attention to Chestnut Hill, as NBC Sports Network broadcast the game with its NHL A-team of Mike Emrick and Pierre Maguire. It was also seen by a sellout crowd of 7,884.

The one person who didn’t make a big deal about the record Saturday night is York, who has always shied away from talking much about his place in history.

“The record means nothing to him,” said senior captain Pat Mullane (Wallingford, Conn.). “But it’s definitely an incentive to play a little harder.”

“He’s changed all the guys on the team’s lives,” Arnold said.

The record-tying victory comes 33 years after York replaced Mason at Bowling Green.

York will have his first crack at breaking Mason’s record Friday night, Dec. 7, when BC goes to Providence for its final game before the Christmas break. Should they come up short against the Friars, the Eagles then travel to Minneapolis to play Alabama-Huntsville and Minnesota in the Mariucci Classic, Dec. 29 and 30.

Andrew Merritt can be reached at MerrittNEHJ@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @A_Merritt.