Wow. What a great game. It reminded me of an old-fashioned Division III barnburner. Lots of goals. Loads of power plays. Three short-handed goals. 72 total shots on goal.
The goals came fast and furious, and BC needed every one of them for the win.
“The game featured a great rush from us early,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “And then we were just hanging on there at the end. North Dakota came on very, very strong – even with 12 seconds left and a center-ice faceoff.
“I’ve learned over the years that the game is never over until that whistle blows and the kids can start the celebration.”
“I thought we were real good early, then settled down and played solid hockey through the game,” said BC’s Stephen Gionta. “We got a little tentative with the lead, and the Fighting Sioux came back really hard on us. It’s an excellent team that they have, and we feel very proud to move on to the championship game.
“You could see at the end of the game that they don’t give up. Their top two lines are among the best in the country. They just keep coming at you. The lead really helped us late in the game.”
It was strange to see Gionta on the blue line — the senior was pressed into service when senior captain Peter Harrold was shaken up.
“The last time I played defense was in juniors,” said Gionta. “Peter (Harrold) went down with an injury; he fought through it and gave us what he could. And he showed some guts today. He’s a real leader for us. The coaches came to me and told me what to do and I just went out there and tried to do my best. I tried to keep it simple — not hold on to the puck too long. It worked out for us today and we had an outstanding effort from the entire team.”
“I’m proud of the guys in the locker room,” said North Dakota goaltender Jordan Parise. “We never quit all game, but BC is a good hockey team and when you get down on them a couple goals it’s definitely hard to regain your focus and battle back.”
But the future bodes well for the Sioux, which can build on a season that saw a young squad mature quickly.
“We definitely had a lot of ups and downs at the beginning, being a young team with not that much experience,” said Parise. “Our main goal was to get better each week and try to win hockey games. As the season went on, I think we became more of a team and developed into a real team. It just didn’t go our way today, but overall we accomplished a lot this season.”
Thanks to USCHO’s Melissa Wade for the photo — she’s the best!