WORCESTER, Mass. — After a heart-stopping last minute of play, Boston College held on to secure a spot once again at the Frozen Four after defeating Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 at the Northeast Regional final Saturday night at the DCU Center.
The Eagles were up 3-0 until half way through the third when the Bulldogs put it all on the line, scoring two and almost tying it up in the last few seconds.
2016 NCAA Northeast Regional
See complete coverage at Regional Central.
As the clock ticked down, a flurry of Bulldogs players crowded BC netminder Thatcher Demko’s crease and the puck almost trickled in after bouncing off a few bodies, but Eagles forward Austin Cangelosi saved the day by stopping the puck with his stick, allowing Demko to come down on it with his glove and the Eagles to sweep it away.
The clock stopped inadvertently with 2.6 seconds left after BC cleared the puck down ice, and after a review, the referees declared the game over, saying time should have expired.
“They [the refs] were pretty clear about it,” said BC captain Teddy Doherty, who was the liaison between officials and coaches. “They just said if it’s not a goal, the game is over. If it is a goal, the time would go back on the clock. I just watched the replay, and it’s way closer than people thought it was.”
As BC coach Jerry York said, “in the bat of an eyelash,” the whole game changed.
To say the least, he said his team is excited about holding on to the victory — BC’s sixth Worcester regional win in a row. Interestingly enough, all four BC national championship teams under York have started their tournament run in Worcester, the last title coming in 2012.
“The Frozen Four is an objective for us,” York said. “Every year when I’ve been at BC, I always thought, ‘Let’s get to that Frozen Four,’ and the more you get there, the more opportunities you have to collect some hardware.
“You don’t have to win every game, you have to win the right games as you go through here. This certainly was the right game for us tonight.”
The Eagles soared to Tampa by tallying one goal per period. BC’s first two were by Doherty, and Ryan Fitzgerald’s third-period, power-play goal put the Eagles up by three. Then Duluth struck back twice, once with the man advantage by Austin Farley and one at even strength by Friday’s game-winning goal scorer, Karson Kuhlman.
“This group battled all year, and we’ve certainly grown, but it’s a game of inches,” said Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin. “I’m really proud of our guys; they played a great game. We kept fighting until the end, and unfortunately we came up a bit short.”
Coming up short is something BC doesn’t seem to do too often when making its way to the Frozen Four, the exception being when the Eagles lost in their last appearance there to Union in the 2014 semifinals.
“We measure our team by the number of trophies we win, not necessarily by how many wins we win, but are you successful in those trophy games?” York said. “Now we have a chance to win another one.”