Ferris State 3, Union 1 | Boston College 6, Minnesota 1
Top Dog and Underdog to Meet in Final
By MARTY COHEN
Published: April 5, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. — The prohibitive favorite Boston College’s march to a national championship rolled on Thursday night with a dominating 6-1 victory over Minnesota in the marquee matchup of the N.C.A.A. men’s hockey national semifinals at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The overall top-seeded Eagles will meet upstart Ferris State, a 3-1 winner over Union College, for the title Saturday night.
Mike Carlson/Associated Press
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“We were very opportunistic, particularly in the second period,” Boston College Coach Jerry York said. “When you look at the game, timely saves from our goaltender, opportunistic scoring and then a bounce-back goal were the keys to bring us to Saturday night’s game. We’re very excited for the possibility of winning a national championship. It’s right there in front of us.”
Boston College (32-10-1), which has not lost since Jan. 21 and carries an 18-game winning streak into the final, once again rode the stellar goaltending of the junior Parker Milner. Milner, who had his postseason scoreless streak snapped at 161 minutes 26 seconds, was brilliant in recording 30 saves, including spectacular goal-mouth stops on Taylor Matson late in the first period and Jake Hansen near the end of the second period.
“I kind of rushed it, I had way more time than I thought,” said Hansen, who scored Minnesota’s lone goal early in the third. “That was a Grade-A scoring chance, right in front. If I score there, it’s 2-1 and we’re right back in the game. I think they scored on the next shift; it just kills you.”
The Eagles, shooting for their third N.C.A.A. title since 2008, got goals from Steven Whitney, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider and Paul Carey to take a 4-0 lead after two periods. In all, 11 Eagles were involved in the offensive onslaught.
Kreider, a Rangers first-round draft pick in 2009, notched his 23rd goal off a feed from Destry Straight. The Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton was in attendance, and it is believed that the Rangers will try to sign Kreider after Saturday’s final in time to participate by the start of the N.H.L. playoffs next week.
The Gophers (28-14-1) outshot the Eagles, 21-14, through two periods and broke through against Milner on Hansen’s goal from just outside the crease to create a stir from the crowd of 18,605. The buzz did not last long as Carey answered 22 seconds later with his second goal to make it 5-1. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin completed the scoring with a harmless shot that deflected in off defenseman Justin Holl.
In the opener, the charmed run for Ferris State continued as the Bulldogs, appearing in their first Frozen Four, outlasted their fellow underdog Union College. Ferris State wing Kyle Bonis scored the winner with less than five minutes to play to back the stellar play of goalie Taylor Nelson, who made 27 saves.
The Bulldogs (26-11-5), champions of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, also got a pair of goals from Aaron Schmit that included an empty-netter in the closing minute.
“The game pretty much unfolded like I anticipated,” Ferris State Coach Bob Daniels said. “I knew it would be a tight-checking, close-scoring game.”
Ferris State came into the game outscoring opponents, 51-31, in the third period and carried the play for much of the final 20 minutes. Union goalie Tony Grosenick, a Hobey Baker finalist, kept the Dutchmen (26-8-7) in the game but failed to cleanly handle a shot from the point and left a rebound that Bonis knocked in to snap a 1-1 tie with 4:43 left.
For Union, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference champion also competing in its first Frozen Four, it represented a sour ending.
“It’s been a good experience, but it’s tough to swallow right now,” Union defenseman Greg Coburn said.