March 29, 2014

Boston College 6, Denver 2: Gaudreau does the trick

By Joshua Kummins

Johnny Gaudreau leaps into the arms of Hopkinton, Mass., native Teddy Doherty after one of his three goals in Boston College's runaway 6-2 victory Saturday night in the NCAA Worcester Regional. (Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Boston College 6, Denver 2

Recap: Johnny Gaudreau scored the first hat trick of his career and his line accounted for all the scoring in a runaway victory.

The Eagles certainly did not look like a team that had just endured a two-week layoff as Gaudreau scored just 25 seconds into the contest by placing a wrist shot high on Denver senior Sam Brittain.

At 5:30, senior Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) made a great individual effort to cut inside and beat Brittain for his 25th goal of the season and third in as many games. Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) dished off the initial pass to start the play.

Gaudreau weaved through the entire Denver defense, wrapped around the net and tucked his second goal and the team's third of the game at 9:34.

As if the game was not already put away, the Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes line added three more in the second period to take a 6-0 lead.

Hayes notched his second of the game across the grain, shooting off the crossbar at 5:29.

At 8:13, Gaudreau capped off the first hat trick of his career (in his 117th career game) by banking a loose puck of Brittain's pads from behind the goal line. Sophomore defenseman Michael Matheson had a breakaway down ice, then the initial shot on goal that bounced to Gaudreau for his 35th of the season.

After assisting on the first four goals of the game, Arnold found the back of the net himself off a cross-ice pass from Hayes at 15:35. Denver rookie winger Trevor Moore broke BC freshman Thatcher Demko's (18 saves) shutout bid a few minutes later with 52 seconds remaining in the period.

Denver scored once again with 14 seconds remaining to make it a 6-2 game. Freshman Evan Janssen took a shot from the point that bounced off the stick of a BC defender and past Demko to conclude the scoring.

Records: Boston College 27-7-4, Denver 20-16-6

Key Play of the Game: Gaudreau showed his outstanding hockey IQ on his third goal of the contest, picking a loose puck up behind the net and bouncing it off Brittain's pad. At the time, midway through the second period, it showed the Pioneers that BC was not letting up.

Kummins' Commendations: BC's Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes line has been commendable for most of the season, and that was certainly the case on Saturday night. The trio combined for 13 points, six of which came from Gaudreau (on three goals and three assists).

The effort came one game after Gaudreau was held off the scoresheet for the first time in 31 games in the decisive Hockey East quarterfinal game against Notre Dame on March 16.

Kummins' Critiques: Denver did not show up. The Pioneers were able to get a garbage goal at the end of the second period, but the game was over within the opening six minutes. It's just that simple.

Notes: BC has scored five goals or more 15 times this season and has not lost in the last two seasons under that scenario. ... The road to each of head coach Jerry York's four national titles with the Eagles have begun in Worcester. BC improves to 11-1 all-time at the DCU Center/Worcester Centrum. ... The loss is Denver's second in as many years at the Northeast Regional as it fell to host New Hampshire last year in Manchester, N.H. The Pioneers were one of two teams in the tournament (the other being Robert Morris) who earned berths despite being outside the 16-team PairWise cutoff line, as inaugural champions of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Final Thoughts: After BC lost two of three games in the best-of-three round of the league playoffs, the Eagles' response was a major question. That question was answered early, and emphatically.

Next: The Eagles will go for their sixth win in their last seven NCAA Tournament games in the Northeast Regional final on Sunday at 5 p.m. 

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins