April 7, 2012

BC Eagles defeat Ferris State to win national championship

By Jesse Connolly

After Thursday’s win over No. 2-ranked Minnesota proved to be a cakewalk, Saturday’s showdown with Ferris State in the national championship figured to be yet another blowout victory for the BC Eagles. 

Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) beat Ferris State goalie Taylor Nelson in the opening minutes of Saturday's national championship to put BC up 1-0. (Dave Arnold Photography)

Winners of 18-straight coming into the night, including a 6-1 drubbing of the Gophers in the Frozen Four semifinals, Boston College was given one serious run for its money on Saturday night down at Tampa Bay Times Forum by the Bulldogs, but not even the most valiant of efforts could prevent the Eagles from accomplishing something they’ve seemingly been destined to for most of the college hockey season.

BC claimed their third national title in five years, defeating underdog Ferris State by a final score of 4-1.

Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) opened the scoring just 3:18 into the contest, burying a backhander on a feed from Barry Almeida (Springfield, Mass.) to put the Eagles on top. The Bulldogs responded quickly. Parker Milner denied Andy Huff’s bid, but Garrett Thompson crashed in and slammed home the rebound to make it 1-1.

It was the last time a puck would find its way into the back of BC’s net.

Paul Carey deflected a shot by defenseman Brian Dumoulin past Taylor Nelson with 9:27 to go in the opening frame to put the Eagles back on top. 

Boston College survived a trying second period in which they gave Ferris State four power plays. But BC’s aggressive penalty kill, and some timely stops from Milner, prevented the opposition from cashing in.

Ferris State came oh-so-close to knotting things up at multiple points in the third period. With a little more than seven minutes to go in regulation, defenseman Chad Billins carried the puck in from the blue line and snuck past multiple defenders. He then fed the puck over to Travis Ouellette. Ouellette ripped a quick shot from Milner’s right, but the oft-unbeatable BC netminder stoned his bid to tie things up at 2-2.

With 3:02 left, freshman Johnny Gaudreau used some slick stick-work to get around a defender and beat Nelson with a top-shelf backhander to put the Eagles up by two. Whitney then sealed the deal with an empty-netter with 1:03 to play. All that was left to do was surround Milner for a jubilant celebration.

The win caps off a remarkable year for Jerry York’s squad. The Eagles reigned supreme in the Beanpot for the third-straight season, went on a remarkable roll and headed into the NCAA tournament riding high after winning the Hockey East tournament.

But both of those feats certainly pale in comparison to what BC pulled off on Saturday night, as the Eagles were crowned as the kings of college hockey for the 2011-12 season.