October 25, 2013

Hockey East Journal: BC's York gets Conte commendation

By Andrew Merritt

Boston college coach Jerry York (Watertown, Mass.) was saluted at Conte Forum Oct. 18 prior to the Eagles' 9-2 victory over Wisconsin. (Dave Arnold Photography)

The last person who wants to celebrate Jerry York’s incredible coaching career is Jerry York himself.

On Friday night, Oct. 18, York’s biggest achievement to date was formally feted at Boston College, as a banner was raised to the Conte Forum rafters celebrating York’s status as the winningest coach in college hockey history. The Watertown, Mass., native accomplished the feat last season, but two eye surgeries and a snowstorm prevented BC from holding Jerry York Night during the final stretch of the 2012-13 slate.

Finally, all the pomp and revelry surroundinwatg York’s record-breaking 925th victory, which put him ahead of Ron Mason on the all-time wins list, came to an end with Friday’s banner raising.

And then the real fireworks happened. The Eagles, perhaps a little inspired by the short but moving pregame ceremony honoring their legendary leader, pummeled then-No. 2 Wisconsin 9-2 in a game that was essentially never in doubt. BC peppered Wisconsin’s net with 49 shots, chasing goaltender Landon Peterson after he’d given up six goals on 22 shots over just 21:45 of ice time. That included two goals within the first 1:45 of the second period that all but ended any hopes of the Badgers making a game of it.

The BC bonanza was kicked off by freshman Austin Cangelosi, who scored his first collegiate goal 10:14 into the game, and then scored his second just 50 seconds later. The rookie also had an assist on Kevin Hayes’ goal early in the third thanks to a highlight-worthy blind pass into the slot – the kind of play that showed the youngster is ready for prime-time minutes with the Eagles.

“I think it’s great to get that first goal early in your freshman year,” York said. “But I’m more impressed with how [the freshmen are] fitting in. The three freshmen [defensemen] are going to be the nucleus of our defense. Those three young guys are getting better and better.”

York’s impression of those three rookie defensemen – Ian McCoshen, Scott Savage and Steve Santini – is further evidence that while BC’s roster has undergone a serious facelift since the 2012-13 season ended, the Eagles haven’t taken any steps back, even with seven freshmen starting.

With Friday’s victory, the Eagles have scored 17 goals over their first three games. That’s the most of any BC team since 2002-03, and again a sign that the Eagles aren’t rebuilding, they’ve reloaded.

Not that York is making any predictions just yet.

“We’re still trying to formulate our team – how good are we gonna be? Where are we gonna go with this team?” he said. “I think this was a look at the initial possibility that we could be a very good team.”

That Jerry York Night ended up happening with Wisconsin in town was somewhat poignant. The Eagles and Badgers have a long history, including the 2010 national title game won by BC. More meaningful, though, is that Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves entrusted York with the careers of two of his sons, Ben and Patrick, who each had very successful careers in Chestnut Hill.

“It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it? Jerry said this event had been canceled three times, and we’re the lucky ones that get to be part of it,” Eaves said with a wry chuckle after the BC romp. “But Jerry is a unique human being, 42 years at this game. … He’s old school – we came over here [Thursday], and when we arrived he pulled me into the locker room to show me pictures of Ben and Pat, he was so proud.”

Ben Eaves won a national title with the Eagles, and both brothers won Hockey East Championships while at BC. With the way the Eagles have played so far this year, the current crop looks primed to earn their own space in the Conte Forum trophy case.

Player of the Week

Steve Mastalerz – Jr. G, UMass

A lingering problem for the Minutemen over the years, goaltending might finally be a strength thanks to Mastalerz, who posted 62 saves on a combined 65 Michigan State shots over UMass’ two-game sweep, for a .954 save percentage.

Game of the Week

Boston College at Minnesota, Sunday, Oct. 27

The No. 5 Eagles travel to play the nation’s No. 1 team in a game that may decide the inaugural Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. The challenge is currently in the hands of the locals, as Hockey East holds a 4-1-1 advantage.

Hockey East power rankings

  1. Notre Dame (4-0-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – The new kids on the block in Hockey East are wasting no time, getting off to their best start since Jeff Jackson took over nine years ago. Not only have the No. 2 Irish not lost yet, they haven’t even trailed in a game so far.

  2. Boston College (2-1-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – With Friday’s 9-2 walloping of Wisconsin, then the No. 2 team in the country, served notice that the No. 5 Eagles aren’t struggling too much with the growing pains of their young players.

  3. Providence (3-0-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – The No. 8 Friars more than held serve in a 10-4 pummeling of AIC at home on Saturday, which included Boxford, Mass., native Mark Adams’ first collegiate goal. This is Providence’s best three-game start since 2003.

  4. Boston University (3-1-0, 1-0-0 HEA) – After an ugly loss to RPI at home Friday night, the No. 14 Terriers bounced back with a 7-3 win over Wisconsin, which had been tenderized a night earlier by BC. It was the highest goal output by a BU team since Feb. 17, 2012, against UMass-Lowell.

  5. Northeastern (4-0-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – Don’t look now, but the Huskies have forgotten how to lose, with their best four-game record in two decades after a weekend sweep of Holy Cross keyed by freshman Mike Szmatula’s three-point (1g, 2a) effort.

  6. New Hampshire (1-2-1, 0-0-0 HEA) – The No. 13 Wildcats took Michigan to overtime in both of the weekend’s games at the Whittemore Center, but came out of them with only a 1-1 draw Friday and a 3-2 loss Saturday.

  7. UMass (2-2-0, 0-1-0 HEA) – The Minutemen posted possibly the most surprising results of the weekend, sweeping Michigan State 3-1 and 5-2 on the back of Steve Mastalerz’ (North Andover, Mass.) sterling effort in net.

  8. UMass-Lowell (1-3-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – The highly anticipated weekend series between the River Hawks and Quinnipiac was all-Bobcats, as the 2013 NCAA runner-up took both games by 3-1 scores. Coach Norm Bazin has gone back to a goaltending rotation between Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) and Connor Hellebuyck, after Hellebuyck played all of the team’s final 16 games last season.

  9. Vermont (0-1-1, 0-0-0 HEA) – The Catamounts were idle last week, but head to Philadelphia this weekend to play Penn State in the second Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff, won last year by the Nittany Lions.

  10. Merrimack (1-3-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – The Warriors finally posted a win after an arduous start to the year, with a three-goal third period pushing them past Mercyhurst Saturday. Junior Dan Kolomatis earned the league’s player of the week honors after scoring a goal and four assists in the two-game set against the Lakers.

  11. Maine (1-2-0, 0-0-0 HEA) – Coach Red Gendron (Boston, Mass.) is up against a familiar foe this coming weekend in UMass, where he served as former coach Don Cahoon’s (Lynn, Mass.) assistant from 2005 until 2011.

Twitter: @A_Merritt
Email: amerritt@hockeyjournal.com