Hockey East Live Blog: Parker Milner, Johnny Gaudreau Lead BC to 4-1 Win Over Maine, Third-Straight Conference Title

Hockey East Live Blog: Parker Milner, Johnny Gaudreau Lead BC to 4-1 Win Over Maine, Third-Straight Conference Title

End 3rd Period, BC Wins 4-1: Three up and three down. Much like in baseball, Jerry York has captured his third-straight Hockey East title with the Eagles.

Johnny Gaudreau started it all off with a pair of goals in the first period and Barry Almeida capped it off with an empty-netter late in the third to give BC the 4-1 win.

Parker Milner was the star all night, as he staved off a career-high 39 shots and kept Maine's scorers at bay.

Milner and the Eagles should be grateful that Hockey East Player of the Year Spencer Abbott was unable to play, because his presence on the ice could have made a big difference for Maine in this one. Abbott is certainly disappointed by the end result in the championship game, as he can't help but wish that he could have helped his team take home their first title since 2004.

In the end, it's Gaudreau and Milner that take home the trophy for York on this night.

Johnny Gaudreau wins the Hockey East Tournament MVP award with 3-4-7 totals in four games in this year's tournament.

3rd Period, 1:01, BC 4-1: Almeida with the empty-net goal to seal the victory.

BC fans are getting loud inside the TD Garden, preparing to celebrate what will be the team's third-straight Hockey East championship.

3rd Period, 1:30, BC 3-1: Milner slaps down another shot from Maine in the offensive end. That's a career-high with 39 saves for him tonight as well.

Get ready for the Bears to pull Sullivan and make one more push at Milner.

I predict an empty netter seals the already done deal for BC. You can prep another banner for the rafter in Kelly Rink.

3rd Period, 2:22, BC 3-1: A brief 4-on-4 turns into a power play for the Bears. This could be their last ditch effort for an equalizer. If they come up empty here, it could be all over.

3rd Period, 4:43, BC 3-1: The Black Bears are trying everything and anything in their playbook to get another one past Milner, but to no avail.

Milner remains solid in between the pipes, knocking down a flurry of shots by Maine forwards in the zone.

Dan Sullivan is doing a stellar job against a relentless BC offense as well. The Bears' netminder has recorded a career-high 39 saves on the night. Impressive that he's only let three past, seeing that BC has been spraying him from all over the ice.

3rd Period, 6:22, BC 3-1: It's amazing that neither of BC's big playmakers have gotten involved in the scoring at all tonight.

Both Chris Kreider and Barry Almeida have been held in complete check by the Bears' defense. Luckily for Eagles fans, Johnny Gaudreau and Pat Mullane certainly got you covered.

3rd Period, 9:22, BC 3-1: No luck on the power play for the Black Bears and now BC has the man advantage.

It will be interesting to see if the Eagles can capitalize and put this game away, finally. The Bears continue to knock on the door, but Milner keep turning them away.

3rd Period, 11:33, BC 3-1: Maine's got a 5-on-4 advantage after the two-minute minor by the Eagles. But BC's defense remains stout in the defensive end.

Just :51 left in the Power Play and still not many great looks from the Bears on Milner.

3rd Period, 13:04, BC 3-1: Sullivan remains solid in net for the Black Bears, but the Eagles still coming at hime time and time again.

Look out for Sully, Gaudreau's coming for you!

3rd Period, 15:21, BC 3-1: Maine looks lackadaisical coming out to start the third. It appears they may have been just run down by that last goal by Mullane before the end of the second period.

BC, meanwhile, continues with their aggressive style on offense but aren't seeing any results so far.

**End 2nd Period, BC 3-1: Maine finally got on the board in the second, but after nearly 10 minutes of only having a one goal lead, BC answers back to build a cushion heading into the third.

Pat Mullane's wrister past Sullivan was a pretty shot, but the pass from Gaudreau to set it up may have been even prettier.

Gaudreau, who now has three points (2 goals, 1 assist), has been a force on the offensive end all night. The freshman has been in on just about everything offensively for BC and has certainly put his linemates in good position to score. Talk about making a case for tournament MVP, give the kid another goal and a hat trick and he may just get that trophy back into his dorm room.

As for Maine, the Black Bears showed poise and confidence through much of the period and relied on Sullivan's glove to keep their hopes alive. The bend but don't break defensive strategy can only hold for so long when playing such a talented offensive team like BC, though. And the Ealges capitalized on the opportunity at the end of the period, stretching out the 2-1 lead with a fantastic shot by Mullane.

The third period has all the makings of a fantastic finish, but only is the Bears can turn in another goal on the hot hand of Milner. But if BC find the back of the net once more, you can pretty much kiss this game goodnight.

2nd Period, 1:21, BC 3-1: BC won't let the period go by without a goal.

The Eagles take back a two-goal advantage, as forward Pay Mullane speeds into the zone and gets the dish out front from Johnny Gaudreau and nails home the score.

Gaudreau is absolutely everywhere tonight, just putting his touch on nearly every opportunity the Eagles have had and even finishing off some chances in the title game.

2nd Period, 1:32, BC 2-1: Things starting to get a little chippy between these two teams, as you could see the frustrated Maine forwards getting into a bit of shoving match with the BC defense.

A fantastic save by Parker Milner, yet again, off the shot from the point helps keep the Eagles in the lead.

2nd Period, 4:23, BC 2-1: The Bears continue to fend off the Eagles potent attack in the defensive end.

Dan Sullivan has maintained a high level of play since letting in a pair of first period goals. On the other side, Parker Milner has been outstanding for BC for most of the night and continues to stonewall all comers.

2nd Period, 8:23, BC 2-1: Pat Mullane and the BC offense have had almost too many opportunities to score here in the second, but still nothing in the net.

The Eagles are outshooting Maine by a bunch in this one, but Sullivan and the black Bears are showing an awful lot of resiliency in keeping their cool.

2nd Period, 12:23, BC 2-1: Maine finally gets on the board, making this a game.

Bears' forward Brian Flynn takes advantage of an on-edge Eagles defensive unit and wrists home a winner past BC goalie Parker Milner.

The Black Bears pulling within a goal means that this game isn't over just yet. BC had a few chances early in the period to really put this one away, but Sullivan continues to be a force in net for Maine, stopping nearly everything that comes his way.

2nd Period, 15:20, BC 2-0: The Black Bears have come out with more intensity this period and appear to be attacking the BC zone more aggressively. Still nothing to show for on the scoreboard, though.

**End 1st Period, BC 2-0: The Maine offense appeared to be shot out of a cannon to start that first period against BC.

The Eagles re-gained their composure and turned the tides, though, as BC forward Johnny Gaudreau sent home a goal just over five minutes in and put the Eagles on top.

Gaudreau wasn't finished in the period, however, as the freshman flipped in another off a rebound in front of the net to give BC a 2-0 lead early in the period.

BC kept up the aggressive play, peppering Maine goalie Dan Sullivan with shots throughout the period. But Sullivan proved resilient, stonewalling the BC attack the rest of the way and pushing aside 18 of the Eagles 20 shots in the period.

BC goaltender Parker Milner, on the other hand, has looked untouchable through 20 minutes. Milner has sent back every shot he's seen and was stout in the early going as the Black Bears let off four shots within the first 1:30.

1st Period, 4:44, BC 2-0: BC won't stop attacking and have been getting in close to putting another goal up on the scoreboard. But Dan Sullivan won't allow the Eagles to get any farther ahead, as the gutsy goalie has stopped 16 shots already on the night.

Even though Sullivan has given up two early goals to the Eagles in this one, he is single-handedly keeping the Bears within striking distance of BC.

1st Period, 8:08, BC 2-0: Maine looks emotionally drained already in this one.

Gaudreau's two early goals here in the first period have seemingly sucked the life out of the Black Bears attack, especially after such a strong and energetic few minutes to kick off the evening.

1st Period, 12:29, BC 2-0: Johnny on the spot!

BC gains control of the possession out of the timeout and takes advantage. Kreider launched a shot on net from near the blue line and a deflection from forward Pat Mullane gave Gaudreau another good look out front.

Gaudreau buried the clean look for his second goal of the night, giving BC a commanding 2-0 lead early in the first.

1st Period, 14:36, BC 1-0: The Eagles light up the lamppost early on in this one, with a rebound goal by BC forward Johnny Gaudreau.

The shot came in from the right side of the boards in the Eagles' end and Gaudreau took the deflection off Bears' goalie Dan Sullivan and sent it into the back of the net to give BC the 1-0 lead.

1st Period, 18:04: Even without Abbott in the lineup, Maine came out firing on BC goalie Parker Milner with four early shots on net.

Milner has looked strong in the early going, very agile and quick with his glove hand. If this rate keeps up, though, the Eagles could find themselves in an early hole.

8:05 p.m.: All corners of the Garden are packed with screaming fans, as they prepare for the puck drop and to crown the 28th Hockey East Tournament champion.

7:52 p.m.: Spencer Abbott 's absence from Maine's lineup tonight will certainly leave a void in the scoring output against BC.

The Black Bears have relied on Abbott all season and could be in for quite a difficult evening against Parker Milner without Abbott's scoring touch.

The Bears will have to rely more on the sticks of Brian Flynn, Matt Mangene and the team's leading goal scorer (25) Joey Diamond. The combination of those three players may be able to counter Abbott's absence, but it will be interesting to see how they adjust.

5:00 p.m.: Reigning Hockey East Tournament champions Boston College return to the TD Garden for a second-straight day on Saturday, looking to capture the school's 11th tournament title.

The only thing standing between Jerry York and another postseason trophy for the Eagles is a visit from a scrappy University of Maine squad.

Hockey East Player of the Year Spencer Abbott leads the Black Bears into Saturday's final as the conference's most feared offensive player. Abbott has put together totals of 20-41-61 on the season, good enough to lead both the conference and the nation in assists and points this season.

BC, currently the unanimous national No. 1 team, boasts a pair of potent scorer of their own. Chris Kreider and Barry Almeida rank sixth and eight respectively in scoring in the conference, and both have shown the ability to light up the lamppost from nearly anywhere in the offensive zone.

The game may ultimately come down to play in net for both schools.

BC's Parker Milner leads the conference in just about every goaltending category, including Goals Against Average where he ranks fifth in the nation with a 1.85. Milner's been on fire as of late allowing just six goals in his past seven games and boasts a .928 save percentage on the year.

On the other side of the ice, Maine's Dan Sullivan has been solid but inconsistent in net all season with just a 2.53 GAA, but has taken home the victory in five of the Bears past six games.

It should be an interesting and exciting night of hockey, here in Boston, so get amped up for what should be a classic.

Tune into NESN at 7:30 for all the action leading up to the 8 p.m. puck drop. And of course, check back into the NESN.com Live Blog for updates, insight and analysis on all of tonight's action.

Photos via Twitter/@BCHockeyNews and Facebook/University of Maine Hockey

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