Hockey East Championship Countdown, Nos. 12-7

by NESN Staff

March 19, 2009

Editor's note: This season marks the 25th anniversary of the Hockey East Tournament, and in celebration of the quarter-century mark, we have ranked the 24 championship games from 1985-2008. From now until this year's championship game, we will count down the most memorable championships in Hockey East history.

12. 2000: Maine 2, Boston College 1

High hopes were expected for the 1999-2000 Maine Black Bears, but nobody expected 12 wins in a row to kick off the season.
While the team was being compared to the legendary 1992-1993 national champion Black Bears, the team stumbled a bit towards the final stretch, going winless in five straight games. With the leadership of senior forward Jim Legar and the scoring touch of Ben Guite and Cory Larose, the Black Bears regained their balance, going undefeated in their final eight games heading into the postseason.
In the Hockey East playoffs, the Black Bears made quick work of Providence, sweeping the Friars in two games that included a 5-4 overtime clincher. A week later, Maine took down Boston University 4-2 before sneaking by Boston College 2-1 at the Fleet Center.
Sophomore Niko Dimitrakos of Somerville captured tourney MVP honors thanks to a three-goal, two-assist performance in their four game trek to the title.

11. 1994: Boston University 3, UMass Lowell 2

The statistics say it all. Boston University?s offense scored 120 goals in 24 games (5.00 goals per game) and allowed just 63 goals against (2.63 GAA).
Mike Pomichter led the Terriers and Hockey East with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) while Jacques Joubert notched 31 points.
The No. 1 seed Terriers stomped Maine 8-5 and 4-3 in the opening round of the tourney before topping Northeastern 5-2 at the Boston Garden in the semifinals. Going up against Dwayne Roloson and UMass Lowell in the finals, BU posted a 3-2 win.
The win was no easy task as Roloson would go on to capture tourney MVP honors as well as Hockey East Player of the Year honors before beginning a successful career in the NHL. BU on the other hand, would go onto the National Championship game where they fell to Lake Superior 9-1.

10. 1996: Providence 3, Maine 2

As the 1995-96 regular season came winding down, everyone in Hockey East was expecting a dogfight between Boston University and UMass Lowell for the tournament crown. But Providence?s Joe Hulbig, Mike Omicioli, Justin Gould and goalie Dan Dennis had other plans once the tournament kicked off.
The No. 4 seed, Providence ? who fell the year before in the title match — swept Boston College with ease in the opening round before head coach Paul Pooley?s boys upset the regular season champs and No. 1 seed Boston University.
Not only did PC top BU, but the Friars put up seven goals in the victory to propel them into the finals to face Maine, whom they snuck by with a 3-2 win. Hulbig was named MVP and would go on to play nine years of professional hockey.

9. 1990: Boston College 4, Maine 3

The one-two punch of David Emma and Steve Heinze was way too much for Boston College?s opposition during the 1989-90 season.
Emma (21 goals) and Heinze (20 goals) led the conference in tallies and with a red-hot keeper in Scott LaGrand heading into the tournament, No. 1 ranked BC was destined to win it all.
However, much like every Hockey East tournament, the Eagles fell into some trouble. Merrimack, the No. 8 seed, came back after dropping the first match to double up the Eagles in Game 2, 6-3. BC than put up an eight-spot on the Warriors in Game 3 to advance and face New Hampshire in the semifinals, but things didn?t get easier. The Wildcats forced overtime but it was BC coming away on top with the 6-5 win.
The Eagles were able to fend off the No. 2 seed Maine 4-3 in the finals as LaGrand took tournament MVP honors.

8. 1988: Northeastern 4, Maine 3

When the series was decided on a total goals basis, goalies were king. With an average offense, the Northeastern Huskies were asking goalie Bruce Racine to do a lot and that?s just what he gave them.
Racine was coming off of a 12-18-3 season the year before but picked his game up as a senior when he posted a 15-11-4 record to go with a 3.58 GAA.
Northeastern, the No. 2 seed in the postseason tournament, received a second-round bye, but the time off didn?t effect Racine one bit. The Huskies netminder held Lowell to one goal in NUs 3-1 victory in Game 1 and despite losing to Lowell in Game 2, Racine allowed just two goals giving NU the 4-3 advantage.
In the finals, Northeastern was up against Maine?s dynamic offense that scored 159 goals (6.12 goals per game) that year and allowed just 90 (3.46 GAA). Hard-hitting winger Rico Rossi along with forward Harry Mews and defenseman Brian Dowd led the Huskies past the Black Bears 4-3 to advance to the NCAA tournament but fell to Merrimack who was playing as an independent team that season.

7. 1999: Boston College 5, New Hampshire 4 (OT)

How do you stop UNH when they have Hobey Baker Award Winner Jason Krog, Mike Souza, Darren Haydar and Ty Conklin? Try throwing Brian Gionta, Jeff Farkas, Blake Bellefeuille and Scott Clemmensen at them.
Boston College finished third in Hockey East in the 1998-99 season but that?s only because two stacked teams ? UNH and the eventual national champion Maine Black Bears ? finished slightly better.
New Hampshire was averaging more than two goals for (4.12) per game than against (2.02 GAA) and both goalies Conklin (1.64 GAA) and Sean Matile (2.22 GAA) led the conference between the pipes, but this title was BC?s to lose.
The Eagles captured the hardware in the season prior and Gionta & Co. weren?t about to give it away. The Eagles jumped on the UMass Lowell 5-0 and 5-4 in the first round, advancing to take on the mighty Maine Black Bears in the semifinals. After squeezing by Maine 3-2, the Eagles were set to take on the Wildcats in the tourney finals.
Three periods couldn?t hold this battle between two of the top teams in the nation, but surprisingly enough, it was a relatively high-scoring affair but it was BC to come out on top 5-4 in extra time to give the Eagles their second straight tournament title.

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