NCAA Hockey Live Blog: Boston College Holds Off Alaska, Escapes With 3-1 Win

NCAA Hockey Live Blog: Boston College Holds Off Alaska, Escapes With 3-1 Win Final, BC 3-1:The Nanooks gave it everything they had, going toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the nation for 60 minutes, but the Eagles were able to make Pat Mullane's go-ahead goal early in third stand up and come away with a 3-1 win.

Goalie John Muse was the shining star for BC. He saved 29 of the 30 shots he faced, including a handful of key stops in the game's final seven minutes to preserve a one-goal lead.

Third period, 0:11.3, BC 3-1:Matt Price gets hauled down on a breakaway on an empty net, and the Eagles are awarded an imminent goal.

Third period, 2:04, BC 2-1: Sather hits the left post from in close. The Nanooks aren't going away.

Third period, 2:53, BC 2-1: Alaska is really putting the pressure on, but Muse is standing tall for BC to preserve the one-goal lead. The Eagles have been attacking all game. They can't afford to sit back now.

Third period, 5:24, BC 2-1: Another good chance for Knelsen as he forces a turnover and walks in, but Muse saves it with the blocker this time, and his defense clears the rebound out of harm's way.

Third period, 5:56, BC 2-1: Good chance for Alaska as Dion Knelsen streaks around a defender and lifts a shot from in close, but Muse makes the shoulder save and covers.

Third period, 7:51, BC 2-1: More of the same — the Nanooks have created a couple of chances in transition, but the Eagles are still dominating puck possession.

Third period, 11:00, BC 2-1: BC's doing a good job keeping the puck in the offensive zone, and Alaska hasn't really been able to generate much offense since BC's goal.

Third period, 16:14, BC 2-1: After Muse made a save on a 3-on-2, the Eagles came back with a 4-on-3 of their own. Paul Carey pulled up atop the right circle and wristed a shot past Greenham. It may have been tipped by Pat Mullane — he was right at the top of the crease. Mullane is credited with the goal.

Third period, 17:14, 1-1: Joe Whitney had a shot through traffic that Greenham just got a piece of, but that was the only quality chance for BC on the power play.

Third period, 19:35, 1-1: Almeida blows by Gens, but Gens hooks him to prevent the scoring chance. BC power play.

Second intermission, 1-1: Well, any questions about the Nanooks' ability to skate with BC or whether they would be jet-lagged or whether they would be rusty after not playing in two weeks have certainly been answered. They've looked every bit as good as the Eagles. This isn't like the RIT-Denver game Friday when a hot goalie almost single-handedly kept his team in it against a No. 1 seed. This is a No. 4 seed simply matching a one seed stride for stride. Shots are 22-21 Alaska.

End of the second, 1-1: Lots of power plays, lots of scoring chances in the second. Oddly enough, most of the chances actually came 5-on-5, as both power plays struggled. That is, until the Nanooks' final man-advantage when they were able to fire a handful of shots on net, culminating in Andy Taranto's game-tying goal.

Second period, 2:28, 1-1: The constant pressure finally pays off for the Nanooks. Sova with a nice keep at the point. He throws it behind the net to Dion Knelsen, who then chucks it out front. After pinballing off a defender and Muse, Taranto one-times it into the left side of the net to tie the game at one.

Second period, 2:40, BC 1-0: Taranto hits the side of the net on a shot, and then Dion Knelsen tries stuffing from the right doorstep, but Muse holds his ground. Another great chance for Taranto as he was all alone in front, but was stopped.

Second period, 3:55, BC 1-0: Gibbons trips Joe Sova behind the Alaska net. The Nanooks will have a 5-on-3 for 24 seconds.

Second period, 5:31, BC 1-0: Ron Meyers is hauled down by Patch Alber as he breaks in on Muse. Alaska will be going back on the power play.

Second period, 6:40, BC 1-0: One great chance for Alaska on that power play. Lombardi tried to send a puck down the ice, but it hit a Nanook and went right to Sather in the slot, but Muse turned away his bid.

Second period, 8:44, BC 1-0: Almeida going off for a slash. Nanooks to the power play.

Second period, 9:45, BC 1-0: Nice kill by the Nanooks as they generate just as many chances during those two minutes as BC did, including a near breakaway for Andy Taranto.

Second period, 11:46, BC 1-0: Dustin Molle throws his arms up in the air after getting called for contact to the head. I'm not really sure what he's upset about. He more or less had a BC player in a headlock.

Second period, 12:18, BC 1-0: The Nanooks had a power play for a little more than a minute, but they never really got set up. Shots are 8-1 BC in the second.

Second period, 14:37, BC 1-0: After BC had three or four chances from right in front denied, Alaska clears, and Steven Whitney gets called for a hold behind his own net. Playing 4-on-4 now.

Second period, 15:47, BC 1-0: Dustin Sather drops Lombardi with a cross-check. BC back to the power play.

Second period, 16:03, BC 1-0: Greenham with two nice saves to close out the power play, first on a slapper from the point and then on the follow-up.

Second period, 18:02, BC 1-0: Dustin Molle interferes with Gibbons, and BC's going on the power play.

Second period, 19:30, BC 1-0: The Eagles with the first scoring chance of the second as Matt Price finds Barry Almeida alone in the slot. His shot flies wide, though.

First intermission, BC 1-0: Biggest disappointment of the day so far is the fact that the Nanooks did not bring their epic polar bear video. For those of you who haven't seen it, enjoy.

End of the first, BC 1-0: The Nanooks won the puck possession battle early on, but they lost the momentum once Lombardi scored shorthanded. The Eagles continued to control play for the next few minutes, but the Nanooks came storming back in the period's closing minutes, recording the last six shots on goal. They now have 11 shots to BC's eight.

First period, 0:23.2, BC 1-0: Aaron Gens rips a slapper from the point that hits Muse in the helmet and falls in his lap for the cover. His facemask is getting quite the workout these last couple of minutes.

First period, 1:30, BC 1-0: Another great chance for the Eagles on a 3-on-1. Atkinson feeds Joe Whitney, but he puts it over the net and off the glass.

First period, 2:10, BC 1-0: A great indirect pass from Sneep to Hayes leads Hayes in all alone, but Greenham makes the stop. At the other end, Derek Klassen fires one from the high slot that hits Muse in the facemask.

First period, 4:30, BC 1-0: BC with a couple good chances on the power play, but nothing to show for it. Carl Sneep had a one-timer that just deflected off Greenham's skate and wide. Cam Atkinson had a look from the left doorstep, but couldn't lift the puck high enough to clear Greenham.

First period, 6:47, BC 1-0: Eagles going on the power play after Filzen knocked down Lombardi with a cross-check.

First period, 7:33, BC 1-0: A good chance for BC as Cross makes a great pass to find Edwin Shea cutting in from the right point, but the puck bounces over Shea's stick and nothing comes of it.

First period, 10:11, BC 1-0: The Eagles with a great penalty kill there. Not only do they get the shorty, but they also prevent the Nanooks from ever really getting set up. Just one shot for Alaska, and that came from the point with no traffic in front.

First period, 11:06, BC 1-0: The Eagles force a turnover at the point and Matt Lombardi, who had a hat trick in last Saturday's Hockey East title game, comes in alone shorthanded and slips a backhander through Greenham's five-hole to make it 1-0 Eagles.

First period, 12:17, 0-0: Alaska will get the game's first power play after Tommy Cross was called for interference.

First period, 14:07, 0-0: We knew BC wanted to run and gun. The report on the Nanooks was that they were a defense-first team, but so far, they've shown a willingness to go up and down just like BC. Although there have only been four shots, this game's off to a fast-paced start.

First period, 18:05, 0-0: Jimmy Hayes with a chance from the slot for BC, but Scott Greenham gets a piece, and the puck rolls just wide. BC's first good chance of the game.

First period, 19:20, 0-0: Alaska controls the game's first shift with some good cycling, and Dion Knelsen gets off the game's first shot on goal. Easy save for John Muse.

1:30 p.m.: The BC band just wrapped up the national anthem, and now they're announcing the starting lineups. There are actually some more Alaska fans under the press box that I can hear, as well as some North Dakota fans who are clearly rooting against BC.

1:20 p.m.: Thirteen minutes until game time. Crowd is pretty sparse. There's one section of BC's Superfans in the balcony and a good amount of maroon and gold in the lower bowl, but that's about it. Looks like maybe a dozen or so Nanooks fans made the 4,400-mile journey to the game.

12:55 p.m.: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Worcester's DCU Center. We have 38 minutes until faceoff, and the teams have just taken the ice for warm-ups. BC is in the home whites, Alaska in the road blues. Both team's line charts are listed below.

BC
Barry Almeida–Matt Price–Matt Lombardi
Joe Whitney–Brian Gibbons–Cam Atkinson
Chris Kreider–Ben Smith–Jimmy Hayes
Paul Carey–Pat Mullane–Steven Whitney

Philip Samuelsson–Edwin Shea
Brian Dumoulin–Carl Sneep
Tommy Cross–Patch Alber

John Muse

Alaska
Dustin Sather–Dion Knelsen–Andy Taranto
Kevin Petovello–Derek Klassen–Brandon Knelsen
Adam Cardwell–Justin Filzen–Ron Meyers
Carlo Finucci–Jarret Granberg–Nik Yaremchuk

Joe Sova–Aaron Gens
Dustin Molle–Justin Daigle
Bryant Molle–Scott Enders

Scott Greenham

8 a.m.: Top-seeded Boston College begins its quest for its second national title in three years when it opens NCAA tournament play on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with a showdown against Alaska-Fairbanks in Worcester, Mass.

The Eagles are riding a nine-game unbeaten streak that culminated in last Saturday’s 7-6 overtime win against Maine in the Hockey East championship game. They have one of the deepest groups of forwards in the country, led by the top line of sophomore Cam Atkinson (46 points), junior Brian Gibbons (44 points) and junior Joe Whitney (35 points).

The Nanooks were swept by Northern Michigan in the CCHA quarterfinals, but they hadn’t lost in 10 games prior to that. They rely on a stingy defense and the strong play of goaltender Scott Greenham (2.20 GAA, .918 save percentage), but they also boast a pair of dynamic forwards in senior Dion Knelsen (42 points) and freshman Andy Taranto (41 points).

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