WORCESTER, Mass. — Boston College will play whatever kind of game its opponent wants, and it can win either way. For the second straight weekend, the Eagles won both a defensive struggle and an offensive shootout.
Last weekend, they won a 3-0 grinder against Vermont before partaking in a goal-scoring showcase in a 7-6 Hockey East title-clinching win over Maine. This weekend felt like déjà vu. The Eagles went toe-to-toe in a 3-1 win over Alaska before winning a 9-7 gunfight Sunday against Yale to advance to their third Frozen Four in four years.
"They don't ask you if it's a pretty game," said head coach Jerry York. "It's just win and advance. We've been in a lot of NCAA Tournament games, and the games are always different. Would I like to win a 1-0 game rather than a 9-7 game? To me, it's not a factor. I just want to win games."
Senior forward and co-captain Ben Smith said he sees the Eagles' versatility as nothing but a positive.
"I think that's going to help us as we move forward, just being able to play both types of games," Smith said. "We can gut it out like we did last Friday or like yesterday against Alaska, and we can play an offensive game and use our firepower."
Now BC returns to a place it's gotten quite accustomed to — the Frozen Four. Seven players were on the national championship team from two years ago, and the Eagles' four seniors also reached the title game the year before, losing in heartbreaking fashion to Michigan State.
"It's really exciting for us, especially after last year, missing out on the whole tournament," Smith said. "I think we've been so successful just because of the players and the leaders we've had. Having that experience as freshmen and sophomores really helps our class and the junior class to lead this team."
The Eagles will play the winner of Sunday night's Miami (Ohio)-Michigan game in the second semifinal on Thursday, April 8. Before they get too caught up in their opponent, though, York said he's going to give his players some time to heal their various aches and pains.
"That's always interesting," York said of the preparation process for the next week and a half. "We'll kind of go back to the other Frozen Four runs we've had and see what worked. … We'll certainly have some time off to get rested and recuperated. We've had a lot of tough, physical games to get to this point. We'll certainly take days off as we go through this week."
In addition to preparing for their opponents, the Eagles will also have to get ready to play in a venue in which no college hockey team has ever played — Detroit's Ford Field. BC has, however, already played at one unique site this season — it played Boston University at Fenway Park in front of a crowd of 38,472.
"It's going to be so different, being in a football stadium," York said. "I'm not quite sure. At Fenway, we dealt with cold and we dealt with wind. This will, of course, be inside. It's a situation where we'll get out there and practice a few times just to kind of see what it's going to be like. Hopefully it'll be a success."