There's a new national champion in town.
Boston College is the new king of college hockey after overpowering Wisconsin in a 5-0 shutout Saturday night in the NCAA finals. The most explosive offense in the nation combined with sensational goaltending was too much for the Badgers as BC captured their fourth national title.
After seeing two blowout matches in the NCAA semifinal contests, a five-goal difference in the final was not expected. Boston College resided in their own hemisphere with their offense and consistent play of John Muse, who finished the game with 20 saves. Muse dominated Wisconsin and put the game out of reach.
Simply put: the Eagles thrive on the big stage and know how to get it done.
From the initial face-off, both teams hit the ice with a ferocious pace in what was by far the most hard-hitting, fast-paced game of the tournament. With the two best teams in college hockey going head-to-head, Boston College and Wisconsin delivered a grueling showdown.
After a physical first half of the initial period filled with hits, both teams notched only two shots apiece and neither generated much offense. It wasn't until BC's second power play of the period at 12:57 when Ben Smith put the Eagles on the board with time winding down on the man-advantage.
Steve Whitney made a pass along the blue line to Joe Whitney, who made a beautiful shot-fake to find Smith parked in the high slot — turning to fire a low wrister just under the blocker of Wisconsin netminder Scott Gudmanson. Boston College had the momentum and heated up to finish the period in command, outshooting the Badgers' 12-5.
BC goaltender John Muse definitely brought his A-game tonight and showed why he's never lost in the NCAA tournament. His best play of the period came on a sensational save on Michael Davies' one-timer from a cross-ice pass.
Though the second period remained scoreless, the Eagles started with the same furious pace and continued generating high-quality scoring chances. But it was the stellar play of Muse between the pipes that stole the show. With Wisconsin's offense heating up, outshooting BC 9-6 through the entire frame, Muse continued to come up big.
Davies had another golden opportunity for the Badgers when he knocked a pass down from mid-air to break-in on Muse. The BC goaltender stood his ground to shut the door and hold the Eagles' lead 1-0 after 40 minutes of play.
BC showed why they have some of the fastest forwards in the nation when Cam Atkinson gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the third. His lightning speed burned two Badgers defensemen when he skated the puck the length of the ice and snuck a backhander in between the pads of Gudmanson.
Chris Kreider would keep it coming just two minutes later when BC executed a text book breakout. With a series of tape-to-tape passing, Jimmy Hayes found Kreider on the doorstep where he converted for a one-timer.
Wisconsin didn't seem to learn their lesson on the first powerplay goal they let up earlier in the game. At 7:20, Atkinson's speed was unstoppable again for the Badgers when he blew past two defensemen to score a low backhander on the man-advantage. Brian Gibbons and Joe Whitney made the breakout passes to start the play.
BC would effectively secure the game when Matt Price added an empty-net insurance goal at 15:29 to make it 5-0 and put the game out of Wisconsin's reach.
Boston College accomplished a remarkable feat by capturing their second title in three years and sustaining a perfect 8-0 postseason record in this year. The poise, depth, and versatility of an experienced squad lead the way Saturday night and allowed national bragging rights to return to Chesnut Hill.
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