Well, it’s official, Boston College will meet the Maine Black Bears in tonight’s HE final at the Garden (8PM – NESN, NBC Sport Network). Boston College won the first game of the Friday semi-final doubleheader, 4-2 over Providence and in doing so clinched the first overall seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament (by virtue of UMD’s loss yesterday). Maine advanced with a thrilling 5-3 victory over BU in the nightcap, led by 2 goals from captain and Salem, MA native, Will O’Neill’s 2 tallies.
The opening game of the night betweeen Boston College and Providence was played before somewhat of a scant crowd and lacked the intensity of the BU/Maine game. BC was paced by rookie sensation Johnny Gaudreau who seemed to take over the game in stretches – his 2nd period power play goal served as the game winner for the Eagles. Paul Carey, Steven Whitney and Destry Straight also scored for Boston College while Parker Milner stopped 27-29 shots to continue his torrid stretch between the pipes.
Maine recorded 4 power power play goals and outshot the Terriers 44-31 to take the second semi-final game and advance to face BC in the finals. Although the shot differential was glaring, it didn’t have the feel of a lop sided affair as the 3rd period provided some fantastic drama. Joey Diamond’s empty net score at 19:31 of the 3rd (his 2nd goal of the evening) proved to be the nail in the coffin for BU.
Maine’s victory could prove to be a pyrrhic victory of sorts as they lost HE player of the year, Spencer Abbott to a serious injury on an awkward collision behind the BU net with Terrier D Sean Escobedo. Abbott is doubtful for tonight’s final because of what I would assume is an apparent concussion. If he can’t go in tonight’s final, sophomore Mark Anthoine (who scored the game winner on Friday) will most likely be inserted into his spot on the top line and PP unit.
Maine will not feel sorry for itself if Abbott is sidelined for Saturday’s final and captain Will O’Neill had this to say about marching forward (no pun intended) without it’s prolific scorer:
|“He is a tremendous player, he is one of the top players in the league,” O’Neill said. “He is on a great line with Flynn and Joey [Diamond] and when a guy goes down like that everybodyʼs got to step up and that is what we did. No matter who it is everybody tries to regroup and feed off as much as we can.”|
Post Game Wrap up – From National Perspective:
- CHN’s Michael King – “Captain O’Neill Leads Maine To HE Final”
- CHN’s Scott McLaughlin – “Hobey Finalist Dumoulin Has BC In Line For Another Trophy”
- Josh Seguin previews tonight’s BC/Maine Final