BC Wins 3rd Straight HE Crown; NCAA Brackets announced

#1 Boston College continued their decade plus of dominance and claimed their 5th HE title in 6 years; including their 3rd straight as they easily dismantled Maine, 4-1 at TD Garden Saturday night. Once again Johnny Gaudreau (named Tournament MVP) was a dominant force scoring twice and assisting on a third to pace the Eagles to the title. Gaudreau has one heck of a resume so far this season and now has one more piece of hardware to add to his burgeoning trophy case – Beanpot MVP + HE All Rookie Team. The BC faithful let out the now infamous, resonating cheer, “He’s a freshman” upon the announcement of the awards.

Maine clearly missed the services of HE player of the year Spencer Abbott who was sidelined with concussion symptoms following an awkward collision on Friday night against BU. BC jumped out to a quick 2 goal lead that Maine was truly never able to recover from. Brian Flynn’s (Lynnfield, MA) 2nd period backhander put the Black Bears back within reach at the 7:37 mark but BC’s Pat Mullane sealed Maine’s fate by potting the 3rd BC goal of the night off a wonderous feed from, none other than Johnny Gaudreau with 1:21 left in the 2nd.

BC dominated the game from start to finish and pressured the Black Bears all night – something BU wasn’t able to accomplish the night before. If you give Maine room to operate, they will make you pay for it and BU didn’t seem to have the speed or perhaps the gameplan to counteract the Black Bear power play. The Terriers played somewhat of a collapsed box that allowed Maine’s offensive weapons (Flynn, Abbott, Diamond and co.) to move the puck around and create chances on the PP.

BC really pressured the points all night and forced an Abbott-less Maine team into turnovers; the Black Bears never looked comfortable enough to get anything going. CHN’s Joe Meloni was dead on accurate in his breakdown of the BC penalty killing unit and overall aggressive strategy that was they key to victory for BC on Saturday night. If a penalty killing unit plays an aggressive box, teams with great skill and quick puck movement can curtail the efforts of the aggressive penalty kill- this is where Maine really missed the heady Spencer Abbott.

From Meloni’s article on CHN:

“Against most clubs, the pressure ends once the puck crosses the blue line. Playing a passive box formation suits plenty of clubs just fine, as they rely on miscues and their goaltender to survive the two minutes down a man. When the opponent is BC, though, the paradigm shifts a little. The pressure comes the second the power play begins, and it doesn’t stop until it’s over. “

I thought senior Paul Carey (Weymouth, MA) was perhaps, other than Gaudreau, the best player on the ice for the Eagles. Carey, drafted in the 5th round by Colorado in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has unassumingly went about his business in his 4 years at the heights and in my opinion, is one of the most underrated  skaters in all of HE. His diligent work on the penalty kill and offensive contribution – 1 assist on the night- playing on the 3rd line with Mullane and Gaudreau is one of the inherent reasons why BC is so successful.

Parker Millner was a stalwart once again as he turned away 41 Maine shots, most in the 3rd period to help secure the 11th HE title and #1 overall seed in the NCAA’s for BC. The Eagles really went into prevent mode in the 3rd in a Bruins-esque manner that wouldn’t allow Maine to get back into the contest.

HE earns 4 bids to Frozen Four NCAA Tourney:

UMass Lowell, Maine, and BU joined HE Champion Boston College in the NCAA Frozen Four Championship field that was announced on ESPNU this afternoon. BC earned the #1 overall seed and will be rewarded with a trip to beautiful (sense the sarcasm) Worcester (what kind of award is that??) as top dog in the Northeast region. BC will face Air Force while Maine faces off against a tough Minnesota Duluth squad in thesame region. It potentially sets up a rematch between Maine and BC if both can advance in the first round in Worcester.

BU was shipped out west to St. Paul and will be in hostile territory as they face Minnesota in what will be a great matchup of two of the most storied programs in college hockey history. Lowell earned the #3 seed in the East (Bridgepoort, CT) and won’t have to travel far to face #2 seed Miami of Ohio.

The Lowell/Miami game will be aired on ESPNU- 6:30PM 3/23 while the polarizing matchup between Minnesota and BU will be aired on the same channel ESPNU the following night 3/24 at 4:00PM. The rest of the first round games that involve HE teams will be relegated to ESPNS (whatever the hell that is).

The BF will be breaking down the NCAA Tournament match ups all week.

PDF Printable Bracket

TV Schedule

2012 NCAA Hockey Tournament Field and Schedule:

Northeast Regional (Worcester, Massachusetts)
1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. 16 Air Force (21-10-7)
7 Minnesota-Duluth (24-9-6) vs. 10 Maine (23-13-3)

Midwest Regional (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
2 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. 13 Cornell (18-8-7)
6 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. 11 Denver (25-13-4)

East Regional (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
3 Union (24-7-7) vs. 15 Michigan State (19-15-4)
5 Miami (24-14-2) vs. 12 UMass-Lowell (23-12-1)

West Regional (St. Paul, Minnesota)
4 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. 14 Western Michigan (21-13-6)
8 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. 9 Boston University (23-14-1)

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