Hockey East Championship
Cory Schneider gives BC stability ... and wins
New Hampshire 1
Collins, R. Barker
Shannon, J. Rooney
Shannon, A. Alberts
Jeff Pietrasiak, 57:51, 31 saves, 3 GA
Cory Schneider, 60:00, 26 saves, 1 GA
NH 3/6; BC 5/10
Plays: NH 1-5; BC 1-3
Cory Schneider, Boston College
D: Andrew Alberts, Boston College
D: Brian Yandle, New Hampshire
F: Brian Boyle, Boston College (MVP)
F: Preston Callander, New Hampshire
F: Daniel Winnik, New Hampshire
When you're entering a one-game playoff scenario where a loss
can end your hopes for a championship – or next weekend,
your season who better to put in goal than a guy who never loses?
by nearly every measure, Cory Schneider and Matti Kaltiainen were
equal in the eyes of the Boston College coaching staff. But there's
no ignoring that enormous "0" in the middle of Schneider's
record, which stands at 12-0-4 after wins in his first back-to-back
starts of the season here this weekend.
a tough choice," said York. "I never want to slight
the contributions that Matti has made to our program, because
he's been outstanding.
like that) keeps coaches up at night," he added. "I
think Cory responded, and he might have played even better tonight
than he did last night."
made 26 saves to lead the Eagles to the title Saturday, allowing
only a power-play goal. He was terrific once BC got a lead late
in the second period, perhaps at his very best during a 1:20 shift
by UNH's first line midway through the third when the puck never
left BC's zone. His teammates are quick to point out, however,
that his contributions extend even beyond stopping the puck.
was unbelievable," said senior defenseman Andrew Alberts.
"He gives you that extra security that if there is that little
breakdown he'll be there to back you up."
Ryan Shannon echoed Alberts' praise for their rookie teammate.
a calming presence behind you, it calms everybody else down,"
said Shannon. "You feel a little bit more composed with the
puck, you don't feel as jittery when the puck gets in the zone,
you just worry about your job and know that you have a great foundation
Not only could
Schneider cover up potential Eagle mistakes, but he also made
it easy to forget that BC had played a double overtime game last
night and was missing three regulars from its lineup.
helped overcome those obstacles as well, making their playoff
title – which comes on the heels of their regular season
title – all the more impressive.
his team doesn't make excuses – they have no such thing
as "yeah, buts" in their program – so he was quick
to shrug off the impact of the injuries and yesterday's marathon.
But his colleagues were impressed.
tremendous," said one admiring coach whose team was not participating.
quite a feat, to do what they've done without those three players
(Patrick Eaves, Stephen Gionta and Peter Harrold)."
out a few individuals for their extra effort, including Alberts
("that's as strong of a physical presence as a player can
have in a college hockey game"), tournament MVP Brian Boyle
INCH's Three Stars of the Weekend
Preston Callander, New Hampshire
catalyst scored his third goal of the weekend Saturday on
a brilliant give-and-go with Sean Collins.
Cory Schneider, Boston College
Stood out while starting on consecutive nights
for the first time all season. He should play two nights
in a row next weekend if the Eagles win their first-round
Brian Boyle, Boston College
The hulking center had just four goals at the Christmas
break and admitted to being in a funk. Since then he's been
a force, and never better than this weekend.
AND HEARD AT THE FLEET
Boston College lost Stephen Gionta Friday night, it was feared
that the winger might be out for the year. X-rays didn't show
any fractures to his clavicle, however, leaving open the possibility
of a return for next weekend's NCAA Regional.
College had two pairs of brothers in the lineup, with John and
Joe Adams and Matt and Justin Greene suiting up. It marked the
first time all season that both pairs of brothers skated in the
Gannon, a 5-foot-7 freshman for BC, certainly looks the part of
a diminutive Eagle forward. On a number of occasions Saturday,
his play resembled that of a Gionta or Shannon. He was buzzing
around the New Hampshire end, earning a few shifts with Ryan Shannon
on the team's first line after starting the game on the fourth.
a television timeout with 11:42 remaining in the third period,
UNH center Preston Callander couldn't wait to get back on the
ice. He skated to the faceoff circle to the right of Cory Schneider
and waited there, alone, for about 30 seconds before the timeout
ended. It was almost reminiscent of what the odd scene must have
been like post-game last night at the Xcel Energy Center (worth
reading about, if you haven't already).
Once the puck
dropped, it was as if Callander didn't want to leave the ice.
The Wildcats swarmed around the BC goal during a shift that lasted
a minute and 20 seconds before BC could ice the puck.
College's Chris Collins may be the nation's most snakebit player,
with more posts to his credit entering this weekend than goals
(six). It continued Friday, when he was stopped on a pair of breakaways
by Maine's Jimmy Howard. Saturday, however, he scored the eventual
game-winning goal with the best move of the night. He put the
puck through the legs of UNH defenseman Craig Switzer, then went
five hole to beat goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak.
sold out crowd was a first for the Hockey East championship game.
Eaves wore a big smile and a Hockey East championship t-shirt
in the hallway outside the Eagle locker room after the game. The
injured forward, who is suffering from a bruised lung, said he's
"feeling better;" when asked about his chances for next
weekend, he replied, "Hope so."
York credited Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna with his pre-game
speech, in a way.
does that," he said, when asked if he had any motivational
words for the team before the game. "It's a big game under
the bright lights, on the big stage. This is something we all
strive for, an easy game to be jacked up for."
East already shows that it "gets it" more than other
conferences by eliminating one team from the conference playoffs,
making the regular season mean something. The lack of a consolation
game is another bonus about this league. While other leagues endure
teams playing their third game in as many days in front of empty
buildings, Maine and BU can rest and regroup, sharing third place
honors that nobody really wants.
admits that the lack of a consolation game for the last eight
years in Hockey East is more luck than planning – the Bruins
typically play a Saturday afternoon game, making the FleetCenter
unavailable – but he said he's never heard a push from coaches
for another game. No surprise here.
year ago the FleetCenter hosted a 1-0 national championship game
that many credited with sparking this year's crackdown on obstruction.
Based on Saturday's game, that crackdown would be considered a
success. The game had great flow and chances at both ends of the
FleetCenter staff does a great job with in-game entertainment
on the video boards, but we'd love to see some out-of-town highlights,
especially on a night when the CCHA, ECACHL and WCHA championships
are headed for the NCAA Tournament – quite possibly together
in Amherst – but that wouldn't happen if Jerry York had
wish here is that when the seeds are announced tomorrow morning
that our four teams will be assigned to different regions,"
he said. "Two weeks ago Joe (Bertagna) had us playing in
the last weekend of the regular season. Two weeks later we're
all back here in the FleetCenter. I really feel that our league
is so strong this year that if we can get two different regionals,
maybe we can meet again in another two weeks in Columbus."