April 8, 2004
NCAA Frozen Four
Maine Event
Jimmy Howard leads the Black Bears back to the title game

By Mike Eidelbes

Maine 2, Boston College 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-ME Jon Jankus (9) EV
19:28 M. Hamilton, P. Ryan
Second Period
1-BC Ryan Shannon (15) EV
2:35 C. Collins
Third Period
2-ME Dustin Penner (11) EV
1:05 M. Hamilton, M. Lundin
BC: Matti Kaltiainen, 60:00, 16 saves, 2 GA
ME: Jim Howard, 60:00, 40 saves, 1 GA
Penalties: BC 4/8; ME 8/16
Power Plays: BC 0-7; ME 0-3
Attendance: 18,138

BOSTON – Jimmy Howard deflects praise just like he deflects pucks.

The Maine goaltender saw a lot of shots – 41, to be exact – in Thursday’s second Frozen Four semifinal against Boston College. And he turned aside all but one as he backstopped the Black Bears to a 2-1 win over the Eagles in front of a sell-out crowd at the Fleet Center.

“Forty-one shots may seem like a lot, but it really wasn’t,” said Howard, who estimated he faced 10 quality shots. “They really didn’t get a lot of shots right down in the grade-A area. A lot of them came from the outside. That says a lot about our forwards coming back and breaking up the odd-man rushes and the defensemen blocking out in front.”

Howard kept Boston College at bay in the first period by making 17 first-period saves, and Jon Jankus would give Maine a one-goal lead by scoring with 32 seconds remaining in the period. Sprung by a perfect outlet pass by defenseman Prestin Ryan, Jankus took the puck at center ice and dished it to linemate Mike Hamilton on the left wing. Hamilton passed it back to Jankus, whose shot rattled between the legs of goalie Matti Kaltiainen.

“We’ve been stressing going to the net,” Jankus said. “I kind of fanned on the shot and maybe I fooled the goalie.”

Any momentum the Black Bears gained from Jankus’ goal was short-lived because Boston College’s Ryan Shannon tied the score 2:35 into the second period. Shannon won a face-off in the right-wing circle, drawing the puck back to Chris Collins. Howard stopped Collins’ attempt with his blocker, but Shannon got the rebound and patiently waited before slipping a backhand under Howards’ stick.

The Eagles controlled the flow for the remainder of the period, but Howard controlled the play by making 15 saves. Among them were a handful of quality stops during an 85-second BC 5-on-3 advantage just past the halfway point of the second period.

“Benny [Eaves] had a good chance, Patty [Eaves] had a good chance and we just couldn’t bang it home,” Boston College defenseman Andrew Alberts said. “When they killed that off, they started attacking us and momentum swung a little bit.”

That swing carried into the third period, when Maine would take the lead for good on a goal by Jankus’s linemate, Dustin Penner, at 1:05. Defenseman Jeff Mushulak’s point shot was blocked into the left corner. Jankus got the rebound and one-touched it to Penner in the slot. Ben Eaves blocked the initial shot, but the puck came right back to Penner.

“It was very frustrating to watch. I think Maine did a good job pressuring the puck and they had some timely clears. Things just didn’t click on that power play there.”

“I was lucky enough to get it back,” Penner said. “I put all of my strength behind it and it went into the net.”

Even though Boston College had nearly 19 minutes to get the equalizer, Maine minimized the Eagles’ chances during the remainder of the game. BC had a prime opportunity to tie the game when the Black Bears’ Michel Leveille was whistled for cross-checking with 5:37 left in regulation, but the Maine penalty killers suffocated the Eagles’ power play.

“We just couldn’t get one to fall,” Boston College defenseman Andrew Alberts said. “Jimmy made the first save and they made some great clears and we couldn’t get a second chance.”

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