March 24, 2006
Northeast Regional | First Round
Familiar Story
Orange Line, Cory Schneider lead to another BC-BU matchup

By Jeff Howe

Boston University 9,
Nebraska-Omaha 2
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-NO Bill Thomas (27) EV
3:32 K. Betts, J. Krischuck
1-BU Bryan Ewing (15) PP
18:24 S. Sullivan, P. MacArthur

Second Period

2-BU Chris Higgins (6) EV
4:53 J. Lawrence, B. Yip
3-BU Dan Spang (9) EV
7:52 J. Laliberte, D. Van der Gulik
2-NO Tomas Klempa (11) EV
8:06 D. Charleston, J.P. Platisha
4-BU Chris Higgins (7) EV
8:38 J. Lawrence, B. Yip
5-BU Kenny Roche (17) EV
8:59 B. Ewing, P. MacArthur
6-BU Chris Higgins (8) EV
10:24 S. Sullivan
7-BU Bryan Ewing (16) PP
17:17 K. Roche, B. Yip
Third Period
8-BU Ryan Weston (1) PP
8:04 T. Morrow, J. Redlihs
9-BU Brian McGuirk (5) PP
13:13 S. Sullivan, R. Weston
Goaltending
NO: Jerad Kaufmann, 53:13, 28 saves, 9 GA; Eric Aarnio, 6:47, 1 save, 0 GA
BU: John Curry, 53:13, 17 saves, 2 GA; Stephan Siwiec, 6:47, 3 saves, 0 GA
Penalties: BU 3/6; NO 7/25
Power Plays: BU 4-7; NO 1-2
Attendance: 7,663

WORCESTER, Mass. – Before last Saturday’s Hockey East championship game, Boston University bench boss Jack Parker pulled his freshman line aside, scolded them for their recent play and told them to just start having a little bit of fun.

A few hours and a Jason Lawrence-to-Chris Higgins-to-Brandon Yip overtime connection later, and the three freshmen kicked off a wild celebration at the Garden that was – as Parker ordered – fun.

And in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday evening, the freshmen – known as BU’s Orange Line – kept the train rolling behind Higgins’ record-setting hat trick and five combined assists from his third-line mates to help the Terriers dispose of Nebraska-Omaha 9-2 at the DCU Center.

Higgins highlighted a second period that saw Boston University tally a six-pack of goals when he recorded his trifecta in a span of just 5:31, the fastest hat trick scored by anyone in regional play and the fourth quickest trick ever turned in the NCAA Tournament. His third goal put BU ahead 6-2.

“I thought a little bit about it [on the bench] and was like, ‘Wow, this is like a dream,’” Higgins said. “It was a great feeling just to help the team get out to a pretty comfortable lead, and we kept playing hard so it was a pretty good feeling.”

The Orange Line was instrumental in BU’s Beanpot championship back in February but cooled off considerably since then, causing Parker to take the group aside so he could shed some light on their shadowy play.

“He told us that we were just trying to be a little too cute with the puck and we were trying to make the perfect play,” Higgins said. “He said just to settle down out there, have some fun and play how we know how to play.”

It has obviously worked. On the heels of Yip’s game-winning goal and SportsCenter cameo, the Hockey East Rookie of the Year picked up three assists while Lawrence piled up a pair for the line’s eight-point performance.

“They really helped out in the Beanpot,” said junior defenseman Sean Sullivan, who had three assists. “We’ve just realized that these guys really know how to play hockey when they’re out there. They are poised with the puck. They’re out there controlling and playing great hockey.”

“It’s been such a fun season all around,” Higgins said. “We’re just having such a fun time out there that it really helps us play with a lot of poise out there. That’s what it’s all about.”

Boston College 5, Miami 0
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
No Scoring

Second Period

1-BC Benn Ferriero (14) PP
0:34 C. Collins, P. Harrold
2-BC Benn Ferriero (15) PP
3:14 B. Boyle, B. Motherwell
3-BC Dan Bertram (10) EV
18:35 S. Gionta
Third Period
4-BC Chris Collins (31) EN
13:00 Unassisted
5-BC Mike Brennan (2) EN
19:32 Unassisted
Goaltending
BC: Cory Schneider, 60:00, 33 saves, 0 GA
MIA: Charlie Effinger, 53:21, 26 saves, 3 GA
Penalties: BC 12/24; MIA 10/20
Power Plays: BC 2-6; MIA 0-8
Attendance: 7,663

SCHNEIDER STANDS ON HIS HEAD AGAIN

Boston College sang a familiar song on Friday night. The Eagles used a 33-save performance from Cory Schneider, who racked up his seventh shutout of the season, and BC swiped aside Miami 5-0 in the second game of the Northeast Regional.

Schneider was also able to exercise the demon’s that haunted him during his last visit to the DCU Center, when North Dakota whacked BC around 6-3 on March 26 of last year to earn a trip to the Frozen Four.

“Last year we came in with a very good team,” Schneider said. “We had some breakdowns, and I don’t think I was at my best. That was a year ago, and I’m a year older and a year more mature. I didn’t really think about [last year]. It’s just a building and just a rink. I was more worried about Miami.”

While Schneider was busy worrying about Miami, though, the RedHawks were worrying about how they were going to break through the brick wall in net, the man who has fast grown into the immovable object.

“Any time you don’t score any goals, you have to give the goalie a little bit of credit,” Miami’s leading lamplighter Ryan Jones said. “He took a lot of shots in the chest, but he is a fantastic goalie. He covered up the net, and he moves very well laterally. We were trying to go backdoor a couple times, and he was right there. He is a fantastic goalie.”

Schneider has now gotten himself back on the right track after slumping for a bit towards the end of the regular season, and he has allowed two or less goals in five straight games.

“We had a little lull there in February when I wasn’t on top of my game, but it’s great to be peaking right at playoff time,” Schneider said. “That’s obviously the best time to do it. I struggled a little bit in the NCAA’s last year so it’s nice to play the way I know I can.”

And with the win now, the Eagles have earned themselves their much-awaited rematch with the cross-town Terriers, who have beaten them four times in a row, stolen away the regular season crown, come away victorious in the Beanpot and then again last week in the Hockey East championship contest.

“You play for those [trophies] during the season,” Schneider said. “But this is another season right now, and it’s an entirely different season. I’m just excited to get another crack at them, and hopefully we can move on.”

INCH's Three Stars of the Night

3. Benn Ferriero, Boston College
The freshman came up big in his first career NCAA Tournament game, scoring each of BC’s first two goals in just 2:40 to break open what was a tightly contested game.

2. Chris Higgins, Boston University
It’s starting to seem like BU is breaking postseason records on a regular basis, and this time it was Higgins turn, as he was the sparkplug to the Terriers’ electric second period.

1. Cory Schneider, Boston College
On the same night the BC men’s basketball team was dismissed from the NCAA Tournament because of a goaltending call, Schneider made sure the hockey program kept moving in the right direction with some goaltending in a little more appropriate sense of the word.

SEEN AND HEARD AT THE DCU CENTER

• It took the Mavericks nine years to pave their way into the NCAA Tournament, but it only took them 3:32 to put a dent on the scoreboard. Kaleb Betts took a big one-timer from beyond the right circle that was deflected by Scott Parse before Bill Thomas made good with the rebound.

• The BU band played the national anthem before the first semifinal of the night, but Pete MacArthur heard the loudest bell of the evening 11:40 into the opening period when he was blitzed at center ice by UNO’s Kaleb Betts.

• UNO was mounting a five-on-five attack in name only around the 18-minute mark of the first period, as BU was trying to play defense while Brian McGuirk and Tom Morrow were skating stickless. The unique measure of defense worked, and the Terriers fetched their sticks as soon as referee John Campion blew his whistle.

• INCH can’t confirm whether or not the folks in Omaha are fans of Nicholas Cage, but we can tell you that the Mavericks’ chances to move into the regional championship were “Gone in 67 Seconds”. BU jumped out to a 3-1 lead with a Dan Spang goal at 7:52 of the middle frame, which was answered 14 seconds later when Tomas Klempa cut things down to 3-2. Twenty-two seconds after that, Chris Higgins lit the lamp, and Bryan Ewing joined in on the fun 21 ticks later. So 67 seconds and dozens of new light bulbs later, the score went from 2-1 Terriers to 5-2, closer resembling a Dallas Mavericks basketball game than a UNO Mavericks hockey contest.

• After BU put home its eighth goal of the night, the BU students were chanting to Jerad Kaufmann, “Worse than Regan! Worse than Regan!” This was obviously in reference to UNH goalie Kevin Regan, who allowed seven goals before being yanked for Jeff Pietrasiak in the Terriers’ 9-2 Hockey East Semifinal win over the Wildcats. Once BU hit the nine-goal mark for the second straight Friday, Eric Aarnio was called out of the UNO bullpen only to hear “Pietrasiak, you suck!”

• Boston College forward Dan Bertram picked up a loose puck along the right boards and was able to skate into the Miami zone unabated because RedHawk defenseman Alec Martinez tripped over a lost stick at center ice. Bertram made a couple nice moves before shifting to the backhand and squeaking his shot through the wickets of Charlie Effeinger.

“I think I’ve seen that once before,” Miami coach Rico Blasi said. “It’s kind of funny.”

• One didn’t need to look at the scoreboard to see that the Eagles were holding a 3-0 third-period lead. Rather, it was apparent when looking at the two benches, which are side by side at the DCU Center. For much of the final frame, the BC players were leaning up and over the boards in support of their teammates while the RedHawks were sullen in their seats.

• When the DCU Center scoreboard flashed Holy Cross’ overtime win over Minnesota, all 7,663 in attendance cheered in unison. The Crusaders, if you didn’t know, are from Worcester.

PLUSSES AND MINUSES

The BU student section let UNO goalie Jerad Kaufmann know how much they didn’t like him throughout a good portion of the game, but after the Terriers knocked home their seventh goal of the evening, the BU faithful began to welcome him as one of their own, chanting, “We love Kaufmann! We love Kaufmann!”

Located just a few miles west of Boston, the DCU Center in Worcester was supposed to provide an unfair comfort level for both BU and BC in the opening round of the Northeast Regional, but since just a handful of fans made the brief journey, the “home-ice” feel was nowhere to be found.

Miami’s play-by-play radio voice was overheard harping on the snub the RedHawks got when the tournament seedings came out, complaining over every penalty Miami was whistled for, barking over the allowance of Boston College’s first goal and then said the Eagles were winning by playing just “mediocre hockey” after the second period – which was one of the better periods BC has played in awhile. There is still no word as to whether or not the voice was spotted watching the actual game.

WHAT'S NEXT

For the 233rd time, Boston University will meet Boston College on the ice. However, this will only be the second time that two of college hockey’s greatest rivals have met in the NCAA Tournament. BU defeated BC 5-3 in the 1978 NCAA Championship game. The Terriers hold a 118-99-15 lead in the all-time series and a 4-1 edge this season, including four victory handshakes in a row.

“I’ve thought about this since I saw the pairings,” Jack Parker said about the possibility of BU and BC meeting in the regional championship following his team’s win. “Do we want to play BC a sixth time? The answer is, ‘No.’ But do we really want to play a team that can beat BC? Because BC is so good, how good must Miami be if they’re going to beat BC? It’s six to one, a half-dozen to the other.”

“Jack [Parker] and I were talking when the pairings came out, and we said we just had to prepare for two teams,” Jerry York said. “Breaking down the tape, we had to look at Omaha’s tape, and we had to look at Miami’s tape. BU was the exact same. … Last year [in Worcester] we thought we might play BU before North Dakota beat both of us and walked out of the region here. At least this time we’re going to go head to head for the chance to go to the Frozen Four.”