March 25, 2007
Northeast Regional | Regional Final
Rooney Gets Fatherly Advice
But it wasn't from his father, an NHL alum — It was Brian Boyle's dad

By Jeff Howe

Boston College 4,
Miami 0
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
No scoring

Second Period

1-BC Joe Rooney (14) EV
3:00 B. Ferriero, M. Brennan
2-BC Joe Rooney (15) PP
5:44 D. Bertram, B. Smith
Third Period
3-BC Kyle Kucharski (2) EV
7:26 M. Lombardi
4-BC Benn Ferriero (23) EV
11:21 D. Bertram, B. Motherwell
Goaltending
MIA: Jeff Zatkoff, 60:00, 29 saves, 4 GA
BC: Cory Schneider, 60:00, 37 saves, 0 GA
Penalties: MIA 9/29; BC 10/20
Power Plays: MIA 0-7; BC 1-6
Attendance: 7,007

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Artie Boyle was just joking around. Brian Boyle's father, who has known Boston College forward Joe Rooney since he and his son were teammates as high school freshmen at St. Sebastian's, thought it was time Rooney found the back of the net.

So, he made sure he relayed a message to Rooney through Brian before the Eagles' game against Miami in the Northeast Regional final. No more posts. No more hitting the goalie in the glove. Just score.

He really had to twist Rooney's arm.

"I had a few chances last night," Rooney said of the game against St. Lawrence in the regional semifinal. "I hit a post, and the goalie made a couple good saves on me. Artie Boyle was talking to Brian, and he was like, 'He played great, but tell him to bury a few tonight.' So, I did it for him."

Easy enough.

"I think [my father] was just kind of joking with him, but Joe wanted to prove to him that he could score in the big game," Boyle said. "He has proved it before, and my dad knows that. He was just kind of giving him a hard time."

Rooney scored twice in a 2:44 stretch in the second period to put the Eagles ahead 2-0 and completely shift the tide in a game the RedHawks were controlling. BC finished off Miami, 4-0, and will take on North Dakota in the Frozen Four.

If this kind of ribbing can get Rooney going, Boston College coach Jerry York may want to schedule Artie Boyle to roast his entire team in St. Louis.

It was during the first intermission that Rooney made his most noise, though. After Miami took it to Boston College in the opening period, he went into the locker room and let his teammates have it. The senior assistant captain didn't want to unlace his skates for the final time on Sunday evening – not this way, not while the Eagles were in the midst of their longest winning streak under York and trying to win a national championship.

"We did not play good hockey at all during that period," Rooney said. "It was kind of embarrassing. Fortunately, it was 0-0 going into the second period. I just said it's one and done. There's no tomorrow if we lose. We have 40 minutes to come together as a team, play how we can play and move on."

Normally, Rooney is fairly quiet. He's a leader by example. So, when his teammates walked into the locker room and saw him like this, they naturally responded.

"He's not a terribly vocal guy," said goalie Cory Schneider, who was named Northeast Regional Most Outstanding Player. "He's not a screamer and a yeller. He just works hard everyday, shows up to practice. He has been one of the hardest working guys on the ice, and he leads by example. If he says something, you listen, and you respect it. He is the kind of kid you want to follow. You want to get behind him and see what he does.

"You could see the intensity and emotion in him. He didn't want to hang up his gear after this game. You could really see that he wanted to advance. It was exciting to see him get real riled up and give us a lift out there."

It turned out he didn't give his teammates much of a chance to grab the bull by the horns because he was too busy doing that himself. After Benn Ferriero made a tremendous move to get around defenseman Brad Robbins and draw Jarod Palmer away, he fed Rooney at the left point, and he buried the puck to give BC a 1-0 lead.

Not long thereafter, Rooney stripped Robbins low on the right circle, cut across the crease and curled the puck past Jeff Zatkoff to push the margin to 2-0 at 5:44 of the second.

This was the second time in a row that Rooney stole the show in the Northeast Regional final. He scored two short-handed goals in a nine-minute stretch in the second period of last year's game against Boston University. His two shorties pushed a 1-0 edge to a 3-0 lead, and the Eagles soared to a 5-0 win.

"I seem to like this game, the Regional Final," Rooney said. "It's so important. We all want to get to the Frozen Four and win the national championship from the beginning of the season. It's so easy to get fired up for these games. You don't really need anyone to talk to you about it or anything like that."

Rooney has 15 goals and 26 assists this season so it's not like he is any stranger to the score sheet. He just gets overshadowed by the sophomore trio of Benn Ferriero, Nathan Gerbe and Brock Bradford along with Boyle and Schneider.

"He is one of the hardest workers and best teammates that I have ever had," Boyle said. "I am really happy that he has the spotlight today."

THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN

The Eagles weren't exactly soaring during the first period, but Cory Schneider was definitely on his game. This isn't a rarity for the Boston College netminder, who has come to play right from the drop of the puck during the 12-game winning streak.

He stopped all 12 shots he saw in the first period against Miami. Schneider has a .963 save percentage in the opening frame over the last dozen contests, allowing just four goals on 108 shots. He has been even better over the last eight, giving up one goal on 90 shots – a .989 save percentage.

"It's big. It's the biggest period of the game I think," Schneider said. "As a goalie, you have to give your team a chance to win so if you give up bad goals in the first period, you're not really giving your team a chance to win. Very rarely during this span has the team come out flat, but if they do, I've got to be there and do my part. Otherwise, they've made life easy on me so I've got to carry my load and do what I need to do."

Over the last 12 games overall, he has a .946 save percentage. In the last 10, however, he has a .960 save percentage and 1.20 goals against average. All of a sudden, the most exciting goalie in college hockey has turned it on during the most important stretch.

"This time of year is exciting," he said. "The playoffs are coming, and it's hard not to get more focused and more intense."

A draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, Schneider could have left school early last summer to cash in for a nice payday. But, he chose to continue his quest for a national championship, which fell short by one goal and one ringing shot off the pipe last season.

He struggled early in the year. BC coach Jerry York thinks Schneider felt the weight of the world on his shoulders, and the pressure to be perfect – as he often was during the tourney run last year – might have been more difficult to overcome than a booming slap shot. Plus, York said, even Tiger Woods isn't on par with his critics' expectations all the time.

"I think we expect an awful lot out of him," York said. "Our expectations are to stop every single puck. I think that [wore on] him during the year. 'Hey, I've got to be perfect, Coach. I've got to have a 100 percent save percentage. I'm a returning All-American.' He put a lot of pressure on himself.

"I think in late January or so, his save percentage was good. His goals against were good. … I told him to just be athletic, relax a little bit, Cory. It's almost like on the golf course on the first tee. You expect to hit it right down the middle all the time. But, hey, Tiger doesn't hit it down the middle all the time."

SEEN AND HEARD AT VERIZON WIRELESS ARENA

INCH's Three Stars of the Northeast Regional

3. Jeff Zatkoff, Miami
He stopped 43 shots in the upset over UNH and then 29 more against BC.

2. Cory Schneider, Boston College
The netminder made some jaw-dropping saves this weekend, but he was strongest when the Eagles needed him most. He made a huge stop with the left leg moving to his left to preserve a two-goal lead when St. Lawrence had an extra attacker out in the final minutes on Saturday. And, he was really strong during the first period against Miami, when the BC defense wasn't playing that great.

1. Joe Rooney, Boston College
He didn't score on Saturday, but he played some good minutes. Then, during the regional finale, he put a couple home in the second to change the momentum of the game.

• If you had one too many at one of the local bars around Elm St., and happened to wander into the arena, you may have thought you were witnessing a BC-BU game. Miami's red uniforms look very similar to those of the Terriers. It's worth noting that BC and BU played in last year's Northeast Regional final, but BU was wearing its home whites as the top seed.

• Marty Guerin probably wasn't too happy with the way his career ended today. At 3:01 of the first period, Guerin checked Tim Filangieri from behind into the boards behind Cory Schneider. He was whistled for a five-minute major and given a game misconduct.

• A little more than halfway through the first period, a Miami defenseman launched the puck from center ice, and it caromed off the back boards, then off the top of the net, then it hit Schneider in the chest as he turned around. Both of the RedHawks' goals came off quirky bounces against UNH, and they nearly capitalized with some help from Lady Luck again.

• Brian Boyle, Nate Davis and referee Derek Shepherd had a lengthy discussion on the ice during the first intermission. Shepheard was very inconsistent with the whistle during the opening frame, and he was probably keeping the captains within the loop of what is and isn't a penalty and whether or not he will call that penalty, which could ultimately be determined by whether or not there is an odd or even number on the clock.

• Though Boyle is a full-time blue liner now, he still takes faceoffs. He temporarily switches places with a forward on the line.

• BC sophomore Kyle Kucharski scored his second career goal in the third period to put the Eagles ahead 3-0. It was also his fifth career point. Freshman Matt Lombardi earned his third career assist and fourth career point on the play.

• The crowd was fairly strong, especially considering host UNH got bounced yesterday. The announced attendance was 7,007.

PLUSSES AND MINUSES

During a TV timeout with a couple minutes remaining in the second period, there was a shot of Miami coach Rico Blasi on the video board and a young kid behind him jumping up and down flashing his BC jersey. It was difficult to tell who was actually taller.

Pete Souris and the UNH athletic department put on quite a show at the Northeast Regional this week. Holy Cross has its work cut out in Worcester next year.

The officiating in the first period — and during stages later in the game — was wildly inconsistent. Referee Derek Shepherd missed a couple of blatant calls and wound up whistling some makeup calls afterward. Shepherd is a highly-regarded official in the college hockey world. He called last week's WCHA Final Five championship and also reffed last year's Maine-Michigan State regional championship matchup. He also called the 2004 Frozen Four game between Maine and Boston College, when he apparently missed another call – keenly noted by the Inside College Hockey staff.

WHAT'S NEXT

Boston College advanced to its third Frozen Four in the last four years, and 20th in the program's illustrious history. BC is 19-7 in the NCAA tournament under Jerry York and 14-2 in regional play (7-2 in the quarterfinals). BC is on a 12-game winning streak, the longest winning stretch under York's watch. The Eagles won 11 straight between Feb. 24, 2001 and Oct. 6, 2001 — including two wins in Albany to earn the 2001 National Championship. The Eagles are now 5-0-1 in the Verizon Wireless Arena and 4-0 in NCAA Regionals at that rink.