Boston College's national-title run a credit to coach, relentless style
DETROIT -- Give the game puck to the coach after Boston College's 5-0 victory in the Frozen Four championship game against Wisconsin on Saturday night. BC's
"Smart disciplined players," York said of his team. They've learned what it takes to win." In fact, his senior class finished its career with two national titles and a mark of 25-2 in tournament play. It was a stellar mark, considering the squad bounced back from failing to make the NCAA tournament in 2009 after its victory in 2008. In all, the senior class finished with 101 victories. After some indifferent play during the season, including a 3-5 stretch in December, the team finished the year with a 12-0-1 mark and trailed for all of 55 seconds over the last 13 games. For York, the victory marked the 33rd of his collegiate career in the NCAA tournament, the most of any coach in history. He's tied for third all-time in national titles with four, including his first one with Bowling Green in 1984. He has 850 career wins, second-most in NCAA history, in 38 seasons, including 16 at BC.
York traditionally builds teams with players that are well-suited for the college game: Skilled, quick, speedy, able to make big ice seem smaller. Many are not necessarily big. Think
The Eagles' first goal was a perfect example of both. On a power play midway through the first period, Joe Whitney sent a pass from the left point off the right boards to his brother,
The game also wrote another chapter in the rivalry between York and Wisconsin head coach
York: "I'm still mad at Michael for not coming to Clarkson. I was at Clarkson in the 70s and he was a high-scoring forward in the Ottawa area, and we recruited him pretty hard. He went to Wisconsin. It softened a little bit when I got the chance to coach Ben and Patrick. They were such great players for our team and for college hockey. I've noticed that a lot of the times, coaches' sons just understand the game better. Mike did a great job raising his two boys as far as hockey players and they're good people, too. So, I have more appreciation for Mike now that I did back in the 70s. He's done some amazing things with the Badgers. He's an awfully good coach."
Eaves (before the title game): "Well I'm going to use Patrick's response, which I think is brilliant. He said they're kind of in a win-win situation because they are going to win no matter what happens. Either their alma mater is going to win or their dad is going to win. I think that's a great answer, but it's tough to remember back that far. I was 17 and I came to Wisconsin in the springtime and didn't have a chance to see a game in the rink; but I just fell in love with the campus, and that's where I felt the most comfortable in my heart. I went with that feeling."
The tournament, which took place in the Detroit Lions' home of Ford Field, was the first played in something larger than a traditional hockey arena and required more than a thousand feet of newly installed pipe to construct. The final drew 37,592 fans and 72,546 for the two days. At times the ice was noticeably choppy and the crowd noise seemed to get lost in the building's spacious confines. "The ice was the same for both teams," Eaves insisted diplomatically. "It bounced the same for them as it did for us."
The tournament marked the first time in Frozen Four history the semifinal and final games were all decided by five goals or more. On Thursday, Wisconsin defeated Rochester Institute of Technology, 8-1, and BC bounced Miami, 7-1, to reach Saturday's final.
Two Badgers earned first-team all-America honors this weekend, as junior defenseman