March 29, 2010
In which we recap the day's events in the NCAA tournament.
When BC's Carl Sneep scored a shorthanded goal from on a bouncer from 150 feet away late in the first period, I started to figure it'd be that kind of game for the Yale Bulldogs. But I was wrong.
It was considerably worse than that. And in fact it was worse than that for both Yale and BC.
Yale used all three of its goaltenders -- and I'm using that term loosely -- and BC starter John Muse did his best to let the Bulldogs keep it close, as the Eagles scrapped out a 9-7 win (author's note: it was not a lacrosse game) to advance to the Frozen Four.
The stats for both teams read like the kind you'd get if you played NHL94 against the computer.
(Coming Up: Miami's clutch win and the NCAA tournament Three Stars
The game featured two hat tricks, saw three other players score twice, and had 10 players post multiple-point nights. Yale's Mark Arcobello had one of the hatties to go with his three assists. BC's Cam Atkinson had the other and chipped in a pair of helpers. Joe Whitney and Brian O'Neill had two goals and two assists each for BC and Yale, respectively.
The goaltending stats, predictably, are not quite so glamorous. Yale coach Keith Allain had a big-time gambit pay off when Ryan Rondeau stood on his head against North Dakota on Saturday, but his cinderella goaltender turned back into a pumpkin in his second consecutive start, allowing five goals on 23 shots in just over 30 minutes. And somehow, backups Billy Blase (two goals on 10 shots) and Jeff Malcolm (two on six) were worse.
Muse, apparently eager to console his goaltending brethren, allowed seven goals on 39 shots, including three in a span of 5:08 late in the third period to keep the game far more interesting than it should have been.
The thing with this game is that, until Muse lost his already-tenuous grasp on puckstopping theory and BC decided to set up a field office in its penalty box, Boston College completely outclassed Yale in every facet of the game. At the time of Jimmy Hayes' second goal in 23 seconds that made it 9-4, shots were an ugly 37-28, and the Eagles were 42 of 71 (59.2 percent) at the faceoff dot.
Only one Bulldog player, defenseman Kevin Peel, finished with a positive plus-minus rating, while six Eagles were plus-3 or better.
It was just two weeks ago that BC had trouble putting Maine away in the Hockey East title game, before winning 7-6 in overtime. Obviously giving up seven goals last night is troubling, especially after leading 9-4 inside of six minutes to go. The Eagles took nine penalties and allowed three power play goals. It could do nothing to contain the Bulldogs' top line, which combined for five goals and 13 points.
BC can't count on scoring nine goals in the Frozen Four to cover for their glaring mistakes, but Jerry York has a week and a half to iron them out.
Miami 3, Michigan 2 (2OT)
In a penalty-filled, 82-minute game, it was Alden Hirschfeld, who had six goals all year, that picked up a puck out of a scrum on the halfboards and ripped it at Shawn Hunwick. Hunwick got a piece of it, but it trickled through and punched Miami's ticket to Detroit.
Miami also got a significant contribution Pat Cannone, who scored both of their regulation goals on greasy plays around the net. Shawn Hunwick allowed three goals on 35 shots in the losing effort.
1. Cam Atkinson, BC
A hat trick and two assists is a fine night, but his first goal was what broke the game open for BC. The Eagles were up 3-2 before he scored his 25th of the year and BC put the pedal to the floor. Atkinson scored his 26th 5:34 later to make it 5-2, then completed the hat trick with a pretty breakaway goal for his 27th of the year early in the third to extend BC's lead to 7-4.
2. Connor Knapp, Miami
Knapp, not even Miami's regular starting goaltender, faced 57 shots in just under 82 minutes, and stopped all but two of them despite constantly being hung out to dry by his teammates. He was undoubtedly the player of the game, and his best play came when a shot rolled up his arm and hopped over his back. He swung around and covered with the puck about six inches from the goal line. Were it not for Knapp, Miami wouldn't be headed to the Frozen Four for the second year in a row.
3. Mark Arcobello, Yale
A hat trick and three assists is just about all you can ask from a player in an elimination game. That it wasn't enough for Yale to walk to an easy win shows just how many problems they had.
About the Frozen Four
In two weeks, the Frozen Four will take place at Ford Field in Detroit. Wisconsin will take on RIT in one semifinal, and Boston College will play Miami in the other.