Eagles Sweep UMass In Quarterfinal

March 11, 2012

(Photo By Daniel Lee/Heights Editor)

By Chris Marino, Assoc. Sports Editor

The No. 1 Boston College men’s hockey team (27-10-1) was the only team to advance to the Hockey East Semifinals in two games this weekend, with a series-clinching 3-2 victory over Massachusetts (13-18-5) tonight at Kelley Rink. The Eagles were led by junior goaltender Parker Milner, who finished the night with 33 saves. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin scored the game-winner in the second period.

“This is the third year in a row that we’ve faced a Don Cahoon team in the first round, and we’ve always felt Sunday morning and late on Saturday night how fortunate we are to advance,” said head coach Jerry York. “We know exactly what to expect from his kind of team. They’re going to skate well. They’re going to compete at a very top level. And they always give us a real battle to get to the Garden.”

The first period saw UMass fly out of the gate. Just like in the first game of the series, the Minutemen created a number of early scoring opportunities. Forward Conor Sheary started the scoring when he took a wrap around pass from behind net and struck glove side. Around a minute later, BC responded with a two-on-one breakaway score for Pat Mullane. Mullane took the feed from freshman Johnny Gaudreau, who to that point had an assist on all three quarterfinal scores for the Eagles since Friday night.

The Eagles stayed active in the offensive zone, creating opportunities with the power-play unit. Sophomore Bill Arnold and senior Paul Carey executed a perfect give-and-go, as Arnold placed the puck right on the stick of a rushing Carey to put the home team up 2-1.

BC goaltender Parker Milner received a lot of pressure from the UMass offensive attack, but was able to settle down for the remainder of the period. This was most evident when Minutemen senior T.J. Syner came down the ice by himself on a breakaway. He took a hard shot on net, but Milner squared up just in time to block the shot. He finished the period with eight saves.

The Minutemen once again pressured the Eagles’ defense throughout the second frame, but a BC defense led by the physical play of Patrick Wey and Edwin Shea kept them at bay for the majority of the period. The one lapse came at the 18:03 mark when Joel Hanley redirected a hard shot by Michael Marcou for the score, tying the game at two.

The Eagles responded quickly when Milner gunned the puck out of the Eagles zone to junior Chris Kreider. Kreider used great vision to find Dumoulin at the just beyond the circle. Dumoulin didn’t hesitate, and gunned a shot past UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle. Kreider and Milner were awarded assists for the eventual game-winner.

The third period saw great goaltending by Milner, who collected 13 saves after stopping 12 shots the period before. Gaudreau was one of the biggest contributors to the Eagles’ success at killing the clock, due to his great puck handling and evasiveness in the closing minutes.

York praised Milner at the end of the game for his continued success at the end of the season, especially in this two-game series with UMass.

“Parker, both nights, was very, very good,” he said. “Last night he was the reason why we won the game. Tonight, we did a lot of pretty good things. We also got very good goaltending from Parker. Last night was kind of a Milner show. That’s about all we had going for us. But tonight we had a pretty good team effort.”

Dumoulin echoed these feelings, and made it clear that the team has full confidence in Milner as BC moves forward.

“He’s our backbone,” Dumoulin said. “He gives us tons of confidence, knowing that if we make a mistake it’s not over. He’s going to make a big save, like he has in these last couple of games and he has in the last couple of months. That’s huge for us. That’s huge for our confidence with our young guys and us defensemen, knowing that we have a rock behind us. That’s just huge going on in the later round of the playoffs.”

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