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Frozen Four final: BC 5, Wisconsin 0

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  April 10, 2010 07:19 PM

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DETROIT -- The Boston College hockey team, making its fourth appearance in the Frozen Four finals in the last five years, hoisted the hardware for the third time under head coach Jerry York -- and fourth time overall in school history _ with a convincing 5-0 victory over Wisconsin tonight at Ford Field.

``I was talking to Jack Parker, my counterpart from Boston University, and he and I are kind of old war horses in this game,'' York said afterward. ``He knew that he wasn't going to get back to the national title game and we were talking about let's keep the trophy here on Commonwealth Avenue.

``So that's three championships in a row bringing back to Hockey East.''

Junior goaltender John Muse of East Falmouth, Mass, who was named all-tournament goaltender, entered the game with a 7-0 record (2.22 goals against average and .923 save percentage) for his career in the NCAA tournament. He helped backstop the Eagles to another NCAA title after doing so in 2008, turning away all 20 shots the Badgers threw at him.

``John Muse was clearly on his game tonight,'' York said.

Muse made Ben Smith's power play goal at 12:57 of the first period stand for two periods before the Eagles erupted for three third-period goals against Wisconsin goaltender Scott Gudmandson, including two by sophmore right winter Cam Atkinson of Avon Old Farms, Conn., who broke open the 1-0 game with his backhander at 1:38.

After Chris Kreider chipped on home for a 3-0 lead at 3:40, Atkinson followed with another backhander on the power play that made it 4-0 at 7:20. Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves pulled his goalie, which proved costly when Matt Price scored on an empty-net shot from the neutral zone to make it 5-0.

The victory enabled the Eagles (29-10-3) to avenge a 2-1 loss to Wisconsin in the 2006 Frozen Four finals.

Third period

7:20, BC 4-0 -- In what seemed like a replay of BC's second goal of the night, Cam Atkinson swooped in from the left side and unloaded a backhander on Gudmandson to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead barely a minute after Wisconsin's Craig Smith was sent off for contact to the head/elbowing, giving BC two power-play goals on the night. Brian Gibbons and Joe Whitney were credited with the assists, giving Whitney three for the game.

3:40, BC, 3-0 -- Chris Kreider chipped in a crisp centering pass from Jimmy Hayes on the right side to give BC a commanding three-goal lead. Wisconsin's Derek Stepan was sent crashing into the boards and shaken up on the play. He was given a rousing ovation when he was helped off the ice. Shots on goal: BC 21, Wisconsin 14.

1:38, BC, 2-0 -- Cam Atkinson gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead when he broke across the zone from the left side, with Badgers defensemen Justin Schultz on his sleeve, and converted a backhander through the five-hole of Wisconsin goaltender Scott Gudmandson. It was Atkinson's 29th goal of the season.

Second period

End of second period, BC, 1-0 -- After Thursday night's semifinal romp over MIami, BC senior Ben Smith was asked if it was going to take eight or nine games to do the trick against the Badgers. ``I think,'' Smith predicted, ``it's going to be a low-scoring game.'' Through two periods, Smith's words have proven prophetic after BC goaltender stopped nine Wisconsin shots in the second, enabling the Eagles to control a 1-0 lead with one period to go to the national championship. Shots on goal: BC 18, Wisconsin 14.

16:58 -- TV timeout. Shots on goal: BC 18, Wisconsin 11.

15:40 -- Better keep Michael Davies away from any sharp objects right now. The Wisconsin senior right winger, who was stopped on a goalmouth attempt, fumbled the puck as he moved in on a solo rush on Muse, coming away empty-handed.

12:33 -- Wisconsin has ramped up its offensive intensity, but Muse continues to shine in net, styming the Badgers on three chances, including a Grade A opportunity by Michael Davies, who was camped out on the left post. Muse, who had been drawn out of position, lunged across the crease to make a stop but got a huge assist from defensemen Carl Sneep, who poked the puck out of the way. Muse then followed with a brilliant glove save. Shots on goal: BC 18, Wisconsin 10.

8:24 -- TV timeout. The RIT cheering section continues to make its presence felt, taking on Wisconsin's fans. Pretty gutsy, if you ask us, seeing as how they're outnumbered by, oh, 10,000-to-1. As one Wisconsin fan chanted, in retort, ``Sell your tickets! Sell your tickets!'' Shots on goal: BC 18, Wisconsin 8.

6:38 -- BC has killed off the penalty. Wisconsin is now 0-2 on the power play.

5:31 -- Wisconsin is back to full strength and now has the man advantage for the next 1:05. The Badgers are 0-1 on the power play.

3:16, BC, 1-0 -- BC went on its third power play of the game when Jake Gardiner was sent off for interference. BC enjoyed the man advantage for 1:05 when Joe Whitney was sent off at 4:21 for clipping Geoffrion along the boards in front of the BC bench as Wisconsin's penalty kill tried to clear the puck out of their zone. We're 4-on-4 now.

Greetings and salutations to David J. Knipper (BC Class of 1963) of Farmington Hills, Mich., who was standing at the back of the press area here at Ford Field, wondering who was here covering the game for the Globe. Knipper said he had watched BC football play against Michigan, Michigan State and at Notre Dame. This was his first BC hockey game. Way to jump aboard the bandwagon, Dave.

First period

End of first period, BC, 1-0 -- Can we get a witness for John Muse? In a word, the BC junior goaltender was ``re-donk-u-lous'' in the first period, stopping 12 Wisconsin shots, including four Grade A chances, the last of which came with 28 seconds remaining in the period when Muse stopped Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion and then smothered Craig Smith's bid on the rebound. It enabled the Eagles to preserved Ben Smith's power-play goal at 12:57 and control a 1-0 lead after the first period.

16:05 -- TV timeout. Shots on goal: BC 11, Wisconsin 3. Though their team was resoundingly thumped by Wisconsin, 8-1, RIT's boisterous fans continue to make their presence felt at Ford Field. We believe they're here to root agains the Badgers.

12:57, BC, 1-0 -- Senior Ben Smith, who tallied the first and last goals of BC's 7-1 victory over Miami in Thursday night's Frozen Four semifinals, did the honors again tonight when he tallied on the power play after Wisconsin's John Mitchell was sent off for contact to the head/elbowing at 11:04.

With about 25 seconds left in the man advantage, Smith took Steven Whitney's pass from the right circle and unloaded on Wisconsin goaltender Scott Gudmandson from the slot, giving BC a 1-0 lead. The Eagles entered the game with a 23-4-2 record when scoring first. Wisconsin's record when its opponents score first: 9-8-3.

8:01 -- BC goaltender John Muse just made a tremendous save, stopping Michael Davies after he received a centering pass from Ben Street from the left circle. Muse, who seemed to be out of position, smothered Davies's bid from point-blank range.

5:24 -- The Eagles were unable to capitalize on their first power play opportunity of the night when Wisconsin's Ryan McDonagh was sent off for cross-checking.


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