MINNEAPOLIS — Boston College coach Jerry York was celebrated by the college hockey world Saturday night when the 41-season bench boss got his 925th career victory, a record in Division 1.
York, as is his nature, deflected the praise, saying that individual goals were not important, only team goals. He ended his news conference saying that the Eagles were chasing trophies and there was one on the line Sunday night in the championship game of the Mariucci Classic with No. 1 BC taking on No. 4 Minnesota.
What a difference a day makes. Any euphoria the Eagles players felt with the win over Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday evaporated in excruciating fashion Sunday night as the host Golden Gophers rolled past the visitors, 8-1, at Mariucci Arena.
Minnesota obviously did a fine job scouting its opponent because the Gophers did an excellent job of exploiting the Eagles’ weaknesses, particularly defensively, and many of the mistakes the Eagles made wound up in their net.
York said it was clearly a wake-up call.
“I think it’s all humble pie for us,’’ said York, whose team last gave up eight goals during an 8-4 loss to Colorado College March 25, 2011 that ended BC’s season in the NCAA regionals. “We feel that we made a lot of mistakes at critical junctures of the game. We have a lot of work to do. Hopefully we’ll get another chance to play against Minnesota at some point.”
BC is very thin behind the blue line with junior Isaac MacLeod missing his second straight contest because of a shoulder injury and senior Patch Alber missed his first game and is likely out for the season because of a pregame knee injury he suffered Saturday. Top scorer Johnny Gaudreau was missing because he was playing in the World Junior Championship.
BC struggled on the penalty kill. Five of Minnesota’s eight goals came during special teams play. The Gophers took the lead at 2:52 of the first during a man advantage.
Sophomore left wing Kyle Rau delivered a long lead pass for junior center Erik Haula. Haula took a shot from the slot that went off the glove of BC senior goalie Parker Milner. The puck dropped into the crease next to Milner’s left pad and junior center Nick Bjugstad tapped it home from the crease.
At 12:33, just five seconds after BC freshman defenseman Michael Matheson was whistled off for holding, Minnesota made it a 2-0 lead. Haula fired a shot from the right point that Milner kicked out and Rau whacked in the rebound.
Less than a minute and a half later, the Golden Gophers upped the ante with Bjugstad potting his second of the evening, beating Milner on a backhand shot from just outside the left post at 13:53, their first even-strength goal.
Minnesota picked up its fourth goal in the second with Patrick Brown in the box for tripping. Nate Condon eluded two BC defenders down the slot, snapping a shot past Milner at 10:34.
BC sophomore center Michael Sit was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head at 19:07.
In the third, Minnesota made the Eagles pay. At 2:22, junior defenseman Nate Schmidt beat Milner on a one-timer from the right point to make it 5-0.
At 4:13, Seth Ambroz redirected a one-timer by defenseman Ben Marshall from the left point that pushed the Gophers’ lead to a half dozen.
York pulled Milner and put in sophomore Brian Billett. He gave up the seventh goal of the game at 6:22 when Bjugstad centered a pass to Rau in front and the rout was on.
BC scored its only goal during a five-on-three with Steve Whitney breaking through freshman goalie Adam Wilcox at 13:40. But Sam Warning answered shorthanded at 14:24.