Coaching and Character Create Success for BC

DETROIT — Boston College’s speed and ability to create plays in the middle of the ice during the Frozen Four this year is the reason the Eagles are lifting their fourth National Championship trophy in school history and second in the last three years.

“To win two National Championships for our juniors and seniors has never been done before in Boston College history,” said Boston College Coach Jerry York. “For these guys to bring two trophies back to Boston College, I mean what a career they’ve had.”

This year’s championship game marked the fourth time in the past five years that the Eagles ended up being one of the last two teams standing.

Boston College and Wisconsin have met in the past, including previous a championship game. Wisconsin defeated Boston College 2-1 in the 2006 NCAA National Championship game.

BC has been one of the most dominating teams in the past decade under head York. The Eagles coach has led BC to seven National Championship games, winning three of them (2001, 2008, and 2010).

“I think our guys just have it inherently,” said BC captain Matt Price. “They want to win and I’ve never seen guys work so hard.”

With the win against Wisconsin, York is 28-8 in the NCAA Tournament while at the helm of Boston College. 

“The positive energy you get from coach is unbelievable and he seems to always know the right thing to say, how much and how little,” Price said.

Goaltender John Muse improved his NCAA Tournament record to 8-0 during his career, including two National Championships. 

Muse was never really challenged during the Frozen Four, but he was good when he had to be for the Eagles. Muse stopped all 20 shots to earn the shut out against the Badgers. The Eagles’ netminder also made the Frozen Four All-Tournament team.

In the Eagles win in the Northeast Regional final against Yale, Muse allowed seven goals in a wild 9-7 win. Muse allowed only one goal in two games since that individual lapse.

The Boston College offense was the team’s best defender. The Eagles speed up front and dynamic forecheck kept the play in their opponents’ zone the entire tournament. 

Cam Atkinson’s goal against Wisconsin was the best example of how Boston College played their game during the tournament. Atkinson turned on the after-burners and blew up the left wing boards and backhanded a shot through Scott Gudmandson’s legs.

The Eagles do not look intimidating when they step on the ice for warm ups as they have 9 of their 12 forwards that played in the game against Wisconsin under 5’10, but their team speed and creativity in the offensive zone is unmatched.

BC’s previous Championship teams have been similar in size. Consider former Eagle Nathan Gerbe at 5’6″, one of the most dynamic and productive players in Boston College hockey history. York recruits a certain type of player that fits his system. Each player can skate, can be creative in the offensive zone and most evident, they can lead.

“When you’re recruiting a player, you better make sure he’s going to be a good teammate,” York said. “You have to sometimes pass on a highly skilled player that you don’t feel is going to fit into the way I coach.”

The seniors from Boston College were nothing short of outstanding during their tenure as Eagles. Price, Matt Lombardi, Carl Sneep and the Frozen Four’s Most Outstanding Player, Ben Smith, led the Eagles to 101 wins and two National Championships. Moreover, they were 25-2 in postseason play during their four years at The Heights.

“You learn real quick when you come in as a freshmen,” Price said. “The older guys have always done a great job to kind of teach us the way and I think that kind of carries through your career.”

BC has been the blueprint for success in the past decade and even more so in the past five years. York will return a majority of this championship team next year, including his goaltender Muse.

“Its always fun to coach good teams and good players,” York said. “I’ve had a lot of those over my career.”

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