Sunday, March 30, 2008
EAGLES SECURE SPOT IN THE FROZEN FOUR WITH 4-3 OT WIN OVER MIAMI
Eagles Advance to the Frozen Four in Denver
Worcester, Mass. - Another bus ride to Worcester meant another trip to the Frozen Four for Boston College.
Joe Whitney scored 12:12 into overtime to lift second-seeded BC to a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Miami of Ohio in the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional final on Sunday night. For the fourth time in eight years, the Eagles captured regional title final about 45 minutes from their campus.
BC (22-11-8), making their third straight Frozen Four appearance and their 21st overall, will play the North Dakota-Wisconsin winner on April 10 in Denver.
Whitney, who had a goal and assist in the semifinal win over Minnesota on Saturday, scored off the rebound of Dan Bertram's shot with a sweeping, backhanded shot while he was laying on the ice in front of goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.
"Joe, I've got to look at the replay again," BC coach Jerry York said to Whitney during the postgame press conference. "It looked like he was diving, sprawling on his backhand."
Whitney, a freshman, felt like the rebound would be in front.
"I knew Danny Bertram from practice," he said. "He likes to shoot for the far post and the puck knocks out."
Nick Petrecki, Nathan Gerbe and Ben Smith also scored for Boston College.
Miami (33-8-1) was knocked out of the NCAA tourney for the third straight year by BC. The RedHawks, looking for their first Frozen Four appearance, lost to 4-0 in the Northeast final last season.
"We had our chances and their goaltender came up big," Miami coach Rico Blasi said. "They had a chance and buried it."
BC goalie John Muse made 10 saves in OT.
The Eagles will be looking for their first national title since 2001 and third in school history thanks to Whitney's highlight play.
"I picked him up at the last second," Zatkoff said. "He made a great effort and kind of swatted at it."
Ryan Jones, the RedHawks' leading scorer, banged home a shot from the edge of the crease for his 31st goal, tying the game at 9:02 of the third.
Miami opened a 2-0 lead on goals by Jarod Palmer and Nino Musitelli before the Eagles struck with three goals in a 1:58 span late in the second period.
During a delayed penalty, Pat Gannon centered a pass to Petrecki, who one-timed a shot to cut it to 2-1 at 16:48 of the second.
Fourteen seconds later, Gerbe tied it when he converted Brian Gibbons' cross-ice pass for his 30th goal of the season.
After Muse made a nice save at the end of Miami's 2-on-1 break, Bertram stole the puck at the RedHawks' blue line, started a 2-on-1 break and fed Smith, who slipped a wrister between Zatkoff's pads at 18:46.
The RedHawks, the highest scoring team in the nation, started quickly for the second straight game. Palmer scored off the rebound of Alec Martinez's for a 1-0 lead 1:30 into the game.
Zatkoff had not allowed more than two goals in the last seven games.