DETROIT, Mich. - The No. 3-ranked Boston College Eagles won the fourth NCAA title in the school's history, claiming a 5-0 victory over the second-ranked Wisconsin Badgers in front of a world indoor attendance record crowd of 37,592 fans Saturday (April 10). Aided by a pair of goals from sophomore right winger Cam Atkinson and a three-assist effort from junior forward Joe Whitney, third-year netminder John Muse blanked Wisconsin's offense, stopping all 20 shots he faced in the contest and improving to a perfect 8-0 record in his career at the NCAA Tournament.
The win gives Boston College it's fourth NCAA title, including three titles in the past decade. The Eagles also claimed the top spot in the nation in 1949, 2001 and 2008.
The two teams previously met in the NCAA National Championship game in 2006, when Wisconsin defeated the Eagles by a 2-1 final in Milwaukee, Wis. With the win, Boston College avenges the loss and evens the slate, 2-2, when the teams face each other in the NCAA tournament.
The teams traded scoring opportunities at the beginning of the game, but a 2-on-2 rush gave Wisconsin the first quality scoring chance in the opening stanza. Joined by sophomore center Derek Stepan, senior forward Michael Davies gained a step on a BC defenseman and, behind the goal line, dropped a pass back to Stepan. However, Stepan's quick wrister was absorbed into the pads of Muse.
Senior center Ben Smith's 16th goal of the season gave Boston College the lead at 12:57. After Joe Whitney kept the puck in the offensive zone, he dished cross-ice to forward Steven Whitney. The freshman zipped a pass down to Smith stationed in the midslot, and Smith pivoted and rifled a low shot into the net for the power-play tally and the 1-0 edge.
After 20 minutes of play, Boston College outshot the Badgers, 12-5.
Midway through the second frame, UW came close to knotting the score. Just inside the blue line, sophomore defenseman Jake Gardiner ripped a shot that went just wide of the net. The puck caromed off the end boards and back in front, where it was snagged by Davies. The right winger attempted to stuff the puck behind Muse, but his shot trickled just wide of the goal. With time winding down in the middle period, Davies again tried to test Muse, breaking in alone on the Eagle goalie. However, when Davies tried to fake across the front of the net and lift a wrister toward the goal, he lost control of the puck.
Putting more pressure on Muse and the rest of the Boston College defense, Wisconsin registered nine shots on goal in the second stanza for 14 in the game. The Eagles put six more on the board, for a two-period total of 18 shots.
Boston College kept the momentum in its favor, notching its second goal of the game at 1:38 of the final period when Joe Whitney shoveled a pass up to Atkinson. Streaking through the neutral zone, the sophomore deked past a Wisconsin blueliner, then flicked a shot between the pads of junior Scott Gudmandson for his 29th goal of the season.
The Eagles added another goal just over two minutes later, giving themselves a 3-0 cushion.
After accepting a pass from freshman blueliner Philip Samuelsson, sophomore forward Jimmy Hayes carried the puck into the right faceoff cirle. Throwing a pass to the middle if the ice, Hayes found his linemate, freshman Chris Kreider, who lit the lamp for Boston College for his 15th tally of the year at 3:40.
Continuing their domination in the game, the Eagles pushed the lead to 4-0 with a marker by Atkinson. The sophomore shrugged off pressure from a Badger defender and skated in on Gudmandson. Expecting Atkinson to pull the puck across the front of the crease, the UW goalie was caught off guard when Atkinson opted to shoot near-side, recording his second tally of the game at 7:20. Junior center Brian Gibbons and Joe Whitney picked up the assists, giving Whitney a playmaker on the night.
With the Wisconsin net vacated, BC tacked on another goal at 15:29. Senior center Matt Price scooped up the puck near center ice and dumped it into an empty net for an unassisted goal and the 5-0 advantage.
On the power play to end the game, Wisconsin registered a shot on goal but a pair of key clearing attempts helped Muse preserve the shutout for the Eagles.