Parker Milner and the Boston College Eagles continue to soar in their quest towards capturing a national title.
On Saturday, they’ll get the chance to do just that.
Milner made 30 saves and forward Paul Carey scored twice to help Boston College cruise past the Minnesota Golden Gophers 6-1 on Thursday night to reserve a spot in Saturday’s NCAA championship game against the Ferris State Bulldogs (26-11-5).
“It’s exciting,” Eagles junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “This is as good as it gets. We’re happy to be playing on Saturday, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Dumoulin, along with Steven Whitney, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider each had goals for the Eagles (32-10-1), which have now won 18 straight games.
Unlike in Thursday’s first semifinal match in which Ferris State and Union College went scoreless through the first 20 minutes, it didn’t take long after the opening puck drop for the action to pick up.
Boston College opened the game with four unanswered goals, including three in the second period, before Minnesota was able to cut the deficit to three just 1:26 into the final frame.
“It was definitely unexpected that we came out like that,” freshman forward Johnny Gaudreau said. “They’re a good team, so I was thinking a 1-0 or a 2-1 game for us, but that proves what happens when you just go out and play.”
Jake Hansen had the lone goal for the Gophers (28-14-1) and spoiled Milner’s shutout bid when he tapped home a feed from Erik Haula at the top of the crease. The play went under review, but the initial call was upheld.
The goal was just the first allowed by Milner of the NCAA tournament. Prior to Thursday, Milner last let one past him on Mar. 18 in the Hockey East championship game.
“He’s unbelievable,” Boston College forward Barry Almeida said of his goaltender. “He was the backbone for us and made some great saves.”
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 05: Brian Dumoulin #2 for Boston College takes on Nate Condon #16 for Minnesota at the Tampa Bay Times Forum (Photo by Scott Iskowitz)
It would end up being as close as the Gophers would get though, as just 22 seconds later, Carey’s second of the night beat Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson and pulled Boston College ahead 5-1.
A power-play goal credited to Dumoulin capped the scoring at 5:51 of the third, although video replay showed Minnesota defenseman Justin Holl inadvertently redirect a cross-crease pass into his own net.
It was that kind of night for the Gophers, which held a 31-25 advantage in shots, but failed to find the scoring touch.
“Obviously our goal was to win a national championship,” Haula said. “It’s tough right now, but I’m sure we’ll wake up feeling better about it in the morning.”
Whitney opened the scoring at 6:03 of the first when he came in sliding head-first towards the top of the crease and managed to bat home a pass from Almeida for a 1-0 lead.
Then, with Boston College on the power play, Hayes doubled the advantage and netted what would stand as the game-winner at 6:35 of the second after snapping a wrist shot over Patterson’s shoulder.
Kreider and Carey also exchanged pair of scores in the second to put the Eagles up 4-0 going into the final 20 minutes.
Patterson finished with 19 saves.