The Boston College men's hockey team beat Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 Saturday night to punch its ticket to Tampa for the 2016 Frozen Four. The last time the Eagles played in Tampa in the Frozen Four, they won the 2012 National Championship.
Senior defenseman Teddy Doherty got on the board twice for the Eagles, scoring in both the first and second periods to give the Eagles a solid 2-0 lead. Junior goalie Thatcher Demko held the Bulldogs off with a diving kick save to rob Duluth of a potential game-changing goal. "Thatcher was the difference in the game. He made some amazing saves," said BC head coach Jerry York.
Junior forward Ryan Fitzgerald got his 100th career point for the Eagles on a power-play goal and the Eagles' third goal of the night 7:35 into the third period, shooting a snipe from the left circle hitting "top shelf where momma hides the thin mints," as ESPN sportscaster John Buccigross put it.
With a 2-0 lead in the third period, the Eagles were not going to have an easy final period. With their season on the line, Duluth went into the third ready to attack. "They're a good team. We knew they were going to try and give us a push," said Demko. "Any time you try and end a team's season, they're not going to just roll over and give it to you."
Sophomore forward Alex Tuch skated off the ice with 7:49 to go on a high sticking call, a dangerous penalty to take in the waning minutes with a 3-0 lead. Minnesota-Duluth's Austin Farley capitalized on the advantage and got one back for the Bulldogs, shooting from a seemingly impossible angle between the right circle and goal line with 7:11 to play.
After Farley's goal, the Bulldogs threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Eagles offensively. This effort led to a shot by sophomore forward Karson Kuhlman, which slipped inches between Demko's skate for a goal. With a 3-2 lead, the Eagles were holding on to a one-goal lead with 4:26 remaining in the game.
With 40 seconds left in the game and a Duluth empty net, Miles Wood was sent to the box for interference. With a two-man advantage, Duluth pulled Demko out of the crease for an open net opportunity. Austin Cangelosi came across and got his stick in just in time to save the game for the Eagles with eight seconds left.
Minor confusion on the ice led to a stoppage with 2.6 seconds left, but following a review, the game was determined over and the celebration ensued.
The Eagles will face off against either Quinnipiac or UMass-Lowell on April 7 in the Frozen Four semifinal match. The Eagles last won a national championship in 2012 in Tampa and the last Frozen Four trip they made was a 5-4 loss in the semi-final to Union in 2014. This will be Jerry York's 12th Frozen Four appearance and seventh in the last 11 years.
"We all fight for each other and it's going to take a really good team to beat us this year," said Demko.
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