Number one ranked Quinnipiac ended Boston College’s 2015-16 campaign with a 3-2 win in the Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida earlier tonight.
In spite of a thrilling last-ditch effort in the final minutes that included a one-timer score from Ryan Fitzgerald and a nearly equalizing shot from Ian McCoshen with under five seconds remaining, the Eagles were unable to convert to tie and fell just short of another national championship.
BC entered its 25th Frozen Four appearance in search of a 6th national title. The Eagles sought renewed validation of winning their first title since 2012 after their postseason run was cut short last year by Denver in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
However, the Bobcats, who have endured the longest tenure atop NCAA’s rankings this season with a mere three losses, surged past the Eagles in aspiration of their first national championship in program history.
In the first-ever matchup between the two unfamiliar foes, Quinnipiac set the tone immediately with a goal just 2:30 into the first period off of a bad breakdown behind the net by the Eagles’ D-line. Just five minutes later, Quinnipiac further advanced their lead to 2-0 on yet another defensive lapse by BC.
Fewer than 10 minutes into the game, Jerry York’s team found itself playing catch up and chasing the Bobcats in its own end for the remainder of the first period.
“We just need clean breakouts and to be clean through the neutral zone to get going,” affirmed head coach York after the first period, the optimism still unwavering from his demeanor.
Upon taking the ice for the second period, the Eagles performance took a 180-degree turn. They came out firing and scored a combo goal from Fitzgerald to Colin White to Alex Tuch for the back-handed dish-in on the crease only twenty-three seconds into the second, decreasing the deficit to 2-1. However, a cross-checking call on McCoshen three minutes later allowed Quinnipiac to capitalize on the power play, stretching the lead to 3-1.
In the third, a late powerplay for the Eagles led to a tally after Fitzgerald won the draw and one-timed it past Quinnipiac’s goalie, Michael Garteig, with two minutes left, pulling the Eagles within one. However, this was all Garteig would give the Eagles as the final period winded down.
York pulled Thatcher Demko with 1:37 left in the third, creating momentum in the offensive end with an extra man. Though the Eagles skated circles with the puck around the Bobcats’ net in the final minute, a save from Garteig off a McCoshen fire with five seconds left shattered any last hopes of the Eagles reaching the final on Saturday.
“There are going to be early deficits. You’re going to have swings in momentum. Mental strength is so important," remarked Coach York during yesterday’s press conference. "You can be down 3-1 and come back and win.”
The Eagles' mental resilience persisted all 60-minutes at Amalie Arena, and the team nearly combated a 3-1 deficiency but leave Tampa just shy of another national championship.
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