DETROIT - APRIL 10: The Boston College Eagles celebrate after winning the 2010 NCAA hockey championship by defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 5-0 at the Frozen Four on April 10, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Hockey East Tournament 2012: Boston College Beats Maine, 4-1, To Claim Third Straight Title

Johnny Gaudreau scored twice to lead the Boston College Eagles past the Maine Black Bears, 4-1, to claim their third straight title in the 2012 Hockey East Tournament on Saturday at TD Garden. Gaudreau was named tournament MVP.

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Hockey East Tournament: Boston College Cruises To Third Straight Title In 4-1 Win Over Maine

Boston College became the first Hockey East team to win three Hockey East Championships in a row Saturday night. The Eagles handily defeated Maine Saturday night, 4-1, to take the title.

Eagles freshman Johnny Gaudreau tallied two beautiful goals in the first period to give his team a lead they would never let go of. Gaudreau played both nights like he was looking to prove league voters, who voted him runner-up to the rookie-of-the-year award, incorrect. He was all over the ice, pressuring Maine goalie Dan Sullivan, and had four shots in the first frame alone.

The Black Bears started to rev up their motors in the second period, much like they did Friday evening against Boston University. Maine’s top line right winger Joey Diamond fed the puck to linemate Brian Flynn to slide past Boston College goalie Parker Milner for a goal that brought the Black Bears within one. Maine was unable to keep up that momentum, and seemed disorganized without the services of senior top line left winger Spencer Abbott, who was out due to an upper-body injury suffered Friday evening.

Very late in the third period, Gaudreau struck again, sliding the puck from the boards behind the net to teammate Pat Mullane who shot straight on Sullivan to score. The goal gave Boston College a 3-1 lead to take into the second intermission.

The third period found both teams spending more time in the penalty box than they had all game. Neither team was able to convert on the resulting power plays. The Black Bears seemingly had a chance to even the game when the Eagles’ Stephen Whitney was sent to the box for elbowing at a very inopportune time at the close of the third. Maine pulled Sullivan in order to get a two man advantage on Boston College, but were continuously frustrated putting shots on net. Barry Almeida nabbed the puck with just over a minute left in the game and scored an empty-netter that put the game away for the Eagles.

Boston College has the nation’s first overall seed going into the NCAA Tournament securely in hand, and will learn their regional assignment Sunday morning. Maine’s season is also still alive, and they will most likely find themselves in a third or fourth tournament seed.

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Hockey East Tournament: Boston College And Maine To Meet For Championship Saturday Night

Boston College and the University of Maine won their semifinal games on Friday evening to advance to the Hockey East Championship game on Saturday evening.

How They Got There: Boston College defeated Providence College, 4-2, in Friday’s first semifinal. The two teams played a tight first period. The Eagles took a quick lead with a wraparound goal by Paul Carey, but the Friars quickly answered with two tallies. Barrett Kaib got help from teammate Derek Army to get Providence on the board, and then Army went down the ice with the puck, moved around a defender and scored to give his team a 2-1 lead. Destry Straight evened the game for the Eagles and finished the first period’s scoring blitz taking advantage of a rebound. The two teams went into the first intermission tied, 2-2.

The Eagles exerted their dominance in the second. Boston College freshman Johnny Gaudreau shot on the left side of Providence goalie Alex Beaudry to give his team a 3-2 lead. The Eagles kept Providence off the scoreboard through the second period. In the third, Steven Whitney took advantage of a rebound off a Barry Almedia shot to put the game away for Boston College.

In the second semifinal, Maine beat Boston University, 5-2. Boston University’s Alex Chiasson got his team on the board early, with a goal just over two minutes into the game. The remainder of the first period was filled with shots that didn’t convert for both teams.

Maine came out of the first intermission powerfully, and Joey Diamond tied the game with a power play goal mere seconds into the second period. Matt Nieto gave the Terriers another lead a few minutes following with a slapper on Maine goalie Dan Sullivan, but Maine defenseman Will O’Neill scored two goals in short time to give Maine a 3-2 lead they would carry into the second intermission.

In the third period, a hard hit into the boards took Maine’s Spencer Abbott (the league’s player of the year) out of the game, and the Terriers capitalized with another Nieto goal to tie the game. Despite the tying goal, Boston University was playing sluggish and penalty filled, and an inspired Maine took advantage. Mark Anthoine got in the middle of a Terriers’ clear attempt and shot undisturbed on BU’s Kieran Millan to give Maine a 4-3 lead. Diamond added an empty netter as time ticked down to secure Maine their spot in the championship game.

Game Notes: Saturday night will be the seventh time Boston College and Maine have met for the Hockey East Championship. It is the third straight year that the fourth playoff seed has advanced to the championship game. The Eagles are looking to set a league record with a third straight championship. Maine’s Abbott is doubtful for Saturday’s game after taking a hit to the head during the semifinals. He spent the last half of the third period Friday in dress clothes near the Maine bench.

Where To Watch:
The championship game will be held at the TD Garden at 8 p.m. on Saturday. It will be aired on NESN in New England and NBC Sports Network nationally.

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Hockey East Tournament: Boston University And Maine Seek Less Time In The Penalty Box During Semifinals

Hockey East Semifinal #2: No. 3 Boston University vs. No. 4 Maine

Game Time: 8 p.m.

Game Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA

TV: NESN in New England, NBC Sports Network outside of New England

Both Maine and Boston University will look to follow through on some lofty expectations Friday evening when they face each other in the second Hockey East semifinal.

Boston University came into the season with extremely high expectations and a talent filled roster. But three departures and several bouts of sleepwalker style play later, the Terriers fell into the league's third playoff seed and struggled against the University of New Hampshire in their quarterfinal series last weekend. They lost the series' first game in double overtime, 3-2, won the second game outright 4-2, but fell behind by three goals before storming back in double overtime, 5-4, to clinch the series.

Boston University head coach Jack Parker knows that falling behind won't serve his team well this weekend, and has tried to get that message to his team. "We can’t have any lapses like we did in the first half of the third game or the entire first game against UNH," he said earlier this week. "We have to be focused and ready to play."

Goaltender Kieran Millan has been putting up stellar numbers - including a league record setting 68 save performance on Sunday evening - but he still needs to control his rebounds better if the Terriers are going to stop offenses like those of Maine and Boston College.

Millan also needs more assistance from his defensemen - an aspect of the roster that has fluctuated a bit. Down a defenseman since Max Nicastro left the team in February and being forced to play rookie Alexx Privetera, who has a broken wrist that was hit hard again during Sunday's game, the Terriers sometimes rely too heavily on sophomore Adam Clendening, leaving him on the ice for several shifts at a time. The First Team Hockey East defenseman's ice time has gone through the roof, and is a key part of a penalty kill unit that has seen too much ice lately.

"It would be nice if we could stay out of the box - we’ve done that a little bit better down the stretch here – and It would be nice if we could get our power play going again," remarked Parker.

The penalty kill is also a well rehearsed aspect of Maine's play. Maine played an old-school, Slap Shot movie worthy quarterfinal series against Merrimack last weekend. They won the first game, 2-1, lost the second, 5-2, and clinched the series with a 2-1 win. The Black Bears had 24 penalties during Saturday evening's loss, and the two teams combined for 87 in the three game series. Maine is second in the league in penalty minutes, with 708 over 37 games.

"Everyone wants to stay out of the box," said Maine head coach Tim Whitehead. "We don’t want to get drawn into that type of game. But our games down the stretch have all been very tight defensive battles, hard fought and physical and we are very comfortable in that type of game."

The Maine first line features Hockey East's Player of the Year, Spencer Abbott, and Joey Diamond flanking center Brian Flynn. The line is one of the most dangerous in the nation, combining for 60 goals and 89 assists this season.

The Black Bears are chock filled with experience (only four freshmen or sophomores played on the four forward lines used last weekend), and with that comes a desire to finally reach the championship pinnacle. Maine's seniors and juniors have experienced only frustration the last three years - in 2009, they lost in a three game quarterfinal series to Boston University, in 2010, they lost the championship game in overtime to Boston College, and last year they couldn't make it out of the quarterfinals against Merrimack.

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Hockey East Tournament: Boston College Faces A Rebounding Providence College Team Friday Night

Boston College is the heavy favorite heading into Friday night's Hockey East Semifinal against Providence College. But can a Alex Beaudry led Providence team surprise for a second weekend in a row?

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Hockey East Tournament: Semifinals Feature Boston College vs. Providence, Boston University vs. Maine

After three of four quarterfinal series going to a third game, the Hockey East semifinal match-ups are finally set.

Boston College (27-10-1) leads the way to the weekend tournament at Boston’s TD Garden in the number one seed. They advanced to the semifinals after sweeping eighth seeded UMass Amherst Friday and Saturday.

The Eagles will face a surprising Providence College (14-19-4) Friday afternoon at 5 p.m.. Providence entered the quarterfinals as a number seven seed, but upset second seeded UMass Lowell Sunday afternoon, 1-0, to advance. The Friars were helped by the return of junior forward Tim Schaller from illness, and after a few weeks of frustration, are matching their high level of play from early on in the season.

Boston University (23-13-1) and Maine (22-12-3) will face each other in the late semifinal game at the Garden, Friday at approximately 8 p.m. The Terriers entered the playoffs as the league’s third seed and went to two overtimes in a third quarterfinal game to defeat University of New Hampshire, 5-4, and advance to the semifinals.

Maine also took their quarterfinal series to a game three. The fourth seeded Black Bears beat fifth seeded Merrimack, 2-1, Sunday night to sew up their quarterfinal series victory.

Both of Friday’s semifinal games will be aired live on NESN (in New England) and NBC Sports Network (nationally.)

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