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Hockey East Tournament 2011: Boston College Holds Off Northeastern's Late Charge, Win 5-4

Despite a late charge by Northeastern, Boston College advanced to its sixth Hockey East championship appearance in seven seasons with a 5-4 win.

While BC had a 5-2 lead heading into the latter part of the third period, Northeastern scored two goals to bring the game close, but had defenseman Anthony Bietto called for a questionable slashing call in the waning seconds of the game to give BC the win.

Northeastern started the game strong, with senior Tyler McNeely scoring the game’s first goal past a shaken John Muse in net for BC. The Huskies had tallied the first goal in all of their playoff games this this season, but BC senior Brian Gibbons was able to score the tying goal shortly after at the 16:05 mark of the first.

BC took the 2-1 lead seven minutes into the second with a goal by the Hayes brothers – Jimmy scooted the puck to Kevin, who snuck it past Northeastern goaltender Chris Rawlings for the goal. But less than a minute later, Northeastern evened the game up with a Wade MacLeod goal past Boston College’s John Muse. MacLeod slide down the right end of Muse and slid it in for an unassisted tally.

BC took the lead for good on a flashy goal by sophomore forward Steven Whitney – a goal that Eagles head coach called post-game, “probably the highlight goal of the decade for BC hockey.” Whitney backhanded around a Northeastern defenseman, and shot it past Rawlings top-shelf while in the process of falling.

BC defenseman Tommy Cross then took advantage of an interference call on Northeastern’s Braden Pimm to score the Eagles fourth goal of the game, while Pat Mullane added insurance – or at the time, what BC thought was insurance – with a set up by the Hayes brothers.

Northeastern game roaring back to life with mere minutes left in the game, with freshman Garrett Vermeersch taking advantage of a two-man advantage to score on Muse dead center. MacLeod then scored his second goal of the game for Northeastern in an attempt to keep his colleagiate career alive, but teammate Bietto took the untimely slashing call to take down the Huskies’ momentum and keep the lead in the Eagles hands.

Northeastern finishes the season at 14-16-8, and will not receive a NCAA tournament berth. BC’s Cross admitted post-game that Northeastern was a tough opponent because their entire season was on the line. “Anytime you’re playing a team fighting for their season, it’s difficult. If we’re going to take someone’s sticks away , we have to play hard.”

For BC (29-7-1), they have advanced to the Hockey East championship for the 13th time in the league’s 27 year history. BC’s Muse improved to 12-1 all time in Hockey East tournament games. They await the winner of Friday night’s Merrimack-New Hampshire semifinal.