BOSTON – No. 6 Boston College extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 10 games and claimed its league-high seventh Lamoriello Trophy with a 5-2 victory against No. 3 New Hampshire in the championship game of the Hockey East Tournament in front of a crowd of 13,668 at the TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday night.
Boston College improves to 26-11-1 (18-8-1) and earns an automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament that starts next Friday (March 23). New Hampshire drops to 26-10-2 (18-7-2 Hockey East) but could still be as high as a No. 1 seed as an at-large team in the field of 16. Both teams will find out their destination for the postseason during the NCAA Tournament selection show on ESPN2 tomorrow at 2:30pm.
“We were really excited that that’s our seventh playoff championship,” said Boston College head coach Jerry York. “It’s a great tradition. They’re hard to get – you can’t go into the local department store and buy one. We’re very proud of it; we got a lot of efforts from a lot of different people.”
BC sophomore Brock Bradford scored his third goal of the weekend in the win and went on to be named the MVP of the 2007 Hockey East Tournament. Junior Matt Greene, sophomore Benn Ferriero, sophomore Nathan Gerbe and senior Brian Boyle added goals for the Eagles in a game produced by NESN. Junior goalie Cory Schneider made 36 saves in the victory.
“I wouldn’t give myself too much credit, since it’s a five-man unit,” said Bradford. “Ever since Brian (Boyle) went back (to defense), everything has been so much easier. We’re doing the little things right and we’re also getting a little luck. It’s just fun to be a part of and hopefully we can carry it into the tournament.”
Freshman Bobby Butler and sophomore Trevor Smith each notched third period goals for the Wildcats.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead at 11:45 of the first period. Senior defenseman Mike Brennan left the puck for Greene at the top of the right circle. Greene snapped a wrist shot over UNH junior goalie Kevin Regan’s left shoulder to record his fifth goal of the season.
Boston College took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on Ferriero’s 22nd goal of the season with 2:07 remaining in the opening period. Senior Joe Rooney forced a turnover along the right wing boards in the UNH zone and the puck went to Ferriero in the high slot. He blasted a slapshot off the right post and into the net.
Bradford gave the Eagles a 3-0 advantage with just 1:22 left in the second period. Regan came out of the net and tried to play the puck in the right corner but mishandled it. Gerbe took control of the puck and found a wide-open Bradford inside the right circle for his 18th goal of the season and his sixth goal during this year’s Hockey East Tournament.
Gerbe made it 4-0 Eagles with a power-play goal at 6:14 of the third period. Three Eagles skated in uncontested on Regan and Boyle setup Gerbe at the bottom of the left circle for his team-high 23rd goal of the year.
New Hampshire responded with two straight goals to cut the deficit to 4-2. Butler scored on a shot that went off Boyle’s stick and into the BC net at 9:07 of the third. Then from behind the net Pollastrone found Smith in front for a score at 11:33.
New Hampshire would get no closer as Boyle added an empty-netter with 18 seconds left to seal the 5-2 win for the Eagles.
Regan made 29 saves in the loss for UNH. The Wildcats outshot the Eagles 38-34.
BC went 1-for-3 on the power play while UNH was 0-for-5.
2007 Hockey East All-Tournament Team
Goalie: Cory Schneider (Boston College)
Defense: Brian Boyle (Boston College)
Defense: Chris Murray (New Hampshire)
Forward: Brock Bradford (Boston College)
Forward: Chris Capraro (Massachusetts)
Forward: Benn Ferriero (Boston College)
MVP: Brock Bradford (Boston College)