First of all, I have to offer congratulations to the Boston College Eagles for winning their 5th national championship. Honestly, this team has been the best in the college game for the better part of the last decade; this latest triumph represents B.C.’s 4th title since 2001 and their third in the last six years. So, before I get into my rant, let’s cover the basic facts of this win for Boston College.
The game itself drew a crowd of 18,818 to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, a record for a first-time Frozen Four venue, and the total attendance for the semifinals and championship game was 37,423. The fact that they drew this much of a crowd in a sports-challenged hole like Tampa has to be encouraging for the devotees of college hockey who are hoping this sport continues to grow in popularity.
As for the game, Boston College (33-10-1) was playing in its seventh championship game since 2000 and by beating “Cinderella” Ferris State the Eagles became the first school to win three titles in a six-year span since the Denver Pioneers won three in 1958, 1960, and 1961 respectively.
Despite the “David v. Goliath” feel going into this game, the Ferris State Bulldogs played B.C. to a virtual standstill for 57 minutes. B.C. took a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game on a Steven Whitney backhander from the left side of the crease. But Ferris State came back less than two minutes later when Garrett Thompson pulled the Bulldogs even.
The Eagles took back a 2-1 advantage in the first period on Paul Carey’s power play deflection with nine seconds remaining on a Ferris State penalty. While the final score ended up being 4-1, the last two Eagles’ scores were irrelevant because of the stellar play of Eagles’ goalie Parker Milner. Milner was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Frozen Four on the strength of his 27 saves against the Bulldogs and the fact that during the entire tournament he notched 110 stops while only allowing two goals in 240 minutes.
In other words, the Boston College Eagles have become in this most recent decade what my North Dakota Fighting Sioux were in the 80’s. And this is why I hate them…call it whatever you will, but these east coast pukewads are enjoying the success which should be reserved for the Sioux.
You really don’t to tell me this makes me the college hockey version of everything I hate about Yankess and/or Red Sox fans; the fact that B.C. brings this bile-spewing invective out of me is the big reason they grind my gears. But it certainly isn’t the only one; let’s walk through some of the major ones…
1) They Killed Ferris
If you are a fan of the underdog, you had to love Ferris
Bueller State, whose 26-12-5 record got them into the tournament as a #3 seed. Ferris Bueller State reached the championship game by beating Denver, Cornell, and #1 seed Union. The Bulldogs were attempting to become the first school to win the title in its first appearance in the championship game since Maine in 1993, and the first to triumph in its first trip to the Frozen Four since Lake Superior State in 1988. But B.C. felt the need to play “killjoy.”
2) They Exemplify Dave Hakstol’s Impotence As A Head Coach
As the Red/Green show above tells you, I gagged on three of the Frozen Four and have no shot at hitting the winner. The damn WCHA screwed me once again as out of the four teams the conference placed in the tournament, only the Minnesota Golden Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four. At least this is the last year that I need to worry about the WCHA as a factor in this tournament with the tectonic re-alignment that is coming to the college hockey world.
Let me begin by saying that Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol is an enigma to me. Under his tutelage, his teams historically have had have some of the best talent in the country, but his teams play with a lack of discipline and interest for the front half of the season; during the back half they become the best team in the country, then lose in the playoffs because they revert to the style of the front half. He is like the Dudley Do-Right of college hockey coaches.
The Sioux performance in the NCAA West Regional Final was just another example. The Sioux spent large periods of that game playing some very stupid hockey. They gave away four power plays, at least two of two of which were just dumb penalties. They kept committing sloppy line changes, at times allowing the Gophers to roll through the Sioux zone like Von Runstedt’s panzers did through France. At times, the Sioux played very inattentive defense, letting the open man literally skate through the slot right up to the crease, and allowing them to enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting in front of the net for the puck. This helps explain how Minnesota had a 3-goal outburst in the second period that effectively ended all hope for the Sioux.
The bottom line is this. Once again, Sioux fans got a team that underperformed early in the season. Once again, Sioux fans had their hopes for that elusive national title dashed by a team that keeps shooting itself in the skate. Since Dean Blais led the Sioux to their last national championship in 2000, this most recent season under Dave Hakstol is a microcosm of the entirely of his career behind the Sioux bench; play well enough to get home ice in the conference tournament, win the conference tournament which gets either a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament, then blow it.
And more often than not in recent history, they’ve blown it against Boston College.
3) Their Star Goalie Has a Stupid Name
Parker Milner. What the hell sort of name is that? Either one would be acceptable on its own, but together they suggest a love child created by former Dan Patrick Show Cougar of the Week Parker Posey and 60’s television icon Martin Milner.
4) They Are In Boston
What happened to the B.C. Hockey team the last time they won a championship really says it all.
Usually, one expects hockey players to be able to handle collisions. Or course, usually one also expects them not to collide with a light-rail vehicle, which by the way, aren’t really that light. But when you win a championship, sometimes the parties get out of hand, and next thing you know, a Jeep becomes just a wad of metal stuck on a knuckle coupler.
It seems last week three lads from Boston College’s NCAA hockey championship squad thought it might be a good idea to play chicken with a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Green Line train. Obviously, the three lads, Parker Milner, 19, Patrick Wey, 19, and Philip Samuelsson, 18, and the Jeep lost. Luckily, none of three or the four other people in the Jeep were seriously hurt, and nobody on the train was hurt.
Too bad you likely won’t be able to say the same for their wallets, as all seven passengers face charges of being minors in possession of alcohol after it was determined Ol’ John Barleycorn was a factor in the crash. According to the operator of the MBTA train, three of the passengers allegedly tossed what looked like alcohol containers out the window. It doesn’t help that an MBTA spokesman also said a bottle of vodka was found in the Jeep. It also doesn’t help that three of the seven people in the Jeep fled the scene. And it certainly doesn’t help that MBTA has announced they will be seeking restitution for the damage to the Green Line vehicle, as well as the cost of running buses while the line was out of service.
While the three hockey players are likely to be suspended to start next season, all face some stiff legal and possibly financial issues stemming from the criminal charges and the possible restitution for the damage to the train. the more pressing matters are the impending legal ones. All seven teens have been charged with being minors in possession of alcohol, and could pay a hefty sum if it’s decided that they have to pay restitution to the MBTA.
All this begs a simple question: How the hell does the WCHA keep losing to a team that gets the only hockey players in the world who can’t handle their liquor?
And that last question begs an even bigger question: How the hell do you get hockey players who can’t handle booze in Boston, one of the drunkest cities on the planet?