Boston College advances to Frozen Four
One bounce and Boston College was on its way to another Frozen Four.
Cam Atkinson had three goals and Carl Sneep scored a 170-foot short-handed goal to help the Eagles beat Yale 9-7 on Sunday in the Northeast Regional final for their ninth trip to the national semifinals in 13 seasons.
Now the Eagles will travel to Ford Field in Detroit to face Miami of Ohio - a 3-2 winner over Michigan in double overtime in the Midwest final - on April 8 in the national semifinals.
With the game tied 1-1, Sneep collected a puck between the circles in his own end, turned and fired a seemingly harmless clearing shot toward Yale's end. As the puck approached the goal, it appeared to bounce to the right and by goalie Ryan Rondeau.
``That was a huge goal, a really crazy goal as well,'' Atkinson said. ``I don't think I've ever seen it as long. It definitely got us up on the bench. The momentum shifted.''
Joe Whitney and Jimmy Hayes each scored twice, Brian Gibbons also scored and John Muse made 32 saves for the Eagles (27-10-3), looking for their third national title since 2001. Boston College matched the regional record for goals in a game and the teams set a regional record for combined goals.
But it was a weird bounce that helped the Eagles escape Worcester again as regional champs again.
``People come to BC to make it to the Final Four,'' Atkinson said. ``We knew at the beginning of the season we had a good team.''
Boston College, the Hockey East tournament champion, won national titles in 2001 and 2008 after winning regional finals in Worcester.
Mark Arcobello scored three goals for Yale (21-10-3), Brian O'Neill added two and Denny Kearney and Broc Little also scored.
``The objective is to win and advance,'' BC coach Jerry York said. ``We did that tonight. The games come in all types.''
Atkinson and Whitney each scored twice in the second period after Sneep's game-changing goal.
``You don't expect it to bounce like that,'' Yale coach Keith Allain said. ``It took a proper bounce for them and a terrible bounce for us.''
The top-seeded Eagles made it 3-1 early in the second when Whitney scored off his own rebound. Arcobello scored on a wrist shot from the slot, cutting it to 3-2 at 4:46 before Atkinson stole defenseman Ryan Donald's clearing pass in the right circle and slipped a shot past Rondeau 11 seconds later.
Atkinson scored off a centering pass from Gibbons to make it 5-2 midway into the second. Rondeau was then pulled.
Whitney fired a slap shot past backup goalie Billy Blase to make it 6-2.
Atkinson completed his hat trick on a breakaway as he was being hooked from behind early in the third. Yale then pulled Blase in favor of Jeff Malcolm.
The Bulldogs, the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season champs, made a charge late in the second period.
Third-seeded Yale, looking to make its first final four appearance since being selected as one of two teams from the East in 1952, scored twice in the closing 3 minutes of the second to cut it to 6-4. Hayes had his two early in the third against Malcolm, making it 9-4 with just under 13 minutes to play.
``The bounces went their way,'' Donald said. ``We didn't get them.''