By Tom Balog / Live at the Frozen Four
It was a battle of David vs. David at Ford Field on Saturday night.
Two college hockey giants in Wisconsin and Boston College went toe to toe and in the end, it was the BC Eagles hoisting their fourth National Championship trophy.
Senior center Ben Smith rifled a power-play shot from between the rings and beat Scott Gudmandson five-hole at 12:37 of the opening period to give the BC Eagles a 1-0 lead. Brothers Steven and Joe Whitney were credited with the assists.
"It takes a full 60 minutes effort," said Smith. "I think we proved we could play at that level and it showed in our success"
Wisconsin battled back and outshot BC, 9-6, in the second period and it looked like the third period would be close.
Looks can be deceiving though as Boston College turned their game up again.
The 1-0 score held until 1:38 of the third when Cam Atkinson (pictured) came flying down the wing and let a backhander fly. It beat Gudmandson in the five-hole again for the sophomore’s 28th marker of the year and two-goal Eagle lead.
Just over two minutes later the Eagles added more insurance in the form of a Chris Krieder goal. Kreider tipped a Jimmy Hayes pass into the stick side to make it a 3-0 contest.
Atkinson added another nail in the Badger coffin at 7:20, beating the UW defense and Gudmandson through the five-hole for his second goal of the evening.
Matt Price added an empty-netter and that was more than enough to give the Eagles their second title in three years.
"We had a great journey," said Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrion. "Obviously right now we're pretty disappointed in our play today and they're a better team on the ice. We'll go back and reflect on the past couple of days here and look back on it and we should be proud of ourselves."
John Muse finished with 20 saves for the Eagles for his second shutout of the year and is also 8-0 in NCAA playoff games.
"I thought our club played very sound," said BC head coach Jerry York. "Johnny Muse was clearly on top of his game tonight. This is three championships in a row for Hockey East and I feel very excited about this championship."
Gudmandson made 21 stops on the other end in a losing effort.
F- Boston College, Cam Atkinson
F- Boston College, Ben Smith
F- Boston College, Joe Whitney
D- Wisconsin, Brendan Smith
D- Boston College, Brian Dumoulin
G- Boston College, John Muse
Most Outstanding Player- Boston College, Ben Smith
- Boston College holds the edge in the all-time series with Wisconsin, 12-9-0.
- BC has as many wins in three days in Ford Field as the Detroit Lions have had in the last two seasons.
- Saturday’s game set a new world indoor hockey attendance record with 37,592 fans jammed into Ford Field.
- This was BC’s fourth trip to the championship game in five years and tenth overall.
- Saturday’s game was the third time Wisconsin played for the National Championship in Detroit. They won the title in 1977 by beating Michigan, 6-5, in overtime at Olympia Stadium. Then in 1990 they took down Colgate, 7-3, at Joe Louis Arena.
- BC head coach Jerry York now has four national titles. One at Bowling Green in 1984 and three with the Eagles in 2001, 2008 and 2010.
- RIT fans were still in full force, chanting RIT during breaks throughout the game.
Photo by Karl Henkel / MiCHO