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BC Wins National Championship Behind Muse, Atkinson

Cam Atkinson scored two goals for the Eagles as they won their fourth National Championship. (hockeyeastonline.com)

Boston College won its second national championship in three years with a 5-0 victory over Wisconsin Saturday night. The Eagles have been to four championship games in the past five seasons and got revenge on the Badgers from the 2006 title game, which went to the Madison bunch. The championship was the fourth in BC program history (1949, 2001, and 2008) and makes it a threepeat for the city of Boston (BU won last season).

Wisconsin and BC were among the best offenses in the country, but netminder John Muse absolutely shutdown the potent Badger attack, featuring Hobey Baker winner Blake Geoffrien. BC outscored its opponents 24-9 in the four games in the NCAA tournament (and 45-22 in eight playoff games with the Hockey East playoffs included) and Muse, a junior, is now 8-0 in NCAA tournament games. As is the case in most games BC plays, their opponent was the most physically imposing team, however, the Eagles are among the fastest teams in the country, an advantage most teams simply cannot counter.

Eagles Peaking at the Right Time

The Eagles were one of the hottest teams in the country at the right time. They finished with a nine game win streak, they were 12-0-1 in the last 13, and an astonishing 17-2-1 in their last 20, dating to the end of January. Muse only had to make 20 shots against a UW team that tends to dominate its opponents in most offensive categories, a testament to the great defense in front of him. Wisconsin was not getting enough bodies in front of the net or great opportunities, but when Muse had them one-on-one, the shooters had no chance.

The game was scoreless until Ben Smith scored with the man advantage after being set up by Steve and Joe Whitney (one of his three helpers) 12:57 into the game. Muse and the Eagles would have to rely on that mere one goal advantage through the rest of the first and the second period. Wisconsin definitely tilted the ice in their favor in the second period with a lot of play in the BC end and some good scoring chances for the Badgers.

BC opened the game up early in the third with a pair of goals in just over two minutes. Throughout the tournament, BC seemed to string together two to three goals in a short period of time in each game to put away their opponent. Cam Atkinson scored the first of his two goals 1:38 into the period and Chris Kreider gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead at 3:40. Atkinson added a power play goal (BC was 2-5 in those situations) and Matt Price added an empty-netter with 4:31 to play. Wisconsin had pulled goalie Scott Gudmandson with over five and a half to play to try to generate more offense. The ploy worked as Wisconsin kept the play in BC’s end, but as soon as the Eagles broke contain, they hit the empty net and Gudmandson played the rest of the night in between the pipes. He made 21 saves and allowed four goals in the loss.

The game was played in front of and NCAA hockey record 37,592 at Ford Field in Detroit.

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