Patrick Green/ Icon SMI)
In the early game of the NCAA Frozen Four, the Ferris State Bulldogs defeated the Union College Dutchmen 3-1.
Senior Aaron Schmit netted a pair of goals, and junior Kyle Bonis tallied the game-winner at the 15:17 mark of the third period to get the Bulldogs within one game of claiming their first ever National Championship.
After a tight-checking and scoreless opening period, sophomore Daniel Carr would get the Dutchmen on the board first at the 7:56 mark of the second period when he deflected junior defenseman Greg Coburn's shot from just inside the blue line. Junior Jeremy Welsh, who signed with the Carolina Hurricanes within a couple of hours following Union College's loss, earned an assist on the goal.
At the 8:17 mark, Ferris State would get the opportunity to tie the game when Dutchmen junior defenseman Ryan Forgaard was called off for a trip, giving the Bulldogs their first power play opportunity of the game. But the Dutchmen would effectively kill it off to keep Ferris State off the board.
Just past the halfway point of the period, Union College began to open things up, generating more quality scoring chances off of rushes. Ferris State did an excellent job in both blocking shots and getting sticks in lanes to limit the Dutchmen's chances.
At the 17:02 mark, the Bulldogs would finally tie the game on the power play when Schmit stuffed home a rebound past Grosenick.
Union College came out with the early jump to start the third period. But as the period progressed, the Dutchmen found themselves making several trips to the penalty box as the physical play by both teams began to pick up.
One of the things that Union College was guilty of as the period progressed were turnovers. And at the 15:17 mark, the Bulldogs would make the Dutchmen pay when Bonis netted his 20th goal of the year from just outside the left faceoff circle on a play that all began off of a Dutchmen turnover. Grosenick made two excellent stops before being beaten by Bonis.
At the 18:40 mark, Union College pulled Grosenick for the extra attacker in hopes of trying to tie the score. But at the 19:05 mark, senior Aaron Schmit would put the frosting on the cake when he tallied an empty-netter to give Ferris State the win. Once again, the play started on a Dutchmen turnover.
"We didn't take care of the puck like we normally do," Union College senior defenseman Nolan Julseth-White said about his team's turnovers. "We kind of got away from our game. We had our moments and Ferris State played a hell of a game and they deserved it."
In the late game, Boston College put on a thoroughly dominating performance in their 6-1 win over the University of Minnesota, extending their winning streak to an astounding 18 games. Senior Paul Carey (COL) netted a pair of goals and sophomore Kevin Hayes (CHI) posted the game-winning power play goal at the 6:35 mark of the second period.
The game started well for both teams as each of them generated some good scoring chances early.
At the 6:03 mark of the opening period, junior Stephen Whitney would get Boston College on the board first with his 14th of the season to finish a beautiful give and go play with senior Barry Almeida on a partial odd-man situation.
Minnesota's best opportunity to get on the board in the opening period came around the 19:11 mark when senior Taylor Matson (VAN) received a nice feed from sophomore Nick Bjugstad (FLA) but was denied by a spectacular glove save by Boston College junior Parker Milner, who had been perfect up to that point in the NCAA Tournament.
The Golden Gophers' next opportunity would come at the 2:00 mark of the second period when junior Chris Kreider (NYR) was sent off on a tripping call. And once again, the Golden Gophers were unable to capitalize on their opportunity.
The turning point of the game came at the 6:27 mark when Minnesota sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt took a costly hooking penalty. Just eight seconds into the power play, sophomore Kevin Hayes (CHI) would extend Boston College's lead to 2-0 off of a shot from the slot that beat senior Kent Patterson (COL) on the glove side for his seventh of the year. The goal would eventually be the game-winner.
Throughout the game, Minnesota had difficulty finding ways to breakthrough the Eagles' relentless forechecking, as well as trying to end Milner's shutout streak. The Golden Gophers strong forecheck that was so prevalent and successful in the NCAA Tournament West Regional two weeks ago was now almost non-existent.
Kreider would extend Boston College's lead to 3-0 at the 17:45 mark off of another two-on-one play that was started by a great individual effort by freshman Destry Straight to strip the puck from a Golden Gophers defender.
Just under two minutes later at the 19:43 mark, senior Paul Carey (COL) was able to tap in a shot into a wide open net when Patterson and the Minnesota defenders were all caught out of position to one side. The goal came courtesy of a great play by a sprawling Pat Mullane, who somehow managed to sweep a pass over to Carey, who was left all alone on the far side for the easy goal.
Boston College came out with some good pressure to start the third period, but the Golden Gophers finally found a way to get one by Milner. At the 1:26 mark, senior Jake Hansen (CBJ) put home a nice feed by sophomore Erik Haula (MIN) to cut Boston College's lead to 4-1. The goal was the first that Milner had allowed in the NCAA Tournament and in 193:43 minutes, going back to the Hockey East Tournament championship game nearly a month ago.
The Eagles would quickly restore their three-goal lead just 22 seconds later when Carey tallied his second of the game at the 19:43 mark. The play started poorly for Minnesota due to a communication breakdown between Patterson and a Golden Gophers defenseman that allowed Boston College freshman Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) to gain possession before dishing a nice a pass to Carey who finished the play.
As if things couldn't possibly get any worse for the Golden Gophers, it did. At the 5:51 mark, Minnesota sophomore defenseman Justin Holl (CHI) unintentionally deflected Boston College junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin's (CAR) shot from the blue line into his own net. Dumoulin was credited with the goal, which came on the power play. The goal extended the Eagles' lead to 6-1.
Minnesota's frustration level grew to its peak at the 11:10 mark when sophomore Nate Condon (COL) was assessed a five-minute major and ejected for a contact to the head penalty. That followed a vicious slash by Matson to the leg of Boston College sophomore Bill Arnold (CGY). Matson was given a minor penalty for the incident.
From there, Boston College continued to dominate nearly facet of the game to the end. Other than the one goal that he allowed, Milner was once again brilliant between Boston College's pipes. For Patterson, it was a rough night. He had little support from the team in front of him and did what he could to try and keep his Golden Gophers team in the game. But in the end, mistakes and failure to capitalize on opportunities doomed Minnesota.
"We had some chances and we just didn't score," noted Hansen after the game. "We couldn't really get things going on our side. And then the mistakes that we made. That one that just jumped over (Jake) Parenteau's stick and they go on to score a goal. And the other one, I don't know if it was Carey, he's shooting into a wide-open net. It just sucks because we felt at times we were putting the pressure on, and we're outshooting them. We just needed one to go in. And that just didn't happen. And they just clearly took advantage of their opportunities."
This year marks the first time that Ferris State and Boston College will face another in the NCAA Tournament. Saturday's game also marks just the third time ever that the two teams have faced one another. Their last meeting took place back on December 30th, 2005 in the opening game of the Denver Cup holiday tournament.
"It's great to have a day to look at our next opponent because we don't really know much about Ferris State and haven't faced them this year," Boston College junior defenseman Brian Dumoulin (CAR) said of meeting Ferris State for the National Championship on Saturday night. "We know that they're a hard-working team and I'm looking forward to knowing more about them."
Many view Ferris State as the underdog in Saturday's National Championship game, and that's just fine with Bulldogs senior Jordie Johnston.
"You know what? That's fine with us. Call us underdogs. There are two teams that are going to the final game and one of them has to win. Hockey's a game of bounces and inches. And I'll take that any day. Maybe it even takes a little bit of pressure off of us. We're going to go in there and have fun. We're going to play hard and do the same things that got us here. And if we're the underdogs, so be it. But in this dressing room, we don't look at it that way. We look at ourselves as the best team out there and hopefully on Saturday we can prove it."
Saturday's game gets underway at 7pm.