BOSTON — Ahhh, the sounds of hockey in April… in this case, hockey as practiced by one shooter, one goalie, and one assistant coach at Conte Forum early on a Monday morning.
Most of the rest of the members of the Boston College hockey team were in class at the time, or in the library. Or at least that’s what Head Coach Jerry York told me. He was in his office, considering the University of Minnesota team BC will meet Thursday night in Tampa at the Frozen Four.
“To be perfectly honest,” York said, “they reflect our team. They skate very well, they compete well, they’ve had good goal tending. We play to win, we don’t trap, we don’t sit back and say, ‘Hey, if we can get to the third period and get a break, we can win a game.’ We’re gonna try to win a game early. So it’s gonna be really interesting match-up.”
On the eve of the trip to Florida, Coach York was excited about the prospect of a national championship. And no wonder: BC carries into Thursday’s game a 17-game winning streak. Still, he’s taking nothing for granted in terms of preparation. Which has included team bonding exercises, one of the most recent of which was a group trip to a movie featuring – as the trailer says – real Navy SEALS.
“I thought ‘Acts of Valor’ would be a terrific movie to bring the guys to, and, sure enough, it was,” York said. “It depicted the SEALS and teammates in groups of seven or eight SEALS together, and the sacrifices they make for each other. Now, it’s war, and we’re just games, but there’s a lot of similarities with good teams that respect each other and play hard for each other.”
Jerry York has also utilized various, less dramatic ways to inspire his team. When I asked him whether the 17-game winning streak might have bred overconfidence, he told me that he’d reminded his team of what former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi had said about that team’s remarkable streak.
“He said, ‘Listen, we haven’t won 24 straight; we’ve won one game 24 different times.’ ”
Coach York’s players may be more impressed by cinematic heroics and the musings of football-playing Patriots than some of the opposition’s skaters, because BC’s recruits are inclined to be younger. Lots of college coaches pack their rosters with Canadians seasoned by post-secondary school hockey experience — but not York.
“Most of our players are coming right out of high school. We go after the very top players, and we think that recruiting 18-year-old players, they’re more comfortable in the dormitories with other 18-year-old students, but their upside is so much better,” York said. “Nothing is wrong with the direction some schools take, because it’s allowed, and you can do that, but I’d much rather take the younger player in.”
It’s a system that has worked well for York. With 911 career victories, he is college hockey’s most successful active coach, and his BC teams have won three national championships. He’s reluctant to promise that this year’s squad will match the achievements of their most accomplished predecessors.
“Those other teams are pretty good, you know. They got good coaches, they got good players, they have good fan bases, but that’s the challenge we have,” York said. “If you can win a trophy any time during the year, you’re excited about bringing a trophy into your locker room. But if you can win this trophy, this is the shiniest, this is the biggest trophy, but it’s the most difficult to get, and it’s pretty rewarding. So, having said that, I feel good about our club.”
Winning 17 games in a row will do that for you. And if BC can prevail in just two more, that shiniest of trophies will return to the Heights.
Thursday, April 5 in Tampa, this year’s four most accomplished college hockey teams will be whittled down to two. In Frozen Four action, Union College will meet Ferris State University at 4:30 p.m., and Boston College will take on the University of Minnesota at 8:00 p.m.
BCTG wrote:claver2010 wrote:This feels a lot like 2007, let's hope for a better ending
Uggh, I was there. As great as Thursday vs. the Sioux was... the outcome on Saturday was devastating
pick6pedro wrote:It's really easy to be calm and confident for this game.
In 2006 watching as whiffed on the inbounds layup, I was devastated because I knew that team may have been a once-in-a-not-so-very-often team. The best chance to get to that next level. And oh how not-so-often it turned out to be.
In 2007 watching as Matty Ice threw the last pick in the ACC championship game, I was devastated because I knew that team may have been a once-in-a-not-so-very-often team. The best chance to get to that next level. And oh how not-so-often it turned out to be.
BC hockey is a powerhouse and they will be a powerhouse regardless of the outcome of tonight's game. York gets it done and another banner is gravy. Of course I want them to win, and of course losing will suck. But at the end of the day, it would not be even close to devastating for me.
bignick33 wrote:Jerry will be on the DA Show on 98.5 tonight at 9.
claver2010 wrote:Minnesota's Don Lucia: Unless you're Boston College, you don't get here every year.
NorthEndEagle wrote:That donkey had character issues.
b0mberMan wrote:Very jealous of you guys who are there. Just basically faking work for the next 80 mins or so before its acceptable for me to leave.
wolverineneshl wrote:I hope BC takes it tonight. It's kind of strange, the two best teams playing against each other first. I was hoping the top seeds play the other two teams first.
claver2010 wrote:I'm rooting for no OT here
But if Ferris & BC wins, we're going to wear our golds, would be weird
DavidGordonsFoot wrote:I am doing the Cover It Live chat on bceagles.com.
I asked the host if Gene was at the game. He responded yes. Then I said I was impressed because he just had a busy week with the spring game and hiring a women's basketball coach. First they censored my post to remove the part where I said I was impressed. 5 seconds later, they deleted it completely. I wonder if the minions are already familiar with my schtick...
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