A Repeat for the National Champion Eagles? Easier Said Than Done

DETROIT - APRIL 10: Head coach Jerry York and the rest of the Boston College Eagles celebrate with the trophy after they won the championship game of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four on April 10, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Boston College defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 5-0 to win the national title. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Now before we go throwing around the "D" word or talking about repeats, let's put the Boston College Eagles 2010 National Championship in perspective.

The NCAA men's ice hockey tournament is a damn hard tournament to win. Any number of factors go into determining the outcome of a single-elimination, 16-team hockey tournament - the draw, location of both the Regionals and the Frozen Four, hot goaltending, coaching, or even getting into the 16 team tournament field in the first place.

In fact, over the last ten seasons, it has proven extremely difficult for the previous year's National Champion to even get back to the Frozen Four, let alone win the tournament a second time.

Take a look at the last ten champions and how they fared the following season:

Year National Champion Following Season
2000 North Dakota Lost in National Championship game
2001 Boston College Missed NCAA Tournament
2002 Minnesota National Champions
2003 Minnesota Lost in Regional Finals (Midwest #1 seed)
2004 Denver National Champions
2005 Denver Missed NCAA Tournament
2006 Wisconsin Missed NCAA Tournament
2007 Michigan State Lost in Regional Finals (East #3 seed)
2008 Boston College Missed NCAA Tournament
2009 Boston University Missed NCAA Tournament

 

If you can't tell from the above, it has proven very difficult to get back to the Frozen Four a year after winning it all. Of the last 10 National Champions, 5 failed to make the tournament the following season. Those 5 programs include BC ... twice, as the Eagles failed to make the tournament the season after both their 2001 and 2008 National Titles. Only three teams have gone on to return to the Frozen Four the following season, with Minnesota and Denver the only programs to win back-to-back titles in the last 10 seasons.

This is what makes Boston College's title run that much more impressive. BC finishes the season as the hottest team in college hockey, having gone unbeaten in their final 13 games (12-0-1). York's senior class of Matt Price, Matt Lombardi, Ben Smith and Carl Sneep finish their careers with a 25-2 postseason record. John Muse's perfect postseason record of 8-0 is other-worldly, while his championship game shutout makes him only the fourth goalie in the history of the tournament to post a shutout in the NCAA title game.

Next season, the Eagles return a ton of talent. Barring any departures to the NHL, the Eagles return their top three scorers from this season (Cam Atkinson, Brian Gibbons, and Joe Whitney). BC will return a goalie who has never lost in the NCAAs and the young blueline will certainly gain from the experience of this year's championship run.

But before we start planning the victory parade down Comm. Ave. on April 11, 2011, we should appreciate the tremendous run the Eagles went on this season. These sort of seasons don't come around very often, even for a coaching legend like Jerry York.

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