It still feels hard to believe even 3+ years later, but the last time Boston College faced Colorado College was on March 25, 2011, the night the Tigers stunned BC 8-4, turning the lights out on one of the best BC teams of all time:
Oof. Sorry about that.
There were many things about that loss that made it memorably horrible, starting with the fact that BC began the game with a goal from Jimmy Hayes just 0:19 into the first period. It looked like BC would easily begin their trot to another Frozen Four in an attempt to defend their 2010 championship.
That 2011 team was absolutely loaded. While the 2008 and 2010 championships came during seasons that some called "rebuilding years," 2011 was not that. 2011 was the year the rebuilding was leading up to, and up until this game the team did not disappoint.
BC came in to this game with a 30-7-1 record, including a 13-1-1 mark at home. The Eagles outscored their opponents 153-94, en route to the Hockey East regular season and tournament title and their second consecutive Beanpot. BC's 30-win season meant that if they had run the table and won it all, they would have ended with 34 wins, topping the current BC record of 33 wins (2001 & 2012).
Here's a look at the lineup BC rolled out on that night:
Chris Kreider - Pat Mullane - Jimmy Hayes
Joe Whitney - Brian Gibbons - Cam Atkinson
barry Almeida - Bill Arnold - Steve Whitney
Paul Carey - Pat Brown - Kevin Hayes
Tommy Cross - Pat Wey
Brian Dumoulin - Patch Alber
Phil Samuelsson - Edwin Shea
Just a ridiculous team loaded with future and present superstars. These guys didn't just win regularly--they bulldozed teams. It looked like the senior class of 2011 was poised to win three national championships in four years. And then...womp womp.
It was stunning, with Colorado College completely stomping on BC early and often. You can't help but wonder what might have been if BC hadn't been sent out west that year. In a weird quirk, with Manchester hosting a regional that year, UNH sneaking into a 4-seed on the season's final weekend forced BC out of the Northeast regional because UNH hosted in the Manchester regional. That ultimately led to BC, as the #1 overall seed, being sent out west and having to face a pretty good WCHA 4-seed rather than a mid-major creampuff.
This isn't intended to be sour grapes--BC has been the beneficiary of geography quite often, even when not earning a 1-seed (see: multiple wins out of the Worcester regional as a 2- or 3-seed). But it all was part of the stew that added up to that game leaving a bitter taste that's still there, and will be thought of frequently in the run-up to Friday night's game, even though, amazingly, no player is left on either team from that game.
So that's the story of the 2011 Colorado College disaster.
But for the many highs of the Jerry York era, there have been many lows, too. That's what happens when you're regularly in contention and playing in lots of big games...you're going to lose lots of big games, too. A few stand out to me as being in the pantheon along with the CC game:
1998 National Championship Game - OT loss to Michigan
BC had a chance to break a 49-year national title drought on home ice at the FleetCenter in Boston, but lost in heartbreaking fashion to Michigan, continuing the pain.
2004 National Semifinal - loss to Maine
Jimmy Howard stands on his head and causes even more pain for BC at the FleetCenter. A loaded BC team misses out on the opportunity to go for a national title at home.
BC outshot Maine 41-18 (!!!!!!!) in that game and went a remarkable 0-for-7 on the power play. Absolute nightmare fuel. I still think BC would have won the national title if they had gotten past Jimmy Howard. But alas...
2007 National Championship Game - Michigan State defeats BC on a goal with 19.7 seconds left
To this day, I still cringe when I hear the name "Justin Abdelkader." Another absolutely loaded BC team misses out on a national title in the most painful fashion possible, giving up a late (late, late) goal at the end of regulation to lose to an underdog Michigan State team. At this point, BC was starting to feel like a program with far more missed opportunities than achievements, falling in their second straight national title game; few could have predicted that BC would win 3 of the next 5 national titles.
2009 Hockey East semifinal - BU ends BC's season and title defense
This game was pure pain. The monstrous, incredible 2009 BU team faced BC in its path to winning every title that year. The Eagles, who struggled to a 6th-place finish in Hockey East that year before finding new life and sweeping UNH in the Hockey East quarterfinals, needed to shock the #1 Terriers to continue their season. This was perhaps the only time in recent years I can remember where BC hockey felt like an almost impossible underdog in a game, and it was an incredible feeling when the Eagles struck first. BC held on until the third period, then it all fell apart in one miserable minute in which BU scored three goals.
Not only did this loss end BC's season, it lead to the "what if" game regarding BU's eventual stroll to the Hockey East and national titles. Could BC have made the Frozen Four that year with a late run? Might a loss to BC have prevented BU from going all the way? Oof.
Of course, there were other lowlights too, including ringing a post in the final seconds of a loss to Wisconsin in the 2006 national title game, and a loss in the 2000 title game to North Dakota.
Time for a poll!