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#CountdownToJY1K: February 5th, 2010 - Operation 8,000

In which "8,000" became kind of a moving target

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The "sandwich" game in between rounds of the Beanpot has always been, somewhat famously, quite the trap game for all the Beanpot schools. The teams are on a short week, the players are already looking ahead to the following Monday, and it's just about always a league game.

In 2010, BC was in the midst of righting the ship after a rough start to the second half that saw the Eagles start the new year at 2-5-0. That stretch included a brutal overtime loss at Conte Forum to the Terriers.

BC got things going come Beanpot time, as they were wont to do in those days, and cruised to a win against Harvard in the Beanpot semifinals by a score of 6-0. That set the stage for the Beanpot "sandwich game" against UMass on February 5th.

The Minutemen, USCHO tells me, were ranked 15th in the nation at the time, which seems impossible these days. But in college hockey a broken clock is ranked twice a day. Or something.

UMass Athletics marketed the hell out of this game. BC is always a big draw, but with the Minutemen (somehow) playing well and BC coming to down on a big Friday night, UMass pushed big time for a sellout with the marketing rallying cry of "OPERATION 8,000."

They got their 8,000 and their sellout... for a little while anyway.

BC went up 1-0 almost immediately... then 2-0 and 3-0 in rapid succession later in the period... then 4-0...all before the teams even went into the locker room. A raucous Mullins Center that had "Operation 8,000" blow the roof off the building during player intros turned into "Operation 800."

In the second period, BC kept coming at the Minutemen. UMass kept the Eagles off the board for a while, and then BAM, BAM, BAM... 5-0, 6-0, and with just 0.2 seconds left in the 2nd period, 7-0 Eagles. Suddenly "Operation 8,000" was now "Operation 8."

To this day I have never seen a building empty as quickly as I saw the Mullins Center that day.

This game was a particularly special one for me. This was my senior year, and at this point in the season Joe and I had resolved to pretty much go to every game for the rest of the year. We asked around and managed to get together a group of about 30 students, almost all seniors, who made the road trip out to Amherst.

The game was a party from the drop of the puck. By the time the second period was over, the 30 of us in our little corner were louder than the rest of the arena.

Don't believe me?

Despite a sell-out crowd of 8,385 at the Mullins Center Friday night, by the third period only chants from a small section of Boston College fans could be heard ringing through the arena.

After playing "For Boston" at the final whistle on the trumpet I snuck into the arena and getting "kicked out..." well, it was the start of something pretty great.

As the season went on, that group of ours went to just about every road game the rest of the year, culminating in a caravan of several packed cars full of people driving through the night to Detroit for the Frozen Four.

We won, of course, and that group of ours got pretty close. Those couple of months were some of the best memories in my four years of college, and it all started with a party at the Mullins Center in February.