Freshman forward Chuck Kobasew scored the game winning goal with 13:45 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie and send Boston College to its fourth consecutive Frozen Four, a 3-1 victory of Shawn Walsh's Maine Black Bears at an electric Worcester Centrum.
I've seen BC play many a supposedly neutral site game, whether it was in Providence, Manchester or Worcester for an NCAA tournament game or the Garden for Beanpot, Hockey East or NCAA games, but never was the atmosphere anywhere near what it was on that night at the Centrum.
A full house of 11,977, almost totally clad in maroon and gold, roared the Eagles home to victory against a Maine team they had beaten three times previously that season, but who played BC tough for the entire sixty minutes.
There was an incredible air of anticipation for this game. BC had gone knocking on the national title door three times, losing a heart breaker to Michigan in 1998 in the title game in Boston. That trip had been unexpected.
In 1999, BC as the four seed in their six team regional had dropped an OT decision to Maine in the national semi final in Anaheim.
In 2000, the Eagles reached the title game again in Providence and lost to a North Dakota team who was just a touch better.
2001 was to be BC's season and on this night, they would not be denied.
As mentioned earlier, BC had already beaten the Black Bears three times, twice by 7-2 scores. Many thought the outcome a foregone conclusion, but Maine held tough, buckling down in their defensive end and riding goaltender Matt Yeats to keep the game scoreless.
It wasn't that BC didn't have their chances. The Eagles dominated the opening half of period one and benefited from two Maine penalties in that first ten minutes but couldn't capitalize.
The second period tilted surprisingly toward Maine, with Eagle goaltender Scott Clemmensen taking center stage. "Clemmensen bailed us out in the second period and that was what gave us a chance in the third", said York.
Maine took a penalty with just 8 seconds remaining in the second which would prove to be big.
The mood in the Centrum in between periods was tense. Eagle fans had seen this act before with Walsh and the Black Bears who at that point were still one of the pre-eminent teams in Hockey East and the rivalry with BC was at its high point. Would perhaps BC's best team ever be ousted on this night?
It didn't take long into the third for the Eagles to respond. On the ensuing power play, just 35 seconds into the period, Jeff Giuliano picked up the rebound of a Marty Hughes shot and all that built up energy blew the roof off the building as the shot gave BC a 1-0 lead.
Maine wouldn't give in.
Just 1:06 later, Clemmensen was beaten on a part fluke, part pretty goal by Michael Schutte, whose shot rebounded off the back wall and back to him, where he faked out the Eagle net minder to tie the game at 1-1.
Five minutes later, Kobasew would pick up a loose puck just inside the blue line and sent a high shot over the screened Yeats who never saw it coming to give the Eagles back the lead. It was the freshman's 9th game winning goal of the season which lead the nation.
Rob Scuderi put the icing on the cake on the power play with just 2:29 left with a one timer off a feed from Brooks Orpik and the Eagles were off to Albany and their ultimate destiny. Check the video out!
The night would be completed with Walsh, always an antagonist, but one of the great coaches himself in college hockey history getting run from the game following the Scuderi goal.
This truly was one of the great nights in Eagle hockey history.