The last few weeks, there hasn't been all that much to be optimistic about for BC Hockey.
As Joe pointed out earlier this week, the Eagles had been pretty unimpressive down the stretch. While they pulled out a win in overtime against Vermont to advance to the TD Garden two weeks ago, they fizzled out without making it to the Hockey East finals.
But Friday night, Jerry York's newly shuffled lines found a nice groove early on against the Crimson and kept Harvard's big guns off the board. The Eagles took down Harvard 4-1 to advance to the regional final against Minnesota-Duluth with a shot at making yet another Frozen Four.
Boston College Goal #1: 7:59 of the 1st period
Alex Tuch (Colin White, Ryan Fitzgerald)
BC 1, HU 0
BC set the tone early on with some hard work in the crease to earn the opening goal.
This is tournament time, and not every goal is going to look pretty. It's all Alex Tuch using some big boy strength to fight into a mass of Crimson jerseys and push the puck through.
The overhead camera gave a pretty good alternate view to see what happened:
Tuch is the only white jersey in the blue paint, and he's getting manhandled by Desmond Bergin. Harvard goalie Merrick Madsen is doing the best he can to stay afloat, but eventually Bergin's efforts to push Tuch into his own goaltender are successful, causing Madsen to lose his balance.
The puck is just sitting in the crease, and Tuch earns his Flutie Flakes by slapping it into the goal.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG, GWG): 18:58 of the 1st period
Austin Cangelosi (Miles Wood, Casey Fitzgerald)
BC 2, HU 0
This play starts and ends with Miles Wood, but he won't get credit for the goal thanks to a nice tip out front by Cangelosi.
Hockey's a funny game, and despite being possibly BC's best player on the ice throughout the game, Wood ended up without a goal.
But it doesn't matter, because BC doesn't score this one without him. He burns his way across the blue line where Clay Anderson tries to keep Wood contained. Wood isn't coming in on a good enough angle to shoot, and the Harvard defender slides through sending Wood's cross-ice pass right back onto his stick, so he wraps around behind the net looking for another play.
Adam Gilmour is practically screaming for the puck, but Wood somehow gets himself into an even better shooting position on his own. Cangelosi picks up the tip for the goal, and BC was up a somewhat surprising 2-0.
Harvard didn't roll over and die, though, and if it wasn't for a great kick save by Casey Fitzgerald in the waning seconds, they might have cut the lead to one going into the locker room.
But the Eagles held onto the two goal lead, and got right back to work in the second period.
Boston College Goal #3: 1:59 of the 2nd period
Alex Tuch (Scott Savage)
BC 3, HU 0
Remember when Alex Tuch was struggling in the beginning of the year? Yeah, our memory is foggy on that one too.
Alex Tuch was on the same level as Wood when his line was on the ice. This goal is quite the pro-level shot, although he does have Brayden Jaw's poor defense to thank for giving him the open ice.
Jaw is either at the end of a shift or just totally gets roasted or both. Once Tuch is by him, he doesn't even take another stride, conceding the ice to the first round draft pick and Tuch picks the corner to put the Eagles up by three.
Harvard Goal #1: 9:50 of the 2nd period
Seb Lloyd (Jake Horton, Clay Anderson)
BC 3, HU 1
Harvard, to their credit, really did well to keep BC from coasting to an easy win. After Tuch's goal to put BC up three, the Crimson started to put together some better shifts, culminating in their only goal of the game.
Harvard gets a turnover at the blue line and has its forwards nicely lined up for the rush. Lloyd goes hard to get into position to receive a pass, and Horton gets the puck to him with just enough time for Lloyd to do something other than take a desperation shot.
Lloyd puts the puck on his backhand and lifts it up and over Demko's shoulder for a pretty impressive goal, making BC fans wonder if this was going to be another late struggle for the Eagles.
And while the Crimson did finish the second period with their best work of the game, the Eagles really went on lockdown in the third period. With the exception of maybe a couple of okay chances for the Crimson, the Eagles skaters frustrated the Crimson and prevented much from getting through to Demko.
With almost 4 and a half minutes to go, the Crimson pulled their goalie after a Ryan Fitzgerald hooking penalty, and while it was the right desperation call, the Eagles finished the job.
Boston College Goal #4 (ENG, SHG): 17:33 of the 3rd period
Austin Cangelosi (Chris Calnan)
BC 4, HU 1 -- FINAL
Cangelosi gets the empty netter, and the Eagles advance.
Add Cangelosi to the list of players who looked really good in this game. White also looked as healthy as he's been in a while, and Doherty looked at home back up at forward.
It wasn't a perfect game by BC, but it was as good as you could reasonably expect to get in the NCAA tournament. Now, the Eagles have to reset and get ready for Saturday's late night matchup against Minnesota-Duluth, who pulled off the upset over Providence as the #4 seed.
Duluth has been playing well in the 2nd half, and at this point there's no shortage of motivation for either team. The winner moves on to the Frozen Four. We'll be here all day with coverage leading up to Saturday's game at 9pm on ESPNU.