Hirsch: Frozen Four final a positive experience for both programs

By: Aimee Hirsch, Contributing Writer

TAMPA, FL – Boston College soared to its fifth national title on Saturday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, defeating the Ferris State Bulldogs 4-1. Despite what the final score may suggest, the underdog Ferris State gave the Eagles a commendable fight, keeping the score tight until the final minutes.

Boston College freshman Johnny Gaudreau made the difference in the third period, netting the third goal in style for the Eagles with three minutes remaining. Gaudreau deked around two Bulldog defenders before backhanding the puck top shelf and essentially shattering all remaining hope Ferris State had left.

Chris Kreider (#19) signed an entry-level deal with the New York Rangers a few days after winning the national championship with Boston College. (Dennis Pause/Flickr)

Before the goal, Boston College was hanging on to a 2-1 lead, but Gaudreau sealed the game before Ferris State could even begin its last-ditch effort. Junior Steven Whitney added the empty netter, his second goal of the game, with 1:03 left to make it 4-1.

Regardless of the final score, the game meant a lot for both programs. By winning, Boston College was able to solidify itself as the team to beat in Division I hockey. With four championships in 12 years, the Eagles have established a bonafide hockey dynasty.

A spot in the Frozen Four alone was an accomplishment for a Ferris State team that had only seen NCAA tournament action once before. To face Boston College in the finals was a new height for the program especially since the Bulldogs held Boston College to a tighter game than Minnesota did in the semi-final round. The Eagles dominated Minnesota, 6-1.

When comparing these final scores it seems that the number of NHL draft picks on each roster did not really impact each outcome. Boston College has nine drafted players on its roster next to Minnesota’s 16. On the other hand, Ferris State has no drafted players (neither does Union College) and they played a stronger game against the Eagles.

For two of Boston College’s drafted players, winning the national championship signaled an early end to their college hockey careers. Juniors Chris Kreider and Brian Dumoulin, a forward and defenseman respectively, have signed NHL contracts.

Dumoulin, drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes 51st overall in 2009, has signed a three-year contact with the Canes and is expected to play for its AHL affiliate in Charlotte.

Kreider, drafted 19th overall in 2009, also signed a three-year contract, but with the New York Rangers. Unlike Dumoulin, Kreider may see NHL action this year. Since the Rangers are in the playoffs there is a chance that the first year of his contract will be used if he sees any ice time during the postseason.

While the loss of these two key players hurts Boston College for next season, it could make a difference for the Rangers now. Kreider had 23 goals and 22 assists this season with the Eagles, including four points the NCAA tournament.

With two of its drafted players as seniors this season, Boston College will still have five drafted players come next year. Gaudreau is one of them and was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round last year.

The others, defensemen Isaac MacLeod and Patrick Wey, stand at 6-foot-3 inches and 6-foot-5 respectively and could bring size to the teams that drafted them (San Jose and Washington). Two more forwards, Bill Arnold, drafted by Calgary in the fourth round of 2010, and Kevin Hayes, a first-round Chicago pick in 2010, are sophomores and therefore have more time to develop.

Gaudreau is the most promising pick out of all the Boston College players that are set to return next year. He finished the season with a team-high 26 points including 12 goals and 14 assists, impressive numbers for a rookie.

If there is one guy from Division I hockey Gaudreau is probably it. The young forward outscored his older teammates this year, including Kreider who could see some time with the Rangers this season. He is only 5-foot-7, but Boston College has graduated small players before who have gone on to the NHL, like Brian Gionta. It is reasonable to expect that Gaudreau could be the next of that group.


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