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NCAA First Round Preview: BC vs. Denver

Isaac MacLeod will skate in his sixth NCAA game on Friday.

Isaac MacLeod will skate in his sixth NCAA game on Friday.

March 27, 2014

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Boston College and Denver, a combined 12 national titles between the two programs, meet for the first time in the NCAA Tournament since March 15, 1973. The Eagles and Pioneers have squared off twice in the NCAA Tournament and DU has come away with wins on both occasions. The initial meeting between BC and DU started in the NCAA Tournament. Denver has won both postseason matchups: March 14, 1968 (4-1) and March 15, 1973 (10-4). In all, Boston College and Denver have faced off 25 times and the Pioneers hold the slight advantage, 14-11. The most recent meeting took place in Chestnut Hill on Oct. 14, 2011 (Denver, 4-2). The last time these two teams faced each other in a neutral atmosphere took place in Anchorage, Alaska, on Oct. 12, 2001. Since Jerry York’s arrival, the Eagles are 6-5 against Denver. Saturday’s contest not only marks York’s first game against DU’s Jim Montgomery, it marks BC’s first showdown against an NCHC member.

Denver is one of two teams (Robert Morris) below the 16-team cutline of the Pairwise rankings to make the NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers earned automatic entry into the tournament with their back against the ropes. Down early in the first round of the conference playoffs, Denver snapped a 3-7 funk that started in early February and won the inaugural National College Hockey Conference tournament. Denver finished with a 20-15-6 mark, but was one game below .500 in NCHC action with a 10-11-3 total. The Pioneers will participate in their seventh-consecutive NCAA Tournament and 25th overall. Denver’s 13-straight seasons of 20 wins or better is the longest streak in the game. Sam Brittain has been DU’s anchor this season, backstopping its six-ranked defense (2.24 gpg). Brittain touts the fourth-best save percentage (.932) and owns a goals against average of 2.11 (12th). Trevor Moore, a rookie, leads Denver in scoring with 31 points (13-18-31) this season.

The 2014 tournament marks the 33rd time the Eagles have earned an NCAA Tournament berth. It is the team’s 15th appearance in the last 17 years. Boston College sports a 45-39 all-time record in the national tournament. Head coaches Snooks Kelley and Len Ceglarski both led BC to nine NCAA Tournament appearances, while Jerry York has led the Eagles to 15 NCAA Tournaments in the last 18 seasons. Boston College has skated in the last five-consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Head coach Jerry York has led his teams to 21 NCAA Tournament berths – six at Bowling Green and 15 at Boston College (out of 20 seasons). York has a 37-20-1 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and owns a 32-10 mark at Boston College. York’s 37 victories are the highest total in NCAA Division I history. Twelve York-led squads have advanced to the tournament’s semifinal/championship round.

Fourteen of the 27 current Eagles have skated in an NCAA Tournament game. Ten of those members helped the Eagles capture their fifth national title in 2012 when Boston College knocked off Ferris State in the title game. Johnny Gaudreau is the Eagles current point leaders in NCAA Tournament play, having totaled three goals and as many assists in five games played.

Since the 1997-98 season, Boston College has won nine Hockey East Tournament titles (1998, ’99, 2001, ’05,’07, ’08, ’10, ’11 and ’12), has advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Frozen Four 10 times (1998, ’99, 2000, ’01, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’10 and ’12) and has captured four national titles (2001, 2008, 2010 and 2012). During this stretch run, Boston College is 82-21 (.796) in 103 playoff contests.

Boston College lost a hard-fought three-game Hockey East quarterfinal series against Notre Dame from March 14-16. The Eagles did not make the trip to the TD Garden in Boston for the Hockey East semifinals for the first time since 2004. BC’s exit from the Hockey East Tournament marked the first time neither Boston College nor Boston University made it to the semifinals in league history.

Boston College was the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East tournament for the 12th time. As the No. 1 seed, the Eagles have amassed an overall record of 27-9. The Eagles have won six of their 11 Hockey East tournament titles as the No. 1 seed (BC has won it three times as the No. 2 seed and one time each as the No. 3 and No. 4 seed).

Junior forward Johnny Gaudreau and senior forward Kevin Hayes are among the 10 finalists for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award. Boston College is the only institution to have a pair of representatives on the Hobey Baker Top 10 finalists list this season. Gaudreau returns to the Hobey watch list after being selected as a Hobey hat trick finalist last season. The Hobey Hat Trick finalists will be announced on Wednesday, Aprl 2, at 10 a.m. (EST).

Boston College was heavily decorated at the 2014 Hockey East postseason banquet at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge, most notably Jerry York and Johnny Gaudreau. York was tabbed Hockey East Coach of the Year and Johnny Gaudreau earned his second-consecutive Player of the Year honor. Only two other Hockey East skaters have won the Player of the Year award consecutively. The last to accomplish the feat was Boston University’s Chris Drury (1996-97 and 1997-98). The first to do it was current associate head coach Greg Brown (1988-89 and 1989-90). Gaudreau is the 10th Eagle to earn Player of the Year distinction and Boston College has enjoyed the award on 12 occasions. York collected his third Hockey East Coach of the Year honor, adding to his crowns from 2003-04 and 2010-11. BC has won Coach of the Year four times. Len Ceglarski was voted Coach of the Year in Hockey East’s inaugural season in 1984-85.

In addition to some of the league’s top merits, Kevin Hayes, Bill Arnold, Michael Matheson, Steven Santini and Thatcher Demko were all honored upon season’s end by Hockey East. Hayes and Matheson joined Gaudreau as Hockey East First-Team All Stars while Demko and Santini procured spots on the All-Rookie Team. Demko was also a Hockey East honorable mention along with Arnold. Demko picked up the ‘Goaltending Champion’ award, tendering the conference’s lowest goals against average in league play (1.35). Arnold wrapped things up by earning a co-Best Defensive Forward decoration.

Johnny Gaudreau capped one of the most memorable point streaks in modern history. The Carneys Point, N.J., native scored at least one point over the course of 31-consecutive games, spanning from Nov. 1, 2013, to March 15, 2013. Gaudreau’s streak was curbed on March 16. Gaudreau’s point streak matched Paul Kariya’s (Maine) single-season Hockey East record set during the 1992-93 season (Oct. 23, 1992 to March 2, 1993). Gaudreau has also scored a point in ALL 20-consecutive conference games, three short of Kariya’s 23-game streak. This season, there were only 20 league games. In all, Gaudreau has been held scoreless only twice this season. Here are the figures from the #TheStreak:
- 29 goals
- 32 assists
- 61 points
- 1.91 points per game
- 17 multi-point performances
- +33 plus/minus rating
- 8 power play goals
- 1 short-handed goal
- 5 game-winning goals
- Shooting percentage of 23.2 (29-of-125)
- 24-5-3 record

Johnny Gaudreau is averaging nearly two points per game (1.86 ppg) after becoming the first skater in college hockey to hit the 40-point, 50-point and 60-point plateaus this season. Gaudreau’s 32 goals and 37 assists in 37 games puts Gaudreau in the driver’s seat as the country’s leader in points scored. Gaudreau is also leading the country in goals per game (0.86 gpg) and tied for second in assists with 1.00 apg. Gaudreau’s six game-winning goals are tied for third-best in the land. His 18 multi-point games is the standard in college hockey, as are his nine three-point games and three four-point showings.

Johnny Gaudreau still has the NCAA Tournament left on the schedule and is already 18 points ahead of last year’s points total (69). Gaudreau tied Minnesota’s Erik Haula for the most points totaled in 2012-13. Gaudreau posted a line of 21-30-51 (1.46 ppg) while Haula finished 16-35-51 (1.38 ppg). The last skater in college hockey to accrue more points than Gaudreau was Miami (Ohio)’s Andy Miele (24-47-71).

Johnny Gaudreau was been named the winner of the 62nd Walter Brown Award on March 26, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. Gaudreau is the 24th Eagle to earn the Walter Brown Award and is the third BC player in the last four years to pick up the distinction, joining Steve Whitney (2013) and John Muse (2011).

The trio of Johnny Gaudreau - Bill Arnold - Kevin Hayes has put forth unprecedented numbers since joining forces as a line on Dec. 6. Not only has BC amassed a 18-3-2 mark since these three paired as a forward line, the trio has combined for 45 goals and 64 assists (109 points) and a +65 plus/minus rating. Since the combination of these three, they have ALL scored at least one point per game in SIXTEEN of their last 23 outings. Hayes and Arnold joined Gaudreau on career-high point streaks this season. Hayes capped a 12-game streak (13-14-27) and Arnold finished up a career high streak of nine straight from Dec. 6 to Jan. 18 (5-10-15). As of Jan. 21, the triumvirate rests in the top seven, nationally, in scoring. Gaudreau is the NCAA’s top scorer (1.86 ppg), followed by Hayes in second (1.51 ppg) and Arnold, ranked seventh (1.30 ppg).

One of the most famous lines to skate through The Heights was the “HEM Line” that consisted of Steve Heinze, David Emma and Marty McInnis from 1988 to 1990. In two seasons together, the HEM Line totaled 363 points in 82 games played. On average, the HEM line generated 4.43 points per game. Comparably, the Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes line averages 4.74 points per game.

The Eagles defensive corps is tied for eight in the NCAA, surrendering only 2.27 goals per game. BC’s offense is ranked tops in college hockey and is the only unit averaging over four goals per game (4.05 gpg).

Johnny Gaudreau’s 1.80 ppg (HEA only) is the most since UNH’s Jason Krog (53 pts in 24 league games - 1998-99). Also, Thatcher Demko’s 1.35 GAA in Hockey East play is the lowest since Jimmy Howard’s (Maine) record of 1.15 in 2003-04.

Boston College has not been shutout in 96 games. That is the longest active streak in the nation. Denver is next at 67 and Union is third with 63.

Freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko has emerged as one of the country’s sturdiest goaltender and has the numbers to back it up. The San Diego, Calif., native owns the country’s 13th-best goals against average (2.13 GAA) and sevenh-best winning percentage of .738 (14-4-3). Demko’s save percentage rests at .921, 24th best in college hockey.

Patrick Brown was not only a hot topic on ESPN, but has also accounted for 20 points in his last 15 games, including a three-game goal scoring streak. Against Maine, on Jan. 18, Brown not only tallied his first-career two-goal game, but both strikes came via the power play. BC has not had a skater score two power play goals in a game this season and it was the first since Bill Arnold scored a pair of power play goals against Boston University on Dec. 1, 2012. The captain has been held scoreless only twice since Jan. 18. Brown scored his first-career power play goal, the game-winning marker, in his 100th-career outing as an Eagle on Jan. 10 against PC.

Denver coach Jim Montgomery, in his second season at Denver, was the head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. BC’s Johnny Gaudreau, Teddy Doherty and Michael Matheson all played for Montgomery in Dubuque.

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