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Exorcising The Demons At Boston College




April 9, 2001

By JOEL STASHENKO
Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - With one wave of his stick, Krys Kolanos ended 52 years of frustration for Boston College.

He also robbed college hockey fans in rinks throughout the East of one of their favorite taunts when BC is in town - "1949," the last time the Eagles won a national title before they beat North Dakota 3-2 Saturday night in overtime.

"It'll be an unbelievable and quite a special feeling," Kolanos said. "Now everyone will just be quiet. And we'll be back to defend the championship next year."

Kolanos slipped a shot past North Dakota goalie Karl Goehring 4:43 into overtime to give the Eagles the NCAA title. His goal denied North Dakota back-to-back national championships and helped BC avoid what would have been a monumental collapse late in a tight-checking game the Eagles had otherwise seemed to control.

Up 2-0, the Eagles gave up two goals in the final 3:42, both after North Dakota had pulled Goehring for a sixth skater. The first score, from Tim Skarperud, came with Boston College a man down after a penalty for having too many men on the ice.

The game-tying goal came with just 36 seconds left in regulation when Wes Dorey tipped in Aaron Schneekloth's slapshot from just inside the blue line. If any team looked beaten after a tie in regulation, it was BC. This loss would have come on top of so much other heartbreak for the Eagles. They lost the 1998 title game to Michigan in overtime, a 1999 semifinal game to eventual champion Maine in overtime and last year's championship game to North Dakota, 4-2.

But BC coach Jerry York said Boston Bruins coach Mike Keenan spoke to the Eagles recently about mental toughness. Something Keenan said was perfect for the demoralizing situation the Eagles found themselves in after regulation Saturday.

Keenan related the story of the 1994 NHL playoffs when his former team, the Rangers, had just been tied in the last seconds by the Devils.

Echoing Keenan's words, York said he told his Eagles: "Hey, no matter how bad you felt about what just happened, think about how good you're going to feel if you score the OT goal. I think our kids understood."

Kolanos knifed in from Goehring's right and, warding off a North Dakota defender with his right hip, skated in front of the North Dakota goal to score.

"I don't think there's another player on the ice that could have made that move," said North Dakota coach Dean Blais. "He's 6-foot-3 and he's rangy. ... Karl went out and tried to poke check it, but he got it into an open net. A great move."

Kolanos said he practices the move all the time and called it his "bread and butter."

BC goalie Scott Clemmensen said he's seen Kolanos' move enough to know how effective it can be. "He does that move to me all the time in practice," he said. "I can't stand it. He's so patient with it."

BC (33-8-2) had gone 0-4 in title games since winning the championship in only the second year of the NCAA playoffs.

North Dakota (29-8-9) was denied an eighth national title, and its streak of five straight victories in championship games since 1982 was broken.

York coached Bowling Green to the NCAA title in 1984 in Lake Placid and became only the second man in history to coach two schools to the championship. Ned Harkness (Rensselaer in 1954, Cornell in 1967 and 1970) was the other.

"I should come more to New York for these closing fours," York said.

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