BOSTON COLLEGE BLANKS AIR FORCE, 2-0, AT NCAA NORTHEAST REGIONAL
Junior goaltender Parker Milner makes 20 saves for Eagles
WORCESTER, Mass. - Top-ranked Boston College showed off its lock-down defense against Air Force.
Chris Kreider scored two goals and Parker Milner stopped 20 shots to lead Boston College to a 2-0 win over Falcons on Saturday in the NCAA Northeast Regional.
The Eagles (30-10-1) are looking to take a familiar route to the Frozen Four and another NCAA championship. Three times in the past 11 years they've advanced from Worcester and captured the NCAA title, winning it in 2001, '08 and '10.
It was the 16th straight win for the Eagles, and came with a similar pattern. BC has allowed two or fewer goals 15 times during its winning streak
"If you're going to be a championship team in most sports, you have to have a really solid defensive team," BC coach Jerry York said. "We can talk about some of our forwards, but they play defense, too."
BC will face the winner of the late semifinal game between defending champion Minnesota-Duluth and Maine in the regional final on Sunday night.
The Falcons (21-11-7), outplayed for long stretches of the game, kept it close thanks to solid defensive play in front of goaltender Jason Torf, who made 32 saves.
"That is a heck of hockey team in Boston College, and in my opinion they beat a heck of a hockey team," Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. "Our game plan was to get to the third period with the score close. We were right where we wanted to be."
It was the first time Air Force was shutout this season. The Falcons dropped to 1-5 all-time in NCAA play, with four one-goal loses.
"I think what was really the key was we really shut them down defensively,' said Milner, who was rarely tested. "All the shots were beyond the dots."
The win extended BC's longest winning streak in York's 18 seasons as coach of the Eagles.
"I think as a group we find a way to figure it out and get the chemistry when it matters," Kreider said of the run.
Kreider made it 1-0 just 7:39 into the game on a nice fed from Kevin Hayes, who swung around the net and slipped a pass in front. Kreider one-timed it pass Torf. His power-play goal with 1:21 left in regulation sealed the win.
Milner made solid save about a minute after Kreider's score, making a pad save on Scott Holm's backhander from the slot. Holm fanned as he attempted to collect the rebound.
Air Force made a brief flurry late in the first.
Neither team had many good scoring chances in the second period. BC's Johnny Gaudreau had the best when he broke in alone, but Torf made a pad save as he tried to tuck it between his pads.
The Eagles, the tourney's overall No. 1 seed, captured the Hockey East regular season and tournament championships. Air Force did the same in its league - the Atlantic Hockey Association.
BC, which improved to 9-1 all-time in Worcester, has won all six meetings between the schools.