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NCAA College Hockey Championships

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  • NCAA College Hockey Championships

    I don't know if many or any of you guys have watched any of the games, but last night the championships were on. Wisconsin vs. Boston College.

    B.C. Wins 4th N.C.A.A. Title, Crushing Wisconsin Before Record Crowd

    DETROIT — The Frozen Four final was supposed to be a showcase of two of the top offenses in college hockey.

    Wisconsin and Boston College outscored their opponents by 15-2 in Thursday’s N.C.A.A. tournament semifinals at Ford Field. But Saturday’s championship game featured only one offense — the Eagles’ speedy forwards — and Boston College won its fourth national championship by defeating Wisconsin, 5-0.

    John Muse earned the shutout, making 20 saves. He has been stellar for Boston College (29-10-3) in the postseason, amassing an 8-0 record over the past three seasons.

    Muse is also a comeback story. He had an operation last April to repair torn labrum cartilage in his right hip and endured five months of rehabilitation over the summer, which kept him off skates until the season started.

    “I don’t know if it was so much me as my whole team,” Muse said about the victory. “Having five goals makes it so much easier for me.”

    Muse was aided by wings Cam Atkinson, who scored twice, and Joe Whitney, who had two assists. The senior center Ben Smith, who also scored a goal, was named the Frozen Four’s outstanding player.

    “We knew they had some big defensemen, some big boys,” Atkinson said about Boston College’s approach to playing Wisconsin. “We knew we had four lines, some guys who are pretty quick.”

    This was the Eagles’ fourth appearance in the championship game in the past five years. Boston College last won the N.C.A.A. title in 2008, when it defeated Notre Dame, 2-1. It has four titles over all.

    The championship was also the fourth for Coach Jerry York, and the third with the Eagles. York won his first title in 1984 as the coach at Bowling Green.

    “I’m just unbelievably excited, just an amazing feeling,” York said. “Wisconsin is clearly the best team we’ve played this year.”

    The Badgers (28-11-4) have also been a presence in the championship game. Wisconsin defeated Boston College, 2-1, for the 2006 title.

    “They played a very good game; they deserved to win,” Wisconsin Coach Mike Eaves said. “They did a tremendous job of getting in shooting lanes. They blocked a ton of shots.”

    The crowd of 37,592 set an indoor hockey record, eclipsing the mark of 34,954 set during Thursday’s Frozen Four games. Ford Field can hold 65,000 in its N.F.L. configuration and 78,000 for basketball games.

    The opening minutes of the game were fast-paced and filled with hard checks. Shots on goal were hard to come by, even when each team was on a power play.

    The game soon settled down, and the Eagles’ forwards started to take over. They controlled the puck, using their speed and precise passing to elude Wisconsin’s bigger defensemen.

    Boston College scored on a power play 12 minutes 57 seconds into the first period. Atkinson carried the play into Wisconsin’s end, sending the puck from the left side off the right boards.

    Whitney picked up possession, shading the Badgers’ defense and goalie Scott Gudmandson to their left. Whitney ripped a perfect pass to Smith, who was in the slot, and Smith drove a one-timer past Gudmandson.

    Wisconsin, which had shown a deft offensive touch throughout the N.C.A.A. tournament, was shut down by the Eagles, who outshot the Badgers, 26-20.

    The temporary ice sheet, laid in layers on top of Ford Field’s FieldTurf football surface, showed some wear and tear. The referees stopped play in the second period to repair a small area where the ice was thin, using water to create a slushy patch.

    The Eagles blew open the game in the third period, using their speed to score three goals.

    First, Atkinson flew up the middle, beating two Badgers, then swung to the left and flipped a backhanded shot between the legs of Gudmandson at 1:38.

    Two minutes later, the freshman wing Chris Kreider redirected a pass past Gudmandson to give Boston College a 3-0 lead.

    Atkinson added another goal on a power play at 7:20, again off his backhand, and Matt Price scored into an empty net at 15:29.

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