WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Boston College coach Jerry York sat at the podium and joked that he still didn’t have a regional championship hat. He has another thing, though, a chance at his fifth national title.
Ian McCoshen scored with 8:44 left and top-seeded Boston College beat UMass-Lowell 4-3 on Sunday in the NCAA Northeast Regional final to reach the Frozen Four for the 11th time in 17 years.
And it happened in a place that the Eagles might as well call their path to the Frozen Four — Worcester.
BC has won NCAA titles each of the last three times — 2008, ’10 and ’12 — it advanced from Worcester. The Eagles also won a regional in Worcester in York’s first championship with the school, in 2001.
“It’s been a fun experience for us coming here. We’ve had real good success in this building,” he said. “I think our team played very well. Are we fortunate to come out with a trip to Philly? Absolutely. It could have gone either way tonight.”
Boston College (28-7-4), seeking its fourth NCAA championship in seven seasons, will face East Regional champion Union in the national semifinals April 10 in Philadelphia.
“I’m really proud of how hard we had to work and hard we had to play to get a hat,” York said, sitting next to two of his players wearing them. “We talked about that all day today; not necessarily going to Philly, but getting a hat. I still haven’t gotten mine. I don’t know if coaches get ’em.”
Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau, the nation’s leading scorer, set up goals by Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes. Ryan Fitzgerald also scored for the Eagles.
“First thought for me was: ‘I don’t have to fly,'” said Gaudreau, the tournament’s most outstanding player, of the approximately 45-minute bus ride from campus. “Great history with Coach York and all the BC teams that have come here.”
Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots for the Eagles.
Evan Campbell, Michael Kapla and Josh Holmstrom scored for UMass-Lowell (26-11-4), the region’s second seed and Hockey East tournament champion.
McCoshen, skating in from the left point, beat Connor Hellebuyck with a wrist shot after taking a pass from defenseman Teddy Doherty. McCoshen banged his stick on the ice to get Doherty’s attention.
“He’s always talking. He’s loud,” Doherty said. “He’s one of the louder guys on the team. Thankfully I heard him.”
Campbell’s goal, which caromed in off BC defenseman Scott Savage, gave the River Hawks their first lead of the game, 3-2 just 43 seconds into the third period. Campbell was skating toward the side of the net and sent the puck out front.
“We had a couple of flurries and we just didn’t finish,” UMass-Lowell coach Norm Bazin said. “It’s the same old adage, ‘If you don’t finish against a good team, it could come back to bite you.'”
Just 21 seconds later, Fitzgerald took the puck at center ice and split a pair of defenseman before tucking a backhander behind Hellebuyck.
Boston College, the Hockey East regular-season champion, moved ahead 2-1 when Arnold scored off the rebound of Gaudreau’s shot with 2:26 left in the second period, beating Hellebuyck with a wrist shot. Gaudreau broke into the offensive zone, his shot was blocked by defenseman Zack Kamrass, but bounced directly to Arnold, who kicked it from his left skate to his stick.
The River Hawks tied it when Holmstrom banged in his own rebound with 1:16 left in the second.
The Eagles grabbed a 1-0 lead when Gaudreau set up Hayes 12:57 into the game. Gaudreau, who had three goals and three assists in BC’s 6-2 semifinal win over Denver on Saturday, took a loose puck at center ice, broke in deep down the left wing and slipped a pass across the crease to Hayes, who one-timed it past Hellebuyck.
UMass-Lowell tied it on Kapla’s power-play goal late in the period when he fired a wrister from the point that found its way through a group of players and slipped past Demko’s glove.
Gaudreau had a unique shot on goal early in the second. Charging to the net looking for a rebound, the puck bounced into the air — too high to play with his stick or glove — so he used a soccer-like header to get it on goal from the edge of the crease.
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