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BC Wins Its 12th Hockey East Championship

After a dominant 6-2 victory over the Boston University Terriers at TD Garden, the Boston College Eagles added to their trophy case, winning their 12th Hockey East Championship. The game was a historic addition to the "Green Line" rivalry, as the two teams have not met in the Hockey East Championship since 2006. The Eagles were led by an electric four-goal performance from freshman forward Will Smith.

In the first period, after a successful Eagles penalty kill, Smith capitalized on BC's power play, ripping a pass toward the crease that deflected off a BU defenseman’s skate to gain the lead 5:46 into the period. Shortly after, Smith showed no signs of slowing down. After the Terriers forfeited another penalty for tripping, forward Gabe Perreault hit a cross-ice pass to Smith, who fired the puck under the crossbar and past the BU goaltender.

The momentum shifted to the Terriers early in the second period. BU defenseman Gavin McCarthy cut the Eagles lead to one at 4:24 into the period after a point shot that snuck past Eagles' goalie Jacob Fowler. BC spent most of the early portion of the period on the defensive end. However, Fowler came up with several big saves for the Eagles to keep the score 2-1 midway through the second.

Toward the end of the period, the Eagles, on another power play, regained their two-goal lead. After a BU clearance, Fowler picked up the puck in the BC end and passed it to Smith to take it into the offensive zone. Smith then fed it to Perreault, who slipped it across the ice to Cutter Gauthier for his NCAA-leading 35th goal of the season. It was the third goal of the night for the Eagles on the power play, highlighting the skill of their special teams. BC went into the locker room up 3-1 after the second period.

The third period was a Will Smith masterclass. At 6:46 into the period, freshman Ryan Leonard displayed his adept stick skills to set up Smith for his third goal to complete the hat trick, sending the BC students into a frenzy. Smith received the pass between his legs and slotted the puck through the legs of both a BU defenseman and goalie Mathieu Caron. However, the scoring was far from over. Perreault later found the back of the net off of an assist from Gauthier to push the lead out of reach for the Terriers. BU forward Macklin Celebrini got one back for BU, but the 5-2 deficit halfway through the third was insurmountable. Smith scored his fourth goal of the night on the empty net to secure the Hockey East title for Boston College.

Will Smith’s four goals earned him the Hockey East Tournament MVP and a spot on the Hockey East All-Tournament team. Smith is also the first player to score four goals in the Hockey East title game. Eamon Powell, Gabe Perreault, and Jacob Fowler also joined him on the All-Tournament team. Smith’s record-breaking 67 points also is one of the best seasons by an NCAA freshman in 30 years.

BC’s win over the Terriers in the Hockey East Championship game was the third time the two rivals have met in the finals. The Eagles beat BU twice in a home-and-away series earlier in the season, while BU came out on top in the first round of the Beanpot. The title game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 17,860 at TD Garden in Boston. BC’s student section was electric for both games on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Eagles certainly have momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. BC has outscored its opponents 14-3 in the last two games with Gabe Perreault’s return from injury. The Eagles kick off their NCAA tournament schedule this Friday when they head to Amica Mutual Pavillion in Providence. No. 1 BC will take on No. 4 Michigan Tech in the regional semifinals at 2 p.m. EST. The Eagles look poised to make an exciting run in the NCAA Tournament.

Cassidy Wichman
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