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Clifton Park's Alber, Eagles earn another NCAA hockey crown

Sunday, April 8, 2012
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Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Patch Alber during the third period of the NCAA Frozen Four championship game against Ferris State Saturday. -(AP)
Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Patch Alber during the third period of the NCAA Frozen Four championship game against Ferris State Saturday. -(AP)

— Boston College defenseman Patch Alber is bringing home another NCAA hockey title to Clifton Park.

The Eagles put away a stubborn Ferris State team with two late third-period goals to win, 4-1, Saturday in the Frozen Four championship game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

It’s the third title in five years for the Eagles (33-10-1), who closed out the season with a 19-game winning streak. They have won four titles this century, with the first coming in 2001, when they beat North Dakota, 3-2, in overtime at the then-Pepsi Arena (now known as the Times Union Center). It’s the Eagles fifth title overall.

Alber, a Clifton Park native, earned his first NCAA championship in 2010 at Ford Field in Det­roit. He was a walk-on player, and scored a goal in the 7-1 semifinal win over Miami (Ohio). Two days later, the Eagles beat Wisconsin, 5-0.

This season, Alber became a full-scholarship player. He played in 44 games, and had a goal and 13 assists.

“I think this one is just as special as the first one,” Alber said in the jubilant BC locker room. “Both of them are awesome. Those seasons will now live on forever. It’s hard to pick one.

“Each time, you have a different role. This time, I had a little bit of a bigger role than last time. But both are special in my heart, for sure.”

Alber played a key role in helping the Eagles kill off all four Ferris State power plays.

He did a nice job on the penalty kill in the second period. He killed some time by tying up the puck for about 10 seconds when Paul Carey was in the penalty box for tripping. And Alber blocked a shot late in the period with Bill Arnold off for roughing. And, with Arnold’s penalty carrying over into the third period, Alber had another block.

“Our penalty kill has been on fire all year,” Alber said. “We pressure teams hard. We force them to kind of play our game, and trying to even it up a little bit. I thought we did a tremendous job of clearing pucks, and our goalie [Parker Milner], obviously, bailed us out plenty of times.”

Milner, who made 27 saves and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four, had high praise for Alber, who has been his roommate for three years, and the rest of the penalty kill.

“I can’t think of any shots I even faced on the penalty kill tonight,” Milner said. “They have some good puck-moving ‘D’ that are good getting around shot blockers, and our guys did a great job of getting in lanes.”

Steven Whitney gave BC a 1-0 lead with a backhander past goalie Taylor Nelson. Garrett Thompson tied it with 14:41 left when he put the rebound of an Andy Huff shot past Milner.

The Eagles regained the lead at 10:33 on the power play when Brian Dumoulin’s left-point shot hit the glove of teammate Paul Carey and went past Nelson.

The score remained 2-1 late into the third period. BC’s Johnny Gaudreau put the game away with an incredible goal. He made a couple of moves past Ferris State defenseman Brett Wysopal down the right wing, and then lifted a backhander over Nelson’s glove with 3:02 left.

Whitney scored an empty-net goal for BC’s final tally.

NOTEBOOK

The all-tournament team was Carey, Dumoulin, Milner, Whitney, and Ferris State left winger Kyle Bonis and Ferris State defenseman Chad Billins. . . .

The officiating crew was from ECAC Hockey. The referees were Tim Kotyra and Peter Feola. Glenn Cooke and Dave Brown were the linesment.

Attendance was 18,818. It’s a championship-game record for a first-time host. The total attendance for the event was 37,423. . . .

Pennsylvania gets the next two Frozen Fours. It will be in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center next year, and Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center in 2014.

Ferris State 100 — 1

Boston College 204 — 4

First Period — 1, Boston College, Whitney 15 (Almeida), 3:18. 2, Ferris State, Thompson 11 (Huff, Ouellette), 5:19. 3, Boston College, Carey 18 (Dumoulin, Mullane), 10:33. Penalty — Wysopal, FS (tripping), 8:42.

Second Period — None. Penalties — Czarnowczan, FS (hitting after whistle), 2:31; Sit, BC (hitting after whistle), 2:31; Carey, BC (tripping), 4:48; Cross, BC (hooking), 10:35; Boston College bench (too many men), 15:06; Arnold, BC (roughing), 19:36.

Third Period — 4, Boston College, Gaudreau 21 (Hayes, Wey), 16:58 .5, Boston College, Whitney 16 (Arnold), 18:57. Penalties — Wysopal, FS (hooking), 1:47; Wysopal, FS (holding), 8:08.

Shots on Goal — Ferris State 7-15-6 — 28. Boston College 8-14-15 — 37.

Power-play opportunities — Ferris State 0 of 4; Boston College 1 of 1.

Goalies — Ferris State, Nelson 21-7-3 (36 shots-33 saves). Boston College, Milner 29-5-0 (28-27).

A — 18,818. T — 2:38.

Referees — Peter Feola, Tim Kotyra. Linesmen — Glenn Cooke, Dave Brown.

 
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