BOSTON — Defending NCAA and league tourney champion Boston College got second-period goals by Steven Whitney and Tommy Cross before holding on to defeat Northeastern 5-4 in the semifinals of Hockey East tournament on Friday.
The Eagles (29-7-1) will face the Merrimack-New Hampshire winner on Saturday night for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. BC will be looking for its fourth league tourney title in five years.
Boston College’s victory ended the University of Maine’s chances of going to the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
It prevented Northeastern from becoming a team under consideration (for the tournament) in the PairWise Rankings formula. Maine had gone 2-0-1 against Northeastern and that would have been included in the formula had Northeastern won and become a team under consideration.
Brian Gibbons, Kevin Hayes and Pat Mullane also scored the Eagles, who captured the regular season crown by sweeping New Hampshire on the final weekend.
Wade MacLeod scored two goals, and Tyler McNeely and Garrett Vermeersch each had one for the Huskies (14-16-8). NU trailed 5-2 with 3½ minutes left before a pair of power-play scores with the goalie pulled.
BC had three power-play goals in building its three-goal lead until NU made its late charge.
“I thought the game was firmly secure late in the third period and Northeastern came to life 5-on-3 and 6-on-3,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “It was an exhilarating finish for us.”
The teams, who were tied at 2 midway into the second period on Friday, also met in the Beanpot’s championship game in February when the Eagles won, 7-6, in overtime.
“If we had done our job killing penalties, the two power-play goals we got in the third period would have been enough,” Huskies coach Greg Cronin said.
BC netminder John Muse made 31 saves, including one in the closing 30 seconds. NU’s Chris Rawlings had 23 before being pulled after two periods.
“I try to remain relaxed at all times,” said Muse, who made a right shoulder stop on Steve Silvia’s shot from the slot in the closing minute. “This shows we have to be ready for all types of games in the NCAA tourney.”
Muse was in net when the Eagles won their second NCAA title in three seasons last spring.
With the score tied at 2, Whitney, who had a pair of minor penalties — the second coming seven seconds after his first expired — midway into the second period, broke in down the right wing. He then split a pair of NU defensemen before lifting a backhanded shot over Rawlings as he fell to the ice.
“That was a highlight goal for Stevie. The whole bench jumped up,” York said.
The Eagles, the top seed, have claimed nine league postseason championships. Sixth-seeded NU advanced after beating Boston University in a best-of-three last weekend.
Yale 4, Colgate 0
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Andrew Miller had a goal and two assists, Chris Cahill and Brian O’Neill each had two points, and Ryan Rondeau made 22 saves, as Yale handled Colgate 4-0 in the ECAC semifinals on Friday at Boardwalk Hall.
Yale (26-6-1), the ECAC’s No. 2 seed and the No. 3-ranked team in the country, will play either Dartmouth or Cornell Saturday in the championship game.
Cahill scored 5:07 into the second with a one timer in the slot off a feed from Miller. Kenny Agostino added insurance 6:24 into the third with a wrist shot that beat Raiders goalie Eric Mihalik on the glove side. And Miller iced it with a wrister that went top shelf past Mihalik, again on the glove side, at 14:49 of the third.
Antoine Laganiere concluded the scoring with an empty netter at 19:45.
Yale ended the Cinderella run of Colgate (11-27-3), the first No. 12 seed to ever make the ECAC Final Four. Mihalik made 37 saves for the Raiders.
This is the first of a three-year deal that the league made with Boardwalk Hall.