Published April 08, 2010
DETROIT (AP) — Boston College moved within a win of its second NCAA hockey title in three seasons. The Eagles will have to beat another traditional power to finish the feat.
Cam Atkinson scored the first of three goals in a 1:35 stretch midway through the third period, helping Boston College pull away from Miami of Ohio for a 7-1 win Thursday night.
"We were very, very sharp," Eagles coach Jerry York said.
Wisconsin was, too.
The Badgers beat Rochester Institute of Technology 8-1 earlier in the day.
Fourth-seeded Boston College will face third-seeded Wisconsin on Saturday night for the NCAA hockey title in a rematch of the 2006 final won by the Badgers.
The Frozen Four set a world indoor attendance record for hockey, drawing an announced crowd of 34,954 for two games Thursday.
Ford Field — home of the NFL's Detroit Lions — was set up for a record crowd with a rink set up near an end zone and portable seats along the boards opposite the team benches.
The two-game session smashed the Frozen Four attendance record of 19,432 set in St. Louis three years ago and hockey's indoor mark of 28,183 from Tampa Bay's home game at Tropicana Field against Philadelphia during the 1996 NHL playoffs.
Ben Smith, who scored twice for Boston College, said it gave the Eagles an advantage to have played Boston University this season at Fenway Park shortly after the NHL's Winter Classic was held at the home of the Boston Red Sox.
"We weren't overwhelmed," Smith said. "I think the experience helped us."
After Wisconsin's rout that didn't register as a surprise, top-seeded Miami and Boston College generated a bit of a buzz with a closely contested game that was expected. However, that only lasted for a period.
Smith put the Eagles ahead 1-0 by scoring a power-play goal with 1:28 left in the opening frame. Boston College began to pull away with Jimmy Hayes' power-play goal early in the second and Joe Whitney's goal a minute later.
Connor Knapp was then replaced by Cody Reichard, who made nine saves in the second to keep the game relatively close.
Joe Hartman's goal gave the RedHawks' fans something to finally cheer about 5:19 into the third.
Atkinson, Patch Alber and Paul Carey silenced the red-clad fans, who made the short drive from Ohio, with three goals midway through the third period. Smith's second goal made it 7-1.
"A total domination by Boston College," RedHawks coach Enrico Blasi said.
Reichard finished with 17 saves. Knapp had just six.
"We'd have a good shift here and there and then just disappear for three, four minutes," Miami's Tommy Wingels said.
Boston College's John Muse made 17 saves, including one against Andy Miele on a breakaway.
"The save he made early in the second period was the really big turning point in the game," York said.
The Eagles are making their fourth Frozen Four appearance in five years. One more win will give them their fourth national title in three years and the fourth in school history.
"The coach prepares us well," Smith said. "Each senior class has been there before. We were able to keep the young guys in line, and they responded very well."
A year ago, Miami almost won its first national championship in any sport. The RedHawks blew a two-goal lead in the final minute against Boston University and lost in overtime.
They overcame that setback and a loss off the ice this season. Student manager Brendan Burke, the son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, was killed on Feb. 5, in a car crash in Indiana, but Miami was still able to put together a strong season.
Before Boston University beat the RedHawks last season, Boston College knocked them out of three straight NCAA tournaments.
"We thought we'd get a little luck this year," Miami's Jarod Palmer said. "But it looks like the curse of Boston continues."