TAMPA — The blueprint for Boston College's recent dominance was drawn up way back in 1984.
In it were many specifics required for building a champion, including the ideal practice player and preferred way to approach travel. More generally, coach Jerry York, then fresh off his first championship, knew he needed excellent defensemen, creative forwards and good goaltenders.
That final component was the last to emerge for this year's Eagles, winners of five national titles and three over the past five years with Saturday's 4-1 victory over Ferris State at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Junior Parker Milner didn't even receive an honorable mention vote for the Hockey East all-conference team. But after allowing just two goals in the NCAA tournament (and 21 during BC's season-ending 19-game win streak), he was named the Frozen Four's most outstanding player and universally recognized as the strongest component of the consensus No. 1 team in the nation, one that didn't lose after Jan. 21.
"I wouldn't trade him for any other goaltender in our league," York said. "I'd like to see some of those coaches change their mind."
BC (33-10-1) needed Milner to be at the top of his game to beat a Bulldogs team that believed it gave its best effort.
"That was as good as we can play," Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. "There's nothing I'm disappointed with whatsoever, and that's a testament to Boston College and how good they are."
Just 3:18 in, the game looked like it would be another blowout for the Eagles, who beat Minnesota 6-1 in the semifinals. Barry Almeida corralled a rebound and fed it to Steven Whitney, who slid home the first goal. But Ferris State (26-12-5) answered 2:01 later when Travis Ouellette crashed the net and flipped in a rebound.
The eventual winner came late in BC's first power play as it took advantage of a fortuitous bounce. Brian Dumoulin fired a slap shot from above the left faceoff circle. It caught teammate Paul Carey right above his right glove before it careened into the net for a 2-1 lead.
The score stood until 3:02 left in the game.
In the interim, Milner made several sprawling saves — a few on breakaways — and the Eagles killed four penalties.
Finally, freshman Johnny Gaudreau, the MVP of February's Beanpot tournament, stickhandled all the way from the red line, through two defenders to in front of the net, where he beat Taylor Nelson over his shoulder for the 3-1 lead. Whitney scored an empty-netter 1:59 later.
It was a result both teams felt good about.
Ferris State surprised many analysts by advancing to its first Frozen Four.
"We feel like winners in the locker room," wing Garrett Thompson said.
And BC captured its championship.
"We've reached the top of the mountain," forward Chris Krieder said. "It's just bliss right now."
Laura Keeley can be reached at [email protected]