TAMPA — Up 3-1 with five minutes to play, Quinnipiac saw Boston College pull within a goal with 4:16 to play, and goalie Michael Garteig faced an onslaught of shots late, making a final glove save in the last second of the Bobcats' Frozen Four semifinal win at Amalie Arena.
"I was really proud of the way the boys carried on there at the end — that defines who we are as a very resilient group," said Garteig, who made 34 saves to advance to Saturday's NCAA final. "Blocking shots, diving around. We fought through it and we're going to the national championship. It's pretty special."
Even with the top seed and No. 1 ranking, Quinnipiac still has an underdog's mentality this week, up against more established college hockey powers. Garteig said the easiest way to change that is one more win in Saturday's final.
"We want to be a respected program. Being the new kid on the block, it takes some time to get that," he said. "We think a national championship is the best way to get recognized. We have some unfinished business."
TOUGH ENDING: By tonight, Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko could have one if not two major hockey awards — he's one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, considered the "hockey Heisman," as well as the Mike Richter Award, given to college hockey's top goalie.
But on Thursday night, Demko was in tears, as were many of his Eagles teammates who saw a season fall short of their program's lofty expectations. Demko's a junior, but his senior teammates were the first class to leave Boston College without a national championship since 2007.
"The emotions are flying around right now because of how close we are as a team," he said. "We love playing with each other, and some of these guys aren't going to be here next year, so that's tough to swallow."
Demko had a school-record 10 shutouts this season, but Quinnipiac scored on him twice in the first eight minutes, a disappointing end to a superb season.
"Those are two saves I make 99 times out of 100, so it's going to sting for a bit, for sure," Demko said.
THE TRIFECTA: Quinnipiac won despite giving Boston College five power plays, three of which came on penalties by center Tim Clifton, who was called for hooking, tripping and slashing.
"We do have a kangaroo court," Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold said. "The players handle that. I don't handle that. I'll let them deal with that. Timmy knows he needs to be more under control. … He was good tonight outside those three penalties."
THIS AND THAT: ESPN is hosting a fan event with Frozen Four commentators John Buccigross and former Lightning coach Barry Melrose at 7 tonight, taking questions and signing autographs at Champions Sports Bar in the Marriott Waterside Hotel. The Mike Richter Award will be presented during the event. … The three finalists for tonight's Hobey Baker Award are Demko, Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey and Michigan forward Kyle Connor. … University of Denver players wear T-shirts emblazoned with their team motto, "No Ragrets," a reference to a poorly spelled tattoo in the movie We're the Millers. "Not Even 1 Shift," the shirts explain. … Announced attendance for the early semifinal was 17,816 and 18,037 for the second.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.