Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Frozen Four: Return to Tampa, return to title for Boston College?

TAMPA — When legendary coach Jerry York and Boston College last came to sunny Florida for a Frozen Four, the Eagles added to their storied history in 2012 with their third national championship in five years.

They haven't won a title since, with just one Final Four appearance in the past three years, but the Eagles can proudly tout themselves as "The Coldest Program in College Hockey History," moving past Michigan this year with their 25th Frozen Four appearance.

"We measure our team by the number of trophies we win, not necessarily how many games we win," said York, who in January became the first coach in college hockey history to win 1,000 games. "We are successful in those trophy games, and now we have a chance to win another one."

York, 70, played for Boston College in the 1965 Frozen Four and is now coaching in his 13th Frozen Four, but his experience is aided by the fact that his players — even his seniors — are still hungry for their first title.

For all its tradition, Boston College is an underdog in Thursday's semifinal against top-seeded, top-ranked Quinnipiac, the first-ever NCAA meeting between the New England schools. Quinnipiac is a young program compared to BC, having started in 1975 and moved to Division I in 1998; this is just the Bobcats' second Frozen Four.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge of Quinnipiac," York said. "They've had an unbelievable year, ranked first in the country, by good reason."

Boston College has no shortage of star power. Goalie Thatcher Demko is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, the so-called "Hockey Heisman," to be awarded at the Tampa Theatre on Friday night. He has a school-record 10 shutouts this season, and two more this weekend would give him a share of the NCAA record.

Want scoring? Junior forward Ryan Fitzgerald has 23 goals, and his brother, freshman Casey, has 22 assists, many on his brother's scoring. Teddy Doherty, a converted defenseman, had two goals in a 3-2 quarterfinal win over Minnesota-Duluth that sent the Eagles to Tampa.

"Certainly three storied programs with an immense amount of success," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said of his competition in BC, North Dakota and Denver. "A ton of draft picks, a lot of high, first-round-type draft picks. There's a lot of talent on those three teams. For us, we're happy to be in the Frozen Four, with any three teams. We're excited for the challenge."

Boston is a hotbed of college hockey, with its annual Beanpot Tournament a February classic at TD Garden pitting BC against Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern. The Eagles won this year — their sixth win in seven years, with a roster loaded with proud talent from all over Boston and its suburbs.

So there's often an "r" at the end of Floridahr, and that same letter is missing from the Frozen Foah you'll hear York talk about. Having the Frozen Four in Tampa was an uncertain idea for him four years ago, but one he quickly embraced, even before his team had a championship here.

"As most of college hockey was, we were very concerned that it wouldn't fly," York said of the Tampa locale in 2012. "Was it too far for people to go for the majority of our programs in northern states and the Midwest? How were the Lightning going to be?

"We were greatly surprised by how Jeff Vinik has taken that franchise … the reception, the fan base, it took over the whole area there. It was very welcome. When we saw it was going back to Tampa, we all thought it was a great move by the NCAA."

Boston College has experience playing in Florida this season — the Eagles actually went 0-2 in a holiday tournament in Estero.

But they'll remember their last trip to Tampa, which saw two easy wins on the way to a championship in 2012.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] Follow @gregauman.

. FAST FACTS

Frozen Four in Tampa

Where: Amalie Arena unless noted

Practices, today: Boston College, 11 a.m.-noon; Quinnipiac, 12:15-1:15; North Dakota, 1:30-2:30; Denver, 2:45-3:45 (free and open to the public)

Semifinals, Thursday: Quinnipiac vs. Boston College, 5; North Dakota vs. Denver, 8:30, ESPN2. Frozen Fest, which includes a concert, team pep rallies and red carpet arrivals, opens at 2:30.

Friday: Autograph session with championship teams and Hobey Baker finalists, 4-5; Hobey Baker award presentation, 5-6:30 (at Tampa Theatre)

Final, Saturday: 8 p.m., ESPN. Frozen Fest opens at 4.

Tickets: See ncaa.com/tickets or call (813) 301-6900

Frozen Four: Return to Tampa, return to title for Boston College? 04/05/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 8:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Gordon Hayward's message to Celtics from hospital bed after gruesome injury

    Nba

    BOSTON — Gordon Hayward's face was etched in pain and shock.

    Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics sits on the floor after being injured while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. [Gregory Shamus | Getty Images]
  2. Rick and Tom podcast: Where does Winston rank among top QBs?

    Blogs

    Where does Bucs QB Jameis Winston rank among current NFL QBs this year? The result might shock you. Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down a new poll by Sports Illustrated in their latest podcast.

    Where does Jameis Winston rank among the NFL's top quarterbacks?
  3. Epilogue: USF's Mike Radomski made thank-yous a way of life

    College

    TAMPA — He was a sucker for baseball and benevolence. Mike Radomski tracked every gesture, regardless of how noble or benign, as meticulously as pitch counts in his volumes of scorebooks.

    Assistant director of communications Mike Radomski, who primarily served as the media liaison for men's basketball but also worked with several other Bulls sports, died shortly after 1 a.m. Oct. 12, 2017 in a car accident on Interstate 75 near his Wildwood home. He was 29. PHOTO PROVIDED.
  4. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  5. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.