Boston College coach Jerry York has made no secret that his program is about trophies and excellence, about being the best in college hockey.
On Saturday night, the Eagles’ most recent accomplishment — their third NCAA title in five seasons — was recognized with the raising of the championship banner at Conte Forum.
Bearing witness to the event were some members of all five teams who have earned a national crown for the maroon and gold — 1949, 2001, 2008, 2010, and 2012.
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said he wanted his team to feed off the fanfare, and make it their goal to bring some hardware to Huntington Avenue.
Unlike opening night at Matthews Arena, when the Huskies prevailed over the Eagles a week ago, this night was all about BC, which handed NU its first loss of the season (2-1-0).
The Eagles (2-1-0) scored a pair of goals in the opening period and added a third in the second on the way to a 3-0 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 7,884.
Senior goaltender Parker Milner was in top form, making 26 saves on the way to his fifth career shutout.
For BC, it was about bottling the emotion from the pregame ceremony and using it to play strong.
“I thought it was a really proud moment for all of us,’’ said York, referring to the raising of the banner. “All the guys who could come [from past teams] were here. It was kind of an electrifying moment for myself, personally, to watch the ceremony.’’
The Huskies were steady early as they weathered a five-on-three disadvantage for 52 seconds. At 4:50, BC’s Steven Whitney threatened when he fired a high shot through traffic, but NU senior Chris Rawlings (24 saves) was able to track it the whole way.
But BC steadily turned up the heat. There was nothing Rawlings could do about the one-timer by junior left wing Kevin Hayes, who was around the net the entire game. With BC on a five-on-four advantage, Hayes bombed a shot from the right circle that found the back of the net with ease at 6:16.
Sophomore left wing Johnny Gaudreau, who was the hero in overtime at UMass on Friday, collected a long lead pass from captain Pat Mullane (who got the puck when he blocked a shot) and raced in alone on Rawlings, beating him with a backhander through the five-hole at 10:06 to make it 2-0. Gaudreau nearly had another during a power play with about 3:45 left in the period when he tested Rawlings on a wraparound at the right post, but Rawlings managed to get a piece of it.
Had the Huskies escaped the second period down by just two goals, chances are they would have felt confident going into the third, but instead NU shot itself in the foot.
Freshman center Cam Darcy was whistled off for interference at 18:08, and sophomore defenseman Dax Lauwers followed him to the box at 18:17 on a roughing call, giving BC a two-man advantage.
NU had a good clear, but on the way out of the zone the puck hit an official and stayed in. BC took advantage. Whitney was on the receiving end of a terrific centering pass by Gaudreau and one-timed it past Rawlings to make it 3-0 at 18:32.
NU tried to get something going in the third when BC’s Teddy Doherty was called for interference at 7:08. The Huskies had some good looks on the power play, especially freshman defenseman Dustin Darou’s bid from the right point that Milner kicked out.
“BC deserved to win, they were the better team,’’ said Madigan. “They took it to us from the opening faceoff. We didn’t match their emotional level. It was a great night for them and they certainly displayed it on the ice.’’
For Gaudreau, winning the NCAA title as a freshman just makes him hungry for more.
“That’s something special, that doesn’t happen every day,’’ said Gaudreau, who has two goals and three assists in three games. “The whole team took it to heart and just wanted to get a ‘W’ here at the home ice.’’Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org