AMHERST — Win No. 1,000 came gift-wrapped with a Bay State bow. Jerry York, proud son of Watertown, walked out of Mullins Center Friday night with his BC Eagles owners of an 8-0 shellacking of the UMass Minutemen, and his career résumé reading 1,000-595-108.
Finally, four figures in the win column. No college hockey coach has won more games than York, the 70-year-old former Eagles center. And perhaps no college coach anywhere ever reached such a significant milestone — a feat unlikely to be duplicated — with such a subdued, understated demeanor.
“We’ve always talked about leaving our ego at the door, when you walk in [the dressing room] you’re now a part of a family of BC hockey players,’’ said York, after seeing eight goal scorers execute the beatdown before a crowd of 4,673. “If I was to make a big deal of, ‘Let’s work really hard to get this one,’ it wouldn’t make any sense.
“I really stayed away from that.’’
Instead, York and his charges kept their focus on the job at hand in his game No. 1,703, trying to keep pace with the pack leaders in Hockey East. The win lifted the Eagles to 16-4-3 overall and 9-1-3 in Hockey East, keeping them in the thick of things at the top of the standings with the likes of UMass-Lowell and Providence, the defending national champs.
The woebegone Minutemen, who fell into a 5-0 hole in the first period (goals by Ian McCoshen, Alex Tuch, Chris Calnan, Colin White and Miles Wood), fell to 7-13-4 and 2-8-4. Some 90 miles west of the Chestnut Hill campus, the Minutemen, with but two Massachusetts-born players on their roster, weren’t within a light year of competing with the merciless Eagles.
It was no contest after 20 minutes and even less of one after the Eagles scored three more in the second period (Austin Cangelosi, Teddy Doherty, Ryan Fitzgerald).
When the night was over, only four of BC’s 18 skaters, including senior back liner Peter McMullen, were left without a point.
“We were dying for him to get a point late,’’ said York, noting he went more with role players as the beatdown reached UFC proportions. “He’s a four-year senior for us and hasn’t seen a lot of activity. He almost got a goal. Maybe we’ll be able to get him a second assist somewhere.’’
York, who began what is now a 43-plus-year career behind the Clarkson bench in 1972, won his first game with Potsdam’s best on Nov. 10, 1972, a 13-0 thumping of the University of Quebec.
Details of career win No. 1 were sketchy for York after the win Friday night. He thought the win came over Queens University and he was uncertain of the score, other than it was substantial.
“Big,’’ he said with a slight smile. “Something like tonight. Yeah, big.’’
Team captain Doherty, a senior winger whose NHL rights are owned by Ottawa, presented York with a game puck and made a brief congratulatory speech in the dressing room.
“I’ve been planning it for a little too long,’’ said Doherty. “When the moment came, I almost panicked. Glad I kept it together.’’
Dressed in his trademark jacket and tie, his arms folded professorially as he stood behind the bench, York acted neither fazed nor flustered when win No. 1,000 became official at 9:08 p.m. As the final seconds counted down, a gaggle of BC fans chanted “Jerr-y . . . Jerr-y,’’ but there was no fanfare. No fireworks. No words of congratulations over the PA . Just another Friday night in a career continuum.
Only the true college puckologists in the crowd would have known the “Archbishop of April’’ (thank you, retired Globe scribe John Powers) had reached the 1,000-win plateau. Over three years earlier, December 2012, York surpassed Ron Mason’s standing mark of 924 to become the winningest coach in college history.
“A friend texted me, ‘Go get 2,000,’ ” said a smiling York, who has his name on five NCAA championships, four of them with BC, a program he took over in 1994. “I have always been a front-windshield type guy, always looked at what’s next. I don’t reflect back lot.
“Otherwise, I would crash the car pretty quick.’’
The only crash here belonged to the Minutemen, who folded up faster than a Kia compact in a Fresh Pond rotary fender-bender. The Eagles, ranked No. 4 in the nation, get their share of easy wins, but few quite so simple, or so sweet. Thatcher Demko turned back 20 shots for the shutout, but he could have done it in the rocking chair his coach one day will enjoy in retirement.
But right now, no telling what day York will quit. What’s next?
“Tomorrow night,’’ said the grandmaster, always looking ahead, “the University of Connecticut.’’
Faceoff: 7 pm at Conte Forum vs. the Huskies. The coach with the silver hair, broad smile and ego ever tucked in his pocket will be eyeing win No. 1,001. And saying little about it.