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Frozen Four Extras: The Big Bad Terriers

While the Caps take the day to recharge their batteries, here's some more on the Frozen Four:

With all the attention that has been paid to the three teams people may not have picked in their Frozen Four bracket to reach Verizon Center, Boston University seems to have been made out to be the big bad wolf. To many, they seem to represent the favorite who exists purely to squash the hopes and dreams of other programs.

But when you think about it, the Terriers are playing for their first national title since 1994-95 when Chris Drury and Jay Pandolfo were still playing for Jack Parker. The scary thing about that team, was Drury was then a fourth-line center. "That's how good that team was," Parker said.

"Oh, we're hearing stuff like that a lot right now," said co-captain John McCarthy. "Those teams have gotten hot at the right time and they all beat some really good teams to get here. But we're not really worried about the pressure too much, we've just got to play our game....We've been working for this for a long time. Last year I thought we had a great team but we struggled, it had to be my most frustrating year at BU. We didn't even make NCAAs."

For teams like Miami, who the Terriers will face in the national championship tomorrow, playing for the school's first ever NCAA title in any sport is one kind of pressure. But at BU where there's a long line of history, players want to live up to that reputation.

"We walked down our hallways with pictures of national championship teams," Matt Gilroy said after the Terriers' 5-4 nail-biter of a win against Vermont. "We look at it every day and then you come out and you look at the banners and the traditions there. We'd love to add to it, that's been one of our goals this season and we're one win away."

The Young Goalie
The Terriers held a one-goal lead when there was an off-sides called with about a minute remaining in the semifinal against the Catamounts and Gilroy skated over to freshman goaltender Kieran Millan. The Hobey Baker finalist told his young teammate to just "have fun with it."

"For myself Vermont's been a tough team to play against," Millan said. "They shoot through traffic, make it hard to do my job. But I don't think I played as well as I could have. I left in a couple soft goals....but I was able to come back in the third period, make some stops when I needed to and the rest of the team did everything they could to help me out."

When Gilroy skated over to offer some encouragement, Millan smiled and told the co-captain to get back to the faceoff. That everything would be fine. Millan was originally platooned with fellow freshman Grant Rollheiser, but emerged as the starting goaltender after Rollheiser was sidelined with an injury.

"He's not a kid that gets rattled," Parker said. "I didn't think he looked nervous at all. He made a couple of fabulous saves. More than a couple, but I thought he could have had a couple that went in that usually don't go by him. So it was a little out of character....but I don't remember thinking to myself on the bench he looks jumpy."

Gilroy Extras
If you didn't already, check out my story from today's paper on Hobey Baker finalist Matt Gilroy. But there were plenty of things I had to leave out of the story.

Like when Parker, who has seen decades worth of the best college hockey players, told me the thing that impressed him most about Gilroy was how he's handled his senior year. He also is happy to admit that he'd rather be lucky than right, and is glad that Gilroy didn't listen when he told him not to walk on to the team in 2005-06.

"I thought he was going to be a hard guy to coach," Parker said. "He was so good, if things went wrong, I wondered if he would think well I should have signed. But it was obvious he had dedicated himself to making the little things better. The other thing is what an incredible leader he is....He's really been the straw that stirs that drink that way too, it's like having another assistant coach in the dressing room."

The Gilroys didn't even know what hockey was before their sons wanted to take up the sport. Dad Frank played basketball and was drafted by the 76ers, but one day a young Matt came home and told his mom he was going to be a hockey player.

"She just said Matt what are you talking about. She took me to the rink and put me in figure skates to see if I would stick it out," Gilroy said. "About a month later I got hockey skates and I just never stopped."

Although his dad is 6 foot 6 and his older brother is 6 foot 5, Gilroy was an extremely late bloomer. For those who don't believe the now 6 foot 2, 202 pound defenseman, he shows them his first drivers license. He was 5 foot 7 and 110 pounds.

"I looked like a little alien in high school," Gilroy said. "I just didn't grow. My dad was like, 'Matt don't worry it's going to happen.' And I'd say 'Dad, it's never going to happen, I'm the short one.' Then it finally did when I was 18, 19, 20 I've only just gotten used to my body. I think it was best for me though, because I had to learn how to work hard, everything on the ice was an uphill battle because of my size. Now I'm pretty strong out there."

Gilroy has only missed one game since he cracked the lineup after that exhibition game his freshman year.

"I was a minus-4 one game my freshman year. It was either me or the All American defenseman, Danny Spang who was going to sit," Gilroy said with a laugh. "So I wasn't surprised. It was my fault. Coach has smacked me upside the head a few times, but that's the best thing about coach it doesn't matter who you are. You've got to come to play every night for Coach Parker."

Bog at the Frozen Four
* How Alex Ovechkin is represented.
* Jesus and Jews. (Yeah, we don't know either.)
* Also, the RedHawks and their playoff mustaches. Yes, I said mustaches. I'm working on a story on Miami for tomorrow's paper and will have some RedHawk extras as well so be sure to check back.

By Katie Carrera  |  April 10, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps Look to End Regular Season on a High Note

Comments

From that Steinberg blog:

"The only similarity that I have to Ovechkin is jumping into the glass when I celebrate," Wilson joked later. "I black out after I score goals. I don't know, I get so excited that I don't know what I do sometimes. Sometimes it's a little embarrassing, the guys make fun of me, but when I scored that goal it was just a good feeling. I haven't been scoring as much lately, so to get that goal--and a big goal--I just had to jump into the glass, I guess."

Wilson actually learned the move from a friend who plays at New Hampshire, but other Terriers also celebrate goals in the Ovi style.

"You see Ovechkin celebrating like that, and it's exciting to watch," Vinny Saponari told me. "When we're at home we have a good crowd, so we love to make the game exciting for our crowd to see, too. It adds excitement to the game."

"You see big players like that doing it, and I kind of share that passion for scoring goals," Wilson said. "Jumping into the glass is just a part of it."

Don Cherry, eat your heart out. I asked Saponari if the Terriers were fond of the Caps; "We're all fans of the Caps because of Ovechkin," he replied. "He's fun to watch. He's unreal. Every time he touches the puck, it's exciting."

Posted by: richmondphil | April 10, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from previous thread:

Anyone in need of a hockey fix this weekend:
Bears play at Philly tonight at 7:00 (final hockey game ever at the Spectrum); then at home Sat. vs Philly and home Sun. vs Wilkes-Barre. Magic number to lock up 1st place is 3. Neuvy will be in goal tonight (Rachel will like that!)

Audio available at www.sportsjuice.com

Posted by: tess2201 | April 10, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I have a question, and I have looked everywhere but haven't figured out the answer, and I am hoping that anyone can tell me.

This question concerns the April 3 game against Buffalo.

The box score is here so that you can see the strange facts for yourselves: http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2008021160. You can even click on the little WATCH buttons beside each goal if you want to see them.

It all started in the second period.

1:14 - Buffalo whistled for two two-minute minor penalties.

2:39 - Buffalo whistled for yet another two-minute minor penalty. Washington is at full strength. Neither of the first two Buffalo penalties have yet expired, but NHL rules do not allow a team to be down to fewer than 3 skaters at a time, so the third penalty can't start until after the first two expire.

3:14 - The first two Buffalo penalties expire.

3:41 - Alexander Semin scores a 5-on-3 goal!

3:50 - Sergei Fedorov scores a 5-on-4 goal!

How are either of these things possible? How could Semin score a 5-on-3 goal despite the first two of the three Buffalo two-minute minor penalties having expired 27 seconds beforehand? And given that Semin scored on a power play when there should have only been one Buffalo penalty, how can the Capitals then score on a 5-on-4 nine seconds later?

I have only two theories at the moment--either the refs really screwed up, or the box score is wrong. Anyone have any idea?

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 10, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

youaresquishy:
At 1:14 buf penalty - down one man
At 2:39 buf get two more minors
only one of the penalties begin - buf down two men
At 3:14 first buf penalty expires and second of two penalties from 2:39 starts – buf still down two men
3:41 caps score – first of two penalties at 2:39 gets out of box – buf still down a man
3:50 caps score – last penalty from 2:39 gets out – even strength

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 10, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I normally don't root for the top seed. Not a fan of the North Carolina Tarheels. However, I've been rooting for the Boston Terriers in this year's Frozen Four as my daughter is an alum of that institution. As mentioned in this blog, it's the best year BU has had in a long while.

(Usually, in basketball, they're decent but keep just missing the NCAA tournament -- getting beaten in the Conference Finals.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 10, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

youaresquishy --

The rule is that when there are three penalties, NONE of them can leave until the first whistle after the first penalty expires. In this unusual case, Buffalo got a bit screwed b/c they had only 1 penalty going when Semin scored, but they were forced to play with only 3 skaters. Theoretically, if there was never a whistle, the Sabres could have been forced to play with 3 skaters even after the third penalty expired. Odd, but true.

Posted by: danielgkim | April 10, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

GO BEARS! Again, Tess, thanks for all the info on the Bears, and yes, I am very happy about that. I have a soft spot for Neuvy. :)

Posted by: rachel216 | April 10, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

So you skipped the first penalty that happened at the end of the first. So when the two penalties were taken at 1:14...the Caps were already on a power play so only one of the penalties would start because the least amount of players you can play with is 3. So the second penalty would not start until 1:59 which is why they were still down 2 men when the goal was scored at 3:41.

Also the posting about the guys not being able to come out of the box is incorrect. If you have more than 2 penalties that are on the board, then a guy can not come out of the box but once the second penalty expires a player can come back onto the ice and I believe the team gets to choose which player that comes back.

Posted by: dusty123 | April 10, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

And in the believe it or not category, the Caps only managed to score once during all that time. It was one sorry power play effort by the Caps during that game.

Posted by: opita1 | April 10, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

dusty123:

I didn't notice the penalty at the end of the first period, so you're right, that does explain this situation.

But as it turns out, under my scenario (where there'd be no carry-over penalty), what I wrote was correct (though irrelevant to what actually happened).

Had there been no carry-over penalty, then the penalties would've started at the same time. Had the Caps scored during the double-penalty PP, then the Sabres could've picked who comes out. But when the third guy goes in the box, they're ALL stuck in there until the first whistle. That's what the rule says (crazy as it is).

If there are 3 penalties starting at 3 different times, then they come out in order (except that, again, that first guy can't come out until the first whistle -- since the team is still down 2 men).

Confusing, yes -- but still correct.

Posted by: danielgkim | April 10, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Dusty 123

No, I did not skip anything. There were coincidental minors at the end of the first period. Both teams remained at even strength.

DanielGKim

If Rule 27.2 really did mean what you say it means, that would explain the Semin goal, but not the Fedorov goal.

I would assume that the Semin goal would cancel the rest of the only remaining Buffalo penalty.

I have asked two NHL linesmen about this, and they have both said that basically whenever there is only one penalty on a clock, there is no way a team can be down to a 5-on-3, no matter what, period. I have pointed out to them the rule of which you speak, Rule 27.2, and am awaiting more of an explanation.

No one has given me an answer yet that explains both goals, unless the box score is just wrong.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=290403023

Posted by: youaresquishy | April 11, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

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