Sunday, March 25, 2007

Looking Back: Kings of Comm. Ave. and the NCAA

On March 25, 1978, Boston University won the third of its four national championships in the first all-East final since BU's shutout of Cornell in 1972. The Terriers defeated arch-rival Boston College, 5-3, in the first ever NCAA tournament meeting between the schools. BU was led by freshman standout Mark Fidler, who registered a 30-goal season, and three future Olympic gold medalists, Dave Silk, Jack O'Callahan and Jim Craig. After Fidler scored 38 seconds into the game, BC's Joe Mullen and Bobby Hehir put the Eagles on top. Goals by Silk and Tony Meagher restored BU's lead. Meagher's second and Fidler's second extended the lead to 5-2 before BC added a final tally. Craig stopped 28 shots while BC's Paul Skidmore had 31 sames. The win capped a 30-2 season for BU which won its first 21 games before falling to Yale.

Despite its stellar on-ice record, the Terriers almost didn't reach the NCAA tournament, which at that time was just a four-team event. BU had lost in the ECAC semi-final to Providence, before beat Brown in the consolation game. After Providence lost to BC in the ECAC final, the NCAA elected to hold a playoff game between the Terriers and Friars to determine the second Eastern participant. This time BU won 5-3 in a game played at Schneider Rink. Four days later, BU returned to Providence, this time at the Civic Center, where they throttled Wisconsin in the NCAA semi, 5-2, setting up what would be the fourth win over year against BC.

Fidler led BU in scoring with 65 points, followed by John Bethel's 65, Dick Lamby's 59, Silk's 58 and O'Callahan's 55. This also was the season of the big blizzard in Boston which hit the night of the Beanpot first round (BU 12, BC 5) and forced the finals (BU 7, Harvard 1) to be played in March.

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