Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Drought Busters

The 1970s was the Decade of the Terriers in college hockey, yielding seven trips to the Frozen Four and three NCAA titles. But the span between that third title in 1978 and BU’s next one in 1995 was seventeen long seasons. Frozen Four appearances in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994 all fell short.  The 1994-95 squad, motivated by a humiliating defeat in the 1994 title game, played an entire season with a chip on its shoulder and the single goal of reaching—and winning—the national championship game.

Marking the 20th anniversary of BU’s fourth NCAA title, “The Drought Busters,” authored by mh82, chronicles the long road to a triple crown of championships—Beanpot, Hockey East and NCAA—by one of the most talented and deepest in talent squads in Terrier hockey history.  

1994-95 BU Hockey Schedule & Results

The 1994-95 Terriers: Drought Busters

By mh82

The audience starts cheering
The spotlight's on you
As the scene grows before you
The mirror is set
A performance we will not forget
For this is the show of our lives

The thing is, as the 1993-94 Hockey East regular season was winding toward its conclusion, Boston University was playing some of its best hockey of the season. The Terriers were on the precise schedule that any Jack Parker-coached team was supposed to be on with the arrival of the first week of March -- performing at peak level and ready to compete for trophies. Lost in the overall picture of BU's postseason focus, however, was the reality of a gathering storm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, one that would eventually strike the program with overwhelming force.

Since losing to Harvard 4-2 in the first round of the Beanpot in early February, BU had gone 7-0-1 over an eight-game stretch, starting with an 8-0 wipeout of Northeastern in the Beanpot consolation game and finishing with a 6-1 home win over Providence in the regular season finale, a contest that included a third-period brawl that led to the ejection of four players from each team.

The Terriers had clinched the top seed in the Hockey East playoffs by winning 21 of  24 league games, and they looked to be a favorite to capture the school's third league tournament title while at the same time earning an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, where they would return for a fifth straight year.

In a bizarre set of circumstances, BU's reward for earning the top seed was a quarterfinal round matchup against Maine, the defending NCAA champions. Coming off a memorable 42-1-2 season -- with the only loss courtesy of a gutsy BU comeback in Orono when the Terriers scored five unanswered goals, capped off by Mike Prendergast's game winner in overtime -- the Black Bears and coach Shawn Walsh ran afoul of the NCAA for the use of two ineligible players (Jeff Tory and Patrice Tardif) and were forced to forfeit 14 wins from the season, dropping them from a home ice berth to the basement of the Hockey East standings with a 3-20-1 record. The league had attempted to ban Maine from the postseason tournament due to the forfeits, but the school went to court and was granted an injunction by a judge to play. Parker and his squad were actually looking forward to the challenge the Black Bears would present, helping prepare them for a potential spot in the semifinal round at Boston Garden.

2015 Frozen Four features
● College Hockey News: BU-North Dakota preview; BU capsule; North Dakota capsule
● Lowell Sun: Dynamic defensemen
● Podcast previews: Hockey on Campus and The Pipeline Show

Looking back
Former Terrier captain Kevin Shattenkirk penned an article for The Players Tribune (Derek Jeter’s Web site) about some of the NHL's Elite Defensemen.

As the Islanders and their fans prepare to say goodbye to the Nassau Coliseum, they’re recalling iconic moments at that arena, including Shawn Bates’ penalty shot in the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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