Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking back to BU's first NCAA Championship

This day in BU Hockey History
1971: Boston University defeated Minnesota, 4-2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial Auditorium in Syracuse, NY, to win its first NCAA championship. Terrier goalie Dan Brady (photo, right) made 30 saves and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, while captain and All-American Steve Stirling (photo, left)) scored two goals--the second one unassisted--to lead BU to the title. Bob Gryp and Ron Anderson had the other goals. Led by legendary coach Jack Kelley BU finished the season with a gaudy 28-2-1 record and scored a then-program-record 210 goals while yielding just 60. For the season, the Terriers averaged a 7-2 win, demolishing opponents with a power play that had a 40% success rate.  

The tournament had originally been scheduled to be held at BU’s new Walter Brown Arena, but construction delays forced a change in venue. WBA would open the following season as the home of the NCAA champions, a title the Terriers would successfully defend the following March in Boston.

● Championship game video highlights
● USCHO’s Scott Weighart’s “The Vagabond Champions”
● Sports Illustrated recap

Jack Kelley’s longtime assistant coach at BU was Bob Crocker, now an amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings and regarded as the Dean of New England Hockey Scouts. Crocker regularly coaches a team at the Beantown Spring Classic and last week, his team in the draft division included 2014 BU recruit AJ Greer, a 6-3 left wing from Kimball Union Academy.

During the tournament Crocker shared with his players part of his collection of championship rings from his coaching and scouting career, and allowed Greer to try them on. From left to right: New York Rangers Stanley Cup 1994; Hartford Wolfpack Calder Cup 2000; LA Kings Stanley Cup 2012; and Boston University 1971 NCAA.

Looking back tracks Matt Nieto’s path from roller hockey as a toddler through three seasons at BU and now the San Jose Sharks’ second line. Tonight, when San Jose faces off with Anaheim—Nieto’s favorite team while growing up in nearby Long Beach—
he may find himself matched up against childhood buddy Emerson Etem, who was recalled to the Ducks due to Nick Bonino’s injury.

Sean Escobedo registered his first two-goal game as a pro, but that was all the scoring for ECHL Stockton, which dropped a 3-2 decision to Las Vegas. Corey Trivino assisted on Escobedo’s first goal.


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