Gienieczko: Boston College dominates UMass hockey for York’s 1,000th win

By Ross Gienieczko

(Mikey Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)
(Mikey Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)

The first period was stunning. The rest of the game was just depressing.

At the end of the day, in No. 4 Boston College’s 8-0 win against the Massachusetts hockey team at Mullins Center Friday night, it was crystal clear that UMass didn’t belong on the same ice as the fast, skilled and dominant Eagles.

The entire college hockey world had their eyes on Friday night’s matchup in eager anticipation of BC head coach Jerry York’s 1,000th win in Division I. It wasn’t long before it became apparent they would get what they were looking for, as the Eagles (16-4-3, 9-1-3) scored five times in the first period to turn the remaining 40 minutes into a formality – and a coronation for their legendary coach.

The contrast between BC and UMass (7-13-1, 2-8-4 HEA) was almost unbelievable. The most notable difference was in team speed. The Eagles were relentless in transition, blowing by Minutemen at will on their numerous odd-man rushes. If someone had a step, they were gone. UMass, on the other hand, looked like it was in slow motion.

The skill difference was just as apparent. Colin White, Alex Tuch, Miles Wood and Zach Sanford headline a dynamic group of BC forwards, and there’s plenty of talent on the back end as well in Ian McCoshen, Steve Santini in front of future NHL goaltender Thatcher Demco. The Minutemen were simply outgunned.

UMass will probably never have the advantage against teams like the Eagles in those categories. Friday night, however, the biggest differences between the two teams were focus and effort. There is no shame in losing to a juggernaut like BC, who’s on the short list of teams seriously vying for a national title. But the Minutemen wouldn’t have beaten anybody with their performance Friday.

Want to play the blame game? There’s plenty of it to go around. UMass coach John Micheletto has been the target of late, but it’s hard to put a loss like Friday’s solely on his hands. This defeat belongs to the entire program.

There’s just over a month left in the regular season to try and sort things out. But with the way things have gone for UMass over the last few weekends, it’s looking like it might already be too late for the 2015-16 Minutemen.

York reaches 1,000 wins

As much as the Minutemen’s defeat was an organizational failure, BC’s win was an organizational triumph. Legendary coach Jerry York won the 1,000th game of his storied career, and there was no drama in the way it unfolded. McCoshen, Tuch, Chris Calnan, White and Wood all scored in the first period to give the Eagles a 5-0 lead. York’s historic achievement could have been inked into the record books at the first intermission.

Coincidentally, it was the second milestone win for York against the Minutemen in as many seasons. Last year, he became the all-time winningest coach in BC history when the Eagles beat UMass 5-3 at Mullins Center on Nov. 21, 2014.

York already held the record for all time wins by a coach in NCAA Division I history, and extended his own record by becoming the first coach to reach 1,000 wins on Friday night.

His resume is unmatched. York has won five national championships (four with BC), taken the Eagles to 11 Frozen Fours, won nine Hockey East tournament titles and sent dozens of players to the NHL.

Of course, after the game, he praised his assistants, former coaches and players, and said it would have been selfish of him to focus too much on this specific win. He’s already onto the next win, which says something about how he got to 1,000 in the first place.

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RossGien.