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Boston College falls to Denver in Frozen Four Championship as Matt Davis shuts out Eagles

Boston College reacts after losing to Denver in Frozen Four Championship
Boston College reacts after losing to Denver in Frozen Four Championship 04:10

BOSTON -- Boston College is not bringing home a sixth hockey championship this season. The top-seeded Eagles were shut out by Denver goalie Matt Davis in Saturday's Frozen Four title game, and lost 2-0 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Davis was incredible all night against one of the most powerful offenses in college hockey, turning away all 35 shots that Boston College sent his way. That included the save of the tournament in the third period, as Davis made 23 stops in the game's final frame. He led Denver to its 10th national championship, breaking a tie with Michigan for the most all time.

Saturday was the first time Boston College was shut out all season. The Eagles were riding a 15-game winning streak, and had outscored opponents 15-5 in the NCAA Tournament. 

But they couldn't get any shots by Davis, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after giving up just three goals in Denver's four games. 

"It was a championship battle and they were as stingy and tight as we've seen defensively all year," Boston College head coach Greg Brown said of Denver. "I'm proud of our guys too, not just the season they had but the game tonight too."

"They just used their experience to their advantage. It took us too long to get going. They suppressed us for the first two-thirds of the game," said BC forward Jack Malone, who put just one shot on goal. "I think they have a great team there and put together a good game."

Boston College had a number of good chances in the third period, but they either hit a post or the brick wall that Davis had built in net. He made a flurry of saves over the final 10 minutes, and a handful more over the final minutes after the Eagles pulled goaltender Jacob Fowler. 

Fowler was pretty good himself, turning away 24 of the 26 shots that the Pioneers sent at him. He was tested early as Denver controlled the opening minutes, and Boston College didn't attempt a shot for the first seven minutes of the game. The Eagles' first shot was a great opportunity, as Will Smith went in on a breakaway, but Davis denied the opportunity.

Davis rejected three more shots at close range by the Eagles midway through the period -- two by Smith and another by Gabe Perreault -- as Boston College started to find its offensive attack. Davis also made a big pad save on Cutter Gauthier late in the first period.

The Eagles offense was stymied again for much of the second period, attempting  just five shots over the 20 minutes. A boarding call on Boston College's Mike Posma gave Denver a power play early in the period and the Pioneers had chances, but the Eagles' top-ranked penalty kill was able to keep them off the board. Fowler turned away a weak shot by Jack Devine, and junior defenseman Aidan Hreschuk blocked another Denver attempt with the back of his foot to keep the game scoreless.

Gauthier had a great scoring chance in front of the net at the 10:47 mark, but Davis made another great save. Eamon Powell's bid off the rebound went wide, and the game remained scoreless -- but not for long.

Denver finally broke through at the 10:18 mark of the second when Jared Wright snuck a wrister up and over Fowler to give the Pioneers a 1-0 edge. It was his14th goal of the season, but the first in over a month for the Denver sophomore.

Wright had a chance to double that lead a few minutes later when he turned a BC turnover in the Denver end into a breakaway, but Fowler made a nice pad save to turn away the scoring bid. Fowler made another great save less than two minutes later when Denver's Aidan Thompson flew in and fired a wrister on the BC netminder.

There wasn't much Fowler could do about Denver's next shot though. Zeev Buium drew a pair of defenders as he raced into the BC zone and made an incredible backhand feed to Rieger Lorenz, who put in a wrister over Fowler to give Denver a 2-0 lead with 4:44 to go in the second.

That's how the two teams went into the locker rooms after 40 minutes. It was just the second time all season that Boston College was held scoreless through two periods this season.

Boston College got their first power play of the game early in the third, and Ryan Leonard had a chance to cut the deficit in half when he was gifted a wide open net at point-blank range thanks to a great feed by Perreault. But Davis made the save of the tournament, sprawling out to keep the shot out of the net with his forearm.

The Eagles got just two shots on net during their power play, both of which came off the stick of Leonard and both of which were sent away by Davis. 

Smith actually beat Davis with a deep wrister with 12:08 in the game, but the shot clanged off the post. The Eagles had more scoring chances when they went back on the power play with under eight minutes to play, but Davis sent away all four shots BC put on net. He made a nice pad save on a deep shot by Leonard, and got lucky when another deep shot from Gauthier hit him in the facemask. 

The Eagles opted not to pull Fowler until there was 2:38 left, despite having a few opportunities to do so a few minutes earlier. Davis made five saves while the Eagles had six skaters, and Denver junior Massimo Rizzo also blocked a shot by Gauthier.

"When it's a one game series you need some breaks in there," Brown said after the loss. "Our guys gave everything they had and tonight wasn't their night."

Saturday was the second time that Denver beat Boston College this season. The Pioneers also beat the Eagles, 4-3, on Oct. 21 in Boston.

It's a disappointing end to what could have been a historic season for Boston College. The Eagles finish 34-7-1, which is tied for the most wins in school history.

They came up short Saturday, but Brown commended his young team for their commitment throughout the season.

"The guys, right from the first practice back on Sept. 1, kept pushing. They grew as a team," he said. "We were young, very young with tons of freshmen. They grew in the first semester, starting hitting their stride, and that loss to BU in the Beanpot hardened us. We played a lot of good hockey after that, right up until today."

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