Spartans Strike Late to Capture First Title Since 1986
K Michigan State 3,
Boston College 1
ST. LOUIS, April 7 — Justin Abdelkader snapped a tie with 19 seconds to go, seconds after ringing a shot off the post in Michigan State’s 3-1 victory over Boston College in the NCAA hockey championship game Saturday night.
Chris Mueller added an emptynet goal with 1.2 seconds left to clinch it for the Spartans (26-13-3), a lightly regarded No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region when the tournament began. Michigan State, play- ing in front of a record crowd of 19,402, won its third championship and first since 1986.
Tim Kennedy tied it midway through the third period, and set up the go-ahead goal from behind the net when he spun off his man and passed the puck in front. Abdelkader, the most valuable player of the final, beat Cory Schneider for his 15th goal and first in nine games.
“Tim made an unbelievable play,” Abdelkader said. “I just had to find a spot open in the slot, and he hit me with a perfect pass.”
Brian Boyle scored in the second period for Boston College (29-11-2), which had won 13 in a row before the final. The Eagles also lost in the championship game last year, 2-1 to Wisconsin.
“When we sign up to play sports, there’s going to be a winner and a loser,” Eagles Coach Jerry York said. “There’s no guarantees in this business and I think our kids are old enough to understand that.”
Michigan State Coach Rick Comley also won it all with Northern Michigan in 1991. He and York are among three coaches to win championships at two schools.
“We’re not fancy and we know we’re not picked by anybody to win anything,” Comley said. “What a great, great group of kids. They’ve wanted so badly to walk around with their heads high, and now they’re going home with a national championship.”
Michigan State held the Eagles to 1 for 4 with the man advantage and was 17 for 18 on the penalty kill in the tournament.
Kennedy tied the game at 1 midway through the third period on a power play, breaking in alone after a faceoff just outside the zone and beating Schneider to the stick side.
Boyle was credited with his 19th goal when Brock Bradford’s shot deflected off his leg and past Michigan State goalie Jeff Lerg at 6 minutes 50 seconds of the second.
Boston College’s Dan Bertram (22) knocks down Michigan State’s Brian Lerg in the second period. The Spartans, seeded third, have won three titles.