This weekend at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., Boston College will be gunning for the school's sixth NCAA Championship, and fifth of the Jerry York era.
The Eagles, winners of the NCAA Northeast Regional, are making their seventh Frozen Four appearance in 11 seasons. BC took home the national championship trophy the last, and only time, college hockey's pinnacle event was in the Sunshine State.
Unlike some of its recent runs to the Frozen Four, BC is not the favorite this time around. While York's club is far from the most complete team in the field, it does have several things going in its favor. Here's the top three reasons Boston College will return to Beantown with a national championship in tow.
1. Thatcher Demko
It's been said defense and goaltending wins championships. With just two games left to win, the stakes ratchet up that much higher. There's no goaltender in all of college hockey that you'd rather have between the pipes this weekend than Demko.
The U.S. NTDP alum has a .936 save percentage, just decimal points away from being the NCAA Division I leader in the category. His 10 shutouts is tops in the nation. The Vancouver Canucks prospect is big, athletic, fundamentally sound and cool, calm and collected.
Demko is up for both major individual awards being handed out Friday night. He's a Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist as well as a finalist for the Mike Richter Award, given to the best goaltender in college hockey.
2. Heavy Artillery
While BC lacks the depth and ability to roll four lines that some of the other top teams in college hockey possess, York's team has enough firepower that it can strike at any time.
Quinnipiac has Sam Anas, North Dakota has the Caggiula-Schmaltz-Boeser line and Denver has Danton Heinen, but the Eagles have two first round picks and seven others selected in the top 100 of the NHL Draft. In addition to those nine, leading scorer Ryan Fitzgerald and the diminutive Austin Cangelosi are always a threat to score.
While BC has the worst even strength corsi of any team in the Frozen Four, and will likely be outshot, especially against Quinnipiac, it has the talent to break the game open at any point. Case in point was the Eagles' 3-2 win over Minnesota Duluth in the Northeast Regional Final. The Bulldogs were controlling play, and had more sustained time in the offensive zone, but BC cashed in on its opportunities to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
3. Jerry York
If there's anyone you want on your side come April it's college hockey's all-time wins leader. Jerry York, and his 1,012 wins and five national championships, brings more experience winning than any other coach in the field -- by a country mile.
There's really no further explanation needed, but no coach has had his team better prepared to win trophies come March and April over the past two decades than York.