BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston College hockey team has gone through 105 practices this season, and head coach Jerry York thinks his team has gotten better each time they’ve stepped on the ice.
Winners of 15 straight, the Eagles are flying high as they enter their 31st NCAA tournament on Saturday. But ask anyone on the team, and they’ll say it’s just been one game, one win at a time.READ MORE: Brookline teachers' strike ends, schools to be open Tuesday
“We put a quote from Tedy Bruschi today on the board,” said head coach Jerry York. “He said ‘we didn’t win 24 straight games, we won one game 24 times.’ So we’re looking at, hey, we’ve won 15, 16 is better than 15 but we just want to do what we do in this particular one game.”
“That’s the way it is in any sport, and I honestly think that’s the way we feel,” said junior forward Chris Krieder, who led the team with 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) this season. “If coach hadn’t mention it I don’t think we would have been able to tell you how many we’ve won in a row.”
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The top overall seed will have to be at their best Saturday when they open the NCAA Tournament against Army at the DCU Center in Worcester.
“Any type of service academy, any sport, they’re going to be gritty, competitive and in great condition,” said York, in the tournament for the 13th time since taking over the Eagles in 1994. “Last year they lost to Yale in overtime, who was a one-seed in the tournament. They beat Michigan two years ago 2-0, so they have a good history in the tournament, and we’re prepared for a really well-played game in front of us.”READ MORE: Massachusetts gas prices rise to new record high of $4.65 a gallon
“They have a great team this year. They’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on,” said Captain Tommy Cross. “We respect them as a team and are looking forward to playing them.”
The Eagles finished the season 29-10-1, outscored opponents 141-87 along the way. The Hockey East champs have the benefit of playing at the close to home this weekend, and expect a very Eagle-friendly crowd come Saturday afternoon at 4pm.
“It keeps my brother awfully happy,” York laughed. “It’s great for the parents and our student body. I think especially Worcester, right down the Pike, Saturday at four is an ideal time.”
Along with the ideal setting for the opening round, York says his team is as good as any of his three Boston College championship teams, even if they do have a target on their backs as the top seed in the tournament.
“I think right now we’re as tight a group of kids as we’ve had,” said York. “We have capable leadership from our captain Tom Cross. Our whole team seems to be more focused. We’re a better club than we were two weeks ago, but we have to a better club tomorrow than we are today. At this stage, you have to keep on improving.”MORE NEWS: Coronavirus in Massachusetts: Today's developments
“You stick to your own game and put the target on your opponent. Right now it’s Air Force. That’s our mentality, we like to attack teams and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Cross. “It’s an exciting time of the year, we’re pretty pump to be in the 16 and have our season still going and a chance to win the trophy; it’s pretty special.”