BC romps, advances to Frozen Four finals


BC romps, advances to Frozen Four finals

Associated Press

DETROIT - Wisconsin and Boston College advanced in the Frozen Four with a pair of routs.

They don't expect it to be as easy to win the NCAA hockey championship.

The Badgers beat Rochester Institute of Technology 8-1, then the Eagles pulled away from Miami of Ohio to win 7-1 in the nightcap at Ford Field on Thursday.

When the teams meet Saturday night in a rematch of the 2006 finals, Boston College's Ben Smith expects the game to be much different than the semifinals were for the traditional powers.

"It won't be as high scoring," Smith said.

The Badgers got past Boston College 2-1 for their sixth national title four years ago and their first since 1990.

"I wasn't here in '06, but I know it was a pretty tough loss for a lot of the guys," Smith said. "It's exciting to be back in the national championship game."

Unless you were rooting for the winning teams, there weren't many thrills in this year's Frozen Four. The combined margin of victory of 13 tied the 1953 semifinals for the second largest in NCAA hockey history, two fewer than the differential from the 1954 tournament.

One rout didn't come as a surprise.

One did.

Wisconsin wasted little time showing why it has an elite college hockey program and that Rochester Institute of Technology isn't quite ready for the sport's biggest stage.

The Badgers scored in the opening minutes of the first two periods.

"Like a snowball, it just got rolling and got bigger and bigger," said Derek Stepan, who scored Wisconsin's second and eighth goals.

RIT, seeded 15th in the 16-team field just five years after moving to Division I, ended its first Frozen Four appearance with a thud.

"We ran into a powerhouse," Tigers coach Wayne Wilson said.

Smith put the Eagles ahead of top-seeded Miami 1-0 on a power-play goal with 1:28 left in the opening period. Boston College began to pull away with Jimmy Hayes' power-play goal early in the second and Joe Whitney's goal a minute later. The Eagles turned it into a lopsided affair with four goals in the third.

"We feel very good about playing Wisconsin on Saturday night, that's for sure," said Boston College coach Jerry York, whose 30th NCAA tournament win tied the career record set by Boston University's Jack Parker.

Boston College is in the championship game for the fourth time in five years and seeks its second title in three seasons and the fourth in school history.

The Frozen Four set a world indoor attendance record for hockey, drawing an announced crowd of 34,954 for the two games.

Ford Field home of the NFL's Detroit Lions was prepared for a record crowd with a rink set up near an end zone and portable seats along the boards opposite the team benches.

The two-game session smashed the Frozen Four attendance record of 19,432 set in St. Louis three years ago and hockey's indoor mark of 28,183 from Tampa Bay's home game at Tropicana Field against Philadelphia during the 1996 NHL playoffs.

Price struggles in third inning, but otherwise shines in first start


Price struggles in third inning, but otherwise shines in first start

CHICAGO -- Everything was going smoothly until the No. 9 hitter.

Protecting a 1-0 lead in the third inning Monday in his first start of 2017, David Price walked two straight batters with none on and one out in the third inning. Ninth-place hitter Adam Engel walked, as did leadoff man Tim Anderson -- who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the game.

Price, whose command was in question coming off just two rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, immediately paid for the consecutive free passes.

Melky Cabrera jumped on Price's first pitch, a middle-in fastball, for a three-run homer and a 3-1 lead.

The Sox got Price two runs back in the top of the fourth inning, giving him something of a fresh slate with a tie game at 3-3. He took advantage of the second chance, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the bottom of the inning and keeping the game tied, and was rewarded when Mookie Betts homered to lead off the fifth and put the Red Sox back on top, 4-3.

Back from an elbow injury, Price was impressive out of the gate in his first major league game since last year's playoffs. He struck out Anderson to begin his season and needed just 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning.

The lefty touched 96 mph on the final pitch of the first inning, which produced an easy groundout to shortstop from first baseman Jose Abreu.

Price was staked to a 1-0 lead before he threw a pitch.

Betts' leadoff double against Chicago's David Holmberg gave way to a run thanks to some great Betts base running. He took third base on Dustin Pedroia's ground out and then scored on a foul pop up that Abreu, the first baseman, snagged in foul territory with a basket catch — a rare sacrifice fly to the first baseman.

Home runs were a big problem for Price last year. So too was the third inning, when he had a 6.03 ERA.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision


Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.