WORCESTER, Mass. —Pat Mullane scored the tiebreaking goal 3:46 into the third period and Matt Price was awarded a goal when he was hauled down breaking toward an empty net with 12 seconds left, lifting Boston College to a 3-1 win over Alaska-Fairbanks in the NCAA tournament Saturday.
Matt Lombardi also scored for the Eagles (26-10-3), the top seed in the Northeast Regional. They will face Yale, a 3-2 winner over North Dakota, on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
Andy Taranto scored for Alaska-Fairbanks (18-12-9) in its NCAA tournament debut.
Boston College, the Hockey East tournament champion, improved to 9-0 in first-round NCAA tournament games in Worcester. The Eagles are seeking their third NCAA title since 2001.
With Nanooks goalie Scott Greenham pulled for an extra skater in the final 30 seconds, Price was racing toward a loose puck deep in the Alaska zone when he was hooked down by defenseman Joe Sova.
After a brief pause, the referee signaled “automatic goal” with both hands in the air, grabbing one wrist to indicate a goal even though the puck never went into the net.
“I was thinking when I was lying in the crease, is he going to make me take a penalty shot? Can you have a penalty shot when there’s no goalie?” Price said. “It took a while for him to signal it was an automatic goal.”
Lombardi had a short-handed goal in the first period for BC. Taranto tied it with a power-play score late in the second.
Eagles goalie John Muse made 28 saves—and caught a break when Dustin Sather hit the crossbar with just more than 2 minutes to play.
“We had all we could handle,” Boston College coach Jerry York said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in an NCAA tournament game where the games aren’t difficult.”
The Eagles jumped ahead 1-0 when Lombardi collected a loose puck near center ice, broke in on a semi-breakaway, shifted and tucked a backhander behind Greenham at 8:54.
Alaska tied it when Taranto took a pass from behind the net and slipped a shot by Muse from the slot.
For most of the game, the Nanooks kept BC’s high-flying offense in check.
“I think the game from our standpoint was where we wanted it,” Alaska coach Dallas Ferguson said. “We didn’t want it to be 7-6, 8-6.”
It was the farthest East the Nanooks have played since traveling to Elmira, N.Y., in 1993.
“I’m so proud of the way we competed, being our first time in the tournament,” Ferguson said.
Greenham made 29 saves.