MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Survive and advance.
Never was that more evident than Sunday afternoon in the Northeast Regional final when Boston College survived a questionable play by its goaltender and an injury to its best player and found a way to advance to the 2004 Frozen Four with a 3-2 overtime win against Michigan in front of 8,439 at Verizon Wireless Arena.
With the win, the Eagles (29-8-4) move on to play East Regional champ Maine (32-7-3) in the second national semifinal at Boston's FleetCenter on April 8 (ESPN2, 6 p.m. ET).
After Michigan opened up a 1-0 lead in the first, it appeared that BC was going to control the rest of the day. The Eagles spent most of the next 20 minutes on the attack and peppered Michigan goalie Al Montoya with shot after shot. The Eagles finally broke through at 9:02 when Tony Voce wristed a shot from the goal line that found the net off Montoya's left pad.
"They certainly could have taken us out of the game if it wasn't for Al Montoya," Michigan coach Red Berenson said after his goalie made a career-high 42 saves. "It was one of those games where you might find a way to win but you were being outshot and outchanced. They definitely had the jump on us a big part of the game."
BC continued its assault and had a 15-1 shot advantage late in the second period when Eagle goalie Matti Kaltiainen ventured way out of the crease for a loose puck and the end result -- after defenseman J.D. Forrest blocked the first attempt -- was Michigan captain Andy Burnes' one-timed the rebound into the open net as Kaltiainen scrambled to get back into position.
Michigan carried its 2-1 lead late into the third period when Patrick Eaves, who lives with Kaltiainen, saved his roommate by picking up a rebound and beating Montoya to send the game into overtime.
"I have a lot of confidence in Matti," Eaves said. "That play he made by coming out was a great play. Unfortunately it didn't work out. We always have confidence in Matti. He's a huge part of our team and he played awesome tonight."
Kaltiainen made up for his second-period gaffe by making some big saves down the stretch and a series of stops in one scrambly rush in overtime.
Just over five minutes into the extra session, Michigan nearly advanced to Boston when a puck in the BC crease almost crossed the goal line before Kaltiainen kicked it away.
"Unbelievable save," Forrest said. "I saw it going in the net and all of sudden he flashes his leg out there. Luckily we were able to regroup and survive that flurry. That was big and shows what Matti can do. He makes big saves."
Kaltiainen, who finished with 15 saves in improving to 27-6-4, followed it up seconds later with another deflection of a Wolverine shot that ended up going just over the crossbar.
While the initial overtime excitement was taking place, BC captain Ben Eaves was laying down behind the Eagle bench trying to work out a leg cramp in his right quad. His absence forced freshman Brian Boyle onto the top line along with Patrick Eaves and Tony Voce.
The elder Eaves ended up missing three shifts, and BC coach Jerry York was sure his captain would end up in the dressing room rather than back out on the ice.
But Ben Eaves popped up and joined his brother and Voce for a faceoff and 11 seconds later he was in the right place when Montoya made the initial save on a shot by Patrick Eaves.
Ben Eaves backhanded the rebound but Montoya stood his ground and knocked it up in the air. That's when Eaves swung his stick around, batted the puck out of mid-air and into the back of the net for Boston College, which advances to its fifth Frozen Four in the last seven years.
"It happened really fast," Ben Eaves said. "I got a backhander on net and I thought that was in. I was ready to celebrate. Then I saw it up in the air and took another whack at it."
Patrick Eaves, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the Northeast Regional, was confident his brother would return to BC's top line of Eaves-Eaves-Voce, which scored all three goals for the Eagles.
"Ben's heart is too big. He's not going to sit back on the bench. It doesn't matter if he has one leg, two legs. My brother's heart is big enough. I can't say enough about what he did. It's the bravest thing in hockey I've ever seen."
Ben Eaves survived and Boston College advanced.
David Albright is a senior editor at ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.