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February 15, 2013

Top spot showdown: Defending national champions Boston College play at Merrimack tonight with first place at stake

National champion BC plays at Merrimack tonight for first place

When you own enough national championship rings to fill up one hand and also have the most wins of any coach in the history of NCAA Div. 1 hockey, it’s almost your right to be able to walk into any hockey rink in the country with a just dash of ego and maybe an over-inflated swagger.

But you won’t find that with Boston College head coach Jerry York.

Despite all the trophies -- the most recent of which being BC’s fourth straight Beanpot title on Monday -- York remains regarded as one of the nicest in a game full of nice guys.

”It’s hard for people to believe this, because he’s been around so long and he’s been so successful and he’s won so many games, but I still don’t think that he gets the credit he deserves,” said York’s biggest rival, Boston University head coach Jack Parker.

His resume is so glowing, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was fake. Five national titles. Nine Hockey East championships, including five of the last six. 930 wins. Seven Beanpot titles and 12 NCAA tournament appearances.

In the last 13 years, York’s BC teams have appeared in 10 Frozen Fours and have played for eight national titles, winning four. Since 1998, his Eagle teams are a jaw-dropping 65-16 in the postseason, winning 80 percent of their games.

Tonight, York brings his defending national champs into Merrimack College’s Lawler Arena at 7:30. With the Warriors’ recent surge up the Hockey East standings, the winner will be alone in first place on Saturday morning.

But Lawler Arena hasn’t been the friendliest of confines for the Eagles. In the last three seasons, BC has just one win in North Andover, and that took some late-game heroics from Paul Carey in a 2-1 win last season. The year before that, Merrimack beat the Eagles twice at home, while ironically enough, BC was the defending national champions, as they are now. In 2009, BC lost 5-3 to the Warriors in North Andover.

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