Boston College's campus is known as The Heights, but at this time last year Eagles goalie John Muse was in the depths. After finishing a disappointing sophomore season, he was prepping for surgery on his right hip. Last Saturday, before a record indoor hockey crowd of 37,592 at Detroit's Ford Field, Muse completed his climb back to his sport's pinnacle, stopping all 20 Wisconsin shots as the Eagles won 5--0, giving them their second NCAA title in three years. Two nights before, Muse had 17 saves in BC's 7--1 thumping of top-seeded Miami (Ohio). His NCAA tournament record is unblemished: 8--0. Afterward, Muse was typically modest. "It's not only me," he said. "When I let up a rebound, my defense was right there to clear it out of the way." His teammates, though, were effusive. "The guy's a performer in big games," BC forward and captain Matt Price said of Muse. "Your goalie's got to be your rock, and Johnny's been that for us."
Last season Muse was more rocky than rock. After helping the Eagles to their '08 title, the East Falmouth, Mass., product played in pain for much of '08--09, when BC failed to qualify for the NCAAs, then underwent the operation to repair a torn labrum in his right hip. Thanks to a vigorous strength program he was back between the pipes when the puck was dropped in October but could not find his form, and late in the season he lost his starting job to freshman Parker Milner.
Still, BC coach Jerry York turned to Muse for the postseason. Muse justified that faith, making the key save of the final, a pad stop on Badgers forward Michael Davies from the low slot midway through the first period when the game was still scoreless. "John doesn't get any All-America awards," said York as he celebrated his fourth championship (including one at Bowling Green). "But if you're picking a goaltender to win a money game, you have to go with John Muse."