WORCESTER -- Boston College's top forward line is widely regarded as the best trio in the country. It sure looked that way on Saturday at the DCU Center.
The top-seeded Eagles got three goals and three assists from junior Johnny Gaudreau, two goals and two assists from senior Kevin Hayes, and a goal and two assists from senior Bill Arnold in what was simply a dominant performance. It all added up to a 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded Denver in a men's hockey Northeast Regional semifinal in the NCAA Tournament.
Boston College (27-7-4), ranked third nationally, moved on to the regional final on Sunday.
"Johnny and Kevin and Billy have been our mainstays through their career," said BC head coach Jerry York. "I thought tonight they were really sharp. They moved the puck well. But just as importantly, competed really hard and came back and played good defense."
Gaudreau scored on three of his four shots for his first hat trick at BC. He now has 35 goals and 40 assists on the season. He tied the regionals scoring record, and came up one shy of matching the NCAA Tournament record for points in a game.
From the moment the puck was dropped, BC left little doubt as to who the superior team is. Gaudreau netted the game's first goal 25 seconds into the contest on assists from Hayes and Scott Savage. Hayes added a goal and Gaudreau got another to make it 3-0 less than halfway through the first period.
"The first shift was our worst nightmare," said Denver (20-16-6) head coach Jim Montgomery. "I thought that we regrouped actually pretty well after that. But give coach York credit, I thought he was matching up their top line against our top line, and on the second goal I went to our third line and he went to his guns. You got to give them credit. There were unbelievable goals and skill on display.
The Eagles outshot the Pioneers, 33-20, as freshman BC goalie Thatcher Demko stopped 18 shots. Hayes put seven shots on net by himself.
Boston College added three second-period goals, then spent the final period salting the game away.
Follow Matt Langone on Twitter and Tout @MattLangone