Hockey East

Hockey East: BC and BU Make it to the Frozen Four

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This past weekend, the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament took place in various rinks across the country. The Hockey East Conference was well represented by four schools. UMass Amherst, Maine, Boston University, and Boston College. All had a chance to reach the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. Two of them will. Boston College, the #1 overall seed in the tournament, and Boston University the #2 seed in the field of 16 will be on their way to Minnesota for the semi-finals on April 11. For the Eagles (33-5-1) they will meet the Michigan Wolverines out of the Big-10. For the Terriers they will play Denver from the NCHC. Let’s take a look at what’s ahead for both of these Hockey East teams.

The Boston College Eagles survived a tough back-and-forth game with the defending champion from a year ago. The 5-4 win over Quinnipiac in overtime was finished off by graduate student Jack Malone who scored maybe his biggest goal at 3:06 of the extra period. The win was the Eagles 14th straight win. It sends them to their 26th Frozen Four. That number ties them with the team they will be playing in the semi-finals the Wolverines. The 33 wins match the program record for wins done twice in 2001 and 2012. The 14-game unbeaten streak is the first by a Hockey East team since UMass did the trick back in 2021. It is also the year that the Minutemen won the NCAA Hockey Championship. The Eagles are now 51-43 all-time in the tournament and they are 5-7 all-time in overtime games in the NCAA. The Eagles offense has scored 179 goals, the most since scoring 177 in 2010. They are 7-3-1 when scoring first. For the 14th time this season and the fourth straight game, BC scored two PP goals. Freshman goalie Jacob Fowler earned his 31st win of the season. which is now the most by any freshman netminder. He surpassed Michigan goalie AL Montoya who won 30 in 2002-03.

BC’s opponent, the Michigan Wolverines (23-14-3), will be in the Frozen Four for the third straight year after defeating Michigan State 5-2 on Sunday. The win over the Spartans was their 59th all-time NCAA tournament win. Michigan also has a strong offense scoring 169 goals on the year. Their power play converted at a .345 rate (50-of-145). Their penalty-killing unit scored six times. They averaged 4.2 goals per game

Boston University (28-9-2) Took care of the #7 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers 6-3 on Saturday night to reach the Frozen Four for the second year in a row. It marks the first time in 27 years that BU will be making back-to-back trips to the national semi-finals. Their head coach Jay Pandolfo will be making his sixth appearance in the Frozen Four. He played in four of them and has now coached in two of them. The Terriers are loaded with talent. This includes the projected #1 pick in this summer’s NHL entry-level draft, Macklin Celebrini who will enter the Frozen Four with 32 goals and 32 assists for 64 points. He is the first freshman since 2005-06 to have 30 goals and 30 assists in the same season. Junior goaltender Mathieu Caron is 28-9-2 between the pipes.

The Terriers will face the Denver Pioneers (30-9-3) who defeated Cornell University 5-2 to punch their ticket to the Frozen Four for the fifth time in program history. In fact, the Pioneers have made the Frozen Four in five of their last seven tournament appearances. Freshmen were key for Denver to advance as freshmen combined to score three of the four goals scored by the team. They also had six of the 12 points for the Pioneers. Denver has a seven-game winning streak; it’s their longest since Nov.26 thru Dec.17 of 2002. The last time they won eight in a row was in 2022. They are at .500 in the tournament at 3-3. Goaltender Matt Davis is on a seven-game winning streak, which is his longest. The Pioneers penalty kill has been at their best late in the season. They were perfect on the kill for the 22nd time this year and for the third game in a row. Denver has taken care of short-handed issues in five of their last six games and eight of their last 11 games. In the regionals, the Pioneers played their first 2-1 games of the year.

Boston College and Boston University are on opposite sides of the bracket. This means they could meet for the National Championship on Saturday, April 13.

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