Minnesota faces Boston University on Saturday in St. Paul.
Minnesota will play in the NCAA tournament for the 33rd time this weekend when the Gophers face Boston University on Saturday. The Gophers last played in the NCAA tournament in 2008 and lost 5-2 to eventual national champion Boston College. Minnesota is 50-33 all-time in the NCAA tournament.
Facing Boston University
Both Minnesota and Boston University have won five national championships. Minnesota’s most recent title was in 2003, while the Terriers won college hockey’s ultimate prize in 2009. Minnesota is 4-3 all-time against the Terriers in the NCAA tournament (11-12-2 overall). However, Boston University has won two straight NCAA tournament games against Minnesota and both games were in the national semifinals. The Terriers ended the Gophers’ season in 1994 and 1995. Boston University won 4-1 on March 31, 1994, at the St. Paul Civic Center and 7-3 on March 30, 1995, at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, R.I.
Facing North Dakota
The Gophers are 3-2-0 against North Dakota this year, but lost 6-3 last Friday to North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five. The teams have met three times in the NCAA tournament. Minnesota is 1-2 in those games, but the lone win came in the 1979 NCAA championship game.
Facing Western Michigan
The Gophers have never faced Western Michigan in the NCAA tournament. In fact, the two teams have met only once and that was a 9-3 Bronco win in 1989.
Gophers vs. BU
What happened last weekend against UND in the third period can in some part be attributed to Minnesota being such a young team, which can lead to a couple of issues: First, how to get a lead, and secondly, how to manage a lead.
This time of year in playoff hockey, teams need to have the mentality that every shift can be the one that is the difference maker. Every play has value and the little things will matter, especially the “dont’s,” such as don’t turn the puck over at the blue line; don’t take a retaliation penalty; don’t interfere with the goalie.
Minnesota surely learned a valuable lesson last week and should be ready to go against a BU team that has a similar look to the Gophers.
BU has lost a few players throughout the season, so their offense isn’t as deep. The Terriers are led by Alex Chiasson who has 44 points, followed by Matt Nieto who has 42 points and Chris Connolly with 40. BU is pretty solid between the pipes with goaltender Keiran Millan. The Terriers have scored an impressive nine shorthanded goals this season, and their defensemen can pack a scoring punch as well, led by Adam Clendening who has 31 points from the blue line.
The Call: Minnesota
In the other game, UND faces a pretty good Western Michigan who took third this season in the CCHA.
The Call: Western Michigan
Who earns the trip to Tampa via St. Paul?
The Gophers over Western Michigan on Sunday!
Wooger’s picks for the Trip To Tampa:
Minnesota, UMD, Union and Michigan
NCAA East Regional at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
Friday, March 23, 2 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3):
No. 1 Union College (24-7-7) vs No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4).
Friday, March 23, 5:30 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3):
No. 2 Miami (Ohio) (24-12-2) vs No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1).
Saturday, March 24, 5:30 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD):
East Regional Championship.
NCAA Midwest Regional at Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.
Friday, March 23, 4:30 p.m. CST (TV - ESPN Syndication HD/ESPN3 and ESPNU HD tape delay on Friday, March 23, 10:30 p.m. CST):
No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs No. 3 Denver (25-13-4)
Friday, March 23, 8 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3):
No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7)
Saturday, March 24, 8 pm CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3):
Midwest Regional Championship
NCAA West Regional at Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minn.
Saturday, March 24, 12:30 p.m. CST (TV – PICKED UP BY FSNORTH; ESPN Syndication HD/ESPN3 and ESPNU HD tape delay on Sunday, March 25, 11:30 a.m. CST):
No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6)
Saturday, March 24, 4 p.m. CST (TV - PICKED UP BY FSNORTH PLUS; ESPN Syndication HD/ESPN3 and ESPNU HD tape delay on Sunday, March 25, 2 p.m. CST):
No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1)
Sunday, March 25, 4:30 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3):
West Regional Championship
NCAA Northeast Regional at DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.
Saturday, March 24, 3 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3):
No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7)
Saturday, March 24, 6:30 p.m. CST (TV – PICKED UP BY FSNORTH PLUS; ESPN Syndication HD/ESPN3 and ESPNU HD tape delay on Saturday, March 24, 11:30 p.m. ET):
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs No. 3 Maine (23-13-3)
Sunday, March 25, 7 p.m. CST (TV - ESPNU HD/ESPN3);
Northeast Regional Championship