BU, Northeastern headed to Worcester regionalTelegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.
March 18. 2018 11:00PM
In order to get into this year’s NCAA Tournament, Boston University faced a must-win situation when it took on Providence College in the Hockey East final.
Behind third-period goals from Drew Melanson and Bobo Carpenter (empty net), and a 30-save effort from goaltender Jake Oettinger, the Terriers got the job done, earned the conference’s automatic NCAA bid, and skate into the national tourney as one of the field’s most dangerous and determined teams.
BU earned the No. 4 seed in the Northeast Regional and will play top seed Cornell in a semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.
No. 2 seed Michigan and No. 3 seed Northeastern face off in the other semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The winners play in the regional final at 4 p.m. Sunday, with the champion advancing to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn., April 5-7.
This marks the 15th time the NCAA men’s ice hockey regionals have been played at the DCU Center, which has hosted more NCAA Tournament games than any other arena. For the sixth time, Holy Cross is the host school for the event.
Cornell (25-5-2) earned a regional No. 1 seed for the first time since 2003. The Big Red are seeking their first NCAA victory since 2012.
Cornell defeated BU, 4-3, November 25 at Madison Square Garden. The teams will meet in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1972 national championship game.
The Big Red outscored Quinnipiac, 11-1, in two ECAC tourney quarterfinal games before falling to Princeton, 4-1, in the semis.
Cornell goalie Matthew Galajda, the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year, leads the nation with a 1.49 goals-against average and nine shutouts.
BU is making its fourth straight and 36th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The Terriers were 8-11-1 after a 3-0 loss to Maine on Jan. 6. They are 6-0-1 in their last seven games heading into the NCAAs.
BU (21-13-4) won two overtime games in the Hockey East tourney, 5-4 over UConn in the quarterfinals and 4-3 over Boston College in the semis. The Terriers claimed their ninth Hockey East tourney title. BU is the most recent (2009) national champion in the Northeast Regional bracket.
In February, Northeastern beat Boston University, 5-2, to capture its first Beanpot title since 1988. That victory was the first of seven straight for the Huskies (23-9-5). The streak was snapped with a 3-2 overtime loss to Providence in the Hockey East semifinals. The Friars are the No. 2 seed in the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn.
The Huskies are in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time overall and second time in the last three seasons.
Northeastern features two of the nation’s top three leading scorers. Adam Gaudette, the Hockey East Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker Award finalist, ranks first with 60 points (30 goals, 30 assists), while Dylan Sikura, also a Hobey Baker Award finalist, is third with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists). Gaudette also leads the nation in goals.
Northeastern is averaging 3.62 goals per game to rank fifth in the country. Just behind the Huskies is Michigan, which is putting up 3.35 goals per game.
This season’s NCAA Tournament bid is the 37th overall in Michigan history, which is the second most after Minnesota (38), and the first since 2016.
Michigan won just 13 games last year and was 8-10-2 as of Jan. 7. Like Boston University, the Wolverines righted their season at the right time.
The Wolverines, one of four Big Ten teams in the NCAA field, finished the regular season on a six-game unbeaten streak and defeated Wisconsin, 6-5 and 7-4, in two Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal games. Michigan (20-14-3) fell to Ohio State in overtime in the Big Ten semis.
Tony Calderone has a team-high 23 goals, while Cooper Marody has 32 assists.
St. Cloud State, Notre Dame and Ohio State are the other top regional seeds in the 16-team tournament.