Manchester, NH - Once again Evan Rodrigues came up with a clutch goal. The senior alternate captain scored on the power play with 2:24 left in the game to push Boston University past Minnesota Duluth, 3-2, and give the Terriers their first trip to the Frozen Four since winning it all in 2009.
With the Frozen Four in its hometown of Boston, it will be a short trip for the Northeast Regional champion.
It was more third period magic for a team that has outscored its opponents 68-25 in the final period of regulation throughout the entire season. The Terriers dominated the period territorially, holding a 13-5 advantage in shots on goal.
It wasn't until the final few minutes that BU took advantage of the numerous chances. Minnesota Duluth was doing a good job killing the penalty to Andy Wellinski, but BU finally cashed in. Matt Grzelcyk passed it down to Rodrigues on the right circle. He made a beautiful toe drag before ripping a hard shot that cleanly beat UMD goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo.
It was tied 2-2 heading to the third after a second period dominated by UMD. The Bulldogs did a good job controlling the middle of the ice and outshooting BU, 13-6, in the period.
Defenseman Willie Raskob bombed a slap shot from the right point into a virtually open net after BU goaltender Matt O'Connor was caught out of position on the other side where the scrum originated. The goal, assisted by Willie Corrin, tied the score 1-1 just 1:37 into the middle frame.
The goal didn't deter BU as Matt Lane answered back to regain the lead for the Terriers a little under two minutes later. J.J. Piccinich and Chase Phelps had the helpers.
Kyle Osterberg evened the score, 2-2, at the 7:37 mark on a weird bounce that eluded O'Connor. His shot from just inside the blue line appeared harmless, but it somehow got past the Terrier netminder and barely over the goal line.
The Terriers scored the only goal of the first period, capitalizing on a failed clear by the Bulldogs. Defenseman Brandon Fortunato kept the puck in the zone at the left point and chipped it towards the middle of the slot. The puck came right to Rodrigues who turned around and batted the puck past UMD goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo.
Boston University will play the winner of Saturday's West Regional Final between North Dakota and St. Cloud State in the Frozen Four at the TD Garden in Boston on Thursday, April 9.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.