BOSTON -- North Dakota and Boston University were two of the nation's best wire-to-wire teams this season and will meet at TD Garden in Boston, as many expected, on this Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. with a spot in the Frozen Four title game up for grabs.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 (and TSN2 in Canada) with John Buccigross, Barry Melrose and Quint Kessenich on the call. Westwood One Radio (Sirius/XM 91) will provide worldwide coverage with Sean Grande and Cap Raeder.
Yale and Minnesota-Duluth each gave Hockey East champion BU their best shots in the Northeast Regional, but the Terriers squeaked ahead in a pair of one-goal games to advance to the Frozen Four for the 22nd time.
Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues scored the game-winning goal with 2:24 remaining in regulation in the March 28 regional final, lifting BU to a 3-2 win over UMD in Manchester, N.H. Oddly enough, BU's 2009 national championship run also commenced out of Manchester as it defeated Ohio State and New Hampshire.
Rodrigues scored a goal and an assist in the 2-1 overtime win over Yale the previous night and scored twice against UMD, making him an easy choice for the regional's Most Outstanding Player. BU improved its nation-leading 17-2-2 record in games away from home with the two regional wins, a mark which includes six wins in as many neutral site games.
North Dakota holds a 12-9-2 edge in the all-time series with BU but is 0-2-1 in the last three meetings, two of which came in a weekend series last season at Agganis Arena.
UND lost to Denver in the NCHC third-place game but earned 4-1 regional wins over Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State to advance to the Frozen Four for a second consecutive season. Junior Drake Caggiula scored twice and added an assist on the weekend and has a four-point edge (18-18--36) for the team's top spot.
Forward Stephane Pattyn, part of a seven-member UND senior class, leads the NCAA having played in 166 consecutive games entering the night and has sat out just once in his collegiate career.
Here are tonight's lines:
TERRIERS (27-7-5, 14-5-3 Hockey East)
Evan Rodrigues - Jack Eichel - Danny O'Regan
A.J. Greer - Cason Hohmann - Ahti Oksanen
Nikolas Olsson - Matt Lane - Robbie Baillargeon
Chase Phelps - Mike Moran - Nick Roberto
Matt Grzelcyk - John MacLeod
Brandon Hickey - Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby - Brien Diffley
UND (29-9-3, 16-6-2-0 NCHC)
Drake Caggiula - Luke Johnson - Michael Parks
Stephane Pattyn - Nick Schmaltz - Wade Murphy
Bryn Chyzyk - Colten St. Clair - Tucker Poolman
Brendan O'Donnell - Connor Gaarder - Austin Poganski
Keaton Thompson - Jordan Schmaltz
Nick Mattson - Paul LaDue
Gage Ausmus - Troy Steecher