BOSTON -- Good evening and welcome to Boston's TD Garden where the ninth national champion in Hockey East's 31-year history will be crowned on Saturday night. The Frozen Four championship game is set for a 7:30 p.m. start with league regular-season and tournament winner Boston University taking on Providence.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN (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.
Tonight marks the third Frozen Four title game between Hockey East foes, but the first since Maine (a team for which current Providence head coach Nate Leaman was an assistant) beat New Hampshire in overtime in Anaheim, Calif. in 1999.
Also of historical note, PC and BU also provide the smallest combined distance from the host venue in tournament history as the Garden is 51 miles from PC's Schneider Arena and just four from BU's Agganis Arena.
The Friars defeated three NCHC opponents on the road to the championship game, including Thursday night's 4-1 win against Omaha. Junior captain Noel Acciari extended his four-game point streak (3-2--5) in the NCAA Tournament by scoring the game's opening goal in the second period, one of the team's 48 shots on goal.
Senior Shane Luke had a multi-point weekend when the teams split a home-and-home series Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 with each side gaining two Hockey East points away from home. He scored the deciding goal 12:18 into the second period in the latter game.
The Friars lost 2-1 to Rensselaer in their first and only other appearance in the national championship game exactly 30 years ago, advancing there as Chris Terreri made a Frozen Four-record 62 saves in a 4-3 triple overtime win over Boston College.
BU advanced to its 11th national title game with a 5-3 triumph over North Dakota in the semifinal nightcap, holding on after surrendering a pair of third-period goals. The Terriers have become the ninth team ever, and first since rival BC in 1998, to play for the national title after a losing season the year before.
Freshman Jack Eichel, who became an All-American and the youngest player ever to win the Hobey Baker Award yesterday, scored two goals and an assist against UND. 39 of the North Chelmsford, Mass. native's even 70 points on the season have been scored in the third period or overtime.
Senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann and freshman defenseman Brien Diffley each had two assists for their ninth and third multi-point games of the season, respectively. Hohmann set up Eichel for an empty-net strike which put BU up by two goals with 19 seconds remaining.
Here are tonight's lines:
Shane Luke - Ross Mauermann - Trevor Mingoia
Nick Saracino - Noel Acciari - Brian Pinho
Kevin Rooney - Mark Jankowski - Brandon Tanev
Steven McParland - Stefan Demopoulos
Jake Walman - John Gilmour
Kyle McKenzie - Josh Monk
Tom Parisi - Anthony Florentino
(extra) Mark Adams
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