Saturday, March 25, 2017

Game 40: Boston University vs UMD (NCAA West Regional Final)

FARGO, N.D. -- This is a chance at redemption for UMD. Sort of.

Two years ago, UMD lost a controversial Northeast Regional final to Boston University in Manchester, then had to watch the Terriers celebrate a Frozen Four berth with their fans. The Bulldogs' older players haven't forgotten that moment. Neither has the announcer. Might have been some cuss words on the ride back to the hotel. I know, shame on me.

Now, the sides meet again, this time again for a spot in the Frozen Four. BU still has some holdovers from that 2014-15 team that was so good, namely big defenseman and captain Doyle Somerby, top line forward Nick Roberto, and defenseman John MacLeod.

But the bulk of this Terriers team is young, and man have they come along. Up front, freshmen Patrick Harper, Clayton Keller, and Kiefer Bellows are joined by sophomores Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter. The blue line is an active one, keyed by sophomore and Bruins first-rounder Charlie McAvoy, who scored the winner against North Dakota on Friday. Junior Brandon Hickey, a Flames draft pick, blocked 17 shots against UND. Yes, 17. In one game.

And I have yet to mention 18-year-old freshman goalie Jake Oettinger. In an era where the majority of college hockey freshman goalies are 19-to-21 years old, Oettinger is in straight out of the National Team Development Program and has a .929 save percentage in 34 games. He made 56 saves on 59 shots in the regional semifinal win over North Dakota, a game where UND attempted an absurd 145 shots.

This team blocks shots, will be a beast to play against between the dots, and has true difference makers in Keller and McAvoy.

Of course, UMD has looked a team on a mission, and while it wasn't great in Friday's win over Ohio State, winning is all that matters at this point in the season.

"You don't always win playing your best game," coach Scott Sandelin said after the overtime drama. "To me, it's about advancing, and learning to get better. That's what this group has done all year. We've got to be a better hockey team to continue to advance."

No changes for UMD. Still no Carson Soucy (lower body). He misses his seventh straight game. UMD had to grind it out Friday, but it is 6-0 without the big senior.

So let's do this, boys. Chicago for the winner.



Iafallo - Toninato - Anderson
Osterberg - Johnson - Mackay
Tufte - Peterson - Kuhlman
Young - Thomas - Exell

Pionk - Kotyk
Raskob - Hilderman
Wolff - Molenaar

Miska - Shepard - Deery

Keller - Forsbacka Karlsson - Harper
Greenway - Carpenter - Roberto
Bellows - Cloonan - Phelps
Kelley - Curry - Chabot

Somerby - McAvoy
Hickey - Fabbro
Krys - MacLeod

Oettinger - LaCouvee

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