By Matt Noonan
Boston University punched its ticket to the ‘Frozen Four’ – TD Garden in Boston, Mass. – as the Terriers defeated Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, on Saturday evening in the second round of the NCAA Northeast Regional at Verizon Wireless Arena.
BU’s Evan Rodrigues netted two goals, including the game-winner at 17:36 in the third period – his 21st strike of the season – which secured the Terriers a return trip to the TD Garden.
Last weekend, the Terriers earned back-to-back wins at the Garden on Causeway Street, downing New Hampshire and UMass Lowell en route to winning the Hockey East crown. BU secured the top spot in their region and rallied to defeated Yale yesterday, 3-2, in overtime.
Rodrigues opened the scoring for the Red and White in the opening stanza by locating the back of the Bulldogs’ cage at 7:17 in the first period. Minnesota-Duluth responded Willie Raskob, who scored his fourth goal of the season, which made it 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Matt Lane pushed BU ahead, 2-1, at 3:32 in the second period, but again, the Bulldogs countered with Kyle Osterberg that made it 2-2 after two periods of play.
Matt O’Connor picked up his 24th win between the pipes, deflecting 27 shots, including 11 attempts in both the first and second period. Kasimir Kaskisuo concluded his season 18-14-3 and with 27 saves.
Before BU captured the regional finals, Boston College fell to Denver, 5-2, in the East Regional Semifinal in Providence, Rhode Island.
Will Butcher and Grant Arnold each lit the lamp for Denver during the final stanza that pushed the Pioneers ahead for good. Michael Matheson and Ryan Fitzgerald netted the Eagles’ goals.
In South Bend, Indiana, Jimmy Vesey brought Harvard within one-goal of Nebraska-Omaha early in the third period (2-1), but the Mavericks dashed the Crimson’s potential rally, potting back-to-back open-net goals to secure the win (4-1), their first-ever in NCAA Tournament play.