Saturday, March 24, 2012

Game Day: Terriers vs Gophers at Western Regional--UPDATED

Terriers return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since winning the national championship in 2009. BU takes on Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, meeting the Gophers for the first time since January 2005, when the teams played the final men’s game at Walter Brown Arena (a 2-1 Minnesota win) and then the first game at Agganis Arena (a 2-1 BU win).

BU brings the nation’s second best offense into the game 3.58 goals per game, but the Gophers aren’t far behind, fourth with 3.55.

The Terrier offense is led by Alex Chiasson (44 points), Matt Nieto (42) and Chris Connolly (40). Wade Megan is BU’s top goal-scorer with 19.

Minnesota, the regular-season WCHA champion, is led by forwards Eric Haula (19-27) and Nick Bjustad (24-16) who played with BU’s Adam Clendening on Team USA in the World Junior Championships this season.

The game also features a duel between standout goalies who are both Colorado Avalanche draft picks: BU’s Kieran Millan and Minnesota’s Kent Patterson.

Scheduled for 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT, the game airs live on NESN and Fox Sports North Plus, and online At A taped replay will be shown tomorrow on ESPNU. The Regional final--BU-Minnesota winner vs. North Dakota-W.Michigan victor--will be played 5:30 p.m. tomorrow and will air on ESPNU.

Tweets from The Boston Hockey Blog indicate the Yasin Cissé will return to the BU lineup, skating on the fourth line with Ross Gaudet and Ben Rosen. Projected lines:

● preview, game notes, Game Tracker
Jack Parker, Connolly, Millan post-practice quotes
● ESPN3 Webcast
● WWZN Radio Webcast
● Boston Hockey Blog preview, in-game live blog
● HockeyEastOnline live scoreboard
● Boston Globe game preview and Garrett Noonan interview

►Terriers have the nation’s top road record this season: 11-4-1

►BU’s last two NCAA regional games played on March 24 produced offensive outbursts. In 2006, led by Chris Higgins’ hattrick, the Terrier leveled Nebraska-Omaha, 9-1. In 1991, BU completed a two-game sweep of Michigan, thumping the Wolverines, 8-1.

►Three Eastern teams advanced in yesterday’s NCAA regional action. Union beat Michigan State and Lowell edged Miami in overtime in the Eastern Regional. Cornell eliminated Michigan in the Midwest Regional.

BU vs. Minnesota in the NCAAs
The 1995 NCAAs brought a semifinal rematch between BU and Minnesota and, again, it was a decisive win for the Scarlet. The score was two apiece after one period with BU goals from Captain Jacques Joubert and Doug Wood, who scored with nine seconds left. Each team scored once in the middle stanza with Matt Wright—who had scored the game-winner in the final Hockey East title game at old Boston Garden—finding net for the Terriers. In the third period, it was all BU as Bob Lachance, Shawn Bates, Mike Sylvia and Chris O’Sullivan scored for a 7-3 final. Minnesota native Derek Herlofsky turned aside 30 Gopher shots to gain his 50th career win in his final start as a Terrier. The next afternoon, BU defeated Maine, 6-2, for its 4th national championshp.

Looking ahead
2012 recruit Sean Maguire stopped 31 of 32 shots, earning second-star honors, as Powell River beat Coquitlam, 4-1, to eliminate the Express, 4-2, in the first round of the BCHL playoffs. The Kings next take on Cowichan in the Coastal Conference final.

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