March 23, 2012
NCAA West Regional - Tournament Central
March 24, 2012 - 5 p.m. ET
Xcel Energy Center - Saint Paul, Minn.
#8/10 Boston University (No. 3 seed) vs. #6 Minnesota (No. 2 seed)
TV: NESN, FCS-Pacific
RADIO: WWZN (1510-AM)
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Twitter: @BUAthletics | @BUGameDay (in-game)
Inside BU Hockey - Episode 21
Friday: Video of Practice | BU Post-Practice Quotes
Two of the nation's most storied programs face off in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional, as third-seeded Boston University takes on second-seeded Minnesota this Saturday (March 24) at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. Game time is set for 5 p.m. ET.
The teams will be meeting for the first time since they closed Walter Brown Arena and opened Agganis Arena on Jan. 2 & 3, 2005. Both games were 2-1 results, as Minnesota won the Brown Arena finale before BU christened Agganis with a victory the following night.
Both BU and Minnesota earned at-large berths to this year's NCAA tournament. The other two teams in this regional - North Dakota (WCHA) and Western Michigan (CCHA) - won their respective conference tournaments to earn automatic bids.
The Fighting Sioux and the Broncos will meet in the first semifinal at 1:30 p.m. and the two winners will meet on Sunday (March 25) at 5:30 p.m. with a spot in the Frozen Four on the line.
BU and Minnesota boast two of the top offenses in the country, as the Terriers rank second at 3.58 goals per game and the Gophers rank fourth (3.55).
Minnesota is the host for the West Regional and plays its home games on campus at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. The Terriers have the best road record in the nation at 11-4-1 (.719).
IN THE TWIN CITIES
BU is 6-9-2 all-time in the Twin Cities (2-2-0 in Saint Paul, 4-7-2 in Minneapolis).
This will mark BU's fifth contest this season in an NHL arena, as the Terriers topped Cornell at Madison Square Garden and have played three games at TD Garden.
ON THE BIG STAGE
Since 1990, Boston University is 63-24-4 (.714) in games with an attendance of 10,000 or more.
The Terriers and Golden Gophers have played 25 times since first meeting on Dec. 20, 1963, in the opening round of the Boston Christmas Holiday Festival.
BU holds a slim 12-11-2 (.520) edge in those contests. Minnesota is 4-3 in the teams' seven NCAA tournament meetings, but the Terriers have been victorious in the past two, which took place at the 1994 and 1995 semifinals.
The Terriers defeated Minnesota, 4-2, in the 1971 NCAA title game in Syracuse, N.Y., to claim their first national championship.
In addition, the teams met on Oct. 12, 1996, for a Hall of Fame exhibition contest that the Terriers won, 4-3, at Target Center.
The Xcel Energy Center will be the 12th different venue in which BU and Minnesota have met.
The teams have gone to overtime in five of their previous meetings and the Terriers are undefeated in those games (3-0-2).
The lone shutout in the series history came on Jan. 21, 1989, as BU's Peter Fish stopped all 17 shots he faced in a 1-0 triumph.
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS
Minnesota was the regular-season champion in the WCHA with a 20-8-0 conference record, but fell in the league semifinals to North Dakota last Friday.
The Gophers boast the fifth-best power play in the country, having converted on 21.1 percent of their chances (40-of-173) this season.
Seventeen NHL draft picks dot the Minnesota roster and 11 of them are underclassmen.
Sophomore Erik Haula leads the team in scoring with 46 points on 19 goals and 27 assists. Classmate Nick Bjugstad is second with 40 points on the strength of a team-best 24 goals.
Freshman Kyle Rau (17g, 21a) and sophomore defenseman Nick Schmidt (3g, 35a) each have recorded 38 points.
Senior Kent Patterson is one of the top goaltenders in the nation, boasting a .910 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He is tied for the nation lead in shutouts this season with seven.
Bjugstad and Patterson were named to the All-WCHA First Team, while Schmidt earned second-team honors.
Don Lucia is in his 13th season at the helm of the Minnesota program and has a record of 316-172-54 (.637) at the school. He led the Gophers to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2003 and 2004.
SEE YOU SUNDAY?
This marks the third time in BU's last five NCAA appearances that it's joined by North Dakota in its regional.
BU is 7-11-1 (.395) all-time against the Fighting Sioux with a 2-3-0 (.400) mark in the NCAA tournament.
BU is 3-0 all-time against the Broncos, most recently earning a 5-2 victory in the semifinals of the Mariucci Classic on Dec. 30, 1994.
KING OF THE HILL
Head coach Jack Parker is bringing the Terriers to the NCAAs for a record 24th time. Ron Mason and Red Berenson are tied for second in NCAA appearances by a coach with 22.
The Terriers are making their 32nd appearance in the NCAA tournament (17th in last 23 years), second only to Michigan (35) and Minnesota (33).
Boston College ranks fourth with 31 appearances and Michigan State and North Dakota are tied for fifth at 27.
The Terriers enter the West Regional with an all-time record of 38-32-0 (.543) in NCAA tournament play. The 38 wins represent the fifth-highest total in tournament history.
The only programs with more victories are Minnesota (50), Michigan (50), North Dakota (42) and Boston College (41).
The Terriers won the title in 1971, 1972, 1978, 1995 and 2009. They finished second five times (1950, 1967, 1991, 1994 and 1997), third five times (1951, 1960, 1974, 1975 and 1977) and fourth three times (1953, 1966 and 1976).
There was no consolation game in 1990 and 1993 to determine if BU finished third or fourth.
In all, the Terriers have faced 27 different teams in NCAA play, and have the most meetings and wins against Michigan (5-4-0).
BU is 15-16-0 (.484) vs. the WCHA, 10-7-0 (.558) vs. the CCHA, 9-4-0 (.692) vs. the ECAC, 1-1-0 (.500) vs. the Tri-State League and 3-4-0 (.429) vs. Hockey East.
The Terriers are 5-5-0 (.500) in the championship game, 5-3-0 (.625) in the consolation game, 10-11-0 (.476) in the semifinals, 12-9-0 (.571) in the quarterfinals and 6-4-0 (.600) in the first round.
BU is 9-9-0 (.500) in one-goal games and 2-3-0 (.400) in overtime games.
Each of BU's last five NCAA losses has occurred against a team that advanced to the national title game, but only Michigan State (2007) went on to capture the title.
VS. 2012 FIELD
The Terriers hold an 6-7-0 record this season against teams that qualified for this year's NCAA tournament, including non-conference wins over Denver and Cornell and two victories over top-seeded Boston College.
Since 1992, when the NCAA moved to a regional format, the Terriers have now been a three seed three times (2000, 2005, 2012).
They were a number one seed six times (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2006, 2009) a two seed five times (1993, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2007) and a four seed once (1992).
The Terriers have a 10-8-0 (.556) in their 18 previous Regional contests.
Prior to this year, BU has appeared in regionals in just five other cities -- Worcester, Mass., Albany, N.Y., Providence, R.I., Grand Rapids, Mich. and Manchester, N.H.
CURRENT TERRIERS IN THE TOURNAMENT
Just two current Terriers have experience in the NCAA tournament, as senior Chris Connolly tallied three points (1g, 2a) as a freshman during the run to the 2009 NCAA title.
Connolly opened the scoring in the title game versus Miami and also assisted on the overtime winner. He also earned an assist in the regional final against New Hampshire.
Kieran Millan went 4-0 in the NCAAs as a freshman en route to a spot on the All-Tournament Team. He posted a 2.65 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage over the four contests.
Senior Chris Connolly has 10 points (3g, 7a) over his current five-game point streak.
Sophomore Matt Nieto is on a seven-game point streak with nine points (4g, 5a) during the stretch.
Over the last seven games, sophomore Garrett Noonan (5g, 4a) and junior Alex Chiasson (3g, 6a) each have nine points.
Freshman Evan Rodriges is on the best stretch of his rookie season with four points (1g, 3a) over the last three games.
Freshman Alexx Privitera had one point in each of his first six games after returning from a wrist injury that kept him out of seven contests.
Junior right wing Alex Chiasson is the team leader in points with 44 (15g, 29a). That total is tied the sixth-most by a BU right wing since Hockey East was formed.
His 44 points are the most by a Terrier at the position since Mike Grier notched 46 points during the 1995-96 campaign.
Sophomore left wing Matt Nieto ranks second on this year's team in points with 42 (16g, 26a). That's the most by a BU left wing since Chris Higgins had 47 points during the 2008-09 campaign.
Junior left wing Wade Megan has 19 goals this season, which is the most by a Terrier since Jason Lawrence and Brandon Yip put up 25 and 20, respectively, during the 2008-09 season.
Senior captain Chris Connolly, who had a career-high four-point performance in the regular-season finale, has recorded 129 points (39g, 90a) during his time with the Terriers. That total ranks eighth among all active Division I players.
Connolly's 90 assists are the most by a Terrier since Chris Drury put up 101 during his career from 1994-98. Chris Higgins (84) and Pete MacArthur (83) had the most since Drury before Connolly passed them.
Connolly led all Hockey East players in assists during league play this season with 26.
After assisting on the go-ahead goal in a 2-1 win at UNH on Dec. 8, Connolly became the 78th player to score 100 points at BU.
His younger brother, Jack, is a senior captain at Minnesota-Duluth and is atop the active career list with 195 points (65g, 130a).
D PROVIDING O
Since the turn of the new year, the Terriers' defensemen have combined to tally 71 points (23g, 48a) in 22 games.
Sophomore Garrett Noonan ranks tied for first with Wisconsin's Justin Schultz nationally in goals by a defenseman with 16. That total is the most by a BU blueliner since Vic Stanfield put up 16 in 1973-74 and is just one off the school's NCAA-era record of 17 set by Bob Brown in the 1970-71 season.
Sophomore Adam Clendening has 22 points (2g, 20a) in his last 22 games with three three-assist efforts during the stretch.
Clendening is tied for first amongst Hockey East defensemen in points with 31 (3g, 28a) and his 0.84 points-per-game average ranks sixth nationally amongst blueliners.
Freshman Alexx Privitera scored 12 points (4g, 8a) in league play to lead all rookie defensemen.
After suffering a 7-1 loss at UMass Lowell on Nov. 5 in the team's most lopsided defeat in over 12 years, the Terriers won 10 straight games on the road in Hockey East play.
BU joins Maine's 1992-93 national championship team as the only Hockey East squads to win 10 straight conference road games. That famed 42-1-2 squad went 12-0 on the road in league play.
The Terriers are 11-5-1 on the road this season, but just 10-8-0 at home.
Sophomore Garrett Noonan is an incredible plus-16 in games away from Agganis Arena this season.
Boston University is fourth in the nation in shorthanded goals with nine.
BU has allowed two shorthanded goals all year and didn't give one up until the Beanpot title game.
Over the past four seasons, 21 different BU players have recorded a shorthanded goal.
PAIR OF TERRIERS IN RUNNING FOR BROWN
Senior forward Chris Connolly and sophomore defenseman Adam Clendening are two of 21 semifinalists for this year's Walter Brown Award.
The award is given annually by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston to the top American-born college hockey player in New England.
Four of BU's last seven games have gone to overtime.
Nationally, BU boasts four of the top 20 players in assists per game.
Since the turn of the new year, junior Alex Chiasson has tallied at least a point in 17 of 21 contests with a total of 30 points (10g, 20a) and has committed just 10 penalties after earning a team-high 45 penalty minutes in the 2011 portion of the season.
Sophomore Garrett Noonan ranks second among Hockey East players in plus-minus at plus-21.
BU went 4-2-0 in November after combining for just three November wins over the previous two seasons.
The Terriers are second in the nation in penalty minutes per game at 18.8.
BU has four shutouts this season - three by Kieran Millan - after totaling just two the previous two seasons combined.
The Terriers are 8-8-0 against ranked opponents this season and 15-6-1 against unranked teams.
BU now boasts four wins this season over teams ranked fourth or higher at the time it has faced them (Boston College twice, Denver, Merrimack).
This was the first season that the Terriers were atop the league standings during the month of January since the 2004-05 campaign.
The 7-1 loss to Lowell on Nov. 5 was BU's most lopsided defeat since an 8-2 loss against Providence in the first game of the 1999 Hockey East quarterfinals.
NEW YEAR, NEW RESULTS ON THE POWER PLAY
At the turn of the new year, the BU power play ranked 35th in the country at 17.9 percent (15-of-84). In their first 13 games of 2012, the Terriers converted on 24 of 67 chances (.358) with the man advantage to move up to third in the country.
For the season, the Terriers have converted on 43 of 190 chances (.226) on the power play to rank eighth.
BU has scored at least one power-play goal in 17 of its last 20 games. Dating back to last season, the Terriers have had at least one power-play goal in 37 of their last 47 contests.
The Terriers' power play ranked just 47th in the country last season at 14.9 percent (32-of-215) but converted on 15 of its last 66 chances.
Kieran Millan, a six-time Hockey East weekly honoree this year, has broke BU's career records for wins, saves and games played this season.
His 80 career wins are 22 more than any other active Division I netminder.
He broke BU's all-time record for career wins with his 63rd in the victory over Denver on Oct. 15.
In the Terriers' game at Maine on Dec. 10, he broke the record for career saves.
Millan reached the 50-win mark last Dec. 8 and needed just 80 starts reach the milestone.
He became the first goaltender in school history to shut out both Boston College and New Hampshire in the same season.
Twelve of BU's returnees from last season have surpassed their career high in points so far this season and eight have set new career bests in goals.
Junior Wade Megan has more points this year (28) than in his first two seasons combined (25), as does classmate Sean Escobedo (13, 9).
Eleven of BU's wins this season have been comeback victories. The team is 10-9-1 in games in which it has allowed the first goal.
The Terriers also recorded 11 come-from-behind victories last season after only having five in 2009-10.
SCORING BY CLASS
The sophomores hold a 147-121 lead over the juniors in the race for scoring by class, but the juniors have provided the most goals (52):
Sophomore Matt Nieto has scored at least one point in 26 games this season and ranks second on the team with 42 points (16g, 26a).
He had an eight-game goal-scoring streak snapped in November at Lowell. He totaled 12 points overall (8g, 4a) during the streak, which dated back to last season's Hockey East quarterfinals.
The goal-scoring streak was the longest by a Terrier since Chris Drury scored in nine straight from Nov. 1-26, 1996.
Nieto had 13 points (4g, 9a) in the last 11 games of the 2010-11 season after tallying two points (1g, 1a) in his first 11 contests.