It certainly has been a tale of two seasons for the No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team — and it is not over yet. After facing off against No. 4 Cornell University 3-1 Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals at the DCU Center in Worcester, the Terriers (22-13-4, 12-8-4 Hockey East) downed Cornell (25-6-2) 3-1 in a rematch of November’s Red Hot Hockey game.
Freshmen forwards Shane Bowers and Logan Cockerill as well as freshman defenseman David Farrance all found the back of the net in the win against the Big Red.
On Sunday in the regional finals, the Terriers will take on the No. 10 University of Michigan for the ninth time in the NCAA tournament, which marks the most times BU has played a single opponent in the tournament of all time.
The Wolverines (21-14-3) knocked off No. 8 Northeastern University 3-2 yesterday, thanks two goals from junior forward Cooper Marody and one from senior forward Dexter Dancs.
The game will feature a total of 19 players currently drafted by NHL teams with the Terriers having 12 on their roster and the Wolverines sporting seven.
However, both teams also have a top-four rated North American Skater for the NHL draft in BU’s freshman forward Brady Tkachuk and Michigan’s freshman defenseman Quinn Hughes, who are ranked third and fourth, respectively.
Although they will be facing off against each other Sunday, Hughes and Tkachuk were teammates during the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship for Team USA.
Both the Terriers and the Wolverines sent three players to the international tournament. For BU, sophomores goaltender Jake Oettinger and forward Patrick Harper. In addition to Hughes, Michigan sent forwards sophomore Will Lockwood and freshman Josh Norris.
Tkachuk outscored the three Wolverines in that tournament 9-6.
Since returning from the tournament on Jan. 6, Oettinger boasts a 1.96 goals against average and a goal save percentage of .931, which puts the Lakeville, Minnesota native 11th in the nation in both categories.
The first round Dallas Stars prospect has played extremely well since the start of the Hockey East Tournament on March 9.
During the last five games, the netminder has posted a .949 goal save percentage and a goals against average of 1.69, which puts him fourth and 12th in the country respectively.
BU will look to him to stop a Michigan offense that ranks ninth in the country averaging 3.34 goals per game, which is led by Marody who has 48 points. The Wolverines have seven players more than 20 points and two with 40 or more.
Although BU does not have a single player on their roster with 40 points, it has four players with 30 or more points and a total of eight players with 20 points or more.
Junior forward and assistant captain Bobo Carpenter leads the Terriers in points (35) and goals (20).
Michigan will turn to sophomore goaltender Hayden Lavigne to slow down the Terriers offense.
He current sits on a .910 goal save percentage and a 2.76 goals against average of 2.76 while picking up one assist.
BU is playing in its third regional final in the past four years, which matches the University of Denver and the University of Minnesota Duluth as the only teams to do so.
With a victory over the Wolverines, the Terriers will find themselves in the Frozen Four for the first time since the 2014-15 season where they fell to Providence College in the National title game.