By Mark Fraenkel
After defeating the Merrimack College Warriors in the Hockey East Championship, the Boston University men’s hockey team (27-10-0, 18-6-0 Hockey East) will head to Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon for the first round of the NCAA Tournament against the Western Michigan Broncos.
“I think, first thing is being in Manchester helps us. It’s, you know, a 50 minute, hour ride so that certainly helps us,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo told the media gaggle after the announcement. “We go in there and practice on Wednesday and be ready to go. So we’re looking forward to it.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” senior captain Domenick Fensore said. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. So obviously, was a big win yesterday and I know the guys are getting ready to go after it Thursday in Manchester.”
After winning the Lamoriello Trophy at the TD Garden on Saturday night, the Terriers earned an automatic bid into the 16-team single elimination national tournament. Celebrating at Agganis Arena on Sunday evening, BU found they’re the number two seed in the Manchester regional.
Freshman forward Lane Hutson was the hero on Saturday night and he’s excited for the opportunity to continue playing.
“We’re all excited,” the Hockey East Rookie of the Year said. “We got a great group here and I’m just going to be excited to play some more playoff hockey.”
Pandolfo believes that the last two games being high pressure situations will help the team going forward.
“I think just you know coming off this weekend playing in the Hockey East Championships out at the Garden,” Pandolfo said. “There’s some pressure they’re also coming from behind in both games. There’s pressure there as well. So I think our guys are ready for that and they’ll be ready on Thursday.”
Pandolfo also addressed the injuries suffered during the Hockey East tournament.
“[Senior defenseman Case McCarthy is] a huge loss for us. He’s been a steady presence back there all year long,” Pandolfo said. “He’s a leader. He’s been here four years. Knows what it takes to win but you know, we have depth on our team. So it’s up to the next guy to be ready to get in there and help us out.”
The winner of the Terriers-Broncos game will face the winner of the match up between the Denver Pioneers and the Cornell Big Red. The Pioneers are the one seed in the region and the overall number four seed.
Puck drop is set for 2:00pm on Thursday in Manchester. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on the ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.