Game Recaps

Terriers defeat Minnesota 6-3, earn Frozen Four berth

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

SIOUX FALLS S.D. — The Terriers officially have their swagger back. 

The top-seeded Boston University men’s hockey team (28-9-2) gutted out a 6-3 NCAA regional final victory over the second-seeded University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (23-11-5) on Saturday night at Denny Sanford Premier Center to clinch back-to-back Frozen Four berths.  

“Really proud of the group,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame. “To play the way we did in the third says a lot about our group…our guys were excellent tonight in the third period.”

After suffering a heartbreaking loss at TD Garden to close out its historically-good Hockey East campaign, the scarlet and white turned the page at the NCAA Sioux Falls regional and wrote a storybook ending on its road back to the Frozen Four.

The Gophers might have ended the Terriers’ 2022-23 season in the NCAA national semifinal, but on Saturday, BU returned the favor to punch its ticket to Saint Paul. 

“It’s pretty special,” Lane Hutson said postgame of getting the better of the Gophers this time around. “I know a lot of those guys, and they competed to the end.” 

After a disastrous start in the regional semifinal against RIT, the Terriers came out with all of the momentum in front of a packed Minnesota crowd on Saturday. BU’s second line, led by sophomore Ryan Greene’s relentless forecheck, danced all over the Gophers and peppered graduate goaltender Justen Close early on. 

The Terriers dominated in shots on net 9-2 over the game’s opening six minutes, but an offensively-potent team like the Gophers does not need much space to find the back of the net. 

On one of Minnesota’s first offensive-zone possessions of the game, graduate forward Jaxon Nelson wired the puck over junior goaltender Mathieu Caron’s left shoulder to strike first and take the 1-0 lead at 7:19 of the first period. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

The Terriers were getting their chances, but Minnesota was more opportunistic on the few scoring chances they generated. 

The Gophers doubled their lead at 17:47 of the first on a costly turnover by BU captain Case McCarthy. The graduate defender placed the puck directly on Charlie Strobel’s stick, and the Gophers’ extra forward wasted no time finding leading point scorer Bryce Brodzinski who went five-hole on Caron. 

After a great first half to the period but nothing to show, the Terriers cut Minnesota’s lead to 2-1 just 14 seconds later. Fending off a Gopher defender, sophomore forward Quinn Hutson slipped the rubber through the pads of Close at 18:01. 

“It was a good feeling for our guys, and we were confident that we were going to claw back into the game,” Lane Hutson said. 

Experience in tournament games matters. And while the Terriers returned 12 players from last year’s season-ending national semifinal, every player in BU’s locker room understood the stakes at hand heading into the middle frame — no matter their age. 

The Terriers all-freshman top line put everything on the line to claw its team back into the game to open the second period. 

Jack Harvey got things started, clearing BU’s defensive zone, before Macklin Celebrini’s impressive individual effort and high-IQ found a wide-open, net-front Shane Lachance for the tap-in. Lachance netted his 13th goal of the season on the Terriers’ first shot of the second period to knot the game at 2-2 at 1:17. 

“They compliment each other very well,” Pandolfo said. “They don’t seem rattled by big moments. Those three guys, they’re very mature.”

Less than five minutes later, the first line dazzled once more to take the 3-2 lead at 5:25. The freshmen trio, again, never gave up on the play — with Macklin showing poise and strength with the puck, Lachance using his size to outmuscle star defender Sam Rinzel and Harvey patiently picking his shot from the slot. 

Harvey had a career weekend in his first tournament appearance, recording a goal in both regional contests to advance his team to his home state of Minnesota. 

“Going to school in Boston, I love it, but there’s nothing like going home,” Harvey said postgame.

Minnesota responded back to tie the game at 3-3 at 9:20. Caron made the initial save but slid out of position on the play. Case McCarthy had another bad look and was caught watching Aaron Huglen tap the puck into the back of the net. 

The Terriers regained the lead at 4:24 in the second period, and it was none other than Lane Hutson. The back-to-back Hobey Baker top-10 finalist always comes through in big moments and gave BU the 4-3 lead heading into the final frame. 

“It was maybe the best game he’s played all year,” Pandolfo said of Lane’s performance. “When we see him making plays like that and moving like that, we’re pretty sure we’re gonna have a pretty good night.”

The Terriers have been emphasizing the need to close out leads all season long, and BU did just that in one of its most shutdown periods of the year. 

“We just stuck to the game plan,” Pandolfo said. “We’ve been much better in the second half of the year, extending leads and finishing the game off, and our guys were excellent.”

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Not only did BU close out the game, but it found a way to keep tacking onto its lead. The Terriers outshot the Gophers 15-9 and added two empty-netters to seal the game 6-3. 

“When you’re up by a goal going into the third period, you expect the other team to push, but I thought we played on our toes for the most part,” Pandolfo said. “That’s a credit to our group. We kept pushing.”

To earn redemption for his costly turnover, Case McCarthy potted the first empty-net goal with 1:45 remaining. The Terriers gained some much-needed breathing room but had to continue to lock down the contest. 

Soon after, graduate forward Sam Stevens solidified the win with the second empty-netter at 19:28 of the third period. In his return to the Denny Sanford, the former Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL picked up his second goal of the Sioux Falls regional. 

“We were all talking about it as soon as we drew Sioux Falls,” Harvey said. “We all know Stevo had played here, and I think we were all pretty excited to come back and play for him.”

Caron — who has started in all 39 games for BU this season —  finished the night with 25 saves for a 53-save regional performance.

Up next, the Terriers will head back to Boston to prepare for its trip back to the Frozen Four — their first back-to-back appearance in 27 years. BU will play the University of Denver, which won the Springfield Regional, in the national semifinal on April 11 at 5 p.m. ET. 


  1. to make this weekend even more special, the Q beats BC, led by our own, Vinny D

    Michigan tech showed everyone the blueprint that can bottle BC up; they just could not sustain it for 60 minutes

    The Q might be able to pull it off. here is hoping

  2. Good win. Lots of puck luck.

    You’re in the frozen four.

    Defense needs to skate harder and stop giving the puck to the other team in the D-zone. Amazing this is still happening and that they achieved a major milestone in spite of this giant achilles heel.
    Hockey IQ still seems to fall apart in the D-zone. Time to get smarter kids.

  3. Terrific victory for the Terriers after a frustrating start which saw them start very well , dominate play, have a wide margin in shots but unable to score and allowed 2 goals to Minnesota on the 2 or 3 chances they created., aided by a costly turnover in the defensive zone on the second one. However the first Terrier goal just 19 seconds later was a huge turning point not only getting BU back into the game but reinforcing in their minds to just stick to their game and attack mode and the results would eventually come.
    The second period whirlwind which ended with the Terriers on top 4-3 was the result of great plays by very talented players along with bit of shaky goaltending by Close who seemed to be unbeatable initially. The maturity of this group showed also in the third period in how they defended their advantage with determination and sacrifice ( so many block shots) and still counter with numerous occasions to score and put the game away which they eventually did. To reach the frozen four in consecutive years for the first time for this program in over a quarter century cements the fact that the Terriers are back on top of the college hockey world ( where they should be), and to get there by ousting a Gopher team which has been a fixture in the Frozen Four and probably the top program in the nation for several years is the icing on the cake.
    Now with a two week break before the final tourney BU has another chance to win a big trophy and to make amends after losing two finals ( in the Beanpot and HE tourney). Denver, BC, or whoever will have their hands full in a one game winner take all situation with this determined bunch. Congrats Terriers!

  4. I could go on a rant but I’ll be good … Frozen 4 again .. Enough said .. See u in st paul.. Go BU 🐾