UND clinches 15th Frozen Four appearance
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Same script, different day.
When Boston College hosted North Dakota at the Conte Forum back on Oct. 29, the Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead, extended it to 4-0 in the second and then held on for a 5-3 win.
The prize that night was Jerry York's 700th career coaching win.
On Saturday night in front of 8,695 at the DCU Center, the Fighting Sioux followed a similar formula and posted a 6-3 win over the top-seeded Eagles to capture the East Regional at the 2005 NCAA Hockey Tournament.
|ESPNU Hits The Ice|
ESPNU, a multi-media college sports initiative including a new 24-hour television network, will be your home for college hockey all the way to the Frozen Four.
Here's Sunday's live regional schedule on ESPNU:
Northeast Regional final
Denver vs. New Hampshire, Noon
West Regional final
Minnesota vs. Cornell 3:30 p.m.
All times Eastern
Complete ESPNU regional schedule
The prize this time is a trip to the Frozen Four in Columbus, Ohio, to face the West Regional champ (Minnesota or Cornell) on April 7 (ESPN2).
The Fighting Sioux (24-14-5), who have won seven national titles, the last coming in 2000 with a 4-2 win over Boston College, will be making their 15th appearance in the national semifinals.
"We battled through a lot of adversity this season and we did the same tonight," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "Our penalty kill did the job and we were very opportunistic with our chances."
For the second day in a row, BC (26-7-7) dug itself an early hole when UND freshman Travis Zajac scored just 42 seconds into the game. But instead of the Eagles answering next, like they did against Mercyhurst in the regional semis, UND's Chris Porter and Drew Stafford gave the Sioux a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Zajac pushed the lead to 4-0 midway through the second period before BC woke up from its sluggish start.
"We wanted to get the first jump tonight and once we got the lead we just kept pouring it on," Zajac said. "We battled hard all night and got our scoring chances because of that."
The Eagles outscored UND 3-2 the rest of the way, but it was too little, too late for the Hockey East champs.
"Every time we made a mistake early they capitalized and it was in the net," York said. "They finished so very quickly on us. And the ability of North Dakota to kill penalties was big. We had a chance to stay in the game but their penalty kill was exceptional.
"That was clearly a better team now than the one we faced in October," he said. "I think the big question was how (goaltender Jordan) Parise was going to perform. His play allows them to take penalties, play aggressively and he made some key saves and put them at another level."
Parise, who made 33 saves and was named regional MVP, was often the first as well as last line of defense for the Sioux. He extended his unbeaten streak to 11 games (9-0-2) as he and his defensive corps killed all 19 power plays they faced against the Boston schools this weekend (10 vs. BU, 9 vs. BC).
Joining Parise on the all-regional team were defensemen Nick Fuher (North Dakota) and T.J. Kemp (Mercyhurst) and forwards Zajac, Colby Genoway (UND) and Brian Boyle (BC).
This win took some sting out of North Dakota's 1-0 loss to Denver in the West Regional final last year.
"We had all summer to think about that," said left winger Chris Porter, who scored two goals Saturday night to go along with the two he scored against the Eagles back in October. "Right now we're looking forward to going to Columbus and doing some damage out there."
David Albright is a senior editor at ESPN.com and can be reached at email@example.com.