Wolverines top Boston University, clinch spot in Frozen Four

Michigan's Nicholas Boka, center, scores against Boston University's Jake Oettinger, left, and Dante Fabbro, right, during the third period of the NCAA northeast regional championship hockey game in Worcester, Mass., Sunday, March 25, 2018. Michigan won 6-3. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

WORCESTER, Mass. — For the first time in 17 years, a Division I school will have a team both in the Final Four and the Frozen Four.

That’s what the Michigan hockey team did Sunday afternoon after the Wolverines dispatched Boston University 6-3 in the Northeast Regional final. UM’s men’s basketball team had already defeated Florida State Saturday evening to help create the school’s big achievement. Michigan State was the last team to accomplish the feat back in 2001.

It wasn’t easy though as the Terriers kept up with UM for the majority of the game until the Wolverines pulled away in the third period.

UM scored first at the 5:12 mark of the opening period on its first shot of the game when Quinn Hughes snapped a shot from the blue line past BU goalie Jake Oettinger.

The Terriers answered back though at the 12:26 mark on a shot by Jordan Greenway that beat UM goalie Hayden Lavigne to the near post to tie the game at 1-1. However, three minutes later, the Wolverines took the lead again, this time on the power play when Tony Calderone beat Oettinger blocker-side.

Up 2-1 in the second, the Wolverines padded their lead to two goals less than two minutes into the frame when Brendan Warren tapped a rebound into a wide-open net.

BU wouldn’t go away though. At the 11:08 mark, Patrick Curry beat Lavigne on a wraparound to pull the Terriers within one of the Wolverines heading into the third frame.

At the 3:30 mark in the third period, the Terriers knotted the game at 3-3 as Greenway deflected a UM pass right to Drew Melanson, who beat Lavigne low post.

UM wouldn’t be denied though. Three minutes after Melanson’s tally, Wolverines’ forward Jake Slaker picked off a BU pass and his shot deflected off a Terriers defenseman and past Oettinger. Up 4-3 late in the frame, UM pushed its advantage back to two goals when Dexter Dancs backhanded a pass over to Nicholas Boka, who deked out Oettinger for his first goal of the season.

The Wolverines then put the finishing touch on their victory two minutes later on an empty-netter by Nick Pastujov.

UM will face fellow Big Ten opponent Notre Dame in the Frozen Four at 9:30 pm. Thursday, Apr. 5 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. If the Wolverines win, they will play the winner of the Ohio State-Minnesota-Duluth game for the national championship at 7:30 pm. Saturday, Apr. 7.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.