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Four teams participated in the first NCAA men’s hockey tournament to take place in Duluth, Minnesota. The 21st iteration of the tournament was held in 1968 at the Duluth Arena Auditorium; home of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. The semifinals at the time were played on separate nights. The first night of the tournament on March 14 saw the number one seed in the West, Denver, take on the number two seed in the East, Boston College. Both teams were looking to bring another hockey championship trophy back home to campus. At the time, Denver had last won an NCAA title in 1960. That tournament was held in Minneapolis and was the first one to be played outside of Colorado. Boston College had previously won the second-ever tournament in 1949 and finished runner-up in 1965.

The Pioneers defeated the Eagles 4-1 in front of the crowd in Duluth and went on to face North Dakota in the championship game two nights later. Denver shut out North Dakota 4-0 in the title game and earned its fourth championship trophy. It was the second Minnesota city where Denver had won a championship with both being at North Dakota’s expense. Flash forward fifty-six years to the present day. Denver and Boston College are set to face off in the NCAA tournament once again; this time in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It will be the first time the two will meet in the championship game. If the Pioneers are victorious, the program will jump ahead of Michigan in all-time NCAA hockey championships. If Boston College wins, it will be the program’s sixth NCAA hockey championship, putting it in a tie for third place with Wisconsin.

Photo Credit: Kynewisbok Yearbook, Vol. 70, 1968

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By the time the December 1987 series between Michigan and Boston College rolled around, it had been nearly 39 years since the two teams first met in the inaugural NCAA tournament semifinals in 1948. Throughout that time span, the Wolverines and Eagles had faced off five times in a combination of NCAA tournament and regular season games. Michigan had yet to lose a game to the Eagles.

Boston College traveled to Ann Arbor in December 1987 for just the second time ever; the first being in January 1980. The Wolverines took care of business with a score of 6-2 in the opening game of the non-conference series. The following game needed an extra period of hockey in order to decide the winner. Michigan scored the overtime goal and defeated Boston College 5-4, ensuring the team’s perfect record against the East Coast team remained intact.

These two teams will share the ice in the second Frozen Four semifinal in Saint Paul this Thursday. Both programs have come a long way since that first NCAA tournament. Boston College has indeed defeated Michigan since 1987. In fact, a big win for the program was the victory over Michigan in the 2004 regional final that sent the Eagles to the Frozen Four. The Wolverines are tied for the Division I men’s lead with nine NCAA titles while Boston College has five. This will be Michigan’s 41st NCAA tournament appearance and 28th Frozen Four; both NCAA records. The Eagles are second with 26 Frozen Four appearances. For two programs that share this much history in the sport, it’s only fitting they will face one another on the national stage yet again.

Photo Credit: “Bryan Deasley, UM Hockey, 1987/88; BL019271.” In the digital collection Art Images for College Teaching. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhl/x-bl019271/bl019271. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 04, 2024.

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At the onset of the inaugural Hockey East season in 1984, the conference announced it scheduled four inter-league crossover games against WCHA teams. Boston University hosted Denver that season and both games were decided in overtime. The two teams would end up playing one another every season after that up through the 1990-91 season. The Terriers and Pioneers were no strangers to one another before this crossover. The teams had played two previous regular season series in the early 1980s. More notably, the first two games in the all-time series occurred on neutral ice in the NCAA tournament beginning with the 1960 national semifinals. Denver defeated Boston University 6-4 and later won the program’s second NCAA title after defeating Michigan Tech.

The January 1986 crossover series took place in Denver. The Pioneers won the first night 5-4. The Terriers earned a series split after a 3-1 win in the following game. Throughout the 14 games the teams played in the 80s, the teams were evenly matched throughout the decade with a 6-6-2 series record. These two teams will once again meet on neutral ice in the first semifinal game on Thursday. The winner will face another hockey blue blood in either Michigan or Boston University. Denver is currently tied with Michigan for the NCAA lead with nine championship trophies which ups the ante. Boston University has won five NCAA men’s hockey titles in its history. The Terriers last won the title in 2009 while Denver is looking for its second championship trophy in three years. Denver is also looking to win an NCAA championship in its third Minnesota city (1960 in Minneapolis and 1968 in Duluth). A lot of history between these programs with more history to be made this week.

Photo Credit: Digital Collections at DU

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Heading into the 2006-07 season, the Michigan State Spartans men’s hockey team had high hopes. The reigning CCHA Tournament champions had narrowly missed out on the 2006 Frozen Four – losing by one goal to Maine in the Regional Final. The same could be said for the Boston College Eagles. The 2006 team lost in the NCAA championship game the year before to Wisconsin and the Eagles hoped to avenge that loss the following season.

The Spartans received an at-large bid as the three seed in the Midwest Region of the 2007 NCAA Tournament after losing in the semifinal of the CCHA Tournament. Boston College, on the other hand, won its Hockey East Tournament and was the two seed in the Northeast Region. The two teams made it to the 2007 championship game in St. Louis after impressive NCAA tournament wins.

The title game came down to the final minute as the teams were deadlocked 1-1 since halfway through the third period. A three-on-one breakaway for the Spartans resulted in a near-miss. But the team capitalized in the Boston College zone as Justin Abdelkader scored the game-winning goal with just 18.9 seconds left in regulation. Michigan State would score an empty net goal with two seconds left to seal it. This was the third NCAA hockey championship for Michigan State and first since 1986. It was the second title game loss in a row for Boston College. The Eagles perseverance would pay off in 2008. The third time was the charm as the Eagles defeated Notre Dame in the 2008 NCAA championship game.

The Eagles will play host to the Spartans this week in Chestnut Hill. Boston College has been victorious in the three games the teams have played since the 2007 title game. However, Michigan State holds the all-time series lead 16-9-1 dating back to December 1958.

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The Massachusetts Lowell and Merrimack men’s hockey programs both currently reside within Hockey East. The River Hawks and Warriors have been members since the 1980s yet the rivalry between the two Massachusetts schools predates Division I. In 1981 the two teams were Division II hockey schools and faced off in the ECAC 2 championship game. Massachusetts Lowell had been a member of ECAC 2 since 1968 while Merrimack had joined at the onset in 1964.

Several years earlier, Merrimack won the inaugural Division II national championship in 1978. Massachusetts Lowell won the following season in 1979. The two teams played in the Third Place game in 1980 with Massachusetts Lowell coming out on top in a high scoring affair 8-7. These two successful – and familiar – Division II foes met on the ice again in 1981 for another playoff game.

The Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks were known as the Lowell Chiefs at the time. The school changed its nickname in 1991 when it joined the University of Massachusetts system. The 1981 ECAC 2 championship game was played March 7, 1981, and it turned out to be a high scoring affair. Lowell outlasted Merrimack 6-4. It was the program’s second conference title in three years and the 14th win in a row at the time. In fact, the team never lost another game that season and ended up winning the Division II national championship. Lowell defended its title by completing the feat the following season as well and even defeated Merrimack in the semifinals en route to the second trophy in a row. Lowell made the leap to Division I hockey prior to the 1983-84 season and Merrimack did so later in the decade prior to the 1989-90 season. Both joined Hockey East and continue to be a part of the conference to this day.

The River Hawks and Warriors will meet this weekend in the Hockey East semifinals at TD Garden in Boston. It is the first Hockey East semifinals appearance for Merrimack since 2011. UMass Lowell made the semifinals last season. The River Hawks have won the Hockey East tournament three times (2013, 2014, 2017) while Merrimack is in search of its first Hockey East tournament title.

Photo Credit: 1981 Lowell Sojourn Yearbook

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The first season the University of Connecticut officially fielded a hockey team was 1960-61. The first game in program history took place at Harvard against the Crimson JV team. The Huskies lost 7-3 but it wasn’t too surprising since the team only practiced several times before the first game and did not have a hockey rink of their own. The Huskies would play all games on the road throughout this inaugural season. In fact, it would be several seasons before the Huskies would host a hockey game. The first program win for UConn was the second game of the 1960-61 season when the Huskies defeated Fort Devens 4-3. UConn would end up with a respectable 4-6-1 record in the program’s first season. The highlight of the season was a 7-4 win over MIT followed by an 8-7 victory over American International to end the season. The Huskies had three goal scorers in double digits in 1960-61. John Dello Stritto led the team with 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists).

UConn joined the ECAC the following season. From there, the UConn program didn’t sit still for long. The Huskies made the move to ECAC 2 in 1963 (to be classified later as Division II in 1973). When ECAC 2 was split into two conferences in 1984, UConn became a part of ECAC East and moved to Division III along with the conference. The Huskies made the jump back to Division I hockey prior to the 1998 season as one of the founding members of the new Metro Atlantic Athletic Association (MAAC) hockey conference. Then five years later UConn was one of the teams that left the MAAC to start the Atlantic Hockey Association in 2003. The Huskies stayed in that conference until 2014 when the program moved to Hockey East, where the team resides today.

The Huskies won the program’s first-ever Hockey East postseason game last weekend in a 3-1 victory over Boston University. UConn will be heading to the Hockey East semifinals for the first time and will face Northeastern at TD Garden in Boston this Friday, March 18.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Huskies 1960-61 team photo from the University of Connecticut Nutmeg Yearbook, 1961.

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The 53rd Beanpot took place February 2005 between the same four men’s hockey teams that had participated since the first tournament in 1952. At the time, the Boston College Eagles were the reigning Beanpot champions after defeating Boston University the previous February by a score of 2-1 in overtime. It was the Eagles 13th Beanpot title. The 2005 tournament was held in the arena currently known as TD Garden. However, it was known as YourGarden in 2005 when it was in naming-rights limbo after FleetCenter and before TD Garden.

The early game on Monday, February 7, was between Northeastern and Harvard. The crowd got its money’s worth from the get-go when it took two overtimes for Northeastern to defeat the Crimson 2-1. The nightcap saw Boston University defeat the Eagles 3-1 setting up a Northeastern versus Boston College Beanpot title game.

The Huskies brought a 10-13-4 record into the Beanpot. The Terriers had a winning record of 15-10-2 at the time. Boston University had previously defeated Northeastern 3-1 earlier in the season on January 7. A sellout crowd was on hand for the Beanpot final between the two Boston schools. Boston University scored twice in the first period but Northeastern chipped away with a goal in each of the final two periods. At the end of regulation, the score was tied 2-2. The game was decided a little more than 14 minutes into overtime when Chris Bourque (son of Ray Bourque) scored to clinch the Beanpot for Boston University.

It was the third time in four years and ninth time in eleven that the Terriers had won the men’s Beanpot. It also marked the 24th time in 39 years. A truly incredible Beanpot run for Boston University. In the above photo, Boston University players mob Bourque and celebrate the Beanpot championship.

Exactly seventeen years later on February 14, the same two teams will meet in the 69th men’s Beanpot final at TD Garden. As the reigning three-time Beanpot champions, Northeastern will be looking to four-peat. Boston University will look to win the Beanpot for the first time since 2015.

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The first Beanpot tournament took place the weekend after Christmas in December 1952. At the time it was called the New England Invitational Tournament and included the same four Boston-based teams that participate today. The single-elimination men’s tournament is now split between the first two Mondays in February and is a spectacle of Boston college hockey. All four teams have had success within the tournament but one of them took a little bit longer than the others to capture its first Beanpot trophy.

Heading into the 1980 Beanpot, Northeastern had a record of just 3-11-0. However, the team had impressively beaten Maine 9-3 in the game leading up to the tournament. The previous Beanpot in 1979 saw the Huskies win the consolation game against Harvard 5-4. At the time, Northeastern had yet to capture the Beanpot trophy. The three other teams had their time in the spotlight. Harvard won the inaugural tournament in 1952. Boston College won the next Beanpot that took place in 1954. Boston University won its first Beanpot trophy in 1958. Northeastern had only participated in the championship game twice before 1980 and had finished last in the tournament 18 times. The team was due.

The schedule for the opening round included Northeastern versus Boston University and Harvard versus Boston College. The first game on Monday, February 4 went into overtime. Northeastern found the back of the net in the extra frame and defeated Boston University 6-5. The second game of the day saw Boston College defeat Harvard 4-3 setting up the Huskies and the Eagles in the championship game February 11 to see who the kings of college hockey in Boston would be.

The championship game took place after Harvard downed Boston University 7-4 in the consolation game. Boston College came into the Beanpot with a 17-4-1 record and was two seasons removed from a national runner-up finish. The title game was one for the ages as it went to overtime to determine the champion. It didn’t take long. At two minutes and 47 seconds into overtime, Wayne Turner scored for the Huskies to clinch Northeastern’s first Beanpot championship with a 5-4 victory. The program’s first Beanpot title in the 28th tournament caused some people to call it the most memorable moment in the history of Northeastern sports. The game was only one of seven losses throughout the season for Boston College.

Fast forward to 2022 and the script has been flipped. There was no Beanpot played in 2021 marking it as the first calendar year where the tournament didn’t take place since 1953. However, Northeastern is the reigning champions. In fact, the Huskies are the reigning three-peat champions having won in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Northeastern is still fourth in terms of the number of first place Beanpot finishes with seven. But the Huskies are narrowing the gap. The opening game of the 2022 tournament will see Boston University face Harvard February 7. The nightcap is a rematch of the 1980 Beanpot championship game when Boston College and Northeastern go toe to toe.

To read additional detail about Beanpot history, view our historical write up that covered U.S. college hockey in the 1950s.

In the featured photo, Wayne Turner celebrates his Beanpot-clinching goal in overtime of the 1980 Beanpot championship game. This historic goal for the program earned him the nickname Wayne “Beanpot” Turner.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jet Commercial Photographers, Northeastern University Photograph collection, at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

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On November 25, 2017, Boston University and Cornell met at Madison Square Garden for the sixth edition of Red Hot Hockey. The Red Hot Hockey event was introduced in 2007 when two long-time rivals squared off in New York City’s famous arena. The inaugural game drew 18,200 fans and was considered a success. Members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team were on hand to watch Boston University defeat Cornell. The two programs decided to make a series out of it. After this first game, the Terriers and Big Red have met every odd numbered year the weekend after Thanksgiving in Madison Square Garden in a series known as Red Hot Hockey.

After the first five editions of Red Hot Hockey, Boston University was undefeated with a record of 3-0-2. This changed in 2017. The Big Red jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Beau Starrett with less than five minutes remaining in the first period. Cornell extended the lead on a goal from Trevor Yates less than seven minutes into the second frame. Then just a little more than two minutes later, Alec McCrea scored a power-play goal to put the Big Red up 3-0. Boston University scored in the third period before Cornell could really pull away. It was a power-play goal from Dante Fabbro less than five minutes into the period. Cornell answered back when freshman Tristan Mullin scored his first collegiate goal. The Terriers would score two more goals by Chad Krys and Patrick Harper but it wasn’t enough. The Big Red held on to the 4-3 win and captured the program’s first Red Hot Hockey win and, with it, the Kelley-Harkness Cup.

In the above photo, Boston University’s Jordan Greenway skates around Cornell’s Brendan Smith during the first period of the 2017 Red Hot Hockey game at Madison Square Garden.

The two red-clad teams will meet for the eighth installment of Red Hot Hockey this weekend on November 27. Cornell is on a two-game Red Hot Hockey winning streak after registering the series’ first shut out in 2019. The game will once again take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. For two programs that have a storied history of playing against one another since 1925, the Red Hot Hockey series adds an extra kick to this rivalry every two years.

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The 1991 Division I men’s title game required three overtimes to determine a champion. When it was all said and done, fifteen goals were scored in the final game of the 1990-91 season. Two teams that were powerhouses throughout the season met in this final game: Northern Michigan and Boston University. The Northern Michigan Wildcats came into the game with a record of 37-5-4. As the WCHA regular season and tournament champion, the team was riding a staggering 25-game unbeaten streak. The Boston University Terriers were boasting a 28-10-2 record as the Hockey East tournament champions. The team only had one loss in the last twelve games.

In 1991, the national tournament teams were divided between East and West regions. Four east teams would face four west teams in the first round. Northern Michigan and Boston University were 2 seeds in the respective regions. This meant both programs received a bye in the first round. The Quarterfinal Round was a best-of-three series. In the quarterfinals, Northern Michigan swept Alaska Anchorage while Boston University swept Michigan sending both teams to St. Paul for the semifinals. (The Frozen Four title wasn’t officially coined until 1999.) The Wildcats defeated Maine 5-3 while the Terriers ran through Clarkson 7-3. This set the stage for one of the most thrilling title games in college hockey history.

Boston University got on the board quick – exactly one minute into the game – when Ed Ronan scored his fifteenth goal of the season. Before the period was halfway over, the Terriers would tally two more; one being Ronan’s sixteenth of the season. The score remained 3-0 at the first intermission.

Members of the crowd were likely wondering if this was the beginning of a blowout when it reality it was the polar opposite. Head coach Rick Comley lit a fire under the Wildcats as Dean Antos put them on the board 1:33 into the middle frame on a power-play goal. Mark Beaufait would score less than three minutes later for the Wildcats. They wouldn’t stop there. In fact, Northern Michigan scored three more unanswered goals during the period to make it 5-3 Wildcats at the second intermission. Two of the goals would be numbers 46 and 47 on the season for Scott Beattie.

It was a back-and-forth start to the third period. The Wildcats extended the lead to 6-3 on Scott Beattie’s hat trick goal just over three minutes into the final period. Dave Tomlinson stopped the bleeding and put the Terriers back on the board several minutes later. After another Wildcat goal, the score was 7-4 with less than eight minutes left in regulation. That’s when Boston University would kick it into another gear. Tony Amonte and Shawn McEachern both scored within three minutes of each other. Then with only 39 seconds left in the game, David Sacco scored the late-tying goal to make it 7-7. It was Sacco’s second goal of the night and would send the game to overtime.

Two overtime periods would end up scoreless. Then only 1:57 into the third overtime, Darryl Plandowski netted the championship-winning goal in the third overtime. It also give him a hat trick for the game. It was Northern Michigan’s first Division I men’s hockey championship. Boston University would need to wait four more years to win the program’s fourth championship trophy.

Both of these teams will meet this weekend for a two-game series in Marquette, Michigan. This will be Boston University’s first visit to Marquette since 1988 and first time playing at the Barry Events Center. Northern Michigan will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the championship this weekend. The historic 1991 team will be honored during the first intermission of the Saturday night game.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated (April 8, 1991)