Men’s Hockey: BU Begins Regionals Against Western Michigan
By Stevie Potter
Cover Photo Credit: Jessica Lam
As the battle for a sixth National Championship begins, Boston University Men’s Ice Hockey (27-10-0) must first prepare to face off against the Western Michigan Broncos (23-14-1). The game will kick off the 2023 NCAA tournament at 2 p.m. on Thursday at SNHU Arena.
“This is fun. This is what you play for, to have these moments where you’re playing in big games,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “We want our guys to enjoy it, and we know at this point in the NCAA Tournament, it’s one and done, and you need to make sure you’re ready, but we want our guys to have fun with it.”
The Terriers begin their tournament play in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they will battle the Broncos for just the third time in history. BU won all three previous matchups. However, the last time these two teams met on the ice was almost two decades ago, in 1994, when Pandolfo was on the ice instead of behind the bench.
In recent years, BU has earned a perfect record when playing in Manchester, going 4-0 and advancing to the Frozen Four in 2009 and 2015.
After winning the Hockey East Championship, the Terriers are on a seven-game winning streak, currently the nation’s longest active streak. A good portion of this success can be attributed to the on-fire play of the Hutson brothers. Freshman forward Quinn Hutson has scored six game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal during BU’s Hockey East semifinal matchup against Providence.
Freshman defenseman Lane Hutson tallied two goals for BU during the Hockey East Championship, including the OT winner and Hockey East clincher. Lane currently leads the team in points at 47 and is the first defenseman in Hockey East history to lead the conference in scoring. Hutson has earned several awards this season, including Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Hockey East Tournament MVP, while also being a finalist for the Hobey Baker.
Nevertheless, Western Michigan is coming prepared with a Hobey Baker finalist of its own: senior forward Jason Polin. Polin currently has the second-most points on this Broncos squad with 46, but he leads the nation with 29 goals.
“He [Polin] can score,” Pandolfo said. “That line, they’re dynamic, they’re very good offensively. All three of them are dangerous. Against any talented players, you’ve got to make sure you’re not giving them time and space. You have to be aware when they’re on the ice. You have to make sure you’re managing the puck well when they’re on the ice, so that’s the game plan against those guys.”
If BU can defeat Western Michigan, they will play either Denver or Cornell on Saturday at 4 p.m.