Men’s Hockey: Terriers top overall seed in Sioux Falls, will face RIT in first round of NCAA Tournament

By Joe Eachus

Go west, young men, go west.

Boston University men’s hockey (26-9-2) is headed to Sioux Falls, SD to begin their NCAA title hunt. They were selected as the top seed in their regional bracket, and are the second overall seed in the 16-team tournament that concludes with the NCAA Championship in St. Paul, MN on April 13.

To kick off the tournament, BU will face off against Rochester Institute of Technology (27-10-2) at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls. In the other game, Minnesota will face regional host Omaha at 8:30 p.m. The two winners will play for a trip to the Frozen Four on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

“When you’ve been there [last year,] it certainly helps. This year [it’s] a little different, traveling a little further, but nothing wrong with a good road trip,” coach Jay Pandolfo said. “We’ll start watching some video on [RIT] and prepare like we do with most teams.”

Thursday’s matchup will be the first-ever meeting between the Terriers and the Tigers, who qualified for NCAAs as the Atlantic Hockey champions for the first time since 2016.

15 Terrier players were on last year’s Frozen Four-qualifying roster that fell to Minnesota in the national semifinal, and they’ll look to lean on that playoff experience this time around.

“To be able to keep going with this group means a lot,” assistant captain Sam Stevens said. “Every shift matters, every detail matters at this point in the year. If you’re not ready, the season could end.”

Stevens also noted how BU has, so far, gone trophy-less this season after winning several last year. “We’ve whiffed on a couple of our tries at trophies so far this year. Hopefully we can take home the big one.”

Macklin Celebrini, the youngest member of the Terriers and the youngest skater in college hockey, looks forward to his first run in the NCAA Tournament as well. “We’re excited, some great teams. We’ve got to bring our A-game, and I think we’re ready for it,” he said.