BostonBruins.com - College hockey is coming to TD Garden this week, when the Frozen Four kicks off on Thursday night with the semifinal matchups.
Aside from taking place in the Bruins' home rink, the Frozen Four will feature two Black and Gold prospects facing off in one of the opening games.
Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, drafted in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft (85th overall), will face off against University of North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre, chosen by Boston in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Draft (165th overall).
Both in their junior seasons, the prospects will compete in the second semifinal on Thursday, April 9 at 8:30 p.m. at TD Garden (televised on ESPN2). The first semifinal at 5:00 p.m. features Providence and Nebraska-Omaha.
As a Charlestown, Mass. native, it's not lost on Grzelcyk how this Frozen Four will certainly be a unique experience.
"I think I've just been really lucky, honestly. First, to be drafted by the Bruins, and getting to stick around here is pretty cool," he said. "To have the Frozen Four be at the Garden is just a dream come true. Especially, it's pretty nice that we decided to play well this season, when it's actually at the Garden, so it's nice to be there."
McIntyre knows his North Dakota fans will travel well, and come in full force to the Garden in their green, trying to drown out the Terriers' red.
Having grown up in Thief River Falls, Minn., not far from the University of North Dakota, the goaltender had dreams of playing at the university. While Grzelcyk grew up with Boston in his backyard, McIntyre had a similar experience.
"It was long time coming, growing up as a kid in northern Minnesota, we'd be five hours from the Wild and from the University of Minnesota, so we didn't have anything else besides North Dakota hockey," said McIntyre.
Having attending numerous Bruins' development camps in Boston, both prospects share the same pride in being at TD Garden and around the Spoked-B.
"It will be awesome," said McIntyre. "Obviously, Original Six team, the city of Boston it's got a lot of character, so I think for us guys who don't get out and explore much other than Minnesota and the Great Plains of North Dakota, it's cool to go to a big city like Boston."
But obviously we're there for a business trip and once we arrive there, it will be all business and not that much fun, but a lot of fun on the ice.
While this marks Grzelcyk's first Frozen Four, it will be McIntyre's second straight appearance. His North Dakota squad fell in the final seconds in last year's semifinal to Minnesota.
"It will be nice going back to the Frozen Four," he said. "Obviously we had a tough outcome last year against Minnesota but I think that drives our whole team and motivates our whole team throughout the course of this year and even into Boston."
Grzelcyk, a captain at BU, hopes his squad can give North Dakota trouble.
"Coming into this season, I'm sure people didn't have too high expectations for us," said the defenseman. "But I think coming into the summer, we definitely we were going to have a really good team and we knew that the guys coming back were going to have to play important roles and I think that's been a huge step for us so far and adding the freshman, they've been great and they've been really mature."
As for going up against McIntyre, there will be no love lost between the fellow B's prospects when it comes time for puck drop on Thursday.
"I've been fortunate to have had some goals in the second half, so hopefully that continues," Grzelcyk smiled. "But [North Dakota] will definitely be a tough challenge."