This title tilt will be the third time that two Hockey East teams faced off in the NCAA National Championship game since the conference was founded in the 1984-85 season. Previous all-Hockey East National Championships saw Boston University defeat Maine 6-2 in 1995 and Maine defeat New Hampshire 3-2 in overtime in 1999.
Both BU and PC hold a core of local talent on their rosters. This season eight Friars and 14 Terriers grew up in New England, including Boston University Captain and Boston Bruins’ prospect Matthew Grzelcyk.
After a shoulder injury sidelined Grzelcyk for the second half of last season, he was determined to come back strong and play every game this year. He did all of that and more this season posting career highs in goals (10), assists (28) and points (38). One of the catalysts was an impressive, career best, 11 game point streak that came to an end in regional semifinals. Grzelcyk totaled nine goals and nine assists during that stretch.
“I think coming off the injury last year I just wanted to make sure that I was going to be fully healthy and able to play in each and every game,” said Grzelcyk after last night’s 5-3 win over University of North Dakota.
“I’m going to give a lot of credit to the staff at BU and especially Anthony Morando, our strength coach, helped me coming back strong. Just really been trying to work on my shot as much as I can and I think putting the points up and stuff is really just a product of playing with great players. Our team in general has really stepped up their game so just trying to feed off the other guys.”
With 38 points so far this year Grzelcyk moves past Matt Gilroy for the second-most in a season by a BU defender in the past 20 years. As Captain he plans to lead his young BU team – youngest roster in the country with an average age of 20 years, 145 days – past an older, veteran Providence College lineup.
“Their forwards are big, strong, and physical,” said Boston University Coach David Quinn when asked about the Friars. “Seems like we’ve been playing teams like that all last month, to be honest with you. They’re well coached. They’re an older group. So we’re going to have to earn every inch of ice we get out there.”
“And it’s going to be as it should be, and as it always is when you play for a National Championship, you have to be at your best, and we certainly know we have to be at our best tomorrow night,” concluded Quinn.
Locality seems to be the biggest theme with this year’s National Championship and the irony is not lost on BU Coach Quinn, who grew up just outside of Providence in Cranston, RI.
“Well, it is special because I belong to Wannamoisett Country Club down in East Providence, Rhode Island,” said Coach Quinn. “A lot of members there are Friar graduates. I’ve been engaged in a lot of fun text exchanges since last night.”
“I remember that ’85 team was my freshman year at BU, and they beat us in the semifinals, and I know Chris Terreri was the backbone of that team. They had a lot of good players… I know it’s been a long time coming for Providence. It’s been a great program for a long time. Nate [Leaman]’s done a phenomenal job. I’m happy for the team, I’m happy for the school, but I will be happier to beat them,” added Quinn.
...MCINTYRE NAMED RECIPIENT OF 2015 MIKE RICHTER AWARD
Bruins prospect and sixth round draft pick (165th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Zane McIntyre, may have fallen to Boston University last night, but spirits were higher today as he was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Mike Richter Award. The award is given annually to college hockey’s top goaltender and chosen by 59 head coaches along with scouts and members of the media.
The once Frank Brimsek Award recipient for the top goaltender in Minnesota High School Hockey was also this year’s NCHC goaltender of the year and Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist.
“Well, obviously, I didn’t get here all on my own,” said McIntyre when accepting the award at the podium on Friday morning. “There’s been tons of people in my life that have helped me get to this point, whether its past coaches in my youth ranks, coaches now, especially my family too. I have to give high remarks and high reward to them.”
“My mom Kelly and my sister Jade, extended family, especially Grandma Susie as well and obviously the most important factor too is my teammates. Without them none of this would be possible. Without them, it would just be a dream, but now dreams became reality.”
Mike Richter himself was there to present him with the trophy and answered a few questions regarding McIntyre’s skill as well as his character.
“I think what separates the truly great players, the exceptional players like Zane, is what’s between their ears,” said Richter. “And it’s tough to get a sense for that until you start knowing the person. Listen to the quotes that his teammates have, his coaching staff, see how he approaches it.”
“I love the way he competes, he’s square to the puck, all the right things that you can see physically. But I think it’s really what you find in him as a person, and what we’re trying to focus on with this award a little bit more, I think that is what’s going to pave his way to success.”