There are few more exciting or storied nonconference matchups in college hockey than Boston College vs. North Dakota - especially in the last 20 years. With the all-time series deadlocked at 11-11-1, the two teams are set to renew hostilities on the big stage at Madison Square Garden this Saturday. With BC’s dramatic win over Northeastern in the rear view mirror, it’s now time to bring one of the most anticipated games of the season in to focus.
The Eagles head to New York tomorrow to practice and prepare for Saturday night’s tilt.
First, the semi-recent history:
Between 2000 and 2008, BC and North Dakota just couldn't stop running in to one another in the NCAA tournament. NoDak topped BC for the 2000 national championship, but the Eagles returned the favor in 2001, beating North Dakota in overtime to break the Eagles' long title drought.
The tension between BC and North Dakota escalated from 2006-2008, when Nathan Gerbe occupied prime real estate in the heads of North Dakota players and fans everywhere - torching them in three straight Frozen Four semifinal games.
BC and North Dakota stopped running in to one another so frequently after ‘08, and the two teams remarkably haven’t faced one another since 2011, when BC topped NoDak in the IceBreaker in Grand Forks.
With North Dakota back atop the college hockey world with their national title win in April, and BC building up an exciting young team, hopefully this game at Madison Square Garden can rekindle this matchup, with the potential for both programs to clash again in big spots over the next few years.
For BC, North Dakota presents an opportunity to pick up a huge win both for confidence and for pairwise purposes. While the Fighting Hawks have slumped a bit in recent weeks, falling to #13 in the PWR with a 7-5-3 record, we all know that at the end of the season, odds are good they’ll have a strong record and will be a high seed in the tournament.
As the defending national champions and one of the most storied programs in college hockey, a win over North Dakota can be a signature moment for a young Eagles team that has mostly feasted on lower-tier opposition so far this year.
North Dakota will be looking at this game the same way: like the Hawks, BC always has a target on their back, no matter how young they are, so North Dakota will be looking at a game against BC as a chance to shake off a tough weekend against Michigan State and get back on track heading in to the holidays.
In addition to the exciting matchup, this game takes on bigger significance because it will be played at Madison Square Garden. Undoubtedly, plenty of Fighting Hawks fans will be in attendance, because they’re always everywhere. BC will also have a big turnout of NYC alumni and fans traveling from Boston.
The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday night at 7:30 PM.
This is one of the few BC hockey games of the regular season that will truly take on an "event" feel, along with the BU series and the Beanpot. We’re looking forward to being in attendance, and we’ll be with you throughout the weekend for full coverage.