It had to be Minnesota.
As the reigning titan of women's hockey, it's only fitting that to win their first national championship, the Eagles will have to go through the defending national champion and the only team in the NCAA era to complete a perfect season.
It's not often that a team holding a 40-0-0 record will go into its last game feeling like the underdog, but that's where BC sits right now. The Gophers are the ones wearing the crown, and until that point that the Eagles can take it from them, they are the favorite.
Minnesota has four losses, but three of them came to Wisconsin. If BC had to play either of those teams six times, as the Gophers and Badgers did this year, there's no way the Eagles would be undefeated. But this isn't a six game series, and the Eagles don't need to worry about going undefeated. BC's season has come down to winning just a single game.
Last Time Out
Boston College won the biggest game in program history, coming back from being down 2-0, tying the game in the third period, and defeating Clarkson 3-2 in overtime.
Minnesota won probably the 15th biggest game in program history, also earning a comeback win, also tying the game in the third period, defeating Wisconsin also 3-2, also in overtime.
Did the overtime win over Clarkson take too much out of the Eagles emotionally? Did the overtime win over Wisconsin take too much out of the Gophers emotionally? Can BC play fast and loose again after getting bottled up against Clarkson? Will we find that one team just can't keep up with the other in what is expected to be a raucous, up and down thriller? Can BC stay out of the penalty box and avoid Minnesota's insane 43.4% power play? Can the Eagles find the magic again on the power play, somehow still the nation's second best despite their season-worst streak of 17 unsuccessful power plays? Is this whole exercise unhealthy? Am I shortening my life by watching this game? Can you get an ulcer in under two hours? Should I bring some heartburn medication?
Random, Possibly Incorrect Fact From Minnesota's Wikipedia Page
The University of Minnesota created "Gopher," an early predecessor of the World Wide Web, which was eventually overtaken by HTTP as the dominant protocol of the internet.
So that's something.
Random, Definitely Correct Fact From My Own Experience Traveling To Minneapolis
The Mall of America is really big. It is so big that, at least as of my last visit to the mall, it has three (3) separate and distinct Champs Sports stores.
Also they call their soda "pop" which everyone knows is not correct but they insist on doing it anyway.
Game Day Beverage
Because oh my God in heaven do I already feel nauseous.
Gametime Song of the Week
There are any number of ultra-sappy, ulta-dumb, and ultimately ultra-meaningly choices I could have made for this. So I ditched them all. Boston College Women's Hockey is playing to bring the first non-men's hockey NCAA title to the Heights. There's no other motivational theme necessary.
No staff predictions this week. Just me.
I am personally overwhelmed with the fact that BC is playing in this game. They looked dead in the water yesterday and clawed back, with the help of a miracle goal or two, to keep their season alive in overtime. There's the feeling that there's a decent chance of a letdown game. It feels like too much to ask to get such a cathartic moment like the semifinal overtime winner to send us to our first final and to win the national title both in the same weekend.
But Minnesota's got the same opportunity for a letdown. They had the same third period, come-from-behind, 3-2 overtime thriller to get here, but their matchup was a breathless wide-open affair against their hated rival, Wisconsin.
BC caught a break in getting to play the Gophers. Their up-and-down style suits BC well and the Eagles have never lost to the Gophers by more than one goal -- never, in the five games ever played between these two programs. The only time the Eagles were ranked above the Gophers (albeit on a Pairwise technicality and even then BC was still really the underdog), BC smoked Minnesota 4-0 in the first period and never looked back.
That's obviously not going to happen, but the fact is, even when the Eagles have been severely outclassed on paper, BC has found that the Gophers' style matches up well with theirs.
I don't know whether BC will pull this game out, but a literal virtual coin flip on random.org gave BC the win. So write it down: BC 3, Minnesota 2, possibly (God help me) in overtime, for a national championship.