BOSTON — For Boston University coach David Quinn, the playoffs are all about finding different ways to win games. After his team found a way to win Thursday night, all that remains is a shot at the NCAA title.
Playing before a mostly friendly crowd not far from its campus, Boston University built an early lead and held on, beating North Dakota 5-3 in the Frozen Four semifinals and advancing to the national championship game.
Boston University will meet Providence in Saturday night’s NCAA title game. It will be the first championship game for the Terriers since 2009, when they beat Miami (Ohio) for the crown in Washington, D.C.
Center Jack Eichel scored twice Thursday, and the Terriers got single goals from left winger A.J. Greer and defensemen Brandon Hickey and Doyle Somerby.
Boston University led by two goals after 20 minutes and by three goals after 40 minutes, then survived furious North Dakota rallies in the second and third periods to advance.
“We just tried to weather the storm,” said Eichel, who was named the Hobey Baker Award winner Friday. “All season we’ve been a pretty good team in the third period. I don’t know how many times we went into the third period with a lead, so this might have been a little different.”
Goaltender Matt O’Connor made 36 saves for Boston University (28-7-5).
“Incredible game, and a funny game in a lot of ways,” Quinn said. “We got it done. … There are all sorts of ways to win, and we’ve been very fortunate this year and have won games all sorts of ways. We won one tonight in a way we hadn’t had to win one all year. That’s a great sign.”
BU will take on Providence, which received two second-period goals and a dominating performance in the net to beat Nebraska Omaha 4-1..
Centers Noel Acciari and Mark Jankowski scored five minutes apart in the second period and right winger Trevor Mingoia squelched a potential third-period for the Friars who advanced to the championship game for just the second time in school history.
Goaltender and South Portland native Jon Gilles had 25 saves for the Friars (25-13-2). Left winger Nick Saracino added an empty-net goal for Providence in the final minute.