MINNEAPOLIS – The final week of the 2022-23 season is here, and the top-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey team is set for a NCAA Frozen Four battle with No. 5/4 Boston University Thursday from Amalie Arena. Puck drop is slated for 4 p.m. (CT) live on ESPN2 or tune in for the broadcast through the Gopher Radio Network.

It’ll be the fifth meeting between the two historic programs in the national semifinals and first since 1995. For more information on tickets, Frozen Four schedule, radio affiliates and NCAA tournament news, click HERE for the Gopher Hockey Postseason Central page.

The Golden Gophers have the farthest trip of any team at the NCAA Frozen Four traveling nearly 1,600 miles to Amalie Arena, the home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s the second time in three instances when the Frozen Four has been hosted in Tampa, Fla., that the Maroon and Gold have earned a spot after making the event in 2012. Entering its 23rd trip and 40th overall game at the Frozen Four, Minnesota owns a 20-19 record all-time, including a 12-10 mark in the national semifinals.

The five-time national champion Gophers are back in the 16-team NCAA tournament for the third-straight season and record 40th time in program history. They own a 60-40 all-time record, and the 60 victories are the most of any college hockey team in tournament history. Under head coach Bob Motzko, Minnesota has a 5-2 record on the national stage and won at least one game in all three trips to the event, including a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four in back-to-back seasons.

Minnesota’s Logan Cooley and Matthew Knies were both named a 2023 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Hat Trick Finalist Thursday. The Gophers are one of just three NCAA teams to have at least four Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners in program history as Jordan Leopold (2002), Brian Bonin (1996), Robb Stauber (1988) and Neal Broten (1981) all earned the prestigious honor. A 30-member selection committee and another round of fan balloting determined this year’s Hobey Baker winner, which will be announced at a public ceremony at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa, Fla., April 7 and live on NHL Network at 5 p.m. (CT).

Minnesota holds an even 12-12-2 record in the all-time series with BU since it began in 1963, including a 5-3 mark in games played at the NCAA Tournament. The teams last met on the ice in 2012 in the first game of the NCAA West Regional at Xcel Energy Center where the Gophers claimed a 7-3 win with a pair of empty-net goals. Kyle Rau had a goal and three assists that night in St. Paul, Minn., and Jake Hansen scored twice for Minnesota. The Terriers have won the last two matchups during the national semifinals (1994, 1995) after the Maroon and Gold won the first two (1974, 1976).

Similar to the Gophers, the Terriers are playing in their 23rd NCAA Frozen Four in 2023 after taking down Western Michigan (5-1) and Cornell (2-1) at the NCAA Manchester Regional to extend a nine-game winning streak that dates back to Feb. 24. BU enters the final week of the season unbeaten at 21-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal and lost only once when holding a lead after the first period (17-1-0) and once with a second-period lead (22-1-0). The dynamic Hutson brothers pace the NCAA’s fourth-highest scoring offense (3.9 goals per game). Quinn is tied for the nation’s lead with seven game-winning goals, while Lane is seventh in the nation totaling 48 points, the most of any freshman blueliner this season.

Gopher senior defenseman Ryan Johnson spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm in Tampa:

(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)

(photo credit:  Brad Rempel, Gopher Sports)

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