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NCAA Women's Hockey: BC, BU Punch Ticket To Frozen Four

Two Boston based NCAA Division 1 women's hockey programs have advanced to the Women's Frozen Four. Both Boston University and Boston College punched their ticket to the final rounds of the NCAA Tournament after Saturday afternoon wins.

Boston College defeated Minnesota Saturday afternoon, 4-1, at Conte Forum. The Eagles got started very quickly, with sophomore Ashley Motherwell scoring just 24 seconds into the game on a mistake by Minnesota goalie Noora Raty. Less than two minutes later, freshman right wing Melissa BIzzari notched another goal to give BC a two goal lead.

At the eight minute mark of the first period, senior center Kelli Stack notched her 35th goal of the season, faking out Raty and catching her sprawled onto the ice to put BC up 3-0. BC finished all of their scoring with Stack's second goal on the afternoon with just about a minute and a half to go in the first. Minnesota broke Eagles goaltender Molly Shaus's shutout with a second period goal, but that was all they could muster. BC's win marked the first time in program history that they were able to defeat Minnesota. Their Frozen Four appearance is only their second ever.

Later in the afternoon, BU advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time in their program's relatively brief history with a 4-2 win over Mercyhurst College. Last year, Mercyhurst knocked BU out of their first ever NCAA quarterfinal appearance, but this year the Terriers had the Lakers on home ice. BU junior center Jenn Wakefield kicked off the scoring for the Terriers right before the 12 minute mark of the first period, going around a Lakers defensewoman, juggling the puck and shooting it past Lakers goalie Hilary Pattenden. Former Olympian Meghan Agosta then tallied one for the Lakers to tie up the game. 

In the second period, center Marie-Philip Poulin put the Terriers ahead 2-1 with her 31st goal of the season. In the middle of the third, Agosta netted her 37th goal of the season to tie the game again. The tie wouldn't last long, as sophomore left wing Jill Cardella rushed towards Pattenden and shot past the goalie to get the Terriers ahead for good. Wakefield would add her second goal of the game on a empty-netter as time ticked down, giving the Terriers the 4-2 revenge win.

BC and BU will now travel to Erie, PA to play in the Frozen Four semifinals on Friday. BC will take on #1 ranked Wisconsin, in a match-up between USA Olympians Stack and Shaus and several of their Olympic teammates and Mark Johnson, their Olympic head coach. BU will face #2 Cornell, a team that boasts an impressive 31-2-1 record on the season. The winners of the two semifinals will face in next Sunday's national championship game. And yes, this seeding could lead to a BC-BU National Championship game, which would elevate the already intense rivalry to a whole new level.