As UND fans flood Manhattan, team gets ready for Showdown

NEW YORK--They've been at Today Show and the Tonight Show. They've been at the top of Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. They've flooded Times Square, Wall Street and Central Park. They've dined at 99 Cent F...


NEW YORK-They've been at Today Show and the Tonight Show.

They've been at the top of Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center.

They've flooded Times Square, Wall Street and Central Park.

They've dined at 99 Cent Fresh Pizza and Le Bernardin.

Now, it's finally time for the main show that brought an estimated thousands of UND hockey fans to Manhattan this week.


UND will take on Boston College at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Madison Square Garden in an event dubbed the College Hockey Showdown.

Although Boston is only about 200 miles away, it's expect that there will be more green and white in the stands Saturday night. UND's end of the lower bowl is sold out, while a couple hundred seats remain on Boston College's end.

UND's Alumni Association had to make arrangements with two venues because the first one-Heartland Brewery at the Empire State Building-was being overwhelmed with reservation requests.

While the fans have looked at this weekend as a great opportunity to combine a vacation and college hockey, UND is looking at this weekend as an opportunity to right the ship after a home loss and tie against Michigan State a week ago.

"The importance of winning a hockey game comes first," UND coach Brad Berry said. "It's New York City, Madison Square Garden and Boston College. All the storylines you want in a game. The most important part is the game and the result of the game.

"There's a lot of outside hype. There's a lot of talk. It's been there for a long time. It's great for college hockey. It's a showcase game. But for us, it's about drilling down to business and having a workman-like attitude."

UND and Boston College rank first and second in wins, Frozen Four trips and national championship in college hockey in the past decade.

Both reached the Frozen Four in Tampa in April-UND won the national championship and Boston College got knocked off in the semifinals-but both teams look significantly different.


UND had five players turn pro early after last season and it lost four seniors that suited up in the Frozen Four. Boston College lost seven early to NHL signings and two senior regulars.

UND, in particular, has been up-and-down throughout the season.

The Fighting Hawks (7-5-3) started the season 5-0 but have won just two of their last 10 games-a pair of shutouts at St. Cloud State.

"We know what we have in the locker room," UND captain Gage Ausmus said. "We have a lot of skill. I let the guys know that I've been on less skilled teams that have gone through tough times and ended up being successful."

Boston College started the season 1-2 but is 11-2-1 since then.

The Eagles are led by Matthew Gaudreau, the brother of former Boston College star and NHL standout Johnny Gaudreau. But Boston College relies on its depth more than one line.

UND, meanwhile, is expected to play without forward Brock Boeser again. He's been limited by an arm injury.

"You can tell in practice that the compete level is high and the execution is there," Berry said. "The biggest thing for our group is they have to remain confident. Frustration can't come into it. We have to make sure we continue to build."


A team that thrived on the big stage last season will try to do it again in the World's Most Famous Arena.

"That's part of what we try to do here for our student-athletes is give them the college experience and things they can remember for the rest of their lives," Berry said. "They like to travel out East and play nontraditional teams. Our guys like doing that.

"We try to do it every couple of years-go to a city or a venue where they can get that experience."

Judging by all of the UND fans in New York City this week, they are enjoying it, too.

"It's a very special moment for us," Ausmus said. "It's definitely exciting for all of us players."

College Hockey Showdown

Who: No. 9 UND vs. No. 3 Boston College

When: 6:30 tonight.


Where: Madison Square Garden, New York.

Records: UND 7-5-3, Boston College 12-4-1.

Of note: Tonight's game will be UND's first in New York City.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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