Boston College still haunts UND fans, but many players are oblivious to the past
NEW YORK--Tyson Jost was asked what he knows about the history of North Dakota and Boston College. The UND freshman paused. He thought for a second. "Honestly, not too much," he said. "I definitely know that there's a rivalry there." Read between...
NEW YORK-Tyson Jost was asked what he knows about the history of North Dakota and Boston College.
The UND freshman paused.
He thought for a second.
"Honestly, not too much," he said. "I definitely know that there's a rivalry there."
Read between the lines.
The names Krys Kolanos, Chris Collins and Nathan Gerbe are not curse words to him.
Their performances in the 2001, 2006, 2007 and 2008 NCAA Frozen Fours do not ring a bell to him.
The misery that Boston College caused UND for nearly a decade in NCAA Frozen Fours will surely be in the backs of the minds of the fans when the teams meet again at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night in New York City's Madison Square Garden.
But for most of the players, it means little.
UND and Boston College haven't played in the NCAA tournament in nine seasons. Jost was 12 years old when Gerbe tallied a hat trick and four points in Denver to end UND's national championship hopes in 2008.
Since then, they've only met once-the 2011 Ice Breaker Invitational in Grand Forks on the season's opening weekend.
All of those players have since moved on.
"I think for a lot of players, there's not a recollection of us playing against BC," UND coach Brad Berry said. "It's similar to the Minnesota Gopher series with it being a while since we played. We can relay back as coaches and players and us as an organization what it means to play teams from Hockey East and teams that we've had competition with over the years.
"The biggest thing is, instead of getting caught up in that, we need to get caught up in knowing that we have to compete and knowing it's a nonconference game. We have to focus on the short term side."
UND hasn't beaten Boston College since March 26, 2005, in the NCAA regional final, when Dave Hakstol's first team knocked off the Eagles 6-2 in Worcester, Mass., to earn a trip to the Frozen Four.
The next three years, UND lost in the Frozen Four semifinals to the Eagles.
There was the Collins hat trick in Milwaukee in 2006 to lift Boston College 6-5.
There was the four-point Gerbe night in St. Louis in 2007 to lift the Eagles 6-4.
And there was the four-point encore by Gerbe in Denver in 2008 to give Boston College a 6-1 win.
Those nightmares have been etched into the backs of minds of fans moreso than the 0-0 tie in Boston in 2007-a game that was called after two periods because of fog in the arena-and the Ice Breaker game in 2011, when a Gerbe-like freshman named Johnny Gaudreau had four points.
In all, UND is 0-4-1 against the Eagles since the 2005 regional victory.
But many players on this young team know nothing about those nights.
They only know the storied history of the two programs, which rank 1-2 in college hockey wins in the last decade.
"I think it's fair to say that North Dakota and Boston College are two of the best colleges for college hockey," Jost said. "I think that's a fair statement to make. Obviously, it's a pretty exciting weekend. Going to New York City is something that's going to be special in itself. We're all looking forward to it."
The Fighting Hawks and Eagles both made the Frozen four last season, but Boston College lost to Quinnipiac in the semifinals, negating the potential championship matchup.
After playing in the NCAA tournament seven times in the span of 10 years from 1999 to 2008, the teams haven't met in the national tournament in the last eight years.
Even so, many of those memories haven't been washed away from fans. But a win in Madison Square Garden in the College Hockey Showdown could start to ease those pains.
"Everyone gets caught up in the hype of this time of year and what we're doing," Berry said. "For us, it has to be workman-like and business-like. Yeah, we're going to New York. Yeah, we're going to play Boston College. But we have to make sure we control the things we can control and not look at the external things."
College Hockey Showdown
Who: North Dakota vs. Boston College.
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York.
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Records: UND 7-5-3, Boston College 12-4-1.
Of note: This is the first meeting between the teams since Oct. 2011.