The college hockey season is here, and Agganis Arena is thelocation for the first regular-season puck drop as Boston University hosts the 12th annual Ice Breaker Invitational tonight, October10, and Saturday, October 11.
The ninth-ranked Terriers will welcome number-5 North Dakota, number-11 Michigan State, and the University of Massachusetts to Boston for the nation’s premierseason-opening tournament.
This year’s Ice Breaker format features an East vs. Westcompetition, as BU and Hockey East rival UMass each face MichiganState and North Dakota. The Spartans won the 2007 NCAA title, and theFighting Sioux have advanced to the Frozen Four in each of the pastfour seasons.
Michigan State and UMass will be the first two Division I teams tokick off their 2008-2009 campaign when they face off on Friday at 4:30 p.m.; the Terriers take on North Dakota at 7:30 p.m. On daytwo the Minutemen square off againstthe Fighting Sioux at 4:30 p.m., followed by BU against the Spartans inthe finale, at 7:30 p.m. All four games will be streamed live onGoTerriers.com through BU All-Access.
The Ice Breaker is being held in Massachusetts for the first timeever, and BU is the third Hockey East school to host the tournament, joining Maine (2001) and New Hampshire (2004).Hockey East has been the most successful conference to play in the Ice Breaker, winning 17 of its 22 tournament contests — goodfor a .773 winning percentage — while claiming 6 of the previous 11titles.
The Terriers and head coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97),with 781 career victories and entering his 36th season as BU coach, are making their third Ice Breaker appearance. They participatedin the tournament when the Wisconsin Badgershosted the inaugural event in 1997 and again when it returned to Madison in 2002, with BU claiming the title with a win over Rensselaer.
This year’s field promises to be one of the best ever, as it features three of the top dozen teams in the preseason rankings.
BU (19-17-4 in 2007-2008) enters its season with high hopes, as 8of its top 10 scorers from last year return, includingcocaptain Matt Gilroy (CAS’09), who is the only player in the country to have earned All-America honors in each of the past two seasons. Colin Wilson (CAS’10),the first collegiate player selected in this past summer’s NHLEntry Draft (seventh overall, Nashville), is the reigning Hockey EastRookie of the Year and is part of an offense that ranked sixth in thecountry last year and includes Chris Higgins (CAS’09), Jason Lawrence (CAS’09), John McCarthy (CAS’09), Brandon Yip (CAS’09), who have been in the lineup since they were freshmen.
Since this year’s tournament format does not include a championship game, thewinner will be determined by the teams’ records over the two days. Alltied games will have a shootout immediately following the end of thefive-minute overtime period. Those contests will be officially recordedas a tie and the shootout result will count only toward breakingpotential ties to determine the Ice Breaker champion. Head-to-headcompetition and goal differential are the first two tiebreakers shouldtwo teams have the same record.
Tickets for both days of the Ice Breaker are still available. Visit the Agganis Arena ticket office at 925Commonwealth Ave. or click here.