Boston University Terriers don’t feel slighted over their travel for the NCAA Tournament

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BOSTON — The Boston University Terriers are the second-best hockey team in the country heading into the NCAA Tournament. But they’re not going to reap many of the benefits of being the second-best hockey team in the country.

The Terriers (26-9-2) are the second overall seed in the tournament and the 1-seed in their bracket, so they’ll have a couple of “home games” as they look to secure a spot in the Frozen Four this weekend. But they won’t get to play anywhere close to home when the puck drops on the NCAA Tournament this week. 

Instead, Boston University will be shipping off to Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Tuesday afternoon ahead of Thursday’s opening-round action against RIT (27-10-2). This is not only the first time that BU will face off against RIT, but also the first time the Terriers play in Sioux Falls.

Why on earth would a team that went 26-9-2 and is ranked second in the nation have to travel 1,500 miles when there are tournament games in both Springfield and Providence? The top-seeded Eagles get to play in Providence, so logically, the Terriers should be in Springfield this week.

But with UMass considered the host team in Springfield, they had to play at the MassMutual Center per NCAA rules. That means  the 20-13-6 Minutemen — one of the final teams to make the field — will essentially get a home game against third-ranked Denver (which probably would have liked to have played in South Dakota), while the Terriers have to do a lot of traveling.

“Hey, that’s the path we have to go on,” Terriers head coach Jay Pandolfo told WBZ-TV on Tuesday. “It’s sometimes good for a team to get on the road. You get to spend some more time together and get away from here a bit with less distraction. I think it’s good for our group.”

But even Tuesday’s practice had a bump in the road for BU. The Terriers couldn’t even use Agganis Arena for their practice because the circus is in town. That created a different kind of circus for players on Tuesday, as they had to hold practice at Walter Brown Arena — where the women’s team plays — and then walk back to Agganis for all their post-practice needs.

So if you saw a group of hockey players walking in the rain in flipflops with skates over their shoulders on Comm. Ave Tuesday morning, now you know why.

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Members of the Boston University men’s hockey team walk across Nickerson Field after they had to practice at Walter Brown Arena on Tuesday, before leaving for the NCAA Tournament. 

WBZ-TV


While the Terriers were obviously disappointed with their 6-2 loss to Boston College on Saturday, Pandolfo said they’ve put it in the past and are focused on the road ahead. And just because that road ahead is a little longer than expected, the Terriers don’t feel at all slighted.

“We’re just happy to be in the tournament and excited to play,” said Pandolfo. “If we have a chip on our shoulder it’s because we want to do well. We have a competitive group and that’s the mindset we have.”

If BU can handle RIT on Thursday, the Terriers would move on to face the winner of the Minnesota vs. Nebraska-Omaha game on Saturday for a trip to the Frozen Four, which will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 11. 

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