Boston University’s Young Core Grew Up Quickly During Frozen Four Run

For Boston University, age is just a number.

Despite boasting the youngest roster in Division I college hockey, the Terriers have torn through their schedule, earning every available accolade en route to the Frozen Four. They’ll take on North Dakota on Thursday in the national semifinals — a virtual home game at TD Garden against the highest remaining seed in the NCAA tournament field.

“Well so far, (youth) hasn’t been a problem,” BU coach David Quinn said last week on a conference call with reporters.” I think we have a big body of work that says these freshmen have proven they can play at a high level in pressure situations. And I think another thing that our team has shown is that there is a resolve and a resiliency, and I’ve used the word ‘swagger’ throughout the season, because I think there’s a belief not only that each player has in himself, but that each player has in each other.”

Freshman sensation Jack Eichel has garnered much of the attention directed at BU this season, but he is far from the only young gun who’s made an impact for this Terriers squad.

Four of BU’s six core defensemen are freshmen. Another, Marblehead, Mass., native Doyle Somerby, is a sophomore. Quinn’s squad boasts a mere three seniors, one of whom, third-string goalie Anthony Moccia, has appeared in just two games this season.

The coach cautions, however, against automatically equating youth with inexperience. Most of these freshmen have upward of 35 collegiate games under their belts, including eight of the tournament variety between the Beanpot, Hockey East championship and Northeast Regional.

“We’ve been fortunate over the last month that we’ve been in a lot of pressure situations,” Quinn said. “Looking back, I think we may benefit from the Beanpot getting postponed (a winter storm pushed the final of the annual tournament from Feb. 3 to Feb. 23). When you think about it, over the last month we played in three semifinal/final situations to win a tournament.”

The Terriers didn’t face much resistance in the conference tourney, winning their four games by a combined score of 20-6, but Beanpot and regional play was a different beast. Each of those four games was decided by a single goal, with three requiring overtime (including a double-overtime classic against Harvard in the Beanpot semis).

“I think we’ve built more and more experience in these kind of situations throughout the year,” said winger Evan Rodrigues, one of two seniors who sees significant playing time. “Obviously, we had two overtime games in the Beanpot, we had close games in the Hockey East championship.

“And when you make it to the Frozen Four, it doesn’t really matter what kind of situation you’re put in. All the teams are obviously incredibly good, and I think we’re going to be ready for it because of the situations we’ve been put in, and because of the comebacks we’ve had and stuff like that. But at this point in the season, every team’s good.”

“At this time of the year,” Quinn added, “when you’re playing in late March, it may say ‘freshman’ next to their name, but when you’ve got over 40 games under your belt in college hockey, you’re a seasoned freshman.”

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BGlobeSports

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