The next round matchup was with another NCHC opponent in Minnesota Duluth who BU had beaten in the same round of the 2015 NCAA tournament on their way to the national championship game. While the final score was the same(3-2), the opposite team came out on top on this one. The similarities between this game and the regional final from 2015 are pretty crazy. In both games, SOG were almost equal(27-27 in 2015, 22-20 UMD in 2017). The eventual winning team in both games took a 2-1 lead in the third only to give up a game tying goal to make it 2-2. Both game winning goals were powerplay goals with the only difference is this year's version came in OT. The loss ends BU's season while Duluth moves on to face Harvard in the Frozen Four in Chicago. Hockey is a game where you need to get some luck and bounces to win games especially in one and done tournaments such as the NCAA's. BU got bounces in 2015 and on Friday against North Dakota and didn't Saturday night in OT. It's not anyone's fault, it's just how the game goes sometimes. The only way to avoid it is to play so well that the game doesn't get to OT but against the #2 team in the country you can't expect that out of any team.
I feel like I say this every year but the only way to judge a season's success is if you won a national title or not. If you are one of the 59 teams who didn't win it, the season ends with a loss and it sucks. At BU, the expectation is always to be in a position to win a national championship. I would say despite what some negative fans may say, this team was in an OT to go to the Frozen Four and a chance to win a title. There were certainly hiccups along the way in the regular season but none of that really matters at the end of the day(besides the Beanpot). People will point to all the first round picks and say BU should have won it all and maybe they would have if they got a bounce Saturday but they didn't and here we are. If you want to blame a coaching staff who assembled the greatest recruiting class of all time or 18-20 year old kids for not being perfect by your standards because your life is that pathetic and negative then all the more power to you.
The loss ends the career for the three seniors Tommy Kelley, Nick Roberto(who lost a year due to the NCAA being assholes), and captain Doyle Somerby. I will touch more on each of them in the coming days when I do the senior posts but they have been through the ringer while at BU. Kelley and Somerby were recruited by the old coaching staff and had to wonder where they fit into the program moving forward once Coach Quinn was hired. Roberto endured a year long suspension to take the fall for others last season and they all endured the 10 win season their freshman year. Good luck to all of them in their future endeavors.
The loss of underclassmen is what can hurt hockey programs all over the country for the next season. The BU coaching staff understands this as they recruit to replace players likely to leave for the NHL. One such departure has already taken place with freshman forward Clayton Keller signing with the Arizona Coyotes who took him 7th overall in this past year's draft. Keller was a stud for BU this year and is set to make his NHL debut tonight in his hometown of St. Louis. There could be more to come for BU players as Jordan Greenway, JFK, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Hickey will have opportunities to sign professional contracts if they so choose. I will never fault a kid for signing a professional contract and leaving school early if that's what they think is best for their career. BU has quite the freshman class coming in again next year to replace these types of players. It will most likely be an 8 man class with 5 of those 8 likely to be drafted along with freshman goalie Jake Oettinger who is draft eligible this year. Due to this class, BU has the potential to be an even deeper team next year than they were this year and they will again be one of the most talented teams in the country and a title contender.