BOSTON — North Dakota blocked 51 shots in the West Regional, a key factor in wins over Quinnipiac (28 blocks) and St. Cloud State (23).
On the season, UND is 11th nationally with 565 shots blocked. Defenseman Gage Ausmus leads the team and is ninth in the nation with 84.
“Everyone’s buying in,” said captain Stephane Pattyn. “Everyone is doing what it takes to win.”
That’s going to be key against a quick and mobile Boston University defense in Thursday’s Frozen Four semifinal.
“We’re playing a team with a good defense,” said Pattyn. “They’re skilled and we need to do what it takes [to prevent scoring chances].”
This season marks the seventh time in 11 seasons that North Dakota has made the Frozen Four, but UND has come up empty each time.
The players say it’s something they’re aware of, and a challenge they welcome.
“There are probably not many programs that are under as much scrutiny and pressure,” said senior defenseman Nick Mattson. “Players want to come to North Dakota to face challenges like this.
“We gain confidence and rely on one another because you know that you’ve been in these situations before.”
And UND knows it will have great fan support despite being in BU territory.
“It’s been that way in Denver, Omaha, Colorado College,” said goaltender Zane McIntyre. “Hundreds and thousands of fans travel and it’s pretty special. It’s pretty cool to be part of a program with that kind of tradition.
“Granted, it’s in BU’s backyard, but it’s going to be fun to see how many UND fans get here and show their colors.”