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Boston University disappointed -- and upset -- after season ends with OT loss to Denver in Frozen Four

Boston University reacts after disappointing overtime loss to Denver in Frozen Four
Boston University reacts after disappointing overtime loss to Denver in Frozen Four 02:00

BOSTON -- While one Boston team moved on to the NCAA championship game on Thursday night, the other did not. The Boston University Terriers fell in crushing fashion in the Frozen Four, losing a heartbreaker to Denver, 2-1, in overtime.

So there will be no Boston vs. Boston final on Saturday, after the Boston College Eagles defeated Michigan, 4-0, in the second semifinal. It would have been just the second time the rivals met in an NCAA title game.

The Terriers had their chances throughout Thursday night's semifinals, but weren't able to capitalize again after taking a 1-0 lead in the first period. Senior Luke Tuch was responsible for BU's only goal, after he snatched the puck from a Pioneer and went in on his lonesome for a shorthanded tally in the first period. 

The Terriers had a handful of other scoring chances in the period but couldn't add to that edge. Still, they had to be feeling pretty good after dominating the first 20 minutes. The Terriers entered the game 19-1-0 this season when leading after the first period. 

But things started to shift midway through the second period, and Denver's Tristan Lemyre evened the score when he beat Mathieu Caron with under five minutes left in the frame. While the BU offense failed to capitalize on its chances, Caron stood on his head to keep it a tie game, coming up with huge save in the final seconds of the second period and midway through the third.

Denver ended regulation on a power play and held the man-advantage going into overtime, but BU was able to kill that off. The Terriers went on the attack midway through the extra frame but turned it over in the Denver zone, and the Pioneers made them pay. Denver turned that turnover into a rush, and Tristan Broz wristed one by Caron -- who had 27 saves on the night -- from the top of the right circle to send Denver to the title game.

The Terriers' power play unit never saw the ice Thursday night, and after a few questionable no-calls throughout the game, BU star Macklin Celebrini voiced his displeasure with the officiating. And not just the officiating from Thursday night.

"When you don't get a power play for the last 130 minutes of game time -- no power plays against Minnesota, no power plays against Denver -- in these games that's what changes the momentum and helps you score goals," said Celebrini, who put up seven shots in the defeat.

Head coach Jay Pandolfo said the Terriers missed out on too many chances.

"Tonight, the margin of error in these one-and-dones is very slim. We made some mistakes that cost us, and there is no tomorrow for us," he said. "It's a very tough tournament to win.

"Really disappointing. I really feel for our seniors," added Pandolfo. "They've done a tremendous job the last two years of, I feel like reestablishing the culture at BU and what it means to play and be a Terrier. I want to thank those guys; Case [McCarthy] coming back for his fifth year. For him to get another chance to play in the Frozen Four was great to see."

McCarthy, who was injured for last year's Frozen Four, fought back tears as he spoke with reporters after the loss.

"Away from the rink, the group we had in that locker room was a special group. A special group of people," said the fifth-year senior. "It's special when you have a group like that. It makes coming to the rink really fun. Building those relationships with those guys is something I'll hold on to for the rest of my life."

It's a disappointing end to an otherwise strong season from the Terriers, who finish at 28-10-2.

"I'm proud of this group," said Celebrini, who will likely be the top overall pick in this summer's NHL Draft. "We had a hell of a team and we gave it everything we could. We came up short on multiple occasions and I guess that is how it goes sometimes. But I'm super proud of this group and super grateful I was able to have the opportunity to play with these guys."

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