Counting down to national semifinals in college hockey on April 5 ...

Meet a Gopher: Travis Boyd. The 5-10, 186-pound freshman had a huge tip-in for his first goal of the season in the Gophers' 5-2 win over North Dakota in the West Regional final. His goal gave the U a 4-1 lead.

He was inserted at center on the third line and helped jump start it. Each member of that line had a goal and an assist vs. UND for six total points. He came into the game with six assists in 32 games. ... The Gophers are 8-0 when he has a point. He has one goal and eight assists. ... Boyd won 11 of 12 faceoffs against St. Cloud State on Nov. 18.

He has usually played center on the fourth line.

Played for U.S. on the gold medal-winning team in U18 IIHF World Championship in 2011 in Germany. ... Played high school hockey for hockey and two years for U.S. national development team in Ann Arbor. ... Sixth round pick of Washington Capitals in 2011.

Meet an opponent: Chris Kreider is BC's power forward on the second line. He is tied for the team lead in goals with 22 and has a team-high 43 points.

Kreider is a 6-3, 225-pound junior who is expected to sign with the New York Rangers once the college season is over. The Rangers drafted him in the first round, 19th overall, in 2009.

Kreider, who turns 21 on April 30, had only one goal in 10 games until he scored twice in BC's 2-0 victory over Air Force in the Northeast Regional. He was a second team all-Hockey East pick. He has played in big games, competing for the U.S. in the World Junior Championships in 2010 and '11.

Frozen Four fact: Boston College has appeared in 10 Frozen Fours in the past 15 years.

The quote: "I am really proud and happy of our guys. We have such a long season. And there are ups and downs and peaks and valleys, but you just have to continue to stay with it. And this group has." -- Gophers coach Don Lucia said after his team beat North Dakota for trip to Frozen Four.


Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Mass.; 14,500 students

Founded in 1863, colors: maroon and gold

Conference: Hockey East

Notes: 17-game winning streak, won Beanpot, Hockey East regular-season and playoff titles

NCAA trips: this is 31st, 41-38 record so far, with four NCAA championships in 1949, 2001, '08, '10

Common opponents with Gophers: Beat Michigan State 5-2, North Dakota 6-2, Michigan Tech 2-1, Vermont 5-1, 4-0,  UMD 4-0, lost to Denver 4-2, split four games with Boston University ... overall 8-3


Minneapolis, 50,067

Founded in 1851, colors: maroon and gold

Conference: WCHA

Notes: On 9-2 run into Frozen Four, WCHA regular-season champions

NCAA trips: this is 33rd, 50-33 record so far, with five NCAA championships in 1974, '76, '79, 2002, '03

Gophers common opponents with BC: Swept UMD 5-4 OT, 5-4, split with Vermont 6-0, 4-5 and Michigan Tech 2-3 OT and 6-2, went 4-2 with North Dakota, lost and tied Michigan State 3-4, 4-4 OT tie, lost to Northeastern 3-2, lost to Denver 5-3, 4-3 OT.  .... Overall 8-8-1.


Sophomore forward J.T. Brown of Minnesota Duluth has signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He led the Bulldogs with 24 goals this season and had 47 points, the third most on the team. A Lightning official called Brown the top free agent in college hockey.

Since 2007, 10 UMD players have left school early to sign professional contracts, according to the Duluth News-Tribune. They are:

Left wingers/ Mason Raymond (with Vancouver in 2007), Rob Bordson (Anaheim in 2010) and Mike Connolly (San Jose in 2011)

Defensemen/ Matt Niskanen (Dallas in 2007), Jason Garrison (Florida in 2008), Evan Oberg (Vancouver in 2009), Dylan Olsen (Chicago in 2010) and Justin Faulk (Carolina in 2011)

Goalie/ Alex Stalock (San Jose in 2009)

* Hockey's Future recently rated the New York Islanders' top 20 prospects. Defenseman Aaron Ness was No. 16 on the list. UND sophomore forward Brock Nelson was No. 4 and sophomore forward Anders Lee of Notre Dame was No. 12. Lee is from Warroad, Lee from Edina.