The 2012 Frozen Four gets underway tonight, and the marquee matchup pits two seasoned hockey programs against one another.
Minnesota and Boston College have made a combined 43 trips to the Frozen Four, whereas their counterparts, Ferris State and Union, are playing in their first ever.
There's a strong chance that we'll have another first-time NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament champ. Last year, Minnesota-Duluth won it's first ever national title, and the winner of Ferris State and Union might make it back-to-back years for first-time champs.
Of course, Minnesota and Boston College will have a lot to say about that, but first, each team will focus on its semifinal matchup.
With that said, let's dig into some specifics about this Frozen Four showdown.
When: Thursday, April 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, FL
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
What's At Stake?
The winner gets a trip to the National Championship and the other goes home empty handed.
Both teams have worked really hard to get here, but soon one will be headed back home. Look for each player to give it their all tonight because it could be the last time some of these guys ever play at the college level.
Minnesota Player to Watch
Sophomore forward Nick Bjugstad has really come into his own this season. He leads the team in goals with 25 and is easily one of the best wings in college hockey today.
At 6'4" Bjugstad plays with a physical mentality, and despite being just 19 years old, he's got the skills to move on to the NHL. He was selected by the Florida Panthers in 2010, and they can't wait to have him.
Keep an eye on him because, if the Golden Gophers are going to pull of the upset, Bjugstad has to have a dominant game.
Boston College Player to Watch
The Eagles are loaded with immense talent, which is why they received the top ranking.
Of all their skilled players, though, the one to watch for the most in this matchup is Chris Kreider, as he is their best.
The 6'3" forward was selected by the New York Rangers in 2009, and he isn't far from playing in the NHL. Kreider has scored 22 goals and has 43 points in 42 games this year, so look for him to keep thriving tonight.
While the Golden Gophers have had a good run, sadly, it is going to end tonight. The Eagles are just too good to be upset, but in no way am I saying that Minnesota can't do it.
It's going to be close, but Krieder will step up and carry Boston College into the Championship Game.
Boston College 3, Minnesota 2