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Wisconsin, Boston College to meet for NCAA title

DETROIT (AP) — Wisconsin played a hockey game at a football stadium and Boston College skated at Fenway Park earlier this season.

Both venues prepared the two teams for Ford Field, where they will meet Saturday night for the NCAA men's hockey title in a rematch the 2006 finals won by the Badgers.

"Right from the minute we got out there for warmups, nobody was distracted by the surroundings," Eagles forward Matt Price said of Ford Field, home to the NFL's Detroit Lions and last year's NCAA Final Four.

Boston College's focused effort — along with its speed, depth and goaltending — led to a 7-1 stunner over top-seeded Miami of Ohio on Thursday night. Wisconsin routed Rochester Institute of Technology 8-1 in the other semifinal, using its size and balanced scoring to dismantle an overmatched team.

The Eagles and Badgers expect to have a much tougher time when the two powerhouses collide in front of what will be a record-breaking crowd if any tickets were sold on Friday or are bought on game day. Fans had to buy tickets for all three games if they wanted them in advance.

A world indoor attendance record was set for hockey when a crowd of 34,954 was announced for the two-game session on Thursday. Ford Field was prepared for the masses with a rink set up near an end zone and portable seats along the boards opposite the team benches.

The two-game session smashed the Frozen Four record of 19,432 fans set in St. Louis three years ago and hockey's indoor mark of 28,183 from Tampa Bay's home game at Tropicana Field against Philadelphia during the 1996 NHL playoffs.

The Badgers and Eagles have played for bigger crowds than that this year.

Wisconsin beat Michigan 3-2 in front of 55,031 fans at Camp Randall Stadium and Boston College lost by the same score to Boston University in front of 38,472 at Fenway Park.

On Saturday, Boston College coach Jerry York will have a chance to set a record with a 31st win in the NCAA tournament — breaking a tie with Boston University's Jack Parker — when he leads his seventh team to the finals. York won an NCAA title in 1984 with Bowling Green and added championships with the Eagles in 2001 and 2008.

The Eagles are in the championship game for the fourth time in five years, shooting for their second title in three seasons and the fourth in school history.

When the Badgers have traveled down to Detroit with a title on the line, they've had success.

Wisconsin won the 1977 NCAA hockey title at Olympia Stadium, the former home of the Red Wings, and won it all again in 1990 at Joe Louis Arena, the current home of the storied NHL franchise.

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves, who won the school's sixth national title in 2006 against Boston College, is looking forward to matching wits with York.

"I relish being up against anybody at this point, but the fact that it's coach York and we have history makes it all the more interesting," Eaves said. "He coached one of our boys for six years and we get together at the coaches meetings down in Florida. We have a ritual of having breakfast one of the mornings down there."