Thursday, November 21, 2013

North Dakota,BU Preview- 1,698 miles apart, 0 love lost

It will be 383 days between contests involving the North Dakota Fighting Sioux and Boston University Terriers when the puck is dropped 7:40 Friday night in Agganis Arena. Both teams have lost high end scorers from last season (Danny Kristo- UND, Matt Nieto-BU) and the stats thus far this year are eerily similar between the clubs. Add that to the fact that the fans don't like each other and you have one hell of a weekend series in the middle of November.
                              Grimaldi taking a dive(Jesus wouldn't approve of this) - Photo Credit to USCHO
                                                                                  * Please don't Sioux us

Twitter wars have become common the last two years as you can see last year's domination by BU fans here and this year's domination thus far here. The war continues as UND fans drop to new levels of stupidity with every single tweet. I will never understand why Boston being the location for the Boston Tea Party is an insult but it is in North Dakota. I guess they just don't believe in American values which is why they had their hockey rink funded by a Nazi sympathiser.

On to the actual games, BU needs to jump on UND early with physical hockey as they did to UConn for the first 40 minutes on Sunday. Neither of North Dakota's goalies have earthe-shattering numbers as Zane Gothberg and Clarke Saunders have save %'s of .906 and .907 while posting GAA's of 2.86 and 3.61.
If BU continues the shots to the net mentality, it will put ND on their heels early and have them wanting to bus back to North Dakota by the end of the game. Looking at the highlights from last weekend against UMD and what we saw of Saunders last year, he is vulnerable when he is screened and up high. Minnesota Duluth beat him up high on 4 of their 6 goals in their 6-2 win last weekend. BU will need to do more of the same. Both North Dakota goalies are not strong in rebound control which is how Danny O'Regan put in a goal a night against them last year in Grand Forks.

UND is lead up front by sophomores Rocco Grimaldi and Drake Caggiula. They have 10 and 8 points so far on the season in 10 games played. North Dakota will, however, be missing 3 starting forwards leaving only 11 healthy forward which will force some of their defensemen to play wing.  I wouldn't expect their style to change as go hard to net and try to pick up rebounds with their strength.  One guy to keep an eye out for is Connor Gaardner who has 0 points this season but had a hat trick in BU's loss in Grand Forks last year.

The keys for the Terriers this weekend is get solid goaltending while having the defense limit the second and third chance opportunities. The forwards will have their opportunities to score if they go hard to the net and take the shots given to them. The more shots taken means the more rebounds that will be there for bang home goals. Should be a fun weekend watching the Terriers stomp all over the entire state of North Dakota. Go BU!

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