Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Frozen Four Preview Part I : Respectful Swagger

This weekend the Boston University Terriers will see their season end regardless of the outcome. The bad news is that the season is almost over but the good news is that it could end with the Terriers skating around TD Garden with a trophy for the third time this season. This victory lap would be the most important of them all. Their opponent in the national semifinal (aka national championship game) on Thursday will be the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.  A fun fact about North Dakota is that their state legislation tried twice to drop the North from the state name so that the state would be just Dakota. This has happened as recently as 1989. It would have been absolutely wild if the name dropped from 4 words to just one "Dakota (nicknames to be determined later)". On to the actual hockey, North Dakota is the regular season NCHC champion but did not win their conference tournament. They got to the Frozen Four by beating Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State in their Fargo regional. They beat a team that barely got in and that finished the year two games over .500...

North Dakota does not nearly have the top line firepower that BU does because well, nobody does. North Dakota's top two scorers are both under 40 points for the season. The talk and narrative leading up to the game will be all about North Dakota's "depth". The  media can say whatever they want but anyone who talks about depth as an advantage for NoDak is just wrong. BU's top 8 forwards have a greater point per game total than their counterpart on North Dakota(credit to @burntboats for doing these numbers). BU's bottom 9 forwards and North Dakota's bottom 9 forwards have scored the same amount of points this season and the difference in points from dmen is 3 points over a 40 game schedule. Moral of the story is that any advantage for North Dakota is fictional besides in goal and even there the advantage is marginal(difference in save percentage is .03). Zane McIntyre is a Hobey Hat Trick member but I will take Matt O'Connor as my team's goalie anyday of the week. OC has been consistently very good all season and is just as likely to steal a game for his team as McIntyre. He just hasn't had to steal as many games as McIntyre this season because his team is so good in front of him. North Dakota fans cry out in outrage against anyone who says anything against them but they shouldn't be in this game. Their team just isn't as good as BU's. Your time would be better served praying to whatever people in North Dakota pray to(probably sunflowers) and hoping to get enough puck luck to have a chance.

The thing about this BU team is that they have proven that they can beat you in any type of game. They can shut you down and beat you 3-1 or they can beat you 9-5(Go U, Go UMASS!). The top line is lethal even when Eichel is held off the board. He only had one point in the regionals and O'Connor was only about average. They still won. If Eichel doesn't beat you then Rodrigues, Hohmann, O'Regan and Lane will. Grzelcyk, Hickey, Fortunato and co can all make plays from the point. Ahti Oksanen will catch the goalie napping atleast once a game when he thinks there is no way he will shoot a puck from where he is on the ice(Newsflash: he will shoot from anywhere and pass from anywhere too).  The bottom line is BU has too many weapons and North Dakota's season is going to end in the national semifinal again. Another year , same story. Sorry NoDak. You still shouldn't fire Hatskol. He is just running into a wagon of a team that knows they can/will win no matter who they play right now. It's all about that respectful swagger this time of year.

The winner of this game plays the winner of PC and Nebraska Omaha but they both suck besides their goalies so we'll get to them later.

PS. Hey Coach Parker remember that time BC wasn't in the Frozen Four and BU was? Oh yeah so do we. We also got a good laugh out of it.

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