This is the first entry in a series of posts previewing the NCAA Frozen Four, which will take place Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The winners will advance to Saturday’s National Championship game. We will preview each of the 4 teams in the days leading up to the tournament.
Monday: Boston College
Thursday: North Dakota
Boston College, the 2nd overall seed in the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament, advanced to the Frozen Four by making quick work of Denver (6-2) before dispatching their neighbors UMass-Lowell (4-3) in the Northeast Regional finals. The Eagles boast the country’s best line in Johnny Gaudreau – Bill Arnold – Kevin Hayes, and Gaudreau leads the nation in scoring. They also have recent history on their side, having won the championship in 2008, 2010, and 2012, all after winning the Northeast region.
- The top line of Gaudreau - Arnold – Hayes lead the team in points with 77, 52, and 63 respectively. There’s a steep falloff after that, with just 4 other players posting 20 or more points, Patrick Brown leading the way with 29. This leads to the obvious question: if someone can shut down BC’s top line, can they score?
- This team has experience and pedigree. BC has been a cornerstone in NCAA hockey for years. This is their 24th Frozen Four appearance, and their 11th in the past 16 seasons. They have won the title in their past 3 appearances, the latest of which included some of this year’s players.
- Freshman Thatcher Demko leads the team in net. Demko may be a freshman, but he has experience handling pressure, having spent last season with the US National Team Development Program. He’s posted a 16-4-3 record in his 23 starts, coupled with a .920 save % and 2.16 GAA.
- Of the other Frozen Four teams BC has only played Minnesota, and they escaped from 2 games in Minneapolis with a 3-3 tie and 6-1 loss in a pair of early season games
- Future NHLers to watch: Gaudreau (F-CGY), Arnold (F-CGY), Hayes (F-CHI), Michael Matheson (D-FLA).Prediction: BC will advance to the national championship game before falling once again to Minnesota.