Thursday, April 9, 2015

Showdown With The Sioux

Tomorrow night at 8:30*, BU and the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux will face off in the late game of the 2015 Frozen Four at Boston Garden. Providence and Nebraska Omaha open the games at 5:30. 

Matt Grzelyck pulls up to make a pass in the last game
BU and North Dakota played against each other back in
November of 2013. That game ended in a 3-3 tie.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)

* There's no way it actually starts at 8:30.

The Terriers are undefeated in the Garden this year with four wins. No other team in the FF have played a game in the building yet this year, although all four schools had practice there today.

In the regionals, North Dakota made quick work of Quinnipiac winning 4-1 in round one and then took out St. Cloud by the same score to advance to Boston. Overall, NoDak is 29-9-3.

Scouting the Sioux
North Dakota is led offensively by Drake Caggulia, who has 18 goals, 18 assists for 36 points in 41 games. Four points behind him is senior Michael Parks with a 12-20-32 line. The Schmaltz (Jordan and Nick) are next on the scoring chart with 27 and 26 points respectively. Nick was a standout member of the US World Junior Team this past December. Then we get to Mark MacMillan, who is arguably the best forward North Dakota has, but he has been out since early March. MacMillian suffered a "lower body injury" after blocking a shot in a 3-1 win over St. Cloud State and had surgery the following week. At the time of his injury, he led North Dakota with 16 goals in 29 games.

In goal UND has one of the best in Zane McIntyre, a Hobey Hat-Trick Finalist and Bruins prospect. McIntyre comes into this game with a .931 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average. He has faced BU twice before, once in 2013 and one time last year. He has never beat BU and has allowed 7 goals vs the Terriers.
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Keeping with the goalie theme, Matt O'Connor has suited up vs the Sioux three times and has a 2-0-1 record. In those three games, O'Connor has allowed 6 goals and stopped 118 shots, including 55 in one game alone.

A lot has been said this week about the depth of North Dakota. The Sioux have 16 players who have amassed at least 10 points this year. BU has 12 and two guys at 9pts.

BU and North Dakota last met in the NCAA tournament in 2005 in the opening round of the last regional BU hosted in Worcester. UND skated away with a decisive 4-0 win, before beating BC the next night, dropping Minnesota in the Frozen Four Semi and eventually falling 4-1 to Denver in the title game.

The 1997 National Championship Game is the last Frozen Four meeting between the two schools. BU jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals from Peter Donatelli and Chris Drury, but they were over matched in the second period, as North Dakota scored five goals in the frame. BU scored once with the goalie pulled, but ND also picked up an empty net goal, winning 6-4.

You have to go all the way back to 1990 to find the last BU win vs UND in the NCAA tournament. BU won a three game series at Walter Brown two games to one (5-8, 5-3, 5-0) in the opening round. They went on to beat Michigan State in East Lancing two games to one as well, before bowing to Colgate 3-2. 'Gate lost 7-3 to Wisconsin in the championship game.

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