NCAA Frozen Four
Frozen Four Semifinals: Coach's Takes
College Hockey talked to coaches whose teams have played
the teams involved in each of Thursday's semifinal games.
In exchange for anonymity, they gave us their candid breakdowns
of the matchups.
Dakota forward Travis Zajac.
College vs. North Dakota
Dakota has very good depth up front. Drew Stafford is a
very skilled player and he's supported by a lot of guys
like that in Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Travis Zajac and
Ryan Duncan. But they're all very skilled and they protect
the puck well.
thing they'll need to do is to play a puck possession game
against Boston College. The fact that North Dakota is good
at that will be an advantage for them. They're big, strong
and skilled and that will help them if they get into that
type of game.
they're going to have to find a way to figure out Cory Schneider.
He's playing great right now but you can't think that's
going to last forever. When you look at those forwards,
they can put the puck in the net and they're good at protecting
forwards are all very dynamic as well and they're a very
good transition team that feeds off of other team's turnovers.
If you turn the puck over they will make you pay. They won't
really cycle and possess the puck against you...I would
say they're more of a run-and-gun type team.
can't turn the puck over and give them quality chances.
If you look at the games that BU won against them they played
physical, possessed the puck, and kept BC's forwards to
the outside. The game they lost in Worcester was because
they gave the puck away and it turned into short-handed
Collins is one of the best players in the country. He'll
shoot and score from anywhere. Boyle is big and lanky but
he is deceptively fast. He can make you look silly if you
don't respect his speed and he's got very good hands for
a guy that's 6-foot-7.
North Dakota defense is very physical. They'll take your
head off whenever they get a chance. Peter Harrold and Mike
Brennan are the leaders and all of the BC defensemen will
jump into the play. You have to finish your chances because
when Schneider gets in a groove those kids get more confidence,
and that confidence makes your anticipation better. You
meet the puck and see plays developing.
both teams, good players will be good players. It's the
other guys you might not think about that you have to worry
about. Every team can match lines against top lines. For
Boston College it was guys like Benn Ferriero and Joe Rooney
that really came through at the regionals.
no such thing as youth when you get to this point in the
season. All of these freshmen have been through the battles
and they have played in big games in big rinks. It's not
a puck possession game, then the edge goes to North Dakota.
If it's a test of wills then I think North Dakota has the
edge. Don't count them out if it turns into a run-and-gun
game, but that's the type of game that would favor BC.
forward Michel Léveillé.
is more dynamic at the forward position than Wisconsin.
Wisconsin just isn't all that dynamic.
of Joe Pavelski and Robbie Earl, who on that team can break
people down? There are ways to stop Pavelski and Earl, too.
On Maine, Michel Léveillé can break people
down and even though he's a defenseman, Bret Tyler can break
Badgers struggle to score. If they hadn't played Cornell
in the Midwest Regional final, they probably would've lost.
They played a physical game against Cornell, but you're
not going to out-physical Maine.
we played Maine, they said they were going to come out and
hit us hard. I don't think they'll come out and say that
about Wisconsin, but it's going to be a battle, especially
along the wall.
Wisconsin is pretty much in the same situation as they are
with the forwards. They've got some solid players, but outside
of Tom Gilbert, who back there scares you? Kyle Klubertanz
you name five guys on Maine's roster outside of Greg Moore
and Derek Damon? Probably not, but they've got better depth
and better personnel from top to bottom than Wisconsin.
Badgers are a solid team and they play a solid system. But
if all else fails, they rely on the big guy in goal [Brian
Elliott] to bail them out. That's where the key to this
game lies. If Maine's Ben Bishop plays like he did against
Michigan State in the East Regional final, Wisconsin will
win by three goals. If he doesn't – if everything
is pretty much equal – I think the advantage goes