April 7, 2007
NCAA Frozen Four

Frozen Four Championship: Coach's Take

Inside College Hockey talked to coaches whose teams have played the teams involved in Saturday's championship game. In exchange for anonymity, they gave us their candid breakdowns of the matchups.

Boston College has more of the X-factor players with guys like Boyle and Gerbe but Michigan State is underrated in that regard. They are tough physically, but BC is a better transition team.

BC has more sex appeal and plays a higher tempo game but MSU can skate and play a good, hard game. It's important for Michigan State to play a lot like the way they did against Maine. They have to control the boards and play in a confined area and protect the puck. Can't allow Boston College to get into a transition game, because BC is more explosive and can make something from nothing. And I think it's important for MSU to get the game going their way and make BC adjust to them, because Boston College is more versatile.

With Jeff Lerg, everybody wants to think that his size impedes him and in a lot of ways his size helps him because people underestimate him all the time. Every time someone underestimates him, he stands up that much bigger. Size is only a state of mind. He plays solid positionally, he was awesome controlling his rebounds (against Maine). If he’s in solid position and controls his rebounds, that’s a tough combination to beat.

They have a nice combination of talent on the top line. Abdelkader is smart and gritty, and the real playmaker on the line is Kennedy, and Crowder is more of a power-type guy. So it’s a nice combination of players and they know how to play different ways. They play good offensively and they play well defensively, so they’re as good a line as I’ve seen in college hockey this year, and it’s not as is the Lerg line is a big drop-off.

Michigan State plays a difficult style to play against. Never say never. Not in college hockey. They play a tough defensive style, Lerg can stand up to the best of them and they’ve got enough offensive depth to create some opportunities, so I wouldn’t say it’s a slam dunk, that’s for sure.

I don't think the underdog versus favorite aspect will play much of a role. These teams have been through the grind, and it's not a David and Goliath situation here, BC is playing Michigan State. The coaches are outstanding and have won national tournaments.