Frozen Four 2015 Preview: North Dakota


North Dakota is the top seed heading into Thursday’s action, and they still might have the toughest draw. They struggled heading into the playoffs thanks to one of their top players Mark McMillan getting injured and they lost two games in their conference tournament. Yet, North Dakota was able to go on a role in the regionals to advance to the Frozen Four.

The main reason they are here is Boston Bruins goaltending prospect Zane McIntyre who is also the best goaltender in the country. He allowed just two goals in the tournament to this point after facing 50 shots, and he is the superstar on this roster.

Boston University is red hot, has the best player in the country, and are practically playing on home ice at the TD Garden in Boston. Despite being the higher seed, this gives North Dakota a possible slight disadvantage in the game.

To get to this point, North Dakota had to defeat St. Cloud State to advance. Their conference rival Huskies had defeated them for the right to advance to the NCHC title game, but in the end North Dakota got their revenge. They also defeated the Hockey East Quinnipiac Bobcats in their regional round.

Drake Caggiula leads the team in 36 goals and after McIntyre is their most important player. Boston University is a scoring machine, so they need McIntyre to hold them down. However, if he can’t, it’s players like Caggiula that need to step up and give North Dakota a scoring edge.

McMillan being out has hurt their offense a ton, and other than their regional wins, the team has struggled without him. This is another reason they need Caggiula to be their “star” scorer in this contest.

Despite lacking a big name other than McIntyre, this North Dakota squad is rather deep. They have 12 players on their roster who are NHL prospects, more than any other team remaining in the tournament.

Boston University is the youngest team in the country and North Dakota has some experience. This element could give North Dakota another advantage, especially with McIntyre who has loads of experience on his own. Of course, BU provides many matchup problems with their top line that has Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues, and this will be the toughest offense McIntyre has faced.

This is the game to watch in the tournament, and North Dakota might not be getting the attention they deserve. We will find out on Tuesday night.

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