Frozen Four Preview 2015: Providence


The Providence Friars might not be the flashiest team when you look at who will compete in the 2015 Frozen Four. In fact, they don’t stand out at all. If you want stand out and flashy teams, look towards Boston University, or even the extremely talented North Dakota. Yet, the Friars are here for a reason.

Providence has not seen the Frozen Four in over 30 years. They play in the Hockey East conference, arguably the toughest in college hockey. They are the second representative of that conference in this year’s championship rounds.

The Friars were the final at-large bid to get into the NCAA playoffs, and a lot of this could have been because they did get upset by a red-hot New Hampshire Wildcats team in the Hockey East tournament.

Other than North Dakota, Providence has arguably the best goalie in the nation in Jon Gillies, a prospect for the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Goaltending is their strength, however, and at times they have struggled to put the puck in the net.

Despite at times lacking on the offensive end of the ice, they are a great possession team. They just don’t capitalize on chances, which will be a key to this game.

Meanwhile, their matchup with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks is fascinating because they are such a bad possession team. Facing the Mavs might be just what the Friars need to fire up their offense. Yet, keep in mind that Omaha’s goalie Ryan Massa has played just as well as North Dakota’s star ‘tender Zane McIntyre as well.

The key to this game is for the Friars to control the puck and take advantage of their scoring chances. While they will have opportunities, Massa can be a stonewall and impossible to score on if he gets hot. Providence will need to score early and try to keep momentum.

At times the Friars have been able to find a scoring touch; they defeated the Miami of Ohio Redhawks 6-2 in the NCAA tournament, after all, and they even scored four goals on the Denver Pioneers. In the Miami game, half of their goals were with a man advantage, and they have had a decent power play all season.

Providence has experience against very good teams. They were upset by New Hampshire in their conference tournament, but in most other conferences New Hampshire would have been one of the elite teams. They’ve had to face good Northeastern, Boston College, and Quinnipiac teams. Providence knows how to get things done, now it’s just about finishing.

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