|Frozen Four National Semifinals -- Thursday, ESPN 2:|
Semifinal No. 1 -- Boston College vs. Quinnipiac -- 4 p.m.
Semifinal No. 1 -- Denver vs. North Dakota -- 7:30 p.m.
It's a rivalry of conference tussles, head coaching antics, controversial injuries and NCAA tournament and Frozen Four battles.
And in the 2015-16 season, the Green and White and the Pioneers have done nothing to settle their legendary rivalry, battling to a 2-2-1 record, with each team sweeping the other on home ice and slugging out a tie in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff third place game.
With all of that said, the rivalry between UND and Denver is nothing more than a side note on Thursday night. This game is all about one matter -- making it to Saturday's national championship game.
For the 276th time and the sixth this season, it's North Dakota versus Denver. Who will move on and who will see their season end?
Here's a look at Frozen Four semifinal No. 2 from Amalie Arena in Tampa with a trip to the national title game on the line in DDC's "Who? What? How?" breakdown.
Players to watch
|DU So. F, Danton Heinen|
leads the Pioneers with
48 points (20g, 28a).
University of North Dakota
Fr. F, Brock Boeser, 26g (2nd in NCAA in rookie goals, 4th overall in NCAA), 28a -- 54 pts (2nd in NCAA in rookie scoring, T-5th overall); Sr. F, Drake Caggiula, 21g (T-3rd in NCAA in game-winning goals with 7), 25a -- 46 pts; So. F, Nick Schmaltz, 10g, 34a (T-3rd in NCAA in assists per game with .97) -- 42 pts; Jr. D, Troy Stecher, 8g, 20a -- 28 pts; So. G, Cam Johnson (Mike Richter Award finalist), 22-4-2 (2nd in NCAA in win percentage), 1.67 GAA (2nd in NCAA), .934 SV PCT (T-6 in NCAA).
The Pioneers are 11th in the NCAA in scoring offense, netting 3.30 goals per game and are 13th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 2.30.
Denver's special team play is around average in the country. The Pioneers are 23rd in power play at 19% and 31st in penalty kill at 82%.
DU's Pacific Rim Line of Danton Heinen, Dylan Gambrell and Trevor Moore have notched 48 goals on the season, accounting for 36.4% of the team's goals.
The Pios are undefeated on the year when leading after two periods (21-0-2), but have not won a game (0-6-2) when trailing heading into the final frame.
The Green and White are 7th in the NCAA in scoring offense with a 3.64 goals per game average and are 2nd in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 1.86 goals per game.
North Dakota is 21st in the NCAA in power play, converting 19.5%, but are much better on the penalty kill, stopping 86.4% of opponent's power plays which is T-6 in the nation.
UND leads the NCAA in plus/minus with a +64. The CBS line of Drake Caggiula (+41), Brock Boeser (+38) and Nick Schmaltz (+39) are slated 1st, 3rd and 2nd nationally.
Just like the rest of the remaining teams in the Frozen Four, UND is undefeated when leading after two periods (25-0-3) this season. The Green and White have not lost a game in 74 chances when taking a lead into the third period.
How'd they get here?
|UND So. G, Cam Johnson|
Denver (25-9-6) dispatched Boston University 7-2 and Ferris State 6-3 in the West Regional in St. Paul. The Pioneers have lost just twice in 24 games since the Christmas break.
UND (32-6-4) punched their ticket to the Frozen Four for the third-straight season with a 6-2 win over Northeastern and a 5-2 victory over Michigan in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati. So. G, Cam Johnson took home tournament MVP honors. The Green and White are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.
There's your look at the second semifinal. Check back tomorrow for DDC's picks of both Frozen Four semifinals. Thanks for reading.