Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Frozen Four Semifinal Preview -- Old Guard vs. The New Kids

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.

Four teams remain alive for their ultimate dream.

The storyline in the first Frozen Four semifinal on Thursday is simple.

It's college hockey royalty versus the new kids on the block. It's a team who's success in the last decade plus is unrivaled versus a team looking to stamp a permanent name on the college hockey landscape. It's the Boston College Eagles versus the Quinnipiac Bobcats for the right to play for the national championship.

While BC brings the pedigree of five national titles, four since 2001, Quinnipiac is the No. 1 overall seed and has been at or near the top of the rankings, losing just three times all season.

Here's a deeper look at the first Frozen Four national semifinal from Amalie Arena in Tampa in DDC's "Who? What? How?" breakdown of the Bobcats versus the Eagles.


Players to watch

Quinnipiac Bobcats

Quinnipiac Jr. F, Sam Anas
Jr. F, Sam Anas, 24 goals, 26 assists -- 50 points; Sr. F, Travis St. Denis, 22g, 24a -- 46 pts; Jr. F, Tim Clifton, 18g, 23a -- 41 pts; So. F, Landon Smith, 11g, 25a -- 36 pts; Jr. D, Devon Toews, 7g, 23a -- 30 pts; Jr. D, Connor Clifton, 7g, 20a -- 27 pts; Sr. G, Michael Garteig, 31-3-7 (1st in NCAA in winning percentage), 1.83 goals against average (5th in NCAA), .926 save percentage; 8 shutouts (2nd in NCAA).

Boston College Eagles

Jr. F, Ryan Fitzgerald, 23g, 23a -- 46 pts; Fr. F, Colin White, 19g, 23a -- 42 pts (4th in NCAA in rookie points per game, 1.17); So. F, Zach Sanford, 13g, 26a -- 39 pts; Fr. F, Miles Wood, 10g, 25a -- 36 pts; So. F, Alex Tuch, 17g, 16a -- 33pts; Fr. D, Casey Fitzgerald, 4g, 22a -- 26pts; Jr. G, Thatcher Demko (Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist, Mike Richter Award Finalist), 27-7-4, 1.85 GAA (7th in NCAA), .936 SV PCT (4th in NCAA), 10 shutouts (1st in NCAA).


Standout Stats


The Bobcats own the nation's fourth-best scoring offense, averaging 3.88 goals per game and has the fifth-best scoring defense, allowing just 1.90. 

Quinnipiac's special teams are also near the top in the NCAA with the nation's fourth best power play at 27.4% and third-best penalty kill at 89.3%.

Junior netminder Michael Garteig is No. 1 in the NCAA in winning percentage (.841) and second in shutouts (8).

The Bobcats are undefeated on the season when leading after two periods, going 26-0-2 and are 24-2-4 when scoring first.

Boston College

The Eagles sport the nation's 5th-best scoring offense with 3.85 goals per game and are seventh in scoring defense at 1.98.

BC has racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the NCAA, averaging 14.4 per game, but are tremendous on the kill with the 4th-best PK at 87.9%. Their power play sits at ninth in the NCAA at 21.5%.

Junior netminder Thatcher Demko has racked up an astonishing 10 shutouts on the year en route to a Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist season.

The Eagles are also undefeated when leading after two periods (23-0-2) but are just 1-2-3 when trailing entering the third period.


BC Jr. G, Thatcher Demko

How'd they get here?

Quinnipiac (31-3-7) rolled through the East Regional in Albany, N.Y., beating RIT 4-0 and UMass Lowell 4-1. The Bobcats are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Boston College (28-7-5) won the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass., beating Harvard 4-1 and surviving a late push by Minnesota Duluth, winning 3-2.

There's your look at the first semifinal. Check back tomorrow for DDC's breakdown of Frozen Four semifinal No. 2, Denver versus North Dakota. Thanks for reading.

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