As fans of their beloved Sioux hockey team flock to Boston, I sit here in Grand Forks typing on my laptop. Adult things got in the way this year so I am admittedly disappointed that I won’t get to see UND haul the trophy around the ice on April 11th in celebration of their 8th national title. I’m not being cocky, I just truly believe this team is made up of exactly what you need to win the next 2 games. Strong goaltending and disciplined defense will be the key against a line touted as highly as the BU line is. Appearances on SportsCenter and every other college hockey news outlet is just what the doctor ordered for a BU team expected to win it all in front of their hometown. Hopefully the phenom, Jack Eichel, has his mind start to wander to Buffalo because you know he’s thinking about it. Meanwhile UND comes in with a healthy dose of balance that leaves you guessing who scores next, an unbelievably talented D-core, and the best goalie in the nation. It sets up perfectly for an early farewell party as Eichel rides off into the sunset and into his multi-million dollar NHL contract.
The key to making all of this happen, in my opinion, is going to be the discipline of our players. We’ve already seen the price paid if a player attempts to line up a big hit in the NCAA tournament. Defenseman, Joey LaLeggia may have cost Denver a chance at the Frozen Four by laying out an opposing player rather than going for the puck. This will prove exponentially costly against a BU team that scores 1 out of every 4 times they are given the man advantage. While I think we do have a good penalty kill, if we play BU 5 on 5 for the majority of the game I like our chances. Not having a parade to the penalty box will also allow the game to flow better and for UND to roll 4 lines, which is a major strength they hold over the Terriers. Well that, and they have better style…
A few other croc-wearing players UND should watch out for are Evan Rodrigues who scored 2 of the 3 goals in the regional finals vs. UMD and Ahti Oksanen. Oksanen is tied for the team lead in goals despite not playing on a line with Mr. Crocs. The BU goalie, O’Connor may be the Terriers weak spot. Despite putting up solid numbers on the season, O’Connor allowed the UMD Bulldogs to get back into the game by letting a weak wrist shot from the blue line hit off his catching glove, eventually ending up in the back of his net. UND would do well to throw a lot of the bad angle shots at the net that they have been successful with in the last couple of games. Testing O’Connor early is important because if he shows an early crack it could make the young BU team hold their sticks that much tighter.
This is a very cliché thing to say but we need to play Sioux hockey. We are at our best when we hit hard and make skaters work for every single stride they take. Then having our finishers finish will lead us to the title game. So I’ll leave it at saying “Eichel…we’re comin for ya!”
Sioux win 4-2