Brian: With BC’s wild 9-7 win over Yale yesterday, the Eagles are headed back to the Frozen Four for the fourth time in the last five years. BC rides a ton of momentum heading into the National Semifinal on April 8, having won 7 straight and going 10-0-1 in their last 11 games.
The only problem is that the Eagles next game is nearly 11 days away.
BC could certainly use the rest as they were a bit banged up this weekend. Freshman defenseman Patrick Wey missed both games out with mono, while Paul Carey missed the Yale game due to illness. Defenseman Patch Alber filled in on offense for Carey, playing on the fourth line.
The Eagles could also use the time to figure out their goaltending situation. While Muse remains a perfect 6-0 in the NCAAs, he has let up more than his fair share of goals the last few games, and a capable Parker Milner waits in the wings. While the extra time off will allow the Eagles to get healthy and for York to game plan for Miami, it could also kill any momentum BC takes into the Frozen Four.
So with an extra week off, do you think this will help or hurt the Eagles chances in Detroit?
Jeff: I don't know. BC did just give up 7 goals yesterday. I would lean towards they need time to regroup. Yale is clearly a very good team but 7 goals is still a ton to be giving up, especially at this point in the season. I thought the Hockey East finals were just a kinda crazy fluke when it took 7 goals to win, but yesterday we gave up 7. I don't think BC can count on winning these shootouts they keep getting themselves into when a national title is on the line. Hopefully an extra week of rest and practice will do them well.
Brian: The other unique feature of this year’s Frozen Four is its location - Ford Field in Detroit. Due to the challenges of fitting an ice rink in a football field, Ford Field’s unique seating configuration may prove to be a strange experience for some players. Depending on the number of fans who show up for the National Semifinals, Ford Field may take on a bit of a strange, cavernous feel. This might be something players may not be used to, particularly the RIT Tigers, who play their home games in 2,100 seat Frank Ritter Memorial.
Also, and coincidently, two of the four Frozen Four teams have already played in a similar setting this season. Wisconsin faced Michigan this year in an outdoor game in 80,000 seat Camp Randall Stadium, while Boston College faced BU in front of a sold out crowd of 38,472 at Fenway Park. Will this year’s Frozen Four setting "change the game," so to speak, and does having experience playing in abnormally large hockey arenas play into BC and Wisconsin’s favor next week?
Jeff: I think the fact that BC has played at Fenway Park suddenly is a huge plus. Wisconsin also has the advantage of having played a hockey game in a football stadium this season. I think both teams will at least have a small edge on RIT and Miami (Ohio) heading into the Frozen Four. Since you actually attended both the Frozen Fenway event and the Camp Randall Hockey Classic, don't you agree that it will help the teams to have had that experience?
Brian: I do. Several of the players and coaches including BU's Jack Parker were concerned about depth perception issues while playing at Fenway Park. While most rinks are different (e.g. NHL rinks have a smaller space behind the net), the fact that there are no fans on the other side of the boards is very unique in arenas like Fenway Park, Camp Randall and now Ford Field. It can only help the Eagles having experience playing in a setting like that this season, especially now that Michigan was bounced from the tournament. Attendance should be fairly light.