Union-Boston College NCAA East Regional semifinal pregame report
Good evening from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., where Union hopes to begin the Path to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four in two weeks as it faces defending national champion Boston College.
The second-seeded Eagles (22-11-4) have been a dominating program in the 21st century, winning four national titles under veteran head coach Jerry York. The third-seeded Dutchmen are impressed, but aren’t intimidated by it.
“Experience is a great teacher,” Union coach Rick Bennett said at Friday’s post-practice . “I know these guys are ready to go. We’re not really worried about Boston College and being psyched out or any of that. We’re worried about our game.”
The Dutchmen could have faced the Eagles in last year’s Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., but Union dropped a 3-1 decision to Ferris State in the semifinals.
Now, if the Dutchmen want to make a return trip to the Frozen Four, they must begin the journey by knocking off the Eagles.
“We have confidence right now, so we have to build off of that,” said Union senior right winger Wayne Simpson. “It’s just another game. We’ve played against good teams in big situations like this before, and we’ve had pretty much good success in the past. We just have to take it one step at a time. This will be a good challenge for us.”
Over the past couple of seasons, Union has won at national-powerhouses Minnesota and Michigan. And this is the Dutchmen’s third straight year in the NCAAs.
“Our whole thing is sticking with the process, no matter who we’re playing,” said junior goalie Troy Grosenick. “We’ll play anybody, and we treat it the same way. We always want to come out with the ‘W.’ We know we’re going to face a little adversity, and that’s where our experience the past few seasons and making it to the NCAA tournament helps out. We’re able to keep it simple, whether it’s killing a penalty or if they get a bounce and the puck goes in the net.
“Our team is really mature and knows how to handle it.”
One BC player Union must keep its eye on is sophomore forward Johnny Gardreau. The Hockey East Player of the Year and Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist is the Eagles’ leading scorer with 20 goals and 30 assists in 34 games. He also helped Team USA win the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in January, collecting seven goals and two assists in seven games.
“I heard he’s pretty good,” Bennett said. “We’ve watched him enough on tape to last a lifetime. These guys know him. We just want to keep him on the outside as much as possible and with a chance to use our shoulder pads. We’re going to use our shoulder pads on him, just like any other guy in that lineup. It’s just more of a contain.”
The Dutchmen’s offensive defensemen worry BC. Senior Greg Coburn leads the way with eight goals and 18 assists. Sophomore Shayne Gostisbehere (7-18-25) is next, and junior Mat Bodie (6-18-24) is third,
“From the tape we’ve seen, they have very dangerous offensive threats, especially from the back end,” said BC senior goalie Parker Milner. “Those guys can really make plays. I definitely need to be aware of a different layer of offense coming in on rushes. You know how powerful those guys can be from the back on the power play.”
Here is the Union lineup, starting with the forwards:
Daniel Ciampini/Kyle Bodie/Wayne Simpson
Daniel Carr/Josh Jooris/Matt Wilkins
Matt Hatch/Max Novak/Kevin Sullivan
Cole Ikkala/David Roy/Sam Coatta
The defensive pairings are:
Mat Bodie/Sebastien Gingras
Greg Coburn/Shayne Gostisbehere
Ryan Forgaard/Shawn Stuart
Grosenick starts in goal.
Here is the Boston College lineup, starting with the forwards:
Quinn Smith/Pat Mullane/Steven Whitney
Johnny Gardreau/Bill Arnold/Danny Linell
Michael Sit/Patrick Brown/Brooks Dyroff
Cam Spiro/Destry Straight/Brendan Silk
The defensive pairings are:
Teddy Doherty/Patrick Wey
Michael Matheson/Patch Alber
Issac MacLeod/Travis Jeke
Milner starts in goal.
I’ll have updates on the game on Twitter. If you’re not following me, my Twitter handle is @slapschotts. The hashtags I will use for this game are #UnionHockey, #BCHockey, #ECACHockey and #NCAAHockey. If you have any questions during the game, feel free to ask.
However, because of the 9 p.m. start, my Tweets may be limited because I need to write during the game so I can a story in for first edition.
I’ll update my Parting Schotts blog after each period, and have more description of the game.
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Enjoy the game!