Saturday, March 22, 2008

Game day: No. 2 Colorado College vs. No. 4 North Dakota (Final Five third-place game)

Colorado College, which was held to a single goal in Friday's overtime loss to Minnesota, has a lot riding on today's game against North Dakota. CC is ranked fourth in the PairWise rankings, while the Fighting Sioux are ranked fifth. The winner of today's game is projected to be the top seed in the NCAA West Regional at World Arena, while the other is expected to be the second seed.

Coach Scott Owens said after Friday's game that he and his staff would have a lengthy discussion about whether to play starting goaltender Richard Bachman. It seems the CC coaches decided playing for that top seed was worth it because Bachman is listed as the starter.

As I mentioned above, CC was held to a single goal Friday--that's the first time the Tigers haven't scored at least two goals in a game. Owens made the first significant change to the top three lines since January, moving left wing Scott McCulloch to the fourth line and shifting Derek Patrosso, who typically plays right wing, to the second-line left wing spot. This is similar to the lineup CC went with in November's split with North Dakota (here).

A few comments:
--Minnesota goaltender Alex Kangas was as good as advertised. The 20-year-old freshman (a couple months older than Richard Bachman) is on a hot streak. How will CC do against North Dakota's Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, who took his second loss in three games after leading the Sioux to an 18-game unbeaten streak? Should be another goaltending battle.
--Minnesota's defense was much improved over October. The Gophers kept CC's shots to the outside and did not allow the Tigers to get rebounds. To get prime scoring opportunities against North Dakota, CC has no choice but to be gritty.

Colorado College
21 Bill Sweatt -- 14 Chad Rau -- 25 Mike Testwuide
16 Derek Patrosso -- 19 Andreas Vlassopoulos -- 23 Jimmy Kilpatrick
10 Scott Thauwald -- 17 Tyler Johnson -- 22 Eric Walsky
26 Scott McCulloch -- 9 Brian McMilllin -- 5 Addison DeBoer

8 Jack Hillen -- 15 Nate Prosser
7 Kris Fredheim -- 4 Jake Gannon
11 Brian Connelly --24 Ryan Lowery

30 Richard Bachman
31 Drew O'Connell
1 Tyler O'Brien

North Dakota
16 Ryan Duncan -- 7 T.J. Oshie -- 14 Brad Miller
20 Matt Watkins -- 29 Chris VandeVelde -- 17 Rylan Kaip
10 Andrew Kozek -- 8 Ryan Martens -- 22 Brad Malone
26 Kyle Radke -- 11 Darcy Zajac -- 21 Matt Frattin

4 Taylor Chorney -- 28 Robbie Bina
2 Joe Finley -- 5 Chay Genoway
6 Zach Jones -- 25 Jake Marto

1 Jean-Philippe Lamoureux
30 Aaron Walski

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