Frozen Four preview 2014: Getting to know the Union College Dutchmen

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Union Dutchmen have been here before. The veteran team took a run at the national title in 2012, and two years later they're looking to get the job done.

We asked Ken Schott, who covers Union hockey for the Schenectady Daily Gazette, to help us get to know the Dutchmen.

Union College Dutchmen

No. 3 overall, East Regional champion
Record: 30-6-4 (18-3-1, No. 1 in ECAC Hockey)
Home: Messa Rink, Schenectady, N.Y.
Enrollment: 2,200
Head coach: Rick Bennett
Leading scorer: Daniel Carr (22 G, 26 A, 48 P)
Starting goalie: Colin Stevens (36 GP, 1.93 GAA, .932 sv%)
Path to Philly: def. Vermont, 5-2; def. Providence, 3-1

SB Nation: What has been Union's key to success this season?

Ken Schott: The key to Union's success has been their attention to detail. It was lacking early in the season, and it came to a head when Union blew a couple of leads to Colgate and lost, 5-3, on Nov. 8 at Messa Rink. After the game, Union coach Rick Bennett tossed aside the scoresheet that was on the table and proceeded to call a couple of players out. At the time, the record was 3-3-2. Since then, they have gone 27-3-2.

They are strong in goal with Colin Stevens. They are strong defensively, led by Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere. They have three lines that can score.

What will lead the Dutchmen to a loss in Philadelphia?

The Dutchmen lose if they play timid. Two years ago against Ferris State, the Dutchmen didn't exude confidence. They appeared to be overwhelmed by their first Frozen Four appearance.

Describe the type of game Union plays.

Union can play any style you want. Want to play physical? No problem. Want to skate? They can do that. They are tenacious on the forecheck, and they always seem to have their sticks in the proper position when they are defending.

Who are the NHL prospects on Union's roster that fans should keep on their radar?

Obviously, you start with Gostisbehere, the Flyers' third-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft. He will provide the Flyers something they have never had, a pure offensive-minded defenseman.

Daniel Carr could be a fit for some team. Sure, he is a big offensive threat, but he is a strong defensive player. He's a key cog on their penalty kill. Stevens probably needs to add some weight, but he has blossomed this year.

Finally, predict the Frozen Four for us.

I'll take Union and Minnesota in the semifinals. The Dutchmen will be carrying the NCAA championship trophy Saturday night.

***

Our thanks to Ken for taking the time to answer our questions. Give him a follow on Twitter @slapschotts and follow his work at the Schenectady Daily Gazette as Union College tries to win their first NCAA hockey title this weekend.

Union faces Boston College in the Frozen Four semifinals at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game can be seen on ESPN2.

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