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Tuesday @ The Rink: Championship Edition

Welcome to CollegeSports.com and USCHO's "Tuesday At The Rink" series of moderated chats.

The NCAA Championship game will be on and who better to discuss it with than CSTV Analyst Dave Starman and UMass-Lowell Head Coach Blaise McDonald.

From the time the puck drops to the moment the final whistle blows, Starman and McDonald will be in the chat room to take questions and talk about the game, the players and the sport.

At The Rink

A native of nearby Billerica, MA, Blaise MacDonald was named the fifth head ice hockey coach at UMass Lowell in the program's 36 years on April 6, 2001. MacDonald came to Lowell after a five-year head coaching stint at Niagara University where he started the ice hockey program and brought the Purple Eagles to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal in only four seasons. McDonald was an assistant to UML Head Coach Billy Riley, Jr., from 1988-1990.

The River Hawks completed the 2004-05 season with a 20-12-4 record, their second 20-win season under MacDonald. With a strong freshman goalie and no seniors among the top-15 scorers, Lowell looks to be on the rise

Analyst Dave Starman brings a unique coaching perspective to CSTV's coverage of college hockey. As a coach in both the professional and junior ranks, Starman can see behind the surface of the play and identify what makes teams and players tick.

Starman brings insight into the mindset of both coaches and players and provides context and analysis to the actions on the ice.

The chat will start when the puck is dropped on Saturday April 9th - Join us Then!

CollegeSports.com Moderator: Hello, everyone and welcome to CSTV.com's Championship Chat. UMass-Lowell Head Coach Blaise MacDonald and CSTV hockey analyst Dave Starman will be taking your questions and providing live commentary throughout the NCAA Championship Game between North Dakota and Denver. We will start answering your questions shortly.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Dave and Coach have arrived from the studio and are ready for your questions.
Coach MacDonald: Denver because of their experince from last year.

James (Aurora, CO): Which team do you think would fare better without scoring the first goal?
Dave Starman: One of the things for everyone to watch tonight is the transition game. Denver has so much skill that they can get the puck quickly and make a good first pass to generate offense.

James (Aurora, CO): What did Veiderman do for that first DU Penalty? Get in the way of Greene's stick?!?
Dave Starman: Something we'll be watching in this game is obstruction and stick fouls and how closely they will be called.
Coach MacDonald: One of Denver's keys is driving to the net and competing for position in front of North Dakota's big defensemen. That is what led to that first goal.
Dave Starman: This is the second time in the Frozen Four where Denver has driven down the middle of the ice to create the opening goal of the game.
Dave Starman: A big difference for Denver's power play is that they are facing a very active North Dakota PK unit. CC seemed timid when killing penalties Thursday.
Coach MacDonald: That goal was caused by the missed clearing attempt about twenty seconds earlier.
Dave Starman: We both felt before the game that it was vital that North Dakota got traffic in front of Mannino.
Dave Starman: Each team seems to have established what they wanted to do so far. Denver has been able to creat escoring chances, while UND has established a physical presence, especially on their forecheck.

Joe (Silver Spring, MD): Great save by Parise! Speaking of which, do you think the shrinking goalie equipment will make it down to the NCAA's?
Coach MacDonald: I certainly hope so.
Coach MacDonald: North Dakota is underrated in their offensive zone play. They do a great job possessing the puck and have great spacing.
Coach MacDonald: North Dakota had already shown us their offensive zone capabiliti. Now they have shown us their ability to create on the initial rush.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: The first period has come to a close and we are tied at 1.
Dave Starman: I think both teams got what they wanted from the first period. Each team was strong in their own zone, and each got chances both on the rush and from good work in the offensive zone. Goaltending has been great. Both coaches will implore their players to keep going to the net and keep shooting the puck. In tight games in Championship situations, it's like playing in OT, shoot, shoot, shoot.
Coach MacDonald: I think both teams and coaching staffs are going into the locker rooms pleased with the way the players performed. I don't think there will be any real adjustments.

Graeme Townshend (Saco, ME): Dave, Where is Genoway from?
Dave Starman: Manitoba

Dave from Grand Forks: What do you think about the very few penalty calls thus far?
Coach MacDonald: I think the refs have done a great job establishing the tenor of the game, while still enforcing the new emphasis on obstruction and contact to the head.
Coach MacDonald: I think it is pretty even.

Rob(Devils Lake, ND): Tied at 1 after the first period, who do you think currently has the edge?
Dave Starman: I think NoDak might have the edge because when you are the underdog, your goal is to keep it close or tied to give yourself a chance to win. It is now a 40 minute game.

Dave (Grand Forks): Do you agree Paukovich for DU has become passive, as Thorne and Clement stated?
Dave Starman: He probably wants to play the same type of game he normally does, but I think it is normal if it is in the back of his mind.

Chuck (Buffalo): Does it seem that these teams are commited to having their Defenseman jump in the play more. I noticed Carle and Skinnner were really deep in the Offensive zone. I is this common in Div 1 play more that pro?
Coach MacDonald: I think it is both of the teams' styles to activate the defensemen, when it is appropriate to create offense.
Dave Starman: Whether is is pro, college or junior, if you can add a third wave into the attack with an aggressive defenseman, you do it.
Dave Starman: Eddie Belfour was at the game the other night (he was their goalie in 1987 when they won the National Championship). He sat in the North Dakota fan section Thursday and said it was an unbelievable experience. It is great to see alumni supporting their alma maters.
Coach MacDonald: It looks to me like North Dakota has taken control of the play. Denver looks like they are puck watching in the defensive zone, allowing North Dakota players to get open through the back door.
Dave Starman: That was a very similar goal to their OT game winner against Bemidji State. Shoot from the point, aim for sticks or bodies in front. Very good execution of a simplistic theory.
Dave Starman: Having survived that last penalty kill, NoDak has had two good back to back shifts and their trap is doing to Denver right now what it did to Minnesota all night Thursday.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: The second period has come to a close with a 2-1 Denver lead.
Coach MacDonald: Denver is going to break the third period down into five minute segments. One of their main goals should be to take care of the puck and get everything deep. North Dakota needs to continue to come out of their own zone cleanly and take some chances with their D on the offense as the period progresses.
Dave Starman: I still think North Dakota is very happy with the way things are going. Their goaltending has been good, their PK has been good and they are competing.
Coach MacDonald: If I'm Dave Hakstol, I would just keep it simple, try to string together some positive shifts, keep everybody actively participating in their role within the system and just make sure that we always had good numbers back. There is plenty of time left.
Dave Starman: If I'm Denver, I'm telling my team to play for the next goaland stay on the attack.

Joe (Silver Spring, MD): What would you be saying to each team in the locker rooms?
Coach MacDonald: That play by Carle was amazing. It looked like a point guard driving into the paint and then kicking it out for a three pointer.
Dave Starman: North Dakota has to be very careful here and not panic. This penalty kill might very well be the game. The penalty was a sign that they might be cracking a bit, though.
Dave Starman: It is amazing that despite how often coaches school players not to play the puck but rather play the man in a one on one situation, great players like Carle can make you panic and play the puck. You just saw one of the best plays in recent Frozen Four History.
Dave Starman: Just keep shooting.

Alex (Old Bethpage, NY): What does North Dakota need to do to get back into the game?
Coach MacDonald: They also need to start taking some calculated risks with their defensemen jumping into the play. I think a key right now for Denver is their decisions at each blue line. Pucks have to get out and pucks have to get in behind NoDak's net. No flat passes.
Dave Starman: I guarantee you the chatter on the North Dakota bench is, "It is only two shots".
Dave Starman: One of Dave Hakstol's most important decisions in the next sixty seconds will be when to pull his goalie and which six players will comprise the two or three shifts they will have with the extra man.

Chris (Denver): Who is the head runner for Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four?
Coach MacDonald: Gabe Gauthier
Dave Starman: Peter Mannino
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Coach and Dave need to head into the studio for their postgame analysis, so we need to end the chat at this point.
Coach MacDonald: Thank you for the questions and for your support of college hockey.
Dave Starman: As always, I enjoyed chatting with everyone. Thanks for having me.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Thanks for all the questions. And congratulations to the Denver Pioneers on repeating as NCAA Champions.

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