BOSTON — Reflecting on last year’s heartbreaking loss to Minnesota in the semifinals, North Dakota made it clear that this time, it’s all about eliminating distractions and focusing on the task ahead.
“We’re not as wide-eyed,” said senior defenseman Nick Mattson. “It’s a more focused feel for sure. We’re not here for the events. We’re here for hockey.”
“It’s a narrow focus here,” said goaltender and Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalist Zane McIntyre. “We’re here for business.”
Captain Stephane Pattyn echoed his teammates. “We’re focused,” he said. “And ready for business.”
There was one distraction from the focus that North Dakota allowed.
In 2004, the last time Boston hosted the Frozen Four, teams got a police escort from the hotel to the arena for the first time.
It’s now a common practice and almost a necessity, especially in Boston, where it’s never easy to get around via automobile or bus.
“A shout-out to the Boston Police Department,” said North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol. “With all the important things they could be doing with their time, we really appreciate it. Five guys helping us get to the rink was awesome. The bus was hooting and hollerin’.”