Our staff thoughts and picks on national semifinal games

PHILADELPHIA — Members of the USCHO staff give their thoughts and picks on Thursday’s Frozen Four semifinal games:

Boston College vs. Union, 5 p.m. EDT, ESPN2

Drew Claussen, Big Ten Columnist: 2014 is an even number; that means Boston College is going to advance to the final. BC is just too good for Union and I believe the Eagles will win convincingly. Boston College 4-1

Jim Connelly, Hockey East Columnist: Union will limit BC’s top line but as that line consistently does, they’ll still break through for two of three goals to propel the Eagles. Boston College 4-3

Dave Hendrickson, Hockey East Columnist: In this battle between the top two offensive teams in the country, BC’s unstoppable first line and stellar special teams make the difference. Boston College 5-4

Chris Lerch, Atlantic Hockey Columnist: I picked Union to win it all so I’m sticking with that. The Dutchmen have had success in making teams play into their system. If they can do that against Boston College — and I think they can — Union will come out on top. Union 3-2

Nate Owen, ECAC Hockey Columnist: The Dutchmen have a stout and active defensive unit, and I think that’s going to be the difference. Union 4-2

Matthew Semisch, NCHC Columnist: Union will have learned a few lessons from its first Frozen Four a couple years ago in Tampa and will give BC some issues, but I’m having difficulty seeing the Dutchmen contain Gaudreau, Hayes and Co. when the Eagles head into Union’s own end of the ice. Boston College 5-2

Paula C. Weston, Big Ten Columnist: The two top offenses meet in the early semifinal game, but I’m predicting a lower-scoring game based on their top-10 defenses. It’s an even year, so I’m going with BC. Boston College 2-1

Minnesota vs. North Dakota, 8:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN2

Drew Claussen: Like many other games between these teams, I assume this one will be close. It’ll be all about which goaltender plays better, and I think Adam Wilcox is ready to shine on a big stage. Minnesota 3-2

Jim Connelly: One of college hockey’s best rivalries will need overtime in this tight-checking matchup. North Dakota 3-2 (OT)

Dave Hendrickson: Minnesota’s stifling defense ends North Dakota’s Cinderella run, but not without a struggle. Minnesota 3-2

Chris Lerch: You can’t ask for a more entertaining matchup. North Dakota, the last team in the tournament, is trying to accomplish what Yale did last year and carry the momentum it had in the regionals into the Frozen Four. But the Gophers looked so dominant in St. Paul and are the more talented team. I’m picking skill over momentum and going with the Gophers. Minnesota 3-1

Nate Owen: Lots of big names on both sides, but I think this will come down to the goaltenders, where Minnesota has a slight edge with Adam Wilcox. Minnesota 3-2

Matthew Semisch: The Gophers are 3-1-1 in their last five games against UND, and Minnesota’s the better team on paper in this matchup. However, I’ve really liked the grit UND showed in the Midwest Regional despite being the underdog against both Wisconsin and Ferris State, and I think UND’s good for at least one more upset. North Dakota 2-1

Paula C. Weston: While I liked what I saw from North Dakota in Cincinnati, I think Minnesota’s speed will be the difference in this game. Minnesota 3-2